Dental Assistant Courses
All three pages of this PDF must be completed and returned to the NZDA
The New Zealand Dental Association (NZDA) is a registered Private Training Establishment with the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA). The New Zealand Dental Association Certificate of Dental Assisting is recognised by NZQA; is registered on the New Zealand Register of Quality Assured Qualifications; and leads to the qualification New Zealand Dental Association Certificate of Dental Assisting (level 3).
The New Zealand Dental Association has introduced new perspective in dental assistant education. The certificate in Dental Surgery Assisting provides the learner with the skills to competently and safely assist a dentist, dental therapist or dental hygienist. This course is available to assistants that are employed by dentist members of the NZDA. Any student undertaking the course needs to be working for a dentist or dental specialist for a minimum of 20 hours per week. The course commences in February of each year and finishes in November that same year. The course material is copyright and NZDA are the sole licence holders to provide the course in New Zealand.
The learner guides contain procedures arranged in a step-by-step format so that the dental assistant can maintain high standards of infection control; assist during all health care procedures and assist with practice administration.
The course is comprised of 11 modules:
- Communicate and work effectively in health
- Pathology and oral disease
- Comply with infection control policies and procedures in health work
- Process reusable instruments and equipment in health work
- Participate in occupation, health and safety processes
- Dental materials
- General practice dentistry
- Prepare for and assist during oral health care procedures
- Assist with dental radiography
- Assist in administration in dental practice
In addition to the modules; there is an online tutorial for dental charting and an online tutorial and self assessment for instrument identification.
When the student has completed each module, they then go online using the access name and password they have been allocated, and complete the online exam (self assessment or assessment). Four of the modules (Biology, Pathology, Dental Materials and General practice dentistry) are termed self assessment and are provided as a learning tool (it is not compulsory to reach a satisfactory mark). However the other seven modules are comprise of both self assessment and compulsory assessment elements. With the compulsory assessments the student needs to attain a satisfactory mark set at 70% correct answers.
The students have two attempts to attain the competency level (if they fail the first attempt they need to log off and come back at least 24 hours later to have another attempt). If they fail the second attempt they will be set a written task which they need to complete and have marked by their regional co-ordinator.
The central administrator makes the exam available for a described period of time, throughout the course year. At the completion of the online component of the course, when all the online exams have been completed, the student must print off their online exam results and add the print out to their evidence portfolio. They also are required to hold or obtain a current resuscitation certificate which must be documented in the evidence portfolio.
There is a workplace assessment component to the course where the student is required show competence in the surgery for the variety of tasks that are in the evidence portfolio.
These have to be signed off by the work place assessor (in most instances this will be a dentist or a practice manager). Once the workplace assessment has been completed and signed off by the workplace assessor, the result sheets in the evidence portfolio need to be signed off by both the assessor and student. Then the evidence portfolio will then be sent to the regional co-ordinator in order for them to ascertain that the:
- workplace assessment has been completed;
- the workplace self assessment has been completed;
- the written self assessment tasks in the workbooks have been completed;
- the online exams have been completed to a satisfactory level (or that a written task has been completed to a satisfactory level) and;
- evidence that the student has a current resuscitation certificate.
The regional co-ordinator will then notify NZDA that the student has completed the course so that NZDA can award the student with their certificate and badge.
Regional co-ordinators are based in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. All students will be assigned a regional co-ordinator at the beginning of the year that they will be able to liaise with throughout the course of the year.
Points to note about the new course
There is no longer a final exam; the online exams are randomised so there can be no duplication of exams between individual students.
The students have half an hour to sit each exam and if they cannot complete the exam for any reason (e.g. power cut) when they return to the exam they automatically come back to where they left off.
The online exams are comprised of multi choice questions.
There will be two lectures for the course each held in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. It is intended that each of these courses will be one day duration and held on a Saturday in order any rurally placed students have the opportunity to attend these courses.