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1.  Insights into the oral health beliefs and practices of mothers from a north London Orthodox Jewish community 
BMC Oral Health  2010;10:14.
Background
The objective of this study was to explore oral health knowledge and beliefs and access to dental care in a culturally distinct Orthodox Jewish community in North London, with a view to informing local health policy.
Methods
A dual method qualitative approach to data collection was adopted in this study utilising semi-structured face to face interviews and focus groups with women from this North London orthodox Jewish community. In total nine interviews and four focus groups were conducted with a purposive sample of thirty three mothers from the community aged 21-58 years. The data were transcribed and analysed using Framework Methodology
Results
Cultural influences, competing pressures and perceptions of hereditary influences, together with a lack of contemporary oral health knowledge are the main factors affecting oral health knowledge and beliefs. This supported an overall perspective of disempowerment or a perceived lack of control over oral health behaviours, both for mothers and their children. Community signposting pointed mothers to dental services, whilst family pressures together with inadequate capacity and capability and generic barriers such as fear and cost acted as barriers. Mothers from this community welcomed community development initiatives from the NHS.
Conclusions
The results of this study provide insight into the challenges of a culturally isolated community who would welcome community support through schools and expanded culturally appropriate opening hours to improve access to dental care.
doi:10.1186/1472-6831-10-14
PMCID: PMC2894741  PMID: 20529247
2.  Minimising barriers to dental care in older people 
BMC Oral Health  2008;8:7.
Background
Older people are increasingly retaining their natural teeth but at higher risk of oral disease with resultant impact on their quality of life. Socially deprived people are more at risk of oral disease and yet less likely to take up care. Health organisations in England and Wales are exploring new ways to commission and provide dental care services in general and for vulnerable groups in particular. This study was undertaken to investigate barriers to dental care perceived by older people in socially deprived inner city area where uptake of care was low and identify methods for minimising barriers in older people in support of oral health.
Methods
A qualitative dual-methodological approach, utilising both focus groups and individual interviews, was used in this research. Participants, older people and carers of older people, were recruited using purposive sampling through day centres and community groups in the inner city boroughs of Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham in South London. A topic guide was utilised to guide qualitative data collection. Informants' views were recorded on tape and in field notes. The data were transcribed and analysed using Framework Methodology.
Results
Thirty-nine older people and/or their carers participated in focus groups. Active barriers to dental care in older people fell into five main categories: cost, fear, availability, accessibility and characteristics of the dentist. Lack of perception of a need for dental care was a common 'passive barrier' amongst denture wearers in particular. The cost of dental treatment, fear of care and perceived availability of dental services emerged to influence significantly dental attendance. Minimising barriers involves three levels of action to be taken: individual actions (such as persistence in finding available care following identification of need), system changes (including reducing costs, improving information, ensuring appropriate timing and location of care, and good patient management) and societal issues (such as reducing isolation and loneliness). Older people appeared to place greater significance on system and societal change than personal action.
Conclusion
Older people living within the community in an inner city area where NHS dental care is available face barriers to dental care. Improving access to care involves actions at individual, societal and system level. The latter includes appropriate management of older people by clinicians, policy change to address NHS charges; consideration of when, where and how dental care is provided; and clear information for older people and their carers on available local dental services, dental charges and care pathways.
doi:10.1186/1472-6831-8-7
PMCID: PMC2335092  PMID: 18366785
3.  Short and long-term career plans of final year dental students in the United Arab Emirates 
BMC Oral Health  2013;13:39.
Background
New dental schools have been established to train dentists in many parts of the world. This study examines the future dental workforce from the first dental school in the United Arab Emirates [UAE]; the aim of this study was to explore the short and long-term career aspirations of the final year dental students in the UAE in relation to their demography.
Method
Final year dental students of the Ajman University’s College of Dentistry (n=87) were invited to participate in a self-completion questionnaire survey. Descriptive analysis, chi-square tests, and binary logistic regression analysis were carried out on career aspirations using SPSS v20.
