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Eur J Dent Educ. 2013 May;17 Suppl 1:5-17. doi: 10.1111/eje.12045.

A review of continuing professional development for dentists in Europe(*).

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School of Postgraduate Medical and Dental Education, University Dental Hospital and School, Cardiff University, Heath Park, Cardiff, UK.



  To summarise findings from a literature review of dentists' engagement in continuing professional development (CPD) and its effects on improving oral health care for patients.


  The search strategy used key terms in a range of databases and an academic literature search engine, complemented by hand searching and citation follow-up.


  One hundred and fourteen papers were reviewed. The majority of dentists engaged in CPD. Factors affecting participation included time since graduation, costs, work and home commitments, postgraduate qualification, interest and convenience. Learning needs identification and reflection on practice were rarely evidenced. Common modes of CPD were courses and journal reading; no one delivery method proved more effective. Few papers directly explored recommendations for topics although suggestions related to common areas of error and gaps in knowledge or skill. Studies of CPD effectiveness and impact-on-practice suggested that courses can result in widespread new learning and considerable self-reported change in practice. However, significant barriers to implementing change in workplace practice were noted and included availability of materials, resources and support from colleagues.


  To ensure high standards of care, alongside recommending core or mandatory topics, more attention should be given to reflection on learning needs, the learner's readiness to engage with education and training and the influence of the workplace environment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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