Health facilities at Teesside University
Check out Teesside University’s facilities for the School of Health and Life Sciences.
The role of a dental nurse includes:
- providing reassurance and support to patients
- preparing and maintaining the clinical environment
- providing a high standard of cross-infection control
- assisting with taking and processing dental radiographs
- preparing instruments, materials, medicaments and equipment
- recording assessments spoken by the dental team
- assisting the dental team throughout all aspects of dentistry.
As with all healthcare professionals the public place a high level of expectation and trust in their dental nurse. So to work in this sector it is essential that you are able to demonstrate the core values embedded within the NHS Constitutional:
- working together for patients
- respect and dignity
- commitment to quality of care
- improving lives
- everyone counts.
Throughout the course, as part of the placement experience, you may be required to participate in a shift pattern rota or work weekends.
Supporting information for applicants
You undertake a modular course, designed to run over one academic year. You study five modules, four of which are shared modules with student dental hygiene-therapists. These modules introduce you to dentistry and provide you with the theory which underpins the clinical aspect of the course. Research methods and study skills are introduced in the first few weeks; this provides a sound basis to ensure maintenance of continuing professional development. The fifth module is exclusive to this course for you to learn and develop practical skills specific to your profession. Throughout the course you focus on the preventive and restorative dentistry learning to support patients and dentists/dental care professionals throughout a range of common dental procedures. Effective communication and oral health promotion are fundamental to the role of a dental nurse.
Year 1 core modules
You examine the role of evidence-based practice and sources of evidence: primary and secondary research, guidelines, audits and evaluations to support clinical decision making. You develop skills in formulating focused questions, developing effective search strategies and literature retrieval.
You focus on the practical aspects of dental nursing, providing chair-side assistance to support all members of the dental team. You develop knowledge of instruments: selecting and preparing a wide range of dental equipment relevant to clinical dental procedures. You grade X-rays to promote quality assurance throughout your clinical practice.
You are introduced to your new clinical role in the ‘Phantom Heads Skills Laboratory’ prior to developing these skills within the clinical dental environment.
The development of learning skills continues throughout the course, as you are required to find and analyse information.
You explore dental, oral craniofacial anatomy in relation to patient management and their relevance to oral health and oral disease along with its prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. You acquire an understanding of how these oral manifestations appear within the oral cavity, their aetiology along with preventative strategies and treatment.
For dental anatomy you examine the structure and morphology of both the deciduous and permanent dentition allowing you to recognise, identify and describe individual teeth, discuss their functions, and list their eruption dates. You are introduced to dental radiology and are enabled to identify the radiological features of oral conditions on various dental radiographs.
This multidisciplinary module introduces basic processes principles and concepts of human physiology required by a range of health professionals, including healing and repair processes.
You develop an understanding of your role in the delivery of contemporary health and social care within the context of interprofessional practice and behaviour, preparing you for the demands of practice and ensuring you are sufficiently informed and equipped to practice safely. The module will also introduce you to the concepts of continuous professional development and lifelong learning and the tools to demonstrate this through the use of the e-portfolio. This will prepare you to produce evidence of professional development to maintain your professional registration with the Health and Care Professionals Council or General Dental Council.
Modules offered may vary.
How you learn
You spend 50% of the course gaining clinical skills, initially in the phantom head skills laboratory. After an intense induction and successfully passing a clinical assessment, you will acquire your clinical skills within a dental practice placement. There is a diverse range of learning and teaching methods used during the course which includes lectures, seminars, e-learning, case studies and assignments. You are supported and given constructive feedback by personal tutors to ensure your learning experience is enjoyable.
How you are assessed
Assessments vary and reflect the learning outcomes of the different modules. Emphasis is placed on practical skills and you are assessed through methods including oral and practical examinations and written assignments.
Our Disability Services team provide an inclusive and empowering learning environment and have specialist staff to support disabled students access any additional tailored resources needed. If you have a specific learning difficulty, mental health condition, autism, sensory impairment, chronic health condition or any other disability please contact a Disability Services as early as possible.
Find out more about our disability services
You are expected to have:
- recent Level 3 Academic Study
- a minimum of four GCSEs at grade 4 (C) or above including English language, maths and science. Key Skills/Functional Skills Level 2 in Communication and Application of Number can be accepted in place of English and Maths GCSE. Please note these are not required if you are doing an Access course – however, you must have English and maths as listed below.*
Plus any of the following qualifications:
GCE and VCE Advanced Level
32-48 points from one A level in a science-based subject, or equivalent T levels. AS levels are not acceptable.
BTEC QCF Extended Diploma
48 points (PPP) in a science, health or dental subject.
CACHE Level 3 Extended Diploma in Health & Social Care
72 points (d) in health and social care.
A pass in a science, health or dental subject.
Irish Leaving Certificate
32-48 points from two or three Highers/Honours subjects.
Level 3 in a science or health and social care qualification.
K101 – An Introduction to Health and Social Care or SK277 Biology.
42 points from two Highers.
Advanced Scottish Highers
40 points from one Advanced Higher.
The selection process includes shortlisting of your application, following which, if successful you will be invited for an interview.
Your application will be measured against the following criteria:
- your ability to complete all sections of the application form fully and correctly
- the level of all your qualifications and grades are specified
- appropriate academic entry requirements achieved or predicted
- personal statement that supports your chosen course and demonstrates an understanding of the uniqueness of the profession and the role of the professional
- motivation for completing the course is evident
- satisfactory references.
If you are invited to interview and the date is not suitable, we may not be able to offer you an alternative date due to the high volume of applications received for this course - but it is important that you contact the Admissions Office immediately.
- knowledge of chosen profession/career
- an appreciation of the demands of the course and chosen profession
- enthusiasm for the course/profession
- ability to communicate effectively, both verbally and non-verbally
- potential to become a professional.
If you are successful in both shortlisting and interview you will receive an offer which is subject to the following:
- evidence of achievement of the required academic qualifications
- a successful work based risk assessment which will reflect the HEOPS recommendations - please read these here. For more information on all of the HEOPS standards click here
- an enhanced criminal history (DBS) check may be required for certain modules or placements which involve working with children and/or adults at risk. The DBS check is funded by the School of Health & Life Sciences so you do not need to pay for this process.
- satisfactory references.
Please note until 1 to 4 have been successfully completed the offer of a place on the course remains conditional.
- International applicants must have IELTS 7.0 with a minimal score of 6.5 in all sections before an unconditional offer is made
- If you are successful at shortlisting, you will be invited to attend an interview (which may be in person OR Skype) in one of our international offices in either India, Malaysia or China, or through a secure web link (which will be arranged by the University).
- If you cannot attend an interview as stated, you will be unable to proceed with your application.
For general information please see our overview of entry requirements
You can gain considerable knowledge from work, volunteering and life. Under recognition of prior learning (RPL) you may be awarded credit for this which can be credited towards the course you want to study.
Find out more about RPL
Opportunities are available for employment within NHS and private dental practices, hospitals and in the community. Once qualified you can work in the UK and overseas as a dental nurse. Successful completion gives you the opportunity to further your career if you wish and progress to study the BSc (Hons) Dental Hygiene and Dental Therapy and various other career opportunities.