Results
Eighty-two percent of students (n=71) responded, the majority of whom were female (65%; n=46). Ethnicity was reported as: ‘other Arab’ (61%; n=43), ‘Emirati’ (17%, n=12), and ‘Other’ (21%, n=15). In the short-term, 41% (n=29) expressed a desire to work in government training centres, with Emirati students significantly more likely to do so (p=0.002). ‘Financial stability’ (80%; n=57) and ‘gaining professional experience’ (76%; n=54) emerged as the most important influences on their short-term career plans. The vast majority of students wished to specialise in dentistry (92%; n=65) in the longer term; logistic regression analysis revealed that the odds of specialising in the most popular specialties of Orthodontics and Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery were less for the ‘Other’ ethnic group when compared with ‘Emirati’ students (0.26; 95% CI 0.068-0.989; p=0.04). Almost three-quarters of the students overall (72%; n=51) intended to work full-time. ‘High income/financial security’ (97%; n=69), ‘standard of living’ (97%; n=69), ‘work/life balance’ (94%; n=67), and ‘professional fulfilment’ (87%; n=62) were reported by the students as the most influential items affecting their long-term professional career choices.
Conclusion
The findings suggest that students aspire to make a long-term contribution to the profession and there is a high level of interest in specialisation with a desire to achieve financial stability and quality of life.
doi:10.1186/1472-6831-13-39
PMCID: PMC3751876  PMID: 23937862
Dental student; Career expectations; Dentistry; United Arab Emirates
4.  The emerging dental workforce: long-term career expectations and influences. A quantitative study of final year dental students' views on their long-term career from one London Dental School 
BMC Oral Health  2009;9:35.
Background
Research into the motivation and expectations of the emerging workforce and their short-term expectations has already been reported with a view to informing professional and policy decisions. The objective of this component of the research programme was to examine the long-term goals and perceived influences on final year dental students' professional careers.
Methods
Univariate analysis of a self completed questionnaire survey of all final year dental students from King's College London, comprising questions on demography, long-term career goals and influences, proposed commitment to dentistry, commitment to healthcare systems and the influences thereon. Statistical analysis included Chi Squared tests for linear association.
Results
Ninety per cent of students responded to this survey (n = 126), the majority of whom were aged 23 years (59%), female (58%) and Asian (70%). Long-term career goals were fairly evenly split between 'dentist with a special interest' (27%), 'primary dental care practitioner' (26%) and 'specialist' (25%), with 19% not certain. Only 60% of total respondents anticipated working full-time in the long-term (79% males cf 52% females; p = 0.00). The vast majority of respondents (≥80%) identified 'work-life balance', 'financial stability' and 'professional development' as 'important' or 'very important' influences on the number of future sessions. Females were significantly more likely to rate childcare commitments as an important influence on their future working capacity compared with males (p = 0.00). A wide range of factors were considered important or very important in making the NHS attractive, led by support for professional development (88%) and feeling valued by patients (88%), as well as funding, time with patients, rewards for prevention and practical issues such as dental materials and premises. Females were significantly more likely than males to be attracted to work within the NHS by 'childcare support' (p = 0.02), 'retraining facilities after career break' (p = 0.01), 'assistance with student debt' (p = 0.01) and 'incentives to work in deprived areas'.
Conclusion
Long-term career plans of new graduates from this London Dental School commonly embrace opportunities for professional development as well as personal issues such as work/life balance and financial income. Significant differences were identified between male and females long-term plans and influences. The implications of these findings are discussed.
doi:10.1186/1472-6831-9-35
PMCID: PMC2814807  PMID: 20030814
5.  Use of the out-of-hours emergency dental service at two south-east London hospitals 
BMC Oral Health  2009;9:19.
Background
Prior to the introduction of the 2006 NHS dental contract in England and Wales, general dental practitioners (GDPs) were responsible for the provision of out-of-hours (OOH) emergency dental services (EDS); however there was great national variation in service provision. Under the contractual arrangements introduced 1st April 2006, local commissioning agencies became formally responsible for the provision of out-of-hours emergency dental services. This study aimed to examine patients' use of an out-of-hours emergency dental service and to determine whether the introduction of the 2006 national NHS dental contract had resulted in a change in service use, with a view to informing future planning and commissioning of care.
