Don't fall at the clinical mentoring hurdle

By Andy Lane
So, when you’ve developed a great front of house team, brilliant nursing support, a TCO to die for and a Practice Manager to keep everything running smoothly, it counts for nothing if you don’t have the right dentists in your team because you can never generate enough income to keep the whole ship afloat. Great young dentists don’t just happen – they have to be developed and nurtured.
Cast your mind back to those early days in your career before you became a Practice Principal. Who was it that helped you move from wet behind the ears to wet-fingered leader of a successful practice? None of us got to where we are now without at least one, and probably several, inspirational mentors.
At Private VT we want to help you to pass on what you have learned and to nurture the next generation, the ones who can develop the skills and business sense to take over the reins when the time comes. We want to make learning fun and rewarding for all, giving you the opportunity to develop a young dentist’s career, passing on your knowledge and helping to turn their dreams into achievements.
Enrolling a dentist working in your practice on Private VT’s Dental Foundation Training (PDFT+) Scheme isn’t entirely altruistic though, because your practice will benefit from retaining 100% of the income the trainee generates, while the employment and training costs are fixed for the year and spread over affordable monthly payments (works out at approx. £37 per hour). This removes financial stress between your practice and the associate while he or she builds up a patient list.
Private VT has a structured training programme that is delivered via residential courses and an e-learning platform over the training year, supported by weekly one-to-one mentoring sessions with your trainee. Training is primarily geared towards filling in the gaps in knowledge of how private and mixed practices operate (both clinically and in terms of management) that may have been missing from NHS VT and FD2 hospital posts.
The PDFT+ scheme encourages active learning in all aspects of general dental practice and personal development, with course content delivered by some of the UK’s foremost speakers in the profession.  Private VT’s trainees will also be encouraged to study for post-graduate qualifications and carry out practice-based research during their training year, with MJDF Part 1 being one of the minimum targets.
Mentoring will play a vital role in the development of your trainee, but as the trainees will have completed their DF1 and/or DF2 training, your time commitment will depend upon how complex your trainee’s cases are, and how you choose to monitor their work.  In fact, you may find that your trainee can work unsupervised much of the time, increasingly so after the first few months of induction.
One of the benefits of having a Private VT trainee in your practice is that they are paid to be there all the time, so if there are spaces in their appointment books, as there often are when starting a new list for instance, they can be usefully employed doing a range of other things. A standard associate would often pack up for the day if they see large gaps, or start looking elsewhere for work, but because your trainee is there full-time you can ask them to observe an interesting case, go on domiciliary visits, see emergency patients, visit local schools, undertake free oral cancer assessments, provide smoking cessation advice, carry out audits, manage your social media content and maintain the CQC compliance for your practice. All of this will have the effect of freeing up your time so that you can concentrate on the kind of dentistry you prefer to do, leaving the routine dentistry to your new team member if you wish.
So, if you’ve ever experienced problems integrating a new dentist into your practice, or you’re concerned that you might not instantly be able to generate enough work to keep someone interested while a list builds, here’s the perfect opportunity to create your ideal associate or junior partner as, once your trainee has completed the training year, you can maximise your investment by making them a permanent member of the team. On the other hand, if your trainee doesn’t meet your expectations, or you find that they don’t gel with your patients or the rest of the team, you can move them on without any obligation.
In summary, the Private VT Dental Foundation Training Scheme provides the framework for you to introduce a keen young dentist into your practice, with whom you can embark on an exciting journey, with first class training. It’s a low risk, affordable way of adding value to your team and you will reap the rewards on many levels.
For more details or to register your interest please call Anne Grogan on 01457 821800.


Published by

Chris Barrow

Chris Barrow has been active as a consultant, trainer and coach to the UK dental profession for over 20 years. As a writer, his blog enjoys a strong following and he is a regular contributor to the dental press. Naturally direct, assertive and determined, he has the ability to reach conclusions quickly, as well as the sharp reflexes and lightness of touch to innovate, change tack and push boundaries. In 2014 he appeared as a “castaway” in the first season of the popular reality TV show “The Island with Bear Grylls”. His main professional focus is as Coach Barrow, providing coaching and mentorship to independent dentistry.