All dental nurses must be registered with the General Dental Council (GDC) in order to work in the UK.
Training begins on the first working day as a trainee dental nurse. NHS Education for Scotland (NES) offers an induction programme for trainee dental nurses, prior to starting on a pre-registration training programme. This enables new trainee dental nurses to gain the essential knowledge and skills necessary to work safely in practice. Trainee dental nurses must register for a GDC approved pre-registration training course after completing their induction training.
The two qualifications recognised by the GDC are:
- National Diploma in Dental Nursing, awarded by The National Examining Board for Dental Nurses (NEBDN)
- SVQ Level 3 and PDA in Dental Nursing, awarded by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA)
NES has five regional dental education centres delivering the SQA SVQ Level 3 and PDA in Dental Nursing. Entry requirements for this course include SQA National 4 (SCQF Level 4) or equivalent, in English, Maths and a science subject, such as Biology. Find out more about this qualification on the VQ Finder website.
You will also need to be approved for membership of the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme managed by Disclosure Scotland.
Increasingly, work experience plays an important part when applying for dental nursing courses. It will help you decide if a career as a dental nurse is for you, as well as confirming your interest and suitability for the course.
Previous experience of working in dental care is beneficial. This can be either paid or voluntary work in a general dental practice, hospital or other healthcare setting. You could also consider other roles in health and social care.
You are advised to contact NHSScotland boards or general dental practices in your area to discuss opportunities for work experience. Competition is extremely high, so applying early, being proactive and showing initiative is the key to securing a work experience placement.
Entry requirements for dental nursing courses vary depending on the college or provider. You are advised to contact them directly about specific entry requirements, including other accepted qualifications.
You can visit the GDC website for a full list of approved educational institutions and dental nursing programmes across the UK.