Methods
A questionnaire was administered to people attending the out-of-hours emergency dental service at two inner city London hospitals over two time periods; four weeks before and six months after the introduction of the dental contract in April 2006. The questionnaire explored: reasons for attending; dental registration status and attendance; method of access; knowledge and use of NHS Direct; satisfaction with the service; future preferences for access and use of out-of-hours dental services. Data were compared to determine any impact of the new contract on how and why people accessed the emergency dental service.
Results
The response rate was 73% of attendees with 981 respondents for the first time period and 546 for the second. There were no significant differences between the two time periods in the gender, age, ethnic distribution or main language of service users accessing the service. Overall, the main dental problem was toothache (72%) and the main reason for choosing this service was due to the inability to access another emergency dental service (42%). Significantly fewer service users attended the out-of-hours emergency dental service during the second period because they could not get an appointment with their own dentist (p = 0.002 from 28% to 20%) and significantly more service users in the second period felt the emergency dental service was easier to get to than their own dentist (P = 0.003 from 8% to 14%). Service users found out about the service from multiple sources, of which family and friends were the most common source (30%). In the second period fewer service users were obtaining information about the service from dental receptionists (P = 0.002 from 14% to 9%) and increased use of NHS Direct for a dental problem was reported (P = 0.002 from 16% to 22%) along with more service users being referred to the service by NHS Direct (P = 0.02 from 19% to 24%). The most common preference for future emergency dental care was face-to-face with a dentist (79%).
Conclusion
This study has provided an insight into how and why people use an out-of-hours emergency dental service and has helped to guide future commissioning of these services. Overall, the service was being used in much the same way both before and after the 2006 dental contract. Significantly more use was being made of NHS Direct after April 2006; however, informal information networks such as friends and family remain an important source of information about accessing emergency dental services.
doi:10.1186/1472-6831-9-19
PMCID: PMC2729730  PMID: 19630986
6.  Dentistry – a professional contained career in healthcare. A qualitative study of Vocational Dental Practitioners' professional expectations 
BMC Oral Health  2007;7:16.
Background
New graduates in the UK presently spend one year in training as Vocational Dental Practitioners (VDPs) in preparation for primary dental care. There is a growing recognition that the emerging workforce has very different professional expectations to those of earlier generations, with implications for the profession, patients and the performance of health systems. The objectives of this study were to investigate why VDPs' in England and Wales perceive they chose dentistry as a professional career; how they perceive their vision has changed and the implications for their professional career plans, both short- and longterm.
Methods
Purposive sampling of schemes was undertaken to include urban, rural and metropolitan schemes, schemes in areas with and without dental schools and geographic coverage across England and Wales. All VDPs in these schemes were initiated to participate in this qualitative study using focus groups. A topic guide was utilised to standardise data collection. Informants' views were recorded on tape and in field notes. Data were transcribed and analysed using Framework Methodology.
Results
A total of 99 VDPs participated in the 10 focus groups. Their choice of dentistry as a professional career was motivated by multiple categories of influence: 'academic', 'healthcare', 'lifestyle', the influence of 'family', 'friends', 'careers advice' and 'work experience'. Consideration of the features of the 'professional job' appears to have been key to their choice of dentistry and the 'active rejection of medicine' as an alternative career.
Entry into the profession was proving a challenging process for some but not all VDPs. Informants perceived that their vision had been moderated as a result of 'personal student debt', 'national workforce initiatives', 'limitations on clinical practice' and the 'cost of additional training'.
Short term goals focused around 'recovery from the past' and 'preparation for the future'. Longterm goals covered the spectrum of opportunities within dentistry. Factors influencing VDPs longterm career plans fell into six main categories: professional, personal, financial, political, social and cultural.
Conclusion
VDPs chose dentistry because they perceived that it provides a financially lucrative, contained career in healthcare, with professional status, job security and the opportunity to work flexibly. They perceive that their vision is challenged by changes affecting education and the healthcare system. Longterm professional expectations were closely linked with their personal lives and support a vision of a favourable work/life balance.
doi:10.1186/1472-6831-7-16
PMCID: PMC2200640  PMID: 18005452
7.  The emerging dental workforce: why dentistry? A quantitative study of final year dental students' views on their professional career 
BMC Oral Health  2007;7:7.
