Professionalism is a commitment to a set of values, behaviours and relationships, which underpin the trust that the public hold in dental care professionals.
Shortcomings within this Domain are often responsible for patient dissatisfaction, concern and complaint and emphasis is placed on the importance of embedding these values from an early stage within the curriculum.
Professionalism must therefore permeate all aspects of good dental practice. It is a complex, multidimensional construct, which has individual, interpersonal and societal dimensions.
These are context dependent and encompass competences within areas relating to: ethics, regulation and professional behaviour.
The GED identifies four competences in the professionalism domain.
Ethics provides the foundation for professionalism. The graduate Dentist must understand the ethical principles of health care and be competent to apply them in every aspect of Dentistry. In common with other branches of health care, the core ethical principles are (Brennan et al. 2002):
- the primacy of patient welfare
- respect for patient autonomy
- commitment to social justice
Within the GED eight learning outcomes have been identified and suggests that a graduating Dentist must be able to:
1.1.1. Core Ethical Principles
Apply core ethical principles to patient care and healthcare research
1.1.2. Ethical or Unethical Situations
Differentiate between ethical or unethical situations and act on them appropriately
1.1.4. Dignity and Respect
Demonstrate dignity and respect for others, without prejudice in respect of protected characteristics and social perceptions such as age, culture, diversity of background and opportunity, disability, gender, language, religion and sexual orientation
1.1.5. Patient Confidentiality
Demonstrate and ensure respect for patient confidentiality at all times, including situations outside the healthcare setting
1.1.6. Patient Autonomy
Demonstrate respect for patient autonomy, patient choices and informed consent
Demonstrate candour and act without delay if they, or a colleague, or the environment in which they are providing care is putting someone at risk
1.1.8. Digital professionalism and data protection
Demonstrate digital professionalism by protecting patient data, and the appropriate use of social media and digital communication, mindful of how these activities may force them into ethically challenging situations and/or damage the reputation of the wider profession (bring it into disrepute)
The graduate Dentist must have comprehensive knowledge of, and the skills to comply with, the regulatory system of the country in which they trained. This will necessarily include legislation, and codes of practice applicable to all aspects of the practice of dentistry.
The GED identified 5 learning outcomes within this competence.
Professional behaviour can be understood as the manner in which one reflects on and reconciles different aspects of professional practice, demonstrating acceptance of professional responsibility and accountability. It is an overarching competence which must permeate all aspects of good dental practice and is manifested in the manner in which high‐quality oral healthcare is provided. The GED identifies eleven learning outcomes within in this competence that a graduating Dentist must be able to demonstrate
1.2.1. Regulation and legal framework
Describe the regulation of the practice of dentistry, the local legal framework (of the country or organisation) and the various codes of practice related to dentistry, including the requirement to be registered with an appropriate regulatory body
1.2.2. Law in Relation to Consent
Apply the law and guidelines relating to consent to all patients, including children and adults unable to consent for themselves
1.2.3. Scope of Practice
Describe, and ensure adherence to, the scope of practice of all members of the dental team
1.2.4. Code of Practice
Adhere to the code or accepted standards of practice on advertising in all media
1.2.5. Comply with Legislation
Discuss the implications of, and be able to comply with, general legislation or regulation in areas such as health and safety legislation, infection prevention and control procedures, data protection, the use of ionising radiation and sustainability.
1.3. Professional Behaviour
Professional behaviour can be understood as the manner in which one reflects on and reconciles different aspects of professional practice, demonstrating acceptance of professional responsibility and accountability. It is an overarching competence which must permeate all aspects of good dental practice and is manifested in the manner in which high‐quality oral healthcare is provided. Eleven learning outcomes have been identified by the GED to which a graduating dentist must be able to demonstrate.
1.3.1. Patient communications
Communicate effectively with patients (including parents and carers), colleagues in the dental team, other healthcare professionals, stakeholders and the public in general
1.3.2. Holistic Approach
Demonstrate a holistic approach to the provision of high‐quality patient care at all times
1.3.3. Social concepts of health care
Respect social concepts of health care, being conscious that it is a privilege to be entrusted with the health care of members of society and that with this privilege come responsibilities
1.3.4. Patient centred care
Demonstrate patient‐centred care, ensuring that patients’ interests come first and acting to protect them at all times
1.3.6. Self awareness
Demonstrate self‐awareness and identify their own limitations through self‐reflection, critical appraisal and peer review
Demonstrate conceptual reasoning skills to think through problems and know when to seek support or advice.
1.3.8. Selecting and prioritising treatments
Select and prioritise treatment options that are sensitive to each patient's individual needs, goals and values, compatible with contemporary therapy and congruent with human rights, a comprehensive oral health care philosophy and healthcare economics
1.3.9. Reflective practice
Demonstrate skills in reflection on their own decisions, actions and performance and be able to apply this to the process of continuing professional development
Demonstrate accountability and the need to explain their actions and decisions with openness and transparency
1.3.11. Governance and audit
Describe the procedures involved in audit, clinical governance and peer review
1.4 Sustainable Practice
A graduating Dentist should be aware of the importance of environmental sustainability in oral health care and their ethical obligations to provide effective oral healthcare whilst minimising the impact on the environment. This overarching competence should be embedded in all aspects of oral healthcare provision to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change. Six learning outcomes have been identified by the GED to which a graduating dentist must be able to demonstrate.
1.4.1 Importance of sustainable oral health care
Explain the importance of practising sustainable oral health care
1.4.2 Barriers to sustainable oral healthcare
Discuss the challenges/barriers to implementing a sustainable approach to oral health care
1.4.3 Ethical Principles
Discuss how the ethical principles of sustainable dentistry can be applied to particular clinical scenarios
1.4.4 Respecting the Environment
Demonstrate a respectful approach to the environment during clinical practice
1.4.5 Environmentally Sustainable Solutions
Critique current clinical practices in relation to environmental impact, and suggest realistic and practical solutions
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