A new combined oral health and radiography training program developed by RMIT for Dental Health Services Victoria is already kicking goals for more than 50 students.
The new program – Certificate IV in Dental Assisting (Oral / Radiography) – needed to be attractive to potential students and Community Health Centre managers.
Deputy Head of Health, School of Vocational Health and Sciences, Diane Bates said the existing RMIT program was not working for Dental Health Services Victoria (DHSV) and its employees.
“They wanted to work with us as they know we could deliver, they know our reputation and they have an established relationship with us,” Ms Bates said.
“But they required some changes. The number of assessments was excessive, the range of electives was too narrow, and there was little recognition of learning on the job – all of which resulted in too much time out of work for students.
“So we developed a new mixed-funding model from the ground up that produced good RMIT outcomes and quality graduates, but that fitted in with their practice model.”
The model combines Certificate IV in Dental Assisting with Oral Health and Certificate IV in Dental Assisting Radiography.
It is customised for DHSV’s workforce model, includes webinars and simulations, and provides students with licensed radiographic competencies early in the program.
The RMIT team used DHSV policy and procedures to customise and update training resources, and linked everything back to how students work with the organisation.
“The new model offers city and rural delivery, minimal disruption to time at the workplace, and limited attendance at RMIT Dental Centre,” Ms Bates said.
“Students receive an iPad at the beginning of the program that is integral to their studies.”
There are 60 places available in the program and DHSV has initially identified 45 staff who will qualify for a government-subsidised place, with 50 staff recently attending their first workshop.
“Working with Dental Health Services Victoria, this innovative program will hopefully see more than 150 students qualified over the next two years,” Ms Bates said.