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Interview with Sarah Manton, Director of the Faculty of Dental Trainers


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10 Oct 2019

The Faculty of Dental Trainers (FDT) will hold its Third Annual Meeting on mentoring and reflection on 15 November 2019. Dr Sarah Manton, the Faculty’s Director, shares her views on dental training and why you should get involved with the FDT.

Why did you choose mentoring and reflection as the theme of the FDT’s Third Annual Meeting? What impact do you think this has on patient safety?

Reflection raises awareness of your own clinical performance and enhances the ability to make changes. Recognising the need to make changes and improve the quality of clinical care directly impacts on patient safety. Good mentoring facilitates good reflection.

What impact do human factors have?

It has been shown that there are links between errors that can be attributed to human factors and patient safety. This is why a number of healthcare specialties, eg surgeons and anaesthetists, have developed tools to assess non-technical skills and human factors in the workplace. They have followed on from the aircraft and rail industries, where errors made have led to accidents. 

How would you suggest colleagues support those mentoring and being mentored?

All trainees need support through mentoring and mentors also need support to receive the training in their role to be effective. Mentoring is not the same as coaching and the FDT meeting is going to discuss this.

Can you expand on non-technical skills (DeNTS)?

It has been recognised that trainees may struggle, not due to a lack of clinical skills, but to difficulties with soft skills, such as communication and teamworking. DeNTS is a tool to assess the non-technical skills of dentists whilst they are clinically working and it has been created to support trainees in developing these skills. The assessments are formative and after observing behaviours, feedback is given to the trainee in a positive way to help improve performance and patient safety. In the future it is hoped that DeNTS will be taken up on a UK-wide basis and be included in trainee portfolios. 

What tips can you offer to dentists on training as a trainee and trainer?

Most trainees and a lot of DCPs get involved with some form of training. Becoming an Associate of the Faculty of Dental Trainers displays an interest and engagement with training. This can support applications for training posts, for promotion, or with appraisal and peer review processes. The FDT Standards for Dental Trainers is divided into six framework areas that signpost the attributes of the good trainer. The Standards provide directions of travel for dental trainers, trainees and DCPs who aspire to develop their training and teaching skills and to acquire the experience to become Members and Fellows of the Faculty. Making all your contributions count and building your curriculum vitae is important in a competitive environment, especially when planning a career that may involve any teaching and training: either as a dentist or a DCP working in a hospital, university, salaried service, dental practice, or the Armed Forces.

What has the Faculty of Dental Trainers (FDT) achieved since its inception?

It has grown its membership; held two annual meetings; published the Standards for Dental Trainers; developed the DeNTS Taxonomy that is due to be piloted in Dundee; presented DeNTS at NES in Edinburgh, ADEE in Berlin, SEAADE in Kuala Lumpur and the DCP Professionals Conference in Edinburgh and supported the Dental Trainer of the Year Award at the Scottish Dental Show.

Join The Faculty of Dental Trainers at their Third Annual Meeting on Mentoring and Reflecting: Ways and Means


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