Looking at some recent FB posts about continuing education I saw several posts answering a question ‘should I go to the states and go on courses over there’ ?
It got me thinking about my own post grad education and how it evolved.
I started it in 1984 by going on a number of one day courses, probably 6-8 per year. I came away with some great ideas and tips and yes lots of knowledge but I couldn’t join up the dots. I learnt a lot of information but couldn’t relate it all together into one treatment plan for the patient.
I decided I needed to pull it all together so I went on a one-year course given by Mike Wise who went on to become my mentor. Mike showed me how to bring it all together and how important treatment planning and occlusion were for the success of your treatment.
I still found there were gaps such as where does lab work fit in , how good were my preps and imps , could my partner the technician do the job with the info I gave him? So that’s when I decided to go to Eastman to complete a two year Masters degree and started to understand that no matter what we do, if the technical aspect is not good enough the case will fail.
This was achieved by undertaking under the supervision and the help of some greet technicians (Richard Gidden) and clinicians (Derek Setchell , Richard Ibbottson, Lloyd Searson , Nick Capp and many more). We trimmed our own dies, waxed up and cast our own crowns, added porcelain etc and then fitted them into the patient’s mouth. It was then that it all made sense and all of us in the Masters degree started to ‘get it’. That course has provided some of the best prosthodontists and restorative dentists and teachers in the country (Peter Briggs , Ken Hemmings to name a couple who qualified with me).
Let me get back to the original question as to whether someone should go to the US for their courses.
My advice is that all the education in the US is available in the UK if you look carefully for it. Lots of money can be wasted by chasing expensive courses and travel in the US at the wrong time in your career. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve spent a fortune on education in the states but only after I had exhausted the education available in the UK.
These course would not have provided me with ‘value’ if I hadn’t already done the rounds in the UK and understood the basics of occlusion and treatment planning and lab support.