Mike Turner, tutor at simplyendo, shares what endodontics has brought to his life...
I started studying dentistry at the University of Liverpool in 1995 and graduated with my BDS in 2000. From there, I worked as an associate in general dental practice for a few years across Birkenhead before moving to Newcastle, then Northumberland, and then Hartlepool. It was around this time that I decided to concentrate my career in a narrower field.
I had always enjoyed endodontics and decided that this was an area where I wanted to further my skills. I have often felt that this is a field that would become more reliant on special training, so it seemed natural to me to progress towards achieving an enhanced endodontic skillset. A friend of mine highly recommended Mike Horrocks and simplyendo course, so I enrolled on the three-year course and passed my MSc in 2017.
When I decided to enroll on the course, lots of people asked me why I had chosen this route and what I thought would change as a result of it. At the time, I didn’t know the answers, all I knew was that I had a passion for endo and that was enough for me to follow this path. I’m so glad that I did because doors have opened up for me ever since I finished my MSc, from referral work to teaching, right through to being asked to be a key opinion leader for a dental company, which is incredibly flattering.
I still do some general dental practice in Hartlepool but I also take endo referrals in Whitely Bay, Whickham and North Yorkshire. I was able to start taking referrals in my second year of the course.
In addition, I feel very lucky to have been asked to do some teaching for simplyendo, and I find this a really enjoyable aspect of my career. Spending time with dental professionals who are keen to learn is great, but the real beauty and challenge for me is finding the right balance for the class as there is often a real mix of abilities on the courses. Some students are not at all confident in their endo skills and they require in-depth teaching from the ground up, while others are hugely talented and require refinement.
What I love most about teaching is being able to pass on my knowledge and experience as someone who has gone through the programme. Not only do I know what each and every one of the students is going through in terms of the coursework and exams, but I also have a young family so I know the challenges that brings during studying.
My advice for this is to stay organised and focused and, most crucially, plan the dissertation into bite-sized chunks. In this way I found it possible to plan each section into my time and get through little bits in stages. Not only did it keep me on track, it also meant that I didn’t have to spend my weekends working on my dissertation as I got through on it during my evenings instead. While I will admit that this was tiring, it was most certainly worth the effort and I got a huge amount from working on my dissertation.
There are lots of reasons why simplyendo is number one for endodontic teaching, but the main reason is Mike Horrocks. His passion and drive for teaching is something I have never experienced before. All of the tutors are excellent, they are positive, knowledgeable, and very approachable, in fact the students have our email addresses in order to discuss any problems – we make sure we are very accessible.
The non-teaching team is absolutely tremendous, they ensure that everything runs like a well-oiled machine. In addition, the standard of equipment is absolutely top end, we use interactive learning, microscopes, etc, and the website is superb. We have a forum for posting cases and receiving quick advice and opinions. Oh, and the food is pretty good, too!
The future of endo
The future of endo on the NHS is very unknown. There is a new contract coming but we still don’t know how we will be remunerated for endodontic work, at the moment it’s difficult to predict whether it will become marginalised to the private sector. This was something that I was very aware of when I enrolled on the MSc.
At simplyendo all the courses book up very quickly, which has shown us that there seems to be an increased need for endo training at a post-graduate level. As a result of this, we have started doing more courses than ever across the different levels. We offer 10-day courses, post-graduate certificates, diplomas, and MSc. This allows practitioners to dip their toe or fully commit, and there is the option to drop out at any time of the longer courses and still obtain a qualification.
And another thing...
I really love endo, and if you’re wondering how much passion I have for it this might help to highlight my point... I love endo so much that I even named my daughter, Rose Catherine Turner, after it. She is officially, RCT!