Understanding and evaluating early career professionals' experiences and perceptions of the GDC

The General Dental Council (GDC) is the statutory regulator of dental professionals in the UK. The GDC is keen to understand and explore the experiences and perceptions of and attitudes towards the GDC of early career dental professionals – namely those who have been registered to practice dentistry in the UK for five years or less.

In late 2022, SQW was commissioned by the GDC to explore this. The findings will help to inform the GDC’s ongoing and future activity with (and for) early career professionals, to help meet its regulatory objectives.

The study involves a detailed scoping phase, an online survey of (and interviews with) early career dental professionals, and interviews with key stakeholders both internal and external to the GDC. SQW will also be drawing on relevant insights from other studies published by the GDC and other healthcare regulators in the UK.

The objectives of the study are to:

  • Understand levels of knowledge about and awareness of the GDC among early career professionals, where and how these are formed (including during training) and the impact on perceptions of and attitudes towards the GDC.
  • Understand how professional identity is formed on the journey from training through to the first 5 years on the register, including a dental professional’s identity as a member of a regulated profession and how this impacts their practice.
  • Explore the impact of COVID 19 on the experiences of those who were in education and/or training during 2020 and 2021, and any implications for education, training and the transition to practice.
  • Evaluate and inform GDC activity to build positive, trusting relationships with early career dental professionals to meet the GDC’s statutory objectives.
  • Inform ongoing and future work of the GDC with students and early career professionals, including implementing the GDCs’ ED&I strategy and approaches to evaluation.

The study is running from January to October 2023, and it is expected that the research report will be published on completion. For more information about the study, please contact SQW’s Lauren Roberts, via lroberts@sqw.co.uk

For information about the GDC, please see its website: www.gdc-uk.org​​​​