The Unsung Heroins: A Tribute to Dental
by Wan Mohamad Nasir Wan Othman
Publisher - Penerbit USIM
Category - Family & Health
A common denominator to the success of a number of programmes and activities developed and implemented by the Oral Health Division is the utilisation of Dental Nurses. Dental Nurses belong to the group commonly referred to as operating dental auxiliaries and equivalent to Dental Therapist. This document presents the unreserved contribution of Dental Nurses in the progress of dentistry in this country. It is predominantly derived from direct involvement of the author in the education, utilisation and management of Dental Nurses for more than 30 years. Relevant documents on education and utilisation of Dental Nurses were also reviewed. The idea to delegate some of the tasks of the dentists to Dental Nurses in the midst of severe shortage of dentists and appalling dental conditions of children was met with strong reservations from the dental profession. However, the government continued with it through the establishment of School Dental Nurses Scheme and School Dental Service. Several concessions were made in that the delegated duties were restricted to some simple and repetitive tasks, the scope of work were confined to school children 12 years old and below and were required to provide these dental services in the public service only. Since the establishment of the Scheme, their duties were expanded several times and they have made significant contributions to dental services. They were committed to the tasks they were assigned to and did not transgress beyond the designated borders. Their presence contributes to the dental workforce amounting to 46% full-time dentist-equivalent. Dental Nurses have ventured to the peripheral areas to provide care and contributed to ensuring access to dental care for school children. Most importantly, their contribution to the improvement in oral healthcare cannot be denied. Their unreserved contribution to the oral healthcare scenario in this country is not very visible in the eyes of the public, they are the unsung heroines.
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