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By The Next Step

Top tips for preparing for DFT

4 min
Dental students in practical lesson with teacher

If you’re currently in the thick of your final year of dental school, there are a couple of ways you might react to starting Dental Foundation Training (DFT) – either it’s too far away to be thinking about right now, or you’re thinking about it a lot because it will arrive before you know it!

Back in the spring of 2023, we asked some final year students from Leeds Dental School to share their thoughts on transitioning to DFT. Here’s what they said...

So, class of 2023, tell us what you are most looking forward to about DFT?

  • "I’m looking forward to being in the practice environment, working with my nurse and in a team, and having a bit of independence."
  • "Definitely gaining a bit more experience. With COVID, I don’t think we’ve really done as many things as we would like to. So yeah, it would be nice to gain some more experience."
  • "I’m simply looking forward to starting to improve both my clinical and patient experience. I feel like dental school is a bubble, and I’m ready to pop that bubble and go out into the real world."
  • "I’m mostly looking forward to exploring a new area and getting into working life, as well as meeting lots of new people."
  • "I’m looking forward to getting paid for the first time in five years!"
  • "I’m looking forward to being my own dentist, honing my skills and getting more practice."
  • "Being my own independent practitioner and seeing as many patients as I can. I’m kind of excited to be seeing a greater variety of cases."
  • "A change of pace, I think. Just being in a different environment from university, and getting to do and learn more things."

…and, what are you most anxious about?

  • "I’m probably most anxious about moving to a new area, because it will mean lots of new experiences and adapting to working life without the support of friends being nearby. So, it will be quite a big change, but an exciting one at the same time!"
  • "I’m anxious about not having someone there to hold my hand throughout the treatments. Also just being a bit more independent and making my own decisions."
  • "I’d say not having a tutor with you constantly, but it will also be quite nice, because you’ll get a bit more independence and build confidence."
  • "I’m a bit scared to not have someone to lean on all the time."
  • "I’m anxious about the change of pace. In other words, seeing a lot more patients in the same day and being independent. I think I'll be really good, but it will take me a while to get used to it."
  • "The increased workload is a little nerve-wracking. For example, going from a maximum of four patients on a busy day to suddenly seeing a lot more and doing everything as independently as we can. But, I’m kind of excited to build that confidence."

Finally, what is the best piece of advice you would give to a fourth-year student?

  • "Work hard, but enjoy it. Don’t think of clinics as a burden and take every opportunity you can. Use this time to learn as much as possible and don’t over-worry about making mistakes. Once you start DFT, it’s unlikely that you’ll be seeing your friends every single day anymore. So, enjoy it all."
  • "I think it’s really important to enjoy your final year because it will go by so quickly. Try to make sure you’re on track to reach your totals and to see enough patients to graduate."
  • "Take each day as it comes. There are so many exams and so many assignments, but make sure that you enjoy yourself as well as working hard."
  • "With anything you don’t understand, ask questions. If a tutor asks you to do something, ask them why. Ask them for the relevant guidelines, teaching or research they’re telling you to follow as well, so you can read up on it."
  • "Be organised and don’t bank on one treatment to work out for something. Have lots of options and a few patients you see through to the end, rather than just picking up random pieces of work."
  • "I’d recommend trying to get in as much experience as possible. When I was in clinic, I booked in two patients for each session. I really pushed myself to see the maximum I could in order to get as much experience out of it as possible."
  • "Enjoy it as much as you can and try not to stress about things too much."
  • "It’s a hard slog, so take each day as it comes, be kind to yourself, rest a lot and enjoy time with your friends. It’s your last year of university and all of the hard work will pay off in the end."
  • "I’d definitely say to enjoy it. Work really hard and don’t give up because you’ve come this far. Just keep persevering right until the end. It will be worth it."

If you would like to hear more DFT nuggets from final year students at Leeds Dental School, visit our YouTube channel.

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