For some time now the funded route leading to a dental nurse qualification in England has been coming to fruition. Lots of employers are unsure what this means for them and existing training providers are looking to see how this will affect them going forward. The new qualification will be known as the Trailblazer and in England will take over from the current funded training provision.
The ideal is that day release will be given to dental nurse students and quality instruction will be given, with on-going clinical training being undertaken in the workplace. This should not change the fact that student dental nurses need to be safe to start clinical training, be observed during their training period and given adequate support and guidance.
This will not change the sad fact that many student dental nurses will be on an apprenticeship level of wage, but neither does this mean that they are to be taken as cheap labour. It is wrong for anyone to advertise for an apprentice and then expect them to run the clinics on their own, equally neither should anyone be advertising free student dental nurses in return for in-house training.
New training should be about opportunity, support, development and success not a means to cheap labour. It is to be hoped that this qualification is fit for purpose and will give student dental nurses the skills and capacity to move on and provide the best care possible across a broad area of treatments. Lets see how it unfolds and not forget those who have to deliver it too, unless the GDP is going to do this themselves.