Study group activities will assist with achievement of the number of peer contact activities required for recertification.

For information on study groups – visit Dental Council’s policy on CPD here.

It is recommended that study groups should comprise a majority of those registered in the same scope of practice but they may also include other registered oral health practitioners and others affiliated to dentistry such as practice managers and dental assistants.

Practitioners contemplating setting up a study group should discuss the need for interactive study group activity with colleagues and try to attend a successful group as an observer. When a firm commitment is made, recruit other practitioners in the area. Give them the date, venue, start and finish time. Consider inviting other oral health practitioners and/or others affiliated to dentistry to be part of the group, especially if you are in a rural area. It may be necessary to establish an alternative structure for those geographically isolated. Such a study group could be linked via the internet or by tele-video conferencing means.

At first study groups can be intimidating. However, experience shows that once initial inhibitions are overcome, study groups can produce frank and constructive discussion that supports continuing professional development. It will take time for trust to develop within a group and good facilitation is required to ensure initial and ongoing participation. No individual should be allowed to dominate the group. Group members are equal, but not the same.

Study groups can also provide social support, growth in the professional role and protection against burnout. It can be an opportunity to socialise with colleagues, and discuss ideas that may be difficult to express to laypersons. It is important, however, to ensure that the group does not allow these needs to dominate the whole group’s educational structure.