Senior dental students' career intentions, work-life balance and retirement plans
Item TypeJournal Article
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Objective: To gather information from senior dental students about their future career plans, with particular emphasis on work-life balance issues, their attitudes towards the NHS and retirement plans. Method: Senior dental students at the Universities of Dundee and Manchester were asked to complete a voluntary anonymous questionnaire. Results: In all 141 questionnaires were completed, 42 by students in Manchester and 114 in Dundee. On qualification nearly all surveyed intend to work full time but after five years one quarter (26%) of females intend to work part time. This is significantly (p < 0.05) different from males where nearly all (98%) intend to work full time. Although the majority (65%) intend to work in general practice significant numbers (19%) wish to have a career in hospital dentistry and very few (3%) in community dentistry. Senior students seem to show no more commitment to the NHS than those in our previous study of dental school applicants. Only 3% intend to work exclusively for the NHS and 18% intend to work exclusively in the private sector. Surprising numbers had plans to retire or go part time before 60 years of age. Only 20% of the sample intended to continue working full time after the age of 60 years. The mode age that those surveyed intended to start a family was 30 years and a large majority of both sexes thought this would interrupt their professional life. More than half of the sample intend to take time out of dentistry until their children attended primary school (female 63%, male 38%) and 6% (female 6%, male 8%) until secondary school. Conclusions: Many of our findings suggest that future generations of dentists may have a pattern of professional life that will have the effect of reducing their clinical commitment, although it is not possible to determine how signifi cant an effect this will have on the workforce. It may, however, be appropriate to take career intention into account when workforce planning.