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Core continuing professional development (CPD) topics for the European dentist

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Abstract

Introduction

In the context of free movement, EU-citizens need assurance that dental practitioners providing their care have a degree/license to practice that meets EU-standards and that they maintain their knowledge and skills through ongoing education.

Aim

One aim of the ‘DentCPD’ project (HYPERLINK ‘http://www.dentcpd.orgwww.dentcpd.org) was to identify and agree essential CPD requirements for EU dentists. This paper reports the consensus process and outcomes.

Methods

Agreement on core components of CPD was achieved through a three stage process: an online survey of dental educators' (n = 143) views on compulsory topics; a paper-based questionnaire to practitioners (n = 411); leading to a proposal discussed at the Association for Dental Education (ADEE) 2011 Lifelong Learning special interest group (SIG).

Results

From the online survey and practitioner questionnaire, high levels of agreement were achieved for medical emergencies (89%), infection control (79%) and the medically compromised patient (71%). The SIG (34 attendees from 16 countries) concluded that these three CPD topics plus radiation protection should be core-compulsory and three CPD topics should be core-recommended (health and safety, pain management, and safeguarding children & vulnerable adults). They also agreed that the teaching of all topics should be underpinned by evidence-based dentistry.

Conclusion

Building four core topics into CPD requirements and making quality-approved education and training available will ensure that all dentists have up-to-date knowledge and skills in topic areas of direct relevance to patient safety. In turn, this will contribute to patients having access to comparably high standards of oral health care across Europe.

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