Shadowing a Doctor

June 30, 2014

Not sure whether you really need to gain some dental work experience ahead of submitting your application to dental school? This summary of the requirements of the different university dental schools in the UK will give you a better idea of what they are looking for:

Medical staff perform a dental exam in Tanzania. Newcastle University   

All applicants should necessarily have completed at least 2 weeks’ dental work experience before submitting their UCAS application. Preference is given to work experience obtained in a General Dental Practice, but any other type of dental work experience may also be taken into consideration.

The University of Sheffield  

Preference will be given to applicants who have adequate knowledge of the dental profession, can demonstrate what attracted them to the profession and have researched possible career opportunities. Applicants should have completed work experience placements, which should be within a general dental practice. The school is looking for students who have good time management and are self-motivated, which may be demonstrated through on-going commitment to voluntary work or other organized activities.

The University of Manchester       

All applicants should necessarily have observed a general dental practitioner at work before submitting their application. The personal statement must specifically mention the duration of any dental work experience that was undertaken. Additional work experience in a specialist area of dentistry will be beneficial for applicants. The School is keen to find out what experience applicants have of working as a leader and also as a member of a team. This does not necessarily have to be a school-based activity but could be in connection with any volunteer work, sport or part-time job for example.

Queen’s University, Belfast 

All applicants must show evidence of motivation and commitment in their personal statement. This should include some proof of what the candidate has done to find out about a career in dentistry. This can be demonstrated several different ways including undertaking voluntary work in a care setting, observational experience in a clinical setting or participating in activities that demonstrate core transferable skills such as empathy, teamwork, leadership and communication.

The University of Leeds       

Applicants who have extensive experience in a variety of settings are given preference although even those who show evidence of any kind of dentistry work experience in at least one setting are also considered. Providing details of the type of work experience and the duration would give the applicant the edge over the others. If attempts to obtain work experience have been unsuccessful, there should be some reference to this in the statement.

The University of Glasgow   

All applicants should necessarily have engaged in at least 3 days of work shadowing. Preference is given to those who have obtained their experience in a General Dental Practice setting. Those who do not meet this 3 day requirement will not be considered for the interview. The 3 day criterion does not necessarily have to be time spent with the dentist. It should also include time with other members of the dental team as understanding their roles is equally important.

The University of Birmingham      

Approximately 14 days or equivalent work experience in a general dental practice is mandatory before completing the UCAS form. All candidates will be required to declare their understanding, involvement and commitment to working for the benefit of others. They must also demonstrate an understanding of empathy and compassion, which lie at the core of dealing with different members of society.

It’s clear from the above that all dental schools will give preference to those applicants who have obtained some kind of work experience preferably, though not always necessarily, in dentistry.