Background
Dental graduates are joining a profession experiencing changes in systems of care, funding and skill mix. Research into the motivation and expectations of the emerging workforce is vital to inform professional and policy decisions. The objective of this research was to investigate final year dental students' perceived motivation for their choice of career in relation to sex, ethnicity and mode of entry.
Methods
Self-administered questionnaire survey of all final year dental students at King's College London. Data were entered into SPSS; statistical analysis included Chi Squared tests for linear association, multiple regression, factor analysis and logistic regression.
Results
A response of 90% (n = 126) was achieved. The majority were aged 23 years (59%), female (58%) and Asian (70%). One in 10 were mature students. Eighty per cent identified 11 or more 'important' or 'very important' influences, the most common of which were related to features of the job: 'regular working hours' (91%), 'degree leading to recognised job' (90%) and 'job security' (90%). There were significant differences in important influences by sex (males > females: 'able to run own business'; females > males: 'a desire to work with people'), ethnic group (Asians > white: 'wish to provide public service', 'influence of friends', 'desire to work in healthcare', having 'tried an alternative career/course' and 'work experience') and mode of entry (mature > early entry: 'a desire to work with people'). Multivariate analysis suggested 61% of the variation in influences is explained by five factors: the 'professional job' (31%), 'healthcare-people' (11%), 'academic-scientific' (8%), 'careers-advising' (6%), and 'family/friends' (6%). The single major influence on choice of career was a 'desire to work with people'; Indian students were twice as likely to report this as white or other ethnic groups.
Conclusion
Final year dental students report a wide range of important influences on their choice of dentistry, with variation by sex, ethnicity and mode of entry in relation to individual influences. Features of the 'professional job', followed by 'healthcare and people' were the most important underlying factors influencing choice of career.
doi:10.1186/1472-6831-7-7
PMCID: PMC1929066  PMID: 17573967
8.  The graduate entry generation: a qualitative study exploring the factors influencing the career expectations and aspirations of a graduating cohort of graduate entry dental students in one London institution 
BMC Oral Health  2011;11:25.
Background
Dentistry in the UK has a number of new graduate-entry programmes. The aim of the study was to explore the motivation, career expectations and experiences of final year students who chose to pursue a dental career through the graduate entry programme route in one institution; and to explore if, and how, their intended career expectations and aspirations were informed by this choice.
Method
In-depth interviews of 14 graduate entry students in their final year of study. Data were transcribed verbatim and analysed using framework analysis.
Results
There were three categories of factors influencing students' choice to study dentistry through graduate entry: 'push', 'pull' and 'mediating'. Mediating factors related to students' personal concerns and circumstances, whereas push and pull factors related to features of their previous and future careers and wider social factors. Routes to Graduate Entry study comprised: 'early career changers', 'established career changers' and those pursuing 'routes to specialisation'. These routes also influenced the students' practice of dentistry, as students integrated skills in their dental studies, and encountered new challenges.
Factors which students believed would influence their future careers included: vocational training; opportunities for specialisation or developing special interests and policy-related issues, together with wider professional and social concerns.
The graduate entry programme was considered 'hard work' but a quick route to a professional career which had much to offer. Students' felt more could have been made of their pre-dental studies and/or experience during the programme. Factors perceived as influencing students' future contribution to dentistry included personal and social influences. Overall there was strong support for the values of the NHS and 'giving back' to the system in their future career.
Conclusion
Graduate entry students appear to be motivated to enter dentistry by a range of factors which suit their preferences and circumstances. They generally embrace the programme enthusiastically and seek to serve within healthcare, largely in the public sector. These students, who carry wider responsibilities, bring knowledge, skills and experience to dentistry which could be harnessed further during the programme. The findings suggest that graduate entry students, facilitated by varied career options, will contribute to an engaged workforce.
doi:10.1186/1472-6831-11-25
PMCID: PMC3201891  PMID: 21942994
dental; graduate; graduate-entry; career; motivation; workforce

Results 1-8 (8)