Pacific Smiles Group (PSG) is one of Australia’s fastest growing corporate dentist service organisations. With over 120 dental centres Australia-wide they also offer dental graduate placements in a comprehensive, supportive graduate program to support their transition from student to dentist.
Within PSG centres, there are over 800 dentists running their own practices and servicing their local communities. Because PSG has the capacity to support a large number of dentists, they are also able to run an excellent transition program for newly registered dental graduates.
Recently we had the opportunity to speak with Tejas Vather, a practicing dentist at PSG, who has had firsthand experience of the graduate program. Tejas has been both a mentee and mentor and now provides the same support and expertise he found so beneficial at the start of his own clinical practice.
“When I graduated in 2016, PSG had just introduced the new graduate program and in that time, it’s gone from strength to strength. What’s great about PSG is coming into a practice which is already set up, with multiple dentists around and being paired up with a mentor to basically have someone look over your shoulder and give support if it’s needed.” He added, “If I had any concerns or difficult extractions, there was always someone to help out, to walk me through complex cases which I might have been a bit unsure about.” Tejas said that now, as a mentor in the program, he is often reminded by new graduates how the transition from university to practice can feel overwhelming at the start of a clinical career.
Tejas encapsulated the benefits of working in PSG, saying one of the standout features is the ability to retain clinical autonomy whilst practicing in a supportive environment. “This means that dentists are able to run their own practice within PSG facilities and not have to worry about set up costs, staffing, marketing and the day-to-day stress of running a dental practice.” This is also beneficial because, “It means you can just focus on the dentistry and perfecting your skills, have clinical freedom to make your own choices without getting caught up in managing staff and all the other management issues you’d need to do in an independent practice. As a new graduate it’s no headache with chasing payments, the finances and accounting, staff calling in sick, stock not coming in. PSG manages the running of the practice and all you need to concentrate on is the dentistry and learn how to get on your feet.”
Tejas spoke about the number of patients PSG supports and the opportunity for new graduates to be exposed to many patients, often with complex oral health needs. Tejas said, “In a lot of private dental clinics there just isn’t the same chance of seeing as many patients and you may not have as much opportunity to build skills in the same period of time. When you graduate, you’ll come into challenges with difficult diagnoses, treatment planning, root canals and complex cases which you won’t have seen in university. To have the support of a number of dentists around you is invaluable.”
Tejas gave his own example of when working in private dental practices, he was seeing around less patients each day than he does at PSG where it’s not unusual to see between 15 – 20 patients now that he is more experienced. “The more patients you see the more experience you get, there’s a much better patient flow experience with oral surgery, implants, doing multiple complex cases, the exposure to numbers which really makes a difference when you’re learning.”
According to Tejas, “Someone who is willing to share knowledge and can explain things in a simple and easy to understand manner. Someone who will let the new grads make mistakes and prevent it from happening again, the way I see things is for them to try things and make mistakes, not at the expense of the patient of course, but just to give some space to try things out.”
Tejas says “There’s a collegial environment with different dentists having a range of different expertise. PSG is accredited and the infection control standards are all high quality, so there’s nothing for a new graduate to worry about. You get to work with a whole network of new dentists and get to know the industry, there’s a continual sharing of information with each other.”
Tejas also spoke about the Continuous Professional Development Program (CPD) at PSG, saying “It’s really thorough and there’s no need to go outside the organisation – the education is all offered here and it’s continually improving.”
Tejas replied “The majority of patients appreciate that with a new graduate the appointments are slightly longer, because of this, they feel their dentist is thorough. Patients appreciate things may be checked which previously have never been checked and there’s more opportunity for building a rapport as the appointments are not rushed and they’re really listened to which patients appreciate.”
There are also the benefits of effectively being seen by two dentists if the new graduate is being mentored. Tejas said that if necessary “We can refer to someone for specific treatment within our own practice and that’s another opportunity to observe, learn and discuss cases.”
After almost six years, Tejas says “ I started off in a private clinic and my intention was to figure out which was better.” Now fulltime at PSG and mentoring new graduates, Tejas reflects “The patient flow is really good, the income is the same if not better at PSG, the environment is better and we have good managers of the Centres. Being a part of PSG and the Graduate Program takes a lot of the stress away and allows us to focus on what we’re trained to do, that’s quality dentistry.”
If you are interested in learning more about the graduate dentist program placements available at Pacific Smiles Group, please get in touch or learn more here.
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