Frequently Asked Questions - Second Degrees

FAQs - Second Degrees
  • Immediately post graduation
    • It's a bit of a gamble committing yourself to OMFS without working in the specialty. Make sure it's right first, not much to be gained from limiting yourself if you decide it's not for you. Also complete DFT and it'll be easier to earn whilst your at medical school as you can work in practice too.
  • Post DF1
    • It's probably worth having some postgraduate experience, FD1 and DCT for example, so that you have a performer number and some OMFS experience so you have a way of funding yourself through med school.
    • No DFT means you can't work outside an OMFS unit to fund your way through - OMFS is a journey not a race. Don't 'rush' to get to the 'end' - I imagine this is a 5 year course you'd be going onto? Doing DFT and at least one year of SHO you wouldn't actually lose any time and you'd have gain masses of experience and a performer number you can use to work. I agree entirely with whats been said above as well.
  • Post DCT
    • Also worth actually experiencing OMFS as a job before ploughing on with medicine, if that's the only reason you're doing medicine anyway. If you want to be a doctor/surgeon of any description then no postgraduate dental experience wouldn't really hamper you in any other specialty I suppose.
  • Think about funding
    • Do you have funding, from parents, etc?
      • If so then you have little to worry about and get on with the medicine, you may not get another offer later on.
    • Are you absolutely certain that you don't want to do dentistry in the future?
      • You might absolutely hate medicine and wanna go back to dentistry. It may be tricky to get a DF1 post. Also you need to check if there is a specific time frame in which you have to complete DF1 after you obtain a UK dental degree.
    • SHO experience you can gain later. But taking teeth out is your bread and butter as an OMFS surgeon, so need to make sure you get some experience, at some point.
    • Why do you want to do OMFS?
      • You have very little experience in the specialty. Although it is the best surgical specialty, in my opinion, anyway. You may decide during medschool you want to do plastics or orthopaedics. If you can afford the fees / living expenses. Do it. You don't need vt. You don't need MFDS. And it's a medical speciality If you can fund it just do it! You can do MFDS etc later. It won't be a conventional approach but you will not be limited. You can either continue in OMFS (as I said not conventional path), another medical specialty or a dental career. Go for it! Don't even give it a second thought. Oh and the very very best of luck for final BDS!

Similarly to when to do medicine, you need to weight up the pro's and cons of doing a second degree immediately vs. delaying by a few years.

If you complete both foundation years prior to starting dental school you have the advantage of full GMC registration and more experience which makes you more employable as a locum SHO.

Taking this further, if you complete core surgical training (CST), you are even more desirable. You will also have completed more courses, audits, research etc to pass your annual reviews which will also help with getting in to dental school.

With many hospitals and locum agencies capping locum rates, if you can work at CT2/ST2 level you will earn more than FY2 level as rates are calculated as a percentage increase above base rate. You might have some experience of acting up as a registrar as well which could help you get second on locum shifts which pay better and allow you to get some non-resident on call sleep if in the right specialty. Finally, you should get your MRCS exam done before starting dental school if you have done CST.

There are a few deaneries who have opted for a run through training path. That means rather than doing CT1&2, you do ST1&2 instead then automatically carry on to ST3 without another interview. If you do your second degree after FY2 this option is open to you.

  1. Go to the "second degree course" run by Mr Magennis (Consultant in Liverpool) in Sept/October each year. To make sure you know about it register your interest in OMFS with BAOMS to get email updates here (https://www.baoms.org.uk/about/register_your_interest_in_omfs.aspx
  2. There are 3 and 4 year courses as you know, theres a summary on our website but its best to check with the individual Universities with regards to dates of application and entry criteria. The standard is high, especially for the 3 year courses. At Liverpool, for example, all dentist first medical students on their 3 year course have obtained their MFDS and have had a paper published in a peer reviewed journal as well as several audits. This isn't a basic requirement of entry but most candidates are exceeding them!
  3. Speak to the heads of the departments you work in early on in your placements about projects you can get involved in. Stating a study to publication is often over a year!
  4. Aim for a well rounded CV. Keep the core and higher surgical personnel specifications in the back of your mind as a target. Whilst these are obviously above what you need, people are attaining these things early. The OMFS ones can be found on the Specialty Training website (http://specialtytraining.hee.nhs.uk/Recruitment/Person-specifications/2016-person-specifications)
Work

Some would rather go somewhere with guaranteed work for 4 years over a 3 year course with sporadic work. Your personal financial situation will obviously come into play here.

Bare in mind it's perhaps not necessarily true to say there's more scope for part time work on a 4 year course as the first year of a 4 year grad entry course is often very intense and in a smaller group, i.e. it's noticeable if you're not around because you're working!

Some Universities are very supportive and help with work. Cambridge runs a 4 years course with a handful of dentists on. Again it is slightly more intense but permanent work is available at Addenbrookes and the uni are excellent with supporting second degree students.

Time

Some advise go for the shortest route possible. Remember a three year course is more like 2 years 8 months at places like Bart's!

Cost

Main negatives of an extra year is obviously an extra year of paying out £9k, an extra year of locum jobs and perhaps varying income, an extra year of being a student. 3 year medicine is sometimes a bit of a blag in some people's experience; you don't always have the full background knowledge but you just find time to learn what you don't know.

Work/Life Balance

Some 3 year courses may be less well organised, and to get the most out of it/pass exams you will need to be proactive. You will sort out the balance of locum work vs uni work when you start based on what seems like the next hurdle to jump (bills vs. assessments)!

Overall

Go for whatever you get. Better to do a 4 year than turn it down in the hope of a 3 the following year and end up with nothing at all.

Don't worry about taking a year longer though if you do get a 4 year; OMFS is a long journey so just enjoy it! If you are that keen on OMFS take what you are given.