Communication and professionalism skills of a new graduate: the expectations and experiences of dental foundation trainers




The aim of this study was to investigate dental foundation year 1 (DF1) trainers' expectations of the dental graduate specifically in relation to non-clinical (professionalism and communication) skills and to explore whether these expectations were being met.


In the UK, dental graduates undertake 1 year of foundation training prior to being permitted to undertake NHS practice. An online survey was distributed to DF1 trainers via all 11 English deaneries and the Northern Ireland deanery. Demographic information and a general view of trainers' expectations of a new trainee were collected. Specific questions relating to six generic trainee problems were followed by 11 ability statements where trainers indicated their expectation of a trainee's ability to perform the skill on a 5-point scale (on own with confidenceunable to undertake). Statements were repeated and trainers were required to respond using the same scale in relation to experience of their current trainee.


Five hundred and ten (53%) trainers completed the questionnaire with no missing data. Expectations were high with almost 50% of trainers expecting a new graduate to manage a full list of patients on their own. Experience of new graduates did not always match these expectations. Of concern was the ability to ‘keep accurate patient records’ and ‘self-reflection and knowing when to seek help’, where a small proportion of trainers experienced difficulties.


Trainers' expectation and experience in relation to non-clinical skills of a new graduate were investigated. Although they had high expectations, the majority reported only minor problems overall. There were a few areas where concern was raised.