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Doctor of Dental Surgery (MC-DDENSUR) // Attributes, outcomes and skills

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Professional accreditation

Graduates of the Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) are eligible for registration with The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA).

Intended learning outcomes

The Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) is designed to enable graduates to become outstanding dentists and leaders in their chosen profession. Students will graduate with advanced knowledge of all aspects of oral health care provision with advanced clinical skills.

The graduate attributes have been developed and methodically mapped to the intended learning outcomes of the subjects in the course (from the 1 st year through to the final year) to meet the appropriate AQF level.

The DDS graduate attributes reflect the University of Melbourne’s graduate attributes of academic excellence, knowledge of the discipline, ability to live and work competently with people from different cultures and be active global citizens. The graduate attributes (course learning outcomes) have been organized in to the 5 domains listed below:

  1. Professionalism
  2. Scientific knowledge
  3. Patient care
  4. Dental profession
  5. Systems of health care
  6. Society.

Generic skills

On completion of the DDS, students will be able to:

  1. work effectively as a member of a team;
  2. have skills in interpersonal understanding, problem-solving, decision making, program design and implementation, evaluation and advocacy;
  3. demonstrate capacity and motivation for continuing independent learning and the capacity to maintain intellectual curiousity throughout life;
  4. demonstrate professional skills and attitudes;
  5. design and conduct scientific investigations;
  6. exhibit professional responsibility;
  7. critically appraise research evidence;
  8. demonstrate the ability to locate, analyse, evaluate and synthesise information from a wide variety of sources in a planned and timely manner;
  9. apply effective, creative and innovation solutions, both independently and co-operatively, to current and future problems;
  10. be proficient in the appropriate use of contemporary technologies;
  11. have an awareness of ethical, social and cultural issues within a global context and their importance in the exercise of profesisonal skills and responsibilities;
  12. value diversity of opinion within health care;
  13. value diversity in health beliefs, lifestyles, ethnic and cultural background;
  14. demonstrate a non-judgemental approach to their interactions within the health system, with other health professionals;
  15. ensure safe and effective care for people of diverse backgrounds.

Graduate attributes

The competencies and qualities of the new graduate have been grouped in the 5 domains of professionalism, scientific knowledge, patient care, dental profession, systems if health care and the society. The different dimensions of patient-centred care are incorporated into the attributes mentioned below.


On graduation DDS graduates will have developed:

  1. the ability to apply reflective practice skills and a recognition of their importance in health care;
  2. empathy, compassion, honesty, integrity, resilience and lifelong curiosity, the ability to demonstrate them and a recognition of their importance in health care;
  3. employ a critically reflective approach to practise dentistry based on current evidence;
  4. self-awareness, the ability to recognise when clinical problems exceed their knowledge and skill, and a willingness to seek help and/or to refer;
  5. the ability to negotiate, give and receive constructively to criticism, appraisal, performance review or assessment;
  6. the ability to manage uncertainty;
  7. the ability to identify and address their own learning needs ;
  8. the ability to apply effective time management and organisational skills;
  9. the ability to maintain their own physical, emotional, social and spiritual health and a recognition of the importance of professional support in this process;
  10. a recognition of their own personal, spiritual, cultural or religious beliefs and an awareness that these beliefs must not prevent the provision of adequate and appropriate care to the patient;
  11. the ability to apply strategies of stress management to oneself, to patients and to the dental team as appropriate;
  12. a thorough understanding of the ethical principles and legal responsibilities involved in the provision of dental care to individual patients;
  13. skills to use contemporary information technology for documentation including patient records, communication, management of information and applications related to health care.

Scientific Knowledge:

On graduation DDS graduates will have developed:

  1. knowledge of the basic biological, medical, technical and clinical sciences in order to recognise the difference between normal and pathological conditions relevant to clinical dental practice;
  2. skills to analyse oral health as it relates to symptoms, signs and pathology;
  3. skills required to prevent, diagnose and treat anomalies and illnesses of the teeth, mouth, jaws and associated structures;
  4. knowledge of the management and interaction (pharmacological, physical, nutritional, behavioural and psychological) of important oral and medically-related conditions;
  5. skills to provide treatment options based on the best available information;
  6. Understand pharmacology and therapeutics relevant to clinical dental practice and be familiar with pharmacology in general medicine;
  7. scientific principles of sterilisation, disinfection and antisepsis and infection control;
  8. knowledge of the hazards of ionising radiations and their effects on biological tissues, together with the regulations relating to their use, including radiation protection and dose reduction;
  9. knowledge of research methods and their applications
  10. the ability to access new knowledge from all sources, to analyse and interpret it in a critical manner, and to apply it appropriately in the provision of oral health care
  11. skills required to contribute towards new knowledge
  12. ability to evaluate the validity of claims related to the risks-benefits ratio of products and techniques
  13. knowledge of the moral and ethical responsibilities involved in the provision of care to individual patients, to populations and communities;
  14. 1Understand basic principles of practice administration, financial and personnel management to a dental practice.

