• » Higher Certificate in Science in Dental Nursing

    Programme Title  Higher Certificate in Science in Dental Nursing
    CAO Code  LY816
    LYIT internal code  
    Duration  2 Years
    Standard Code Places:  14
    Mature Applicants Places:  2
    Foundation Places:  1
    FETAC Places:  1
    National Framework Level  6
    Award Type  Major
    Awarding Body  LYIT, under Delegated Authority from HETAC
    CAO Points  Click here for CAO Points
    Is this Course for You?  
    A dental nurse works as part of a dental team in a variety of clinical and non-clinical settings. In Ireland they are mainly employed in General Dental Surgeries, Dental Hospitals, Health Service Executive Dental Clinics or Specialist surgeries. They are responsible for ensuring the Dentist or Oral Surgeon's operating list runs smoothly during the course of a clinical session. This includes ensuring that all instrumentation is correct and has been thoroughly sterilised, all radiographs and case notes are prepared for the clinical session, necessary lab work/results and supplies are available, the dental surgery/operating room is clean and equipment is in good working order and all general administrative and office work is up-to-date. Dental nurses are also involved in assisting with suction during dental procedures e.g. cleaning, scaling and polishing of teeth and offering emotional support to patients with an anxiety towards dental treatment. They need to have good organisational skills and have the ability to communicate effectively, both verbally and in writing.
    The main aim of the course is to produce graduates who are licensed to practice as dental nurses in both Ireland and the UK. The course will provide dental nurses with the appropriate multi-disciplined skills to enable them to play a key role in dental practices.
    Minimum Entry Requirements
    • Min. Five O6/H7, one of which must be a laboratory based science subject (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Physics and Chemistry, Agricultural Science).
    • English or Irish O6/H7
    • Maths F2/O6/H7
      QQI (FET)/CAS
    • Have obtained any FETAC Level 5 award.
    Northern Ireland/UK Applicants click NI/UK
    N.B. Garda Vetting
    This programme may bring students into contact with vulnerable adults or children, therefore Garda Vetting is required. Offers of places on this programme are subject to Garda Clearance. The Institute will apply a similar process to that of other programmes requiring Garda Clearance.  If the Gardaí raise an issue it will have to be addressed satisfactorily.  If it is not, you will not be able to go on placement or fulfil your course requirements, in which case you may be asked to leave the course.
    Since Applicants will be unable to go on placement or complete the course requirements until vetting is satisfactorily completed,  Registration is temporary  until such time.
    Please note, non EU candidates will  only be considered for this programmes if there are still places remaining after all EU candidates have first be considered.
    What will I study?
    Year/SemesterProposed ModulesMandatory/
    No of creditsClass hours per week
     1/1  Clinical Dentistry 1: Communication and Patient Care Mandatory  5  6
     Biological Science Mandatory  5  7
     Transferable Skills Mandatory  10  10
     Work Placement 1 Mandatory  10  30
     1/2  Clinical Dentistry 2: Materials and Instrumentation Mandatory  5  6
     Disease & Infection Control Mandatory  10  10
     Pharmacology Mandatory  5  6
     Work Placement 2 Mandatory  10  30
     2/3  Applied Physiology Mandatory  10  10
     Nutrition & Health Promotion Mandatory  5  6
     Clinical Dentistry 3: Anatomy and Pathology Mandatory  5  5
     Work Placement 3 Mandatory  10  30
     2/4  Business Management Mandatory  5  6
     Drugs Action & Usage Mandatory  10  10
     Clinical Dentistry 4: Special Practice Mandatory  5  5
     Work Placement 4 Mandatory  10  30
    Learning Outcomes
    On completion of this programme, the graduate will be expected to:
    • Have a knowledge of the scientific principles of sterilisation, disinfection and antisepsis
    • Have a knowledge of oral physiology and craniofacial, oral and dental anatomy relevant to dental nursing
    • Have an understanding of the fundamental aspects of anatomy, physiology and microbiology relevant to dental nursing
    • Be competent in IT
    • Demonstrate an ability to work as a member of a dental team
    • Communicate effectively with colleagues, supervisors, managers and clients
    • Demonstrate an ability to recognise and manage social and psychological issues relevant to care of patients through the use of case scenarios.
    • Be able to identify that a medical emergency has arisen
    • Be familiar with the principles of First Aid
    • Record information and maintain records and demonstrate the ability to produce and use clinical records effectively.
    • Be familiar with the legal and ethical requirements governing the operation of a dental setting
    • Be familiar with the learning orientated towards personal growth and professional development
    • Be familiar with some human physiology and common disorders of body systems
    • Have a good understanding of Health and Safety legislation when working in a dental setting.
    • Explain the procedures involved in the preparation and decontamination of the dental surgery
    • Understand the concept of cross contamination and its prevention
    • Detail the therapeutic actions of drugs in the body systems.
    • Display an understanding of commonly used dental materials
    • Provide chair side support to the operator and patient during dental procedures
    • Describe the general relationships between diet and nutrition and oral health and disease/
    • Develop an understanding of the use of ionising radiation in dentistry
    Work Placement
    Work placement is an integral part of the programme with a six week placement embedded in each semester. Students will be placed in community and hospital dental practices during the duration of the programme in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Please note that with respect to the placement students can be placed in either a community or hospital dental surgery anywhere in the country. These work placements provide the student with an opportunity to learn from experience through supervised practice. Experiential learning in this way provides opportunities to reflect on practice and to apply theory to practice. While the institute will make every effort to assist the learner in finding a placement final responsibility for securing the placement resides with the learner. Travel and accommodation are the responsibility of the learner..
    Follow-on Courses
    Students who successfully complete the Higher Certificate are eligible to apply for a range of continued professional development courses in, for example, dental hygiene.
    What are the job prospects?
    Salaries for dental nurses in the public health sector are operated on a salary grading system subject to public sector agreements. The grading system defines up to eight salary grades for each position with grades in the HSE starting at €20 to €25 k and in the NHS at £13 to £15 k. In practice the starting salary of a dental nurse can range from €20,000 to €25,000 ROI and £16,000 to £21,000 in the UK.
    The main employers are:
    • Private community dentists
    • The Health Service Executive
    Dental Council of Ireland
    The Institute received approval for the programme from the Dental Council of Ireland in September 2012.
    • Contact: Dr. Joanne Gallagher, Head of Department of Science, Letterkenny Institute of Technology
    • E- Mail: joanne.gallagher@lyit.ie
    • Telephone: (074) 918 6302