Unique clinical experiences for dental and oral health students
The Melbourne Dental Clinic (MDC) provides world-class training to Melbourne Dental School students in their final year of study.
MDC was established by the University in 2013. This year, it supported 116 students with approximately 27,500 hours of clinical placements over 7000 sessions.
Prior to the establishment of MDC, clinical placements were only available in public health settings. Students who undertake training at MDC have the chance to gain real-world experience in a private practice setting.
“The School recognised that the vast majority of graduates go on to work in private practice, but 100 per cent of the clinical placements were in public health settings,” says Andrew Stott, who joined the MDC as the CEO of Melbourne Teaching Health Clinics in 2017.
Beyond technical training and support for students, MDC manages all business operations including administrative support, front of house, business development and marketing, along with the finance functions.
“Students have good exposure to what managing a private practice involves. They get an overview of what it really means to be a part of a large organisation, as well as putting into context the importance of customer service and establishing goodwill; the general mechanics of running a business.
“Students have the opportunity to discuss with the patient aspects of customer service they may not have before, such as what the out of pocket cost is going to be and how many appointments are going to be needed.
“They are to aiming to provide their patients with the best possible clinical quality and customer service outcomes, all in a timely manner,” says Stott.
To facilitate these clinical placements, MDC has recruited a workforce of around a dozen clinical supervisors who are permanent part-time employees.
“Approximately two-thirds of our supervisors are alumni. Their contributions enable us to educate our students at the highest standard,” says Stott.
This unique opportunity for students has also created a new career pathway for experienced dentists.
“We have identified that there is demand from dentists to make a career out of clinical education. We are supporting dentists and our alumni to make the step to becoming clinical educators,” says Stott.
By providing students with private practice experience before graduation, MDC plays a pivotal role in training the next generation of dental and oral health professionals.