In 2014, I had recently started a partnership and opened a private practice, was newly engaged and had recently moved to Perth, Western Australia. Although I had a bit on my plate, I also knew I was interested in improving my clinical practice and wondered what continuing education opportunities were available.
I had first heard about the RACDS when I was completing my dental studies at the University of Melbourne, so the College was somewhat on my radar. I heard about colleagues preparing for the “Primaries” and decided to find out more about the pathway, but was not sure if it was for me. At that point in my life, I was not sure if future specialisation was on the cards, and I was looking for something I could complete with less travel to suit my lifestyle as a new practice owner. I also wanted it to be very clinically relevant. Fortuitously, I came across the MRACDS (GDP) program, and it was a perfect fit! It was a part time program to be completed over 2 or 3 years, and I would be able to complete most of it within WA. I liked the idea of preparing case reports from the patients I was already seeing in clinic, and the modules of the short answer questions were directly relevant to my day to day practice. I was sold! But accessibility aside, perhaps the biggest reason why I loved the MRACDS program was the mentorship offered within the program, and I can not recommend it highly enough for this reason.
Dr Elizabeth “Libby” Day was my assigned mentor. She was the first person to complete the MRACDS(GDP) in WA, and is an absolute treasure trove of knowledge, expertise and support. Together with her partner Dr Albert Tan, periodontist, and my fellow MRACDS (GDP) candidate Dr Michael Nguyen, under their guidance, I felt I blossomed into a more confident clinician over the course of the program. Albert and Libby are incredible mentors, and I think it is a testament to their support and that Michael went on to win the Kenneth J Sutherland prize that year for most outstanding candidate.
Even more than the support with clinical practice – as I was a new transplant to Perth – Albert and Libby took me under their wing and introduced me to the Perth dental community. I will always be grateful for their kindness and generosity. Fast forward 5 years later, and I am an oral medicine specialist. I mention this as I was accepted into the training program with my MRACDS (GDP), which is something I get asked about fairly frequently.
I am very happy to report that Albert, Libby, Michael and I are good friends to this day. I am an avid proponent for collegiality within the RACDS for this reason, as I know firsthand how powerful it can be. Albert, Libby and myself are mentors for the MRACDS (GDP) program, and organize group sessions for our mentees in WA. I hope to pass on some of the support that I was lucky enough to (and still) receive.
Dr Amanda Phoon Nguyen
BDSc(UniMelb), MRACDS(GDP), DClinDent(Oral Med)(UWA), MRACDS(OralMed), Cert ADL, FOMAA, FPFA