Welsh Apprenticeship Framework level 3 pathway in Dental Nursing published

Dental Nurse assisting a Dentist with a young patient

By Dawn Probert | 27 September 2021

The revised level 3 Apprenticeship Dental Nursing Framework pathway has recently been approved by the Welsh Government, supporting the vital recruitment, retention and development of staff in the dental sector in Wales.

As project managers of this development, our team at Skills for Health have been privileged to work in close partnership with a steering group of sector representatives to ensure it both meets the current needs of the Dental Nurse role and supports the broad vision of the sector, developing an increasingly skilled, flexible and effective workforce, whilst maintaining high quality and safe patient-centred care.

This truly collaborative development with the Welsh Government, Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW), dental employers, the All-Wales Dental Faculty for Dental Care Professionals, Qualifications Wales and training providers, aligns with the Welsh Government’s plans to reform the NHS dental system using the Prudent Healthcare principles introduced to the NHS in Wales. It also provides a positive route for attracting and retaining staff into the dental sector.

“This is an exciting development demonstrating true partnership working between the dental sector in Wales, Welsh Government and Skills for Health”, said Kirstie Moons, Postgraduate Dental Dean, HEIW. “This Framework will not only provide a much-needed quality training route for registered Dental Nurses, but it will also facilitate dental nursing career opportunities with the achievement of accredited, transferable knowledge and skills.”

There are approximately 2,880 Dental Nurses in Wales and an increasing number are being trained each year. The Dental Nursing Apprenticeship Framework now includes training pathways at both levels 3 and 4 and provides quality assured training to achieve the qualified standard required by the General Dental Council, the regulatory body that dental nurses must be registered with in order to practice once qualified.

The role of a Dental Nurse is varied but primarily provides essential chairside support to dentists and other members of the dental team. Some Dental Nurses undertake additional duties and further qualifications to widen their scope of practice and clinical competence such as taking impressions, the application of topical fluoride, taking radiographs and providing oral health education.

Dental Nurses work under the prescription of a dentist and can be employed in general practice, hospitals, prisons, community dental services and the armed forces and there are a range of post registration courses and options available to Dental Nurses looking to progress their career.

The framework has been published on the Apprenticeship Certification Wales website and is available to view here today.

Dawn Probert, a Senior Workforce Consultant at Skills for Health, has over 30 years’ experience working across the public sector including local government and the NHS, and in the independent and voluntary sectors in project management and education roles.

Hundreds of healthcare organisations across the UK turn to us as their trusted partner for specific workforce planning solutions and support with apprenticeships. Find out more about our work to support apprenticeships.


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