Patient care:

On graduation, DDS graduates will have developed:

  1. the ability to communicate with patients from diverse backgrounds including the ability to listen to, respond to, and provide appropriate information to patients;
  2. respect for patients’ values and their expressed needs;
  3. the ability to identify patient expectations, desires and attitudes during treatment planning and provision of treatment;
  4. skills to manage and the potential impact of chronic illness and disability on the patient’s oral health;
  5. appropriate skills to obtain a thorough dental, medical and social history and perform an accurate oral examination;
  6. the ability to integrate and interpret clinical findings and apply rigorous reasoning to arrive at an appropriate diagnosis or differential diagnosis;
  7. the ability to formulate an evidence-based and cost effective treatment plan in collaboration with the patient;
  8. the ability to perform appropriate dental procedures effectively and safely, with due regard for the patient’s comfort including during emergency procedures;
  9. the ability to predict, prevent and correct deficiencies in patients' oral hygiene regimens and provide patients with strategies to control undesirable habits affecting the maintenance of oral and general health;
  10. skills to alleviate pain and provide appropriate treatment outcomes (physical comfort).

Dental profession:

On graduation, DDS graduates will have developed:

  1. an understanding of the continuum of dental training and the various roles and expertise of different dental and oral health practitioners and their interaction
  2. the ability to apply the principles of ethics in the provision of health care and research
  3. the ability to be an active participant in professional organisations, and an appreciation of the benefits of this participation
  4. the ability to provide effective peer review in order to assist colleagues to improve their performance
  5. maturity and responsibility to maintain standards of dental practice at the highest level throughout a professional career;
  6. ability to understand apply Commonwealth, State and Territory legislation relevant to practise as a dentist;
  7. the philosophy of lifelong learning and accept that continuing professional development is required for professional growth.

Systems of health care:

On graduation, DDS graduates will have developed:

  1. knowledge of the roles, responsibilities and expertise of all health professionals, and how they work in teams to deliver health care;
  2. a respect for the roles and expertise of other health care professionals and the ability to communicate effectively with them;
  3. skills of team work and the ability to work effectively in an oral health care team, including as a leader;
  4. knowledge of the principles of efficient and equitable allocation and use of finite resources in especially in the public oral health care systems;
  5. the ability to work effectively as a dentist within a quality and safety framework including the ability to recognise, respond to and learn from adverse events;
  6. skills of effective record keeping and the ability to maintain high quality records;
  7. knowledge of the structure of the Australian oral health care system;
  8. an understanding of the role of political systems in shaping health and oral health care systems locally, nationally and internationally;
  9. skills of provision of continuity, coordination and integration of oral health care to the individual patient and to the community.

The society

On graduation, DDS graduates will have developed:

  1. the ability to contribute to their communities wherever they choose to live and work;
  2. knowledge of the determinants of a ‘healthy society’ and the economic, political, psychological, social and cultural factors that contribute to the development and persistence of oral health and illness;
  3. skills of oral health promotion including primary and secondary prevention;
  4. an understanding of the principles of oral health literacy and a willingness and ability to contribute to the oral health education of the community;
  5. knowledge of the health of indigenous Australians including their history and cultural development and the ongoing oral health disparities of indigenous people;
  6. knowledge of the burden of oral disease in differing populations and geographic locations in Australia;
  7. skills to identify the requirements of health care systems in a culturally diverse society;
  8. the ability to deliberate on local, regional and national ramifications of health care issues;
  9. the ability to respect community values, including an appreciation of a diversity of backgrounds and cultural values;
  10. a commitment to contribute to the resolution of oral health inequities;
  11. knowledge of the relationship between environmental issues and the oral health and health of local communities and society.