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Dental foundation training in the COVID-19 era - the national recruitment lottery

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Christopher Donnell, Ben Walker


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© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to the British Dental Association.National recruitment has radically transformed the selection and allocation of dental graduates to dental foundation training (DFT) schemes across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, with recruitment in Scotland via a separate, independent process. It has been reported as a mostly positive change to the previous deanery-led model, in which nepotism allegedly featured too widely. A candidate's ranking is typically based on performance across two face-to-face assessments and a situational judgement test (SJT). The COVID-19 pandemic, however, has created a recruitment 'lottery' of sorts, in which ranking for 2021 is now solely based on the SJT. Subject matter experts assert that neither preparation nor revision for the SJT is required; yet, following the announcement of the adaptation to DFT recruitment for September 2021, a rapid rise of exorbitantly priced SJT question banks, mock papers, workshops and courses has ensued - a shameless monetisation of the collective angst and increased pressure faced by dental students. Preparation courses present a conceivable risk of SJT 'coaching' and 'faking'. Where medicine leads, dentistry usually follows and future selection to DFT needs to strongly consider the introduction of academic performance measures. SJTs remain one of the most well-accepted, reliable and cost-effective means of selection into healthcare roles, however, only when part of a wider selection process.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Donnell CC, Walker BM, Foley JI

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: British Dental Journal

Year: 2021

Volume: 231

Issue: 1

Pages: 20-25

Print publication date: 01/07/2021

Online publication date: 09/07/2021

Acceptance date: 11/01/2021

ISSN (print): 0007-0610

ISSN (electronic): 1476-5373

Publisher: Springer Nature


DOI: 10.1038/s41415-021-3174-x


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