Esra joined SmileWisdom as an overseas dentist, having qualified in 2013 in Sudan and practiced in both Sudan and Saudi Arabia in a hospital setting. Fast forward to September 2021 and Esra decided to move to the UK with her young daughter to take steps towards a career in dentistry over here.
At SmileWisdom we train many overseas dentists to become dental nurses in the UK. Taking the NEBDN diploma in dental nursing has many benefits including allowing overseas dentists to work in a dental practice (as a dental nurse) to experience UK dentistry while establishing themselves as registered dental care professionals before taking the mandatory Overseas Registration Exam (ORE). Overseas dentists are required to sit the ORE to be able to register with the General Dental Council (GDC) and practice as a dentist in the UK.
Having spoken with SmileWisdom co-founder, Mike, while still in Sudan, Esra decided to take the dental nurse training diploma. She recalls, “Mike explained everything and made me feel comfortable with doing the course, he supported me so much. I also had a good experience with my tutors Perminder and Emma and have so much more confidence as a result of taking the diploma.”
Working part-time as a dental nurse during her training enabled Esra to gain invaluable knowledge and experience by working with different dentists and being able to discuss cases with them. She recalls, “In the beginning I thought, ‘OK, it’s a mandatory step, I have to do it’, but it in the end it added so much to my career and knowledge.”
Initially interested in the management side of dentistry, Esra started a 2-year Masters at Oxford Brookes University, while undergoing dental nurse training. The first year saw her complete a Pre-Masters in English and study skills, with the second year focusing on management in health and social care. Esra completed the first year in May 2022 but working as a dental nurse soon realised management wasn’t for her and made the decision not to continue with her second year at Oxford Brookes.
Since qualifying as a dental nurse in January 2023, Esra has submitted her assessment application to the GDC. Not as a dentist but to become a hygienist, a registration that will take around 6 months to obtain. Being qualified as an overseas dentist meant Esra had a fast-track option to becoming a dental hygienist and is grateful for the extra skills the dental nurse training gave her. She says, “I learnt so much from taking the dental nurse course – professionalism, legal and ethical issues in the UK, health & safety regulations over here as well as communication skills. It allowed me to apply with confidence that the GDC will give me a hygienist registration.”
Not done with studying just yet, Esra is currently enrolled in a Level 3 Award in Education and Teaching at Russbridge Academy, with the aim of exploring a career as a dental nurse tutor while also working as a dental hygienist. “I always wanted to explore another career,” she says, “When I discovered management wasn’t for me teaching seemed a more natural progression as I enjoy inspiring and motivating other people.”
Ersa is currently volunteering 2 days per month in a dental practice as she focuses for a few months on studying and looking after her 4-year-old daughter until she starts school in September. Watch this space, you might just see Esra on our tutor team in the future!
If you’re an overseas qualified dentist and thinking of relocating to the UK, why not get in touch with our friendly team to see how we might be able to help you on your career journey. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org