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What is the Role of Senior House Officer or Dental Foundation Year Two Posts in Professional Careers? Exploring the Motivations for, and Perceived Benefits of, Undertaking SHO Posts in Two London Hospitals

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Aims: To investigate the motivations for, and perceived benefits of, undertaking senior house officer (SHO) posts, and to explore the career pathways of those who do, examining trends in successive cohorts.

Method: Postal cross-sectional questionnaire survey of all dental and maxillofacial SHOs (DF2s) who had worked for two South London hospitals within the previous nine years (n=137). Respondents were grouped into three cohorts to enable responses to be examined in relation to respondents' entry to their first SHO post.

Results: There were responses from 83 (61%) potential participants. The most frequent motivation for carrying out SHO posts from 79 (95%) of the respondents was the desire to 'learn from experienced clinicians'. The most common perceived benefit reported by those who had completed posts at the time of the survey was 'an improved understanding of the role of the hospital dental service' from 68 (97%) of those who answered this question. Difficulty in securing a job in general dental practice was not reported as a notable motivating factor, either before or after the implementation of the new dental contract. 'Fulfil approved training post requirements for postgraduate examinations' reduced as a motivator from 28 (88%) for the earlier cohort of SHOs to nine (36%) for the more recent cohort. Fifty-four of 78 (69%) respondents declared a definite plan to seek admission to the General Dental Council Specialist Lists in future, 24 (83%) in the first cohort, compared with 11 (46%) in the last (P=0.05). Of the males, 13 (52%) were significantly more likely to report that they were currently working in general practice compared with 15 (27%) females (P=0.028).

Conclusion: The findings suggest that multiple benefits are identified from undertaking SHO posts. However, some of the motivations for undertaking SHO posts may have changed over the nine-year period investigated. Possible influences are discussed. This paper highlights the perceived benefits of junior training posts at a time of significant transition within the profession.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Head of Oral Health Services Research & Dental Public Health, Senior Lecturer and Consultant in Dental Public Health, King's College London Dental Institute, London, UK 2: Specialist Registrar and Honorary Lecturer in Oral Pathology Newcastle Dental Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK; Department of Restorative Dentistry, Guy's and St Thomas' Hospital NHS Trust 3: Specialist Registrar in Restorative Dentistry, Eastman Dental Hospital, London, UK; Department of Restorative Dentistry, Guy's and St Thomas' Hospital NHS Trust 4: Specialist Registrar in Oral Surgery, Guy's and St Thomas' Hospital NHS Trust, London, UK 5: General Dental Practitioner, Surbiton, Surrey, UK; Department of Restorative Dentistry, Guy's and St Thomas' Hospital NHS Trust 6: Professor of Psychology as Applied to Dentistry and Honorary Consultant Health Psychologist, King's College London Dental Institute, London, UK

Publication date: July 1, 2010

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  • Primary Dental Care is the research journal of the Faculty of General Dental Practice (UK), and the only peer-reviewed journal dedicated wholly to research in primary care dentistry. The aim of the journal is to promote academic and research aspects of primary dental care by publishing relevant peer-reviewed papers. In addition, reviews, reports of clinical cases, book reviews, opinions, summaries and abstracts of scientific meetings and news items are included.
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