Sarah McKernon
BAOS Oral Surgery  Trainees Rep

As trainee representative on the SAC I have been fortunate to be a part of the working group for National Recruitment for Oral Surgery. I thought I’d use my blog to update everyone on the process that has commenced this year for our specialty.

National Recruitment was first introduced to postgraduate dental training in 2011 for Dental Foundation Training (DFT) posts, formerly known as vocational training (VT). Then in 2012, Orthodontics was the first speciality to pilot the scheme for the recruitment of Specialty Registrars (StRs). The process was deemed to be successful, with both applicants and interviewers reporting positively on the experience. Subsequently, a similar recruitment process was rolled out with equal success for both Paediatric Dentistry and Restorative Dentistry.

In line with COPDEND’s plan to enrol all specialities in the process, the Oral Surgery SAC agreed in 2015 that National Recruitment to our specialty would begin in 2017. A working group was established in 2016, led by James Spencer, Lead Dean for Oral Surgery. The group’s mission was to formulate and co-ordinate the multi-station interview (MSI), and in doing so, ensure the process was suitable for recruitment to a career in Oral Surgery. Self-assessment of applicants was also introduced to aid short-listing.

Following many meetings and much constructive debate amongst the working group, the Oral Surgery National Recruitment process commenced as planned on 1st March 2017, with online applications opening on the Yorkshire and Humber HEE website. The online application platform remained open for three weeks. There were seven training positions available nationally on this occasion.

Formal interviews were conducted on 18th May 2017 at Elland Road Football Stadium. It was planned that approximately 3 applicants per available post were interviewed. MSIs were designed to assess applicants’ personal development portfolios, skills in communication and management. The process culminated with an OSCE style assessment.

Following a long day for all, feedback on the process was gathered from both applicants and interviewers. Overall, applicants were pleased with the fairness of the process, although many felt that the critical appraisal assessment was demanding. This feedback will be invaluable in helping to mould and develop the process for the future. It is a new process and as expected, may have the odd crease to iron out. The plan henceforth is for National Recruitment to Oral Surgery to continue annually.

As a trainee, I believe the process is fair and robust. It allows candidates to shine and to demonstrate a wide range of skills and competencies. Behind the scenes, I have seen the incredible work completed by the working group (Tara Renton, Colette Balmer, Pippa Blacklock, Julian Yates and Christine Goodall), and the focus to develop and secure our future as a profession.

Sarah McKernon : BAOS Oral Surgery Trainees Rep