The Jane Goodman Memorial Scholarship in Paediatric Dentistry - Meet This Year's Awardee

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06 Sep 2021

Last month the RCSEd Dental Faculties awarded the Jane Goodman Memorial Scholarship to one of our Members to help pursue an MSc in Paediatric Dentistry.

Dr Jane Goodman (1948-2019) was a consultant in Paediatric Dentistry, who made a significant contribution to the specialty. A former Vice-Dean of the College, Dr Goodman had an abiding interest in training, education and supporting the next generation of dentists. The Scholarship is a recognition and memorial to that support she offered through her life. The College is deeply indebted to the Trustees of the Jane Goodman Charitable Trust for making this Scholarship possible. 

This year the Jane Goodman Memorial Scholarship in Paediatric Dentistry was awarded to Dr Louise Davidson, Community Special Needs Dentist, who is currently undertaking an MSc in Paediatric Dentistry. We caught up with Louise and learned more about her motivation to apply for the scholarship and her future career plans. 

Where did you hear about the Jane Goodman Memorial Scholarship in Paediatric Dentistry and what motivated you to apply for it?

"I was researching courses on the RCSEd website and saw the scholarship offered. I was unsure whether to apply and explored more about Dr Goodman. I was really inspired by her achievements in paediatric dentistry, her personality, her ethos and values.

I saw how instrumental she was in promoting hypodontia as a specific anomaly subset, aligning treatment planning to each  individual’s anomaly assessing their individual aetiologies. I saw how she dedicated her life and focus to promoting paediatric dentistry and education, honing towards long term management and restorative options as adults. I felt it was really inspiring to see a woman in our complex evolving profession  actively promote and lead a specialty, paving the way for the next generation of paediatric dentists. It was  particularly influential learning how Dr Goodman used her plethora of clinical skills to treat and help disadvantaged children abroad that otherwise would not have access to specialist care. I also found it very poignant reading  how much personal strength she showed when she was undergoing treatment herself and yet still found  time and energy to counsel others. It is a testament to her strength and determination and human outreach qualities. I think the combination of these incredible qualities and the fact I would not get the opportunity to meet her and imbibe her teaching were factors that really inspired me apply to promote her legacy and try and continue her work."

 What does this scholarship mean to you and to your dental career?

"When I saw the email from the RCSEd I was amazed I had been considered and awarded it. I honestly felt so thrilled and proud of myself. I also felt  really touched that someone somewhere had read about me and valued my work as well. I just gave me a big confidence boost and made everything I am working for feel worthwhile and important. As clinicians we have to pull together so many skills and leadership qualities. We automatically always self-check our own capabilities, our successes and challenges, how we dealt with them, re-evaluating our patient’s, their families and our nurses responses and input. The scholarship, albeit indirectly, gave weight to the positive effects of always seeking to improve and learn through practice and post-graduate education.

I realise that the award is not just wording on paper and financial but a representation of Dr Goodman’s time and work and selflessly directly promoting someone else’s work in her field. I really value this.

I am continuing with my paediatric postgraduate studies and continue embedding paediatric clinical practice into my clinics. I am looking forward to  a clinical tutoring role to share my knowledge and skills with students. I have also been inspired to learn Makaton and some BSL to help communicate with my auditory impaired and special needs patients. They find it quite amusing when I make some mistakes and are really keen to correct me! At least it makes us laugh and smile in clinic and I promise to be better at their next appointment."

What tips would you give to undergraduate and postgraduate students who are considering pursuing a career in Paediatric Dentistry?

"When I look back at my undergraduate experience, I think my main exposure to paediatric patients was when I attended community clinics in Manchester and paediatric and orthodontic clinics in the Turner Dental hospital. I would advise undergraduates to soak up as much experience as possible with paediatric patients and to make their own log of cases to embed experience as they will definitely need this in any practice. As a GDP, often parents assess how the dentist interacts and treats their children, and if they feel comfortable, the whole family then follows. I found making my own logs was a good way to reflect and reassess my knowledge and skill set and show me where I needed to improve-or even just reaffirm that what I did was right. The GDC assess great importance to the reflection side of practice and learning as it shows insight and ownership of actions and reactions. We always look at this when assessing fitness to practice cases and the level of impact on patient care and risk to future patients. The logs are  also a good discipline as they allow you freedom to express emotions and thought processes which you would not necessarily put in a patients notes which are clinical and legal records. My own most recent log was for IV patients and it really helped me externalise my feelings (albeit to myself), formalise the procedure from my own perspective, and act as a written record and review for when I saw the patient next. This means that the clinical events were not a single event in time but by recording and re-reading them I feel I am re-living the appointment and learning from a different perspective. When treatments are successful we feel empowered and proud and it is just as important to assess these as they are usually a combination of factors just as much as the challenging treatments. We cannot control everything but we can control how we assess, plan and react to events.

For postgraduates I would advise to keep listening to your “inner voice” to what makes you personally inspired and follow this. Ultimately this gives the most personal satisfaction. Paediatric dentistry to me is such a complex all-encompassing specialty. Children are not just “little adults” but are unique varied and vulnerable as they grow and develop. Their oral and general health is dependent on their medical, cognitive, social and behavioural abilities and their support system. You should never underestimate how much of a positive impact you can have on a child’s dental care putting them on the right trajectory for adulthood. Learning from our leads like Dr Goodman can inspire anyone of us in the wider dental field to apply for scholarships and post graduate education."

Find out more about our Jane Goodman Memorial Scholarship in Paediatric Dentistry here.



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