The ADC releases the revised Professional Competencies - The Australian Dental Council

The ADC releases the revised Professional Competencies

The ADC releases the revised Professional Competencies
22 April 2022 byron.carr


On 18 February 2022 the Australian Dental Council (ADC) Board of Directors approved the revisions to the Professional competencies of the newly qualified dental practitioner (the Competencies). This review ensures that the Competencies remain contemporary benchmarks of what is expected of a newly qualified dental practitioner in Australia.

View the Competencies

The ADC uses the Competencies across its accreditation functions to ensure dental practitioner education programs in Australia produce graduates who have the required skills, knowledge, and attributes to be safe and competent practitioners. Accredited programs are expected to map their learning outcomes to the Competencies. The ADC assessment blueprint for overseas qualified dental practitioners is also mapped to the Competencies.

The most significant change is the consolidation of the Competencies for dentists, dental hygienists, oral health therapists, dental therapists, and dental prosthetists into one comprehensive document. This change reinforces that professionalism, communication and leadership, and critical thinking are core skills for all dental practitioners. It also supports collaborative team practice by facilitating a better understanding of competencies across the different dental practitioner divisions.

The revised Competencies also have an increased focus on the provision of culturally safe care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. These revisions are designed to support the inclusion of Domain 6: Cultural Safety into the ADC/Dental Council (New Zealand) Accreditation standards for dental practitioners (the Standards) in 2021.

Updates to the Competencies supporting this Domain include aligning the definition of cultural safety for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with the definition agreed across the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme in June 2018. The review has also introduced new statements into Domain 1 to ensure the definition of cultural safety is put into action. These statements outline what a practitioner must do to ensure culturally safe and respectful practice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Other revisions to the Competencies include:

  • The introduction of a definition for interprofessional collaborative practice to articulate the expectation of the newly qualified dental practitioner working across health teams within the scope of their work.
  • The inclusion of a definition for ‘Groups or populations at increased risk of harm or poor oral health’ and ‘Person-Centred Care’ to recognise the shift within the broader health system to support individuals in making decisions about their own healthcare.
  • The introduction of the concept of social responsibility.
  • Clarification of the role of dental practitioners in supporting sustainable healthcare delivery.
  • Preparedness of practitioners to practice in rural and remote communities.

Implementation of the revised Competencies will occur across the ADC’s program accreditation and dental practitioner assessment processes.

Planning on the implementation of the revised Competencies against the ADC’s written and practical examinations is underway. Further updates on this planning will be provided on our website as more information is available.

For accredited dental practitioner programs, the revised Competencies will come into effect in 2023. The ADC is working closely with dental education and training providers and assessors on the implications the revisions to the Competencies will have on the program accreditation process.

More information on the revised Competencies is available via our Competencies consultation page.