Student Dental Skills winners show they know the drill

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22 Mar 2022

A dental student from the University of Birmingham has come out on top in a prestigious national competition featuring entrants from 17 of the most acclaimed Dental Schools in the UK.

Philip Eburne, from Acocks Green, Birmingham, was announced as the winner of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd) Faculty of Dental Surgery’s ‘Dental Clinical Skills’ competition for 2021/22, sponsored by Dentsply Sirona.

Jae Eun Lee from Queen’s University Belfast, and Alice Sherrard from the University of Liverpool, came second and third respectively.

Sixteen of the best entrants from a series of regional competitions were chosen to go to Edinburgh for the grand finale, where they were tested on their skills live. All finalists received an overnight stay at Ten Hill Place Hotel, part of the RCSEd’s iconic headquarters in the Scottish capital.

For the renowned Faculty of Dental Surgery, it was an important return for in-person competitions, where the final year students can put their hard work to the test against their peers; especially important after many missed out on practical experience throughout the pandemic, causing the cancellation of the 2020/21 competition.

Winner, Philip Eburne, said: 

I really enjoyed the experience. I was initially nervous, but it felt less like a high-pressure competition and more like a beneficial learning experience. It was a little overwhelming to hear that I’d won it. I felt like I was a bit of an imposter amongst the crème de la crème of my peers.

It’s definitely something I’d recommend to others in the future.  It’s a fantastic opportunity that allows you to hone and demonstrate your skills.

Philip was awarded a £2000 cheque, digital SLR camera, and a trophy to recognise his achievement. The state-of-the-art digital camera was generously donated by Dr Tom Bereznicki. The camera will be a great addition to the winner's promising career in dentistry.

Second place competitor, Jae Eun Lee, added:

I entered the competition with the intent of learning new skills and just seeing where it could take me.

Prior to the competition, I was aware that our year group had missed out on some important hands-on experience due to the pandemic restrictions.  

This has been a great learning opportunity that has helped give me the confidence to enter my career. I would definitely encourage others to give it a go next year, it’s practical, hands on and exciting.

Alice Sherrard, the third-place entrant, said: “I didn’t have much hands on experience leading up to the event, so it was great to have the opportunity to hone the craft further and get invaluable feedback.

It has given me confidence in my clinical skills and encouraged me to consider pursuing oral surgery as a speciality.

It was a pleasure to meet so many wonderful students in the same boat as me, as well as get some time with clinicians at the top of their game.

Professor Brian Nattress, Convenor of the Dental Skills Competition, said:

We have been delighted with the response from students across the UK and would like to thank everyone who registered for the competition.

It is a real delight to see the students competing in this environment again. They had proven themselves at the regional competitions and we were privileged to have so much talent under one roof here in Edinburgh for the final.

Our winner and runners up should be very proud of their achievements as the standard was exceptionally high. We will all be watching their fruitful careers closely.

Head of Clinical Education at Dentsply Sirona, Kim Howarth, said:

This competition continues to bring the best out of students. Through our continued commitment to providing innovative solutions for better, faster, safer dentistry and our expansive education programme, it is our desire and privilege to support dental professionals throughout their career.

All participants in the competition will receive two years’ affiliation with The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.


About The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh

  • RCSEd was first incorporated as the Barber Surgeons of Edinburgh in 1505 and is based in Edinburgh and Birmingham. 
  • It is one of the oldest surgical corporations in the world with a global membership of more than 32,000, including 15,000 members in the UK. 
  • The College also has a significant worldwide presence with members in over 100 countries. 
  • The College promotes the highest standards of surgical and dental practice through education, training and examinations, its liaison with external medical bodies and representation of the modern surgical and dental workforce. 
  • The College has six faculties: The Faculty of Dental Surgery, The Faculty of Surgical Trainers, The Faculty of Dental Trainers, The Faculty of Perioperative Care, The Faculty of Pre-Hospital Care and The Faculty of Remote, Rural and Humanitarian Healthcare.
  • It is also home to the UK’s only Faculty of Surgical Trainers, open to all those with an interest in surgical training regardless of College affiliation. 
  • Find RCSEd at, on Twitter, on Facebook, and Instagram

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