British Undergraduate Dental Research Conference 2015: In a Nutshell
in Student life
Krishna Suba is a fourth year student at Manchester Dental School. She wrote this article to encourage other students to attend different dental events and conferences which may not necessarily be in their area of interest. A lot can be learned and preconceptions can be changed by being in the right place at the right time!
This article is a review of the first ever British Undergraduate Dental Research Conference held in Manchester, and organised by a group of dental undergraduates. It provides a brief overview of talks and workshops which took place throughout the day, and how attending a conference on it changed my perception of dental research; an area which I never thought I would enjoy as much.
The first ever national undergraduate dental research conference took place on 7 March 2015. As an undergraduate student, I'd never fully understood the importance of research in dentistry until this day. Research always seemed a tedious field which someone else would carry out for me, whilst I got on with the exciting part of dentistry: the clinical work! However, a day of insightful lectures and eye-opening workshops changed my perception to say the least.
The British Undergraduate Dental Research Conference (BUDRC) 2015 was skilfully organised by a small group of undergraduate students in Manchester, in association with the Manchester Medical Research Student Society (MMRSoc).
An Early Start
The day started at 9.00am at one of Manchester University's iconic buildings, University Place. Whilst I stood in the queue for registration, I was able to catch glimpses of busy conference volunteers frantically getting students from all over the country registered. The excitement of so many keen undergraduates standing in queue on a Saturday morning surprised me, thinking back to a few hours previously where I had to drag myself out of bed.
After a warm welcome from MMRSoc president Joshua Burke, BUDRC director Mohammad Jaberansari, and the head of Manchester Dental School Professor Paul Coulthard, an enormous lecture theatre of excited dental students settled down for the morning's talks.
Orthodontics and Fluoridation
The first talk by Professor of Orthodontics, Kevin O'Brien 'Introduction to Research; Reducing Uncertainty in Clinical Care' gave an insight into the impact of research on reducing uncertainty when making clinical decisions. The interactive, thought-provoking lecture emphasised the importance of evidence-based decisions by using examples from orthodontic cases.
Following this 'Water Fluoridation for the New Century', given by Professor of Dental Public Health, Iain Pretty provided information on the steps that he took in order to reach his current post. It shocked me to hear the amount of opportunity there was to travel around the world in this career pathway; I was beginning to like research a bit more already. His talk shed a completely different light on water fluoridation, and again ongoing up-to-date research was behind this.
Cochrane Oral Health Group and Bone Graft Surgery
After a thirty minute break with complementary coffee and croissants, Professor Helen Worthington spoke about her work in the Cochrane Oral Health Group. Listening to Professor Worthington talk about the impact of Cochrane Oral Health Group on clinical guidelines that we all know and use so often showed the effect and importance of high quality research, and how difficult it is for this quality of research to be produced. Cochrane's relevance internationally made me feel lucky to be studying so close-by to such an influential organisation.
Finally Paul Coulthard, Professor of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, spoke about 'Bone Graft Surgery for Dental Implants'. A scope of dentistry not taught in very much depth at undergraduate level was discussed. Professor Coulthard talked about the infectivity and post-operative pain issues that surround bone graft surgery and research which has been done with different methods, in order to avoid them.
Lunch and Freebies
Lunch was hosted in the University Place foyer, where a plentiful selection of finger food was provided, along with desserts and even cake! The lunch hour gave students the chance to meet the professors and dentists, visit sponsor stalls and of course pick up freebies; the thing that we students look forward to doing the most. We were also given the chance to purchase charity raffle tickets for the Manchester Dental Hospital Charity, with an amazing selection of prizes to look forward to.
Situational Judgement and Suturing
The afternoon entailed a selection of invaluable workshops. All students were split into small groups which not only gave us more one-on-one time with workshop directors, but also gave us the chance to meet and make friends with other dental students from around the UK. The first workshop I attended was run by a group of current foundation dentists, who gave an insight into the style of clinical situational judgement scenarios that final year students come across in their dental foundation interviews. This experience was so significant, since I had never come across these types of questions before. They really did get me thinking!
Second, was a suturing workshop, where every student was taught and able to practise suture techniques which often present in OSCE examinations. I practised the simple interrupted suture and learned the horizontal mattress suture as well!
Inspiration and Composites
Following this, was a workshop run by DCT in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Dr Basim Dawoud. This particular part of the day stood out to me the most and was the most inspiring. Basim spoke about his experiences since recently graduating, as well as giving some great pointers how to improve our CVs, and how we can think ahead and start this preparation as undergraduates. Some great messages that I took home from this workshop was 'as an undergraduate, academia surrounds you- make the most of it' and 'perseverance is key'. I'm sure that I will think back and implement these messages throughout the rest of my undergraduate studies, and career thereafter.
Finally, Dr Matthew Holyoak from UCLan School of Medicine and Dentistry ran a fantastic composite masterclass with some great tips and pointers that I can't wait to use the next time I'm doing a composite restoration on clinic!
At the end of the day all students came back together for the raffle draw. There were more prizes and much better quality ones than I initially thought there would be. An impressive number of students won a range of Master Dentistry books, PasTest books, a Colgate powered toothbrush, as well as a number of vouchers for dental loupes.
In a Nutshell
Overall the day was much better than I'd imagined it to be, especially with a ticket price of only £5! An event this large with each detail thought through and presented so professionally by such a small number of dental students was truly impressive. Personally, I have become so much more interested in an area of dentistry that I never thought I would voluntarily take part in, as well as learning some things which no dental student is taught during their university studies. I will be saving the date in my diary for next year's BUDR. I guess it definitely was worth getting out of bed for on a Saturday morning!
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