Updating dental nursing skills

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Aura Infection Control partners with the Society of British Dental Nurses to deliver training tailored exclusively towards the dental nursing profession.

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the future landscape of British dentistry. Every aspect of the profession has been reassessed during the past 19 months and the way we do things has changed, in some cases forever. None more so than in the areas of decontamination and infection control.

During the early days of the pandemic, dentistry – with its preponderance of aerosol-generating procedures – faced a unique set of challenges. The sector was forced to reconsider infection control processes, adding extra layers of precautionary safety procedures, and working within government guidelines on face-to-face contact and use of personal protective equipment (PPE).

Dental nurses often found themselves taking the lead in this area.

Dentistry has coped well with the constantly shifting sands caused by an invisible enemy. It has mutated several times to become more transmissible and dangerous. But with the winter approaching and a high level of daily infections, thoughts are turning once more to the best infection control processes.

That’s why the Society of British Dental Nurses (SBDN) has partnered with Aura Infection Control, a UK specialist in dental decontamination. They will deliver training tailored exclusively towards the dental nursing profession.

Experts in the field, Aura had already developed the innovative ILM Leadership and Management in Dental Decontamination qualification. Working in partnership with the SBDN, Aura has come up with a new two-day course. It is specifically geared towards dental nurses and those who want to become decontamination leads.

There is a free webinar for those who want a taster and a skills update.

Widespread acclaim

Aura’s courses have won widespread acclaim for their quality and teaching methods. They allow delegates to garner practical experience of working with the latest equipment and using best practice methodology.

Natasha Donnelly is practice manager at Moira Cosmetic Dental, a private practice in Northern Ireland. Before that, she was a dental nurse and says the pandemic prompted her to join the Aura course.

‘I looked into it in 2020. The decontamination lead at the time was on maternity leave and it was also likely she wasn’t coming back.

‘I was keen to take back the role but realised I didn’t remember/know as much as I thought. I emailed my interest a week before lockdown.

‘With getting back to practice it got put on the back burner until I watched a webinar through Dentistry.co.uk and submitted my interest again.

‘I loved the course. It made everything about decontamination simple and explainable, not only for me but for my team when I took it back to practice. It really gave me the skills to implement new systems and rework the ones we had.’

That also includes a better manual cleaning regime. ‘Our testing is much more rigorous and so is our training of team members,’ says Natasha.

Aura’s managing director, Laura Edgar, is proud to have partnered with the SBDN. She says: ‘We believe we have created the UK’s best infection control and prevention course tailored specifically to dental nurses.

‘I am a firm believer in learning through practical experience. Our delegates get to try using the very latest water treatment devices, sterilisers and reprocessing devices first.

‘That said, the course is manufacturer agnostic. It doesn’t matter if your practice doesn’t have the same equipment. Delegates can apply the processes and procedures anywhere.’

Fiona Ellwood, president and executive director of the SBDN, says: ‘The society is committed to carving out an enhanced educational pathway for career progression in our profession.

‘We believe this course will help teach improved infection control and prevention. As well as accelerating knowledge transfer and contributing to better patient care.’

Guiding principles

Expectations and responsibilities for dental nurses have soared since registration with the General Dental Council (GDC) became mandatory in 2008. Upon registration, dental nurses must adhere to the principles set out in Standards for the Dental Team. 

The nine principles – put patients’ interests first; communicate effectively; obtain valid consent; protect patients’ information; operate an effective complaints procedure; always work in patients’ best interests; be prepared to raise concerns; behave in a professional manner to maintain patient confidence and maintain, develop and work within your professional knowledge and skills – are the bedrock for the dental nursing profession.

Continuing professional development therefore ensures dental nurses keep their knowledge and skills up to date. It helps contribute to better patient care as well as maintaining the very highest standards. 

The GDC expects dental nurses to complete a minimum of 50 hours CPD over a five-year cycle. Delegates who complete the course receive a qualification from the Institute of Leadership and Management, which also counts towards verifiable CPD.


The skills update webinar, hosted by Aura Infection Control and the SBDN, takes place on Wednesday 26 January at 6pm. Register at www.aiconline.co.uk/sbdn.

Contact Aura Infection Control on 01833 630393 or visit www.aiconline.co.uk.