We pride ourselves in providing education and training programmes for all members of the dental team: undergraduate students in Dental Science, Dental Technology, Dental Nursing and Dental Hygiene. Realising the importance of opening up opportunities for all to engage in education, we have been at the forefront in new developments in, for example, online delivery of teaching and learning. We are committed to students engaging with clinical dentistry early on in their programmes. With the result that all students will be in clinics in the second term of their first year (Dental Science, Dental Hygiene and Dental Nursing ) as teams working closely together, just as in general dental practices.
Our teaching and learning philosophy focuses on a blended learning approach with a mix of problem-based learning, lectures, small group teaching at the chairside, laboratory classes and case-based learning. Many of our students go out to the community for project work, to observe in clinics as well as to deliver dental care in hospitals and clinics outside the dental hospital. At the postgraduate level, for specialist training, we offer three-year, full time taught professional doctorates for both EU and non-EU students. Prior to embarking on these programmes, students will have gained general professional experience having worked for a few years in a variety of hospital, but also, dental practice settings. On graduation, many set up specialist practices in the community, for example, in Orthodontics, Oral Surgery, Prosthodontics and Paediatric Dentistry. Our 18-month, part-time Postgraduate Diploma in Conscious Sedation is always over-subscribed, and gives primary dental care practitioners the opportunity to gain skills that they can use in their practices and clinics.
Postgraduate education is also available for students from other courses, for example, in 2010 we offered a six-month Certificate in Dental Radiography for Dental Nurses and Dental Hygienists and in 2011 we commenced an 18-month, part-time Postgraduate Diploma in Clinical Dental Technology.
Recognising the need for Continuing Professional Development, we continue to evolve a vibrant programme of postgraduate activities for dentists in a two-year Postgraduate Diploma in Clinical Dentistry, with optional modules for those who wish to use these courses to develop their Continuing Professional Development portfolio. Courses in inhalation sedation are also offered to teams from the HSE dental services so that access to patients for such specialist services is increasingly being improved.
We actively support exchanges and for some years the School and Hospital has facilitated interchange of undergraduate students in Dental Science, Dental Technology and Dental Hygiene, as well as staff, through the Erasmus programme with dental schools in Sweden and Norway. Students spend up to four months working in another dental school gaining valuable insight into different ways of learning and dental care delivery.
Developments for the future include greater integration of all the undergraduate programmes and a new web-base portfolio for all students, incorporating access to an e-portfolio for students as a foundation for their lifelong learning needs.
We look forward to your time with us – whether it is as undergraduates, postgraduates or lifelong learners.
Professor Brian O'Connell, Dean of Dental Affairs