Opportunity to shine
Published at: 15 Feb 2019
GV HEALTH’S GRADUATE DENTIST PROGRAM PROVIDES OPPORTUNITIES TO EXPAND NEW PRACTITIONERS’ KNOWLEDGE AND BUILD THEIR CONFIDENCE IN A CLINICAL SETTING.
“We have two or three graduate dentists from different universities here every year,” said GV Health Dental Services Practice Manager Lorraine Olsson.
“We had nearly 50 applicants in 2018 which were primarily from the University of Melbourne, though we do have a graduate therapist from Charles Sturt University.”
The GV Health graduate program has been running for nearly 15 years.
The program exposes graduates to a range of clinical settings, including aged care, children’s dentistry and other facilities in Shepparton.
“The program is based on mentoring graduates,” Ms Olsson said.
“This is their first role, and they operate by themselves, with a mentor available to help if they have issues.”
Graduate dentists manage their own time and patients, performing their role in a professional context in the clinical setting.
“It’s a 12-month position which sets graduates up for a career,” Ms Olsson said.
“Many will go on to become orthodontists, dental surgeons and so on.”
The GV Health dental clinic’s strong belief in staff development is embodied in the program, which exposes graduates and students to a wide range of skills and pathologies.
The mentorship program gives them the opportunity to learn advanced clinical skills in a safe environment.
“This is the third week of the program,” Ms Olsson said.
“All the graduates come from Melbourne, and 3 were here on rotation last year – they have the advantage of understanding how the clinic works.”
Ms Olsson said that graduates were encouraged to become a part of the local community for the year they were in Shepparton.
“We encourage them to join clubs, get involved and be a part of it,” she said.
“They love to get together outside of work, have pizza nights and do activities with staff and students – for many it’s their first time away from home, so it can be quite challenging.”
The GV Health public dental program provides emergency, general dental care and denture services to concession card holders and their dependants.
The clinic was named Public Dental Clinic of the Year in the 2015 Dental Health Services Victorian Public Oral Health Awards.
A further benefit to local patients is free appointments with our student dentists, while a visit to a dentist at GV Health costs a flat fee of $28.50.
The children’s program currently has appointments available with priority access available for the homeless and refugees.
Doctor of Dental Surgery Zhen Zheng
“GV Health has been amazing – I’ve learnt so much. It’s a great team and atmosphere, with great leadership. I really enjoy the environment. We’ve only just arrived, and haven’t had the chance to explore much yet, but we are looking forward to checking out events like the Show and all the other things to do!”
Apprentice Dental Technician Zoe Marshall
“The first day is pretty scary, but very interesting. I’ve always wanted to work in the dental field, but I’m not too keen on the surgical side of things. I’ve just finished Year 10 – I applied online while I was in Canada, had an interview and got the job!”
Trainee Dental Assistant Rachel Surace
“I’ve got a few friends who do dental nursing. I decided to do work experience for the clinic, and absolutely loved it. I looked for a job and got this one. I’m looking forward to having qualifications under my belt and working with everyone I’ve met so far, as they all seem really cool!”
Oral Health Therapist Bree Kerwin
“I’m from Brunswick. I did my placement in Wagga and Albury. Country life is really good - everyone’s very relaxed. It’s a really nice change of pace. Everyone at GV Health is so friendly and loves working here, which is a very rare thing to encounter!”
Graduate Dentist Dr Angela Zhang
“Shepparton is great – we’ve gone rural to explore the opportunities, here. It’s one of the most supportive environments I’ve been in. You see a lot of different diseases here. We see a lot of surgical extractions, wisdom tooth extractions, biopsies in addition to cleaning and so on. Our mentor is really proactive and wants to create a very comfortable learning environment for us, which is unique to me.”
Graduate Dentist Dr Alicia Barrett
“I love it here. It’s challenging, and sometimes I second guess myself, but if I’m not doing that I’m not getting anywhere. You encounter such a range of different people here - some are happy to see us, and a lot aren’t. I’ve been doing a lot of extractions, fillings and so on. It’s a bit macabre, but extractions are probably my favourite at the moment. The best one recently was an upper left tooth, which took a lot of force and skill to remove - it was so satisfying!”
View a video of the dental grads and students here.