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New academic path for dental nurses

04 April 2008

A new pathway into dental nursing has opened up with the launch of a higher education course in the subject at Cardiff University.

The new Certificate of Higher Education in Dental Nursing is the first part-time course of its kind in the UK. It aims to provide dental nurses with an academic approach which will enhance their professional practice and offer opportunities for further career progression. It gives a thorough grounding in the science behind dental nursing combined with a hands-on practical approach. The nine core modules include biomedical science, biomaterials, dental skills and a research project.

The new development comes as the General Dental Council requires all dental nurses should have completed or be undertaking a course run by a recognised training establishment. The Cardiff programme is aimed at people wanting to enter the profession and at existing dental nurses who now wish to achieve a qualification.

Stuart Geddes, British Dental Association Wales National Director, has backed the course, saying: "This is an interesting and exciting development in the field of dental nurse education which will challenge career aspirations. This course with its wide ranging syllabus will attract people who may never have considered dental nursing as a ‘career’ and will open doors to other aspects of patient care."

The course is offered by the University’s School of Postgraduate Medical and Dental Education and has been provisionally recognised by both the General Dental Council and Cardiff University. The two-year day-release programme consists of 30 study days at the School’s Postgraduate Centre at Prince Charles Hospital, Merthyr Tydfil. The first programme will take place on a pilot basis, pending full accreditation by the GDC. The School then hopes to expand the course to other centres across Wales, making it available to greater numbers of nurses.

The programme of study is available to unqualified or unregistered candidates across the UK who wish to pursue a career in dental nursing and to registered dental nurses wishing to gain an academic qualification. The minimum entry requirements are five GCSEs at grade C or above, including English or Welsh language, Maths, Science or Biology, and one AS level in a science subject. Alternatively, students should have an appropriate vocational experience or an Access to Higher Education qualification in Science or Healthcare Studies. They should be working in a dental practice for at least two days a week.

Demand is already high for places on the first year of the course. An Open Day giving more details, a chance to meet staff and tour the facilities, takes place at the Prince Charles Hospital on April 15. For further information about the Open Day, the course, and how to apply, see .


Notes to Editors:

Cardiff University

Cardiff University is recognised in independent government assessments as one of Britain’s leading teaching and research universities. It is also ranked as one of the world’s top 100 universities by the Times Higher Education (THE). 2008 marks the 125th anniversary of Cardiff University having been founded by Royal Charter in 1883. Today the University combines impressive modern facilities and a dynamic approach to teaching and research. The University’s breadth of expertise in research and research-led teaching encompasses: the humanities; the natural, physical, health, life and social sciences; engineering and technology; preparation for a wide range of professions; and a longstanding commitment to lifelong learning.

Cardiff is a member of the Russell Group of the UK’s leading research universities. Visit the University website at:

Further Information:

For more information, please contact:

Stephen Rouse,

Public Relations Office,

Cardiff University.

029 2087 5596