Preparation for practice of newly qualified dental practitioners in Australia

The accreditation of education and training programs leading to registration as a dental practitioner is a core function of the Australian Dental Council (ADC). The accreditation process aims to ensure graduates of accredited dental programs are equipped to practice safely and ethically. This contributes to the achievement of a number of objectives under the Health Practitioner National Regulation Law.

To strengthen the understanding of the outcomes of the accreditation process the ADC commissioned the University of Melbourne to undertake a research project titled Preparation for practice of newly qualified dental practitioners in Australia.

The research aimed to increase the understanding of the extent to which accredited programs prepare dental practitioners for practice. It focused specifically on programs producing graduates eligible to apply for registration as a dentist, dental hygienist, dental therapist, oral health therapist, or dental prosthetist.

This project was completed in two stages using a mixed method approach. The initial phase involved the creation of a theoretical framework of preparedness for practice areas and priorities. The second phase involved the collection of qualitative and quantitative data from a wide range of stakeholders, including current students, recent graduates dental professionals and dental consumers.

Findings from the research indicate that overall graduates from Australian programs are prepared to practice safely at the point of graduation. The research explored areas in which graduates are well prepared as well as areas in which improvements could be made.

The ADC will use the outcomes of the research to inform other projects and areas of work. This includes future reviews of the accreditation standards, policies as well as the upcoming review of the professional competencies of the newly qualified dental practitioner.

The report is available for download here.