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Mentor health Universities are recommending graduates’ find a practice that will provide guidance through mentoring. By Mary Banfield

hen a dentist closes their office door for the last time, the industry loses clinical skills and knowledge that have been built on decades of experience. This is a major problem for the industry and today universities and professional organisations are exploring the enormous benefits that mentoring provides when highly skilled principals take under their wing a graduate as they enter the field. Even more importantly is that it is now recognising that there are unlimited reciprocal benefits that mentoring graduates can give a practice. “It’s a huge culture shock going from the public hospital into a private practice,” says Ramesh Sivabalan, who graduated from Sydney University in 2010. Within 12 months of being qualified he has begun to set up his own practice, called My Dental Team. His first job was with Amazing Dental, in Nowra, NSW. Although it was a steep learning curve he attributes 60 per cent of his confidence in

managing difficult and complex treatments to a close mentoring relationship with the principal dentist, Dr Chan. In a twist on the standard principles of mentoring, Dr Chan had created an enormous win-win opportunity for himself. While he was more than willing to wipe out his books to make time to guide his graduates, Dr Chan also realised these young dentists had been injected at university with the most current knowledge and treatments, and he would learn from them. That’s the idea that is being promoted by major universities. “It’s true that undergraduates, particularly in remote practices, often help the principals to keep up to date and hear the latest techniques,” says Professor Richard Lindsay, Dental School, University of Adelaide. “Generally dentistry can be a lonely profession and you can beaver away without talking to others so mentoring graduates can be so highly beneficial.” From the day a student enrols at the University of Western

Above: Professor Richard Lindsay of the University of Adelaide. “Generally dentistry can be a lonely profession and you can beaver away without talking to others so mentoring graduates can be so highly beneficial.”

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Bite March 2012  

Bite magazine is a business and current affairs magazine for the dental industry. Content is of interest to dentists, hygienists, assistants...

Bite March 2012  

Bite magazine is a business and current affairs magazine for the dental industry. Content is of interest to dentists, hygienists, assistants...