The professional approach: Why CPD is such a vital part of dentistry

15 April 2019

In the current age where research, upskilling and re-training have emerged as vital aspects of modern dentistry, a decisive approach to gaining higher standards of knowledge has seen a focus placed on continuing professional development.

Australian dentists are required to complete a minimum of 60 hours of CPD within a three-year cycle, with 80 per cent of those hours required to be clinically or scientifically based. The current cycle, which commenced in 2016, will conclude this November. 

Dr Patrick Meaney, the ADA’s Chair of the Dental Education and Training Committee, says no matter what stage a dentist’s career is at, embracing CPD in these times is crucial. 

“Research, reflection and development doesn’t stop, and neither should our members,” Dr Meaney says. “If university is a distant memory, then you owe it to yourself and your patients to stay abreast of improvements in equipment, materials and techniques.”

CPD: An Obligation and an Opportunity
With the November completion of the cycle deadline looming, finalising CPD hours has taken on new importance. 

The ADA website has a dedicated section, the CPD Portal (free for all ADA members) devoted entirely to CPD, offering a range of courses, resources and information, as well as a logbook for members to record their CPD hours. 

The upcoming 38th Australian Dental Congress, to be held in Adelaide from 1 to 4 May, offers an extensive range of CPD units will be offered, with the potential to accrue up to 29 hours of CPD hours across the four-day event. (Register now for the Australian Dental Congress)

Specialist prosthodontist Dr Alan Broughton is the Chairman of the Scientific Program Division and he believes CPD commitments should be viewed by dental practitioners as both an obligation as well as opportunity for new learning. 

“It’s an opportunity for practitioners to ensure our patients receive a level of professional service that is aligned to contemporary thinking and practice protocols,” he says. “On an individual level, the practitioner – through CPD – is afforded a further opportunity to consolidate their existing knowledge and extend their areas of competence practise.”

Congress is perfect timing for dental practitioners who want to fast-track their required CPD hours. Accredited CPD will be available through the main scientific program in the Lunch and Learn sessions and workshops. The 29 hours of CPD on offer throughout the Congress are an attractive option for those looking to add to their total hours of necessary CPD for the current cycle. Delegates on a tighter time budget will still be able to accrue 18.5 hours of CPD simply by attending the main sessions. 

CPD hours accrued at the Congress will be automatically tracked by the CPD App across to the member’s ADA CPD Log, allowing in real time easy monitoring of the accreditation of their CPD hours. Hours can also be manually added in with face-to-face events organised by local ADA branches.

The Key Topics
Dr Karin Alexander is the Chairman of the Organising Committee for May’s Australian Dental Congress. She says laying out a plan for which CPD which will be of most benefit is an approach that will pay off later in the year.

“This prevents a mad dash towards the end of the cycle when CPD may just be done for the sake of the hours and not the real need,” she says. “Another challenge is being able to choose CPD from reputable sources, with as little bias as possible and the not just advertorial CPD. This is where the ADA and its affiliated bodies make this choice easy for all of us to follow.”

She adds that keeping thorough records of what has already been completed is vital. “One of the easiest ways to do this is to use the CPD logbook on the ADA website to make sure you have sufficient hours and a range of varying topics and learning modalities,” she says. “Also keep an additional file of any documents you have to substantiate the logbook.”

The Experts Have Their Say
“We have six keynote speakers at the Congress and a dozen sponsored speakers, along with a diverse range of topics in the scientific program, so it’s a world class line up,” Mr Oscar van Elten, the ADA’s General Manager of Events and Sales, says. The international speakers include Drs Sascha Jovanovic and Aldo Leopardi from the USA, Canada’s Professor Gilles Lavigne and the UK’s Dr Finlay Sutton. Among the local speakers are Professors Camille Farah and Michael McCullough and Drs Aniko Ball and Elizabeth Milford.

Dr Karin Alexander says the teaching sessions in the program will be of benefit to dentists of all ages and stages of their careers. “The scientific program has been planned to provide a veritable smorgasbord of topics, so members can choose what suits their individual interest. It also allows us to hear the international and local speakers, many of whom we may not generally have easy access to,” she says.

Concludes Dr Patrick Meaney, “The Congress features many hours of high-quality, curated and exciting material, and that’s precisely what the DBA wants dental professionals to absorb,” he says. “As an added bonus, there’s the great food of Adelaide, as well as the chance to catch up with colleagues and possibly meet some new ones.”

Register now for the Australian Dental Congress

You can read the full article at News Bulletin Online (April issue)