Academic excellence is not the only criteria for a successful application. It is important for you to demonstrate your motivation towards a career in medicine and show evidence that you will be able to acquire the values of the NHS (including: working together for patients, respect and dignity, compassion, commitment to quality of care, resilience). You will begin to acquire these values, in part, through people-focused work experience or volunteering.
It is essential that you develop an understanding of working in a healthcare environment and have commitment and passion towards studying and practising dentistry. The types of experience that we advise you to undertake include voluntary work in a nursing home, care home, hospice or hospital volunteer. We cannot advise on the amount of experience that is needed to develop your knowledge of healthcare practice. At interview, though, we will expect a sophisticated level of understanding of how personal qualities relate to the provision of effective care and support. This must be evidenced, in part, through your own experiences.
Shadowing of dentists is essential and we recommend a minimum of 3 days in an NHS or mixed NHS and private practice. This is to ensure you have a reasonable idea of the job you will be training to do. Fully private practice experience or hospital experience is valuable as an addition to NHS practice experience, but is not a substitute.
We recognise that extracurricular activity in areas outside of healthcare can supplement the development of the broader qualities required of a potential dentist. These aspects (e.g. an ability to make rational decisions and to communicate these with compassion) will also be relevant to successful performance at interview.
In summary, all of these non-academic aspects are important for preparation to study medicine and many will be considered at interview. The personal statement will be used to select for interview, alongside the criteria outlined above.
If invited for interview, candidates may be asked to provide details of their work experience placements.