A longitudinal qualitative multi-methods study of new dental graduates’ transition journey from undergraduate studies to professional practice

Waraf Al-Yasin (Lead / Corresponding author), Sucharita Nanjappa, Divya Jindal-Snape, Nicola Innes

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Abstract

Introduction: New dental graduates' (NDGs) transition to professional practice is an important landmark and developmental stage in their career and in the UK it is supported by a formal educational transition process through a one-year salaried practice-based programme. However, little is known about graduates' experiences during this period. As part of a larger mixed-methods project, this study aimed to explore NDGs' experiences during their transition to professional practice, represented by Vocational Dental Practice.

Materials and Methods: Sixty-six NDGs from one dental school were invited to participate. Two rounds of in-depth interviews were conducted: Interview 1 upon NDGs' graduation and then Interview 2 was a follow-up interview after they had spent six-nine months in vocational dental training (VDT). At Interview 1, a subset of participants agreed to record longitudinal audio-diaries (LADs) and continued these for 6–9 months into VDT. Data from the interviews and LADs were analysed together using a thematic analysis approach.

Results: Eleven of the 66 invited NDGs agreed to be interviewed at Interview 1 (16.6%), seven at Interview2 (10.6%), and six (9.2%) recorded LADs. Four topic summaries were developed around NDGs transition experiences: (1) conceptualisation of the process; (2) responses to the transition, (3) challenges and support and (4) relationships with stakeholders.

Conclusion: NDGs' transition to professional practice was perceived as exciting and rewarding on personal and professional levels but carried challenges. VDT and related stakeholders play a vital role of supporting NDGs into their new professional life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-55
Number of pages15
JournalEuropean Journal of Dental Education
Volume28
Issue number1
Early online date9 May 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024

Keywords

  • dentist
  • education
  • new dental graduate
  • transitions
  • vocational dental training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • General Dentistry

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