What advice would you offer young dentists today?
Make use of your spare time. When you cross that imaginary line called graduation, the idea of going to work, treating patients, coming home and putting your feet up, is very tempting. But using your spare time in completing the Primary Examination or the Final Examination will open doors and improve your experience of being a dentist. I meet so many dentists who tell me about the daily grind and that their career has stagnated. Meeting other dentists and putting effort into something which will make your ‘daily grind’ more interesting is definitely worthwhile.
Successfully completely the Primary Examination is a great asset to have on your CV when applying for specialist training. There is a lot of personal satisfaction in knowing that your understanding of anatomy, cell biology & biochemistry, physiology, histology, microbiology and pathology is of the highest standard required for general dentistry. Confidence in clinical dentistry comes with this increased knowledge, which in turn makes work more enjoyable!
Attaining Fellowship plays an important role in how colleagues perceive you. The fact that someone has gained Fellowship means that they have given up their time outside work to improve themselves. This has a positive influence on your career.
Tell us about your RACDS experience?
When I sat the Primary Examination, I lived in NZ and when I sat the Final Examination I lived in the UK. I decided to do the Primary Examination after the first few months of work. It gave me focus for the year and passing really set the tone for the rest of my career. It made me realise that going back to the basic sciences and learning what the science was behind what we did every day, was so valuable. In undergraduate training, we really are just bombarded with information and clinical work. Gaining a pass is all we really aim for, due to the sheer volume of work. But when we sit the Primary Examination, we already have a good base of knowledge, so we essentially add to our already satisfactory knowledge base.
Completing the Primary Examination was a major achievement for me, I was a young new graduate dentist and the transition from dental student to private practitioner was a challenging transformation. Most new graduates will find this.
Being a member of the RACDS opens a lot of doors. It makes you part of a special group of clinicians, who have dedicated their out of surgery time to trying to improve their clinical decision-making. This in turn enables them to offer their patients the best evidence-based treatment.
Now, as an examiner in the RACDS General Dental Practice stream, it’s been great to meet like-minded clinicians, who prioritise the education of their colleagues as part of their dental career. I’m continually learning from the examiners whose commitment I find very inspirational.
Dr Omar Ikram
BDS (Otago), FRACDS, MClinDent (London), MRD (Edinburgh), FICD
Specialist in Endodontics
Federal Councillor for NSW
Australian Society of Endodontology