The Fiji National University’s (FNU), College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences (CMNHS) officially launched the Certificate IV in Dental Assisting (CDA) programme in the virtual presence of staff, students, and national and regional stakeholders.
CMNHS Dean, Dr William May said the course was aligned to the University’s recently launched five-year Strategic Plan, which highlighted FNU’s commitment to Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET).
“The establishment of our TVET Pasifika brand, a one-stop-shop for students and employers, has provided the opportunity to browse, research and enrol into programmes that will boost employability as well as fulfil both personal and professional aspirations,” Dr May said.
“The Certificate IV in Dental Assisting course is one of the TVET programmes offered by CMNHS. It was developed after several years of internal and external consultations with professional organisations and sponsors.”
“This programme is aimed at individuals who have employment interests in a dental setting or profession as a chair-side assistant or dental assistant. The programme is to equip students in clinical-assisting skills and administrative duties that are required in the dental setting.”
“Dental assistants are important team players in a dental clinic. Most dental practices would have on-the-job training and dental assistance however, this programme offers the professional and clinical exposure that would also result in the completion of a recognised and formal dental qualification.”
Dr May added that most of the course units were offered online, except for two that required clinical placements. The programme has 12 pioneer students, of which two are from Vanuatu and Tuvalu.
Fiji Dental Association president Dr Parikshath Naidu commended FNU on the launch, adding that the course provided students with the dental assisting foundation they would require before advancing into dental education.
“Not only does this certificate programme enable employment opportunities and career pathways, for those already engaged in some form of employment as a dental assistant in the private sector, this is now their chance for official certification and recognition they would have prayed for,” Dr Naidu said.
“I congratulate the innovators, course developers, course coordinators, Head of School and the Dean of CMNHS for bringing this opportunity to the people of Fiji, our Pacific Island countries, and beyond.”
Oral Health Pacific Islands Alliance President, Dr Amanaki Fakakovikaetau added that the new course would benefit prospective students as well as enable staff who received on-the-job training to receive formal certification.
Head of School Dentistry and Oral Health, Dr Osea Dukuno said the course would prepare students to assist and be part of the dental team in clinics and community outreach initiatives through the dynamic curriculum, which combined oral biology and diseases, clinical dentistry and dental assisting.
CDA pioneer student Mere Luita said the students were excited to acquire the knowledge and qualifications needed to provide the best support to the staff of the School of Oral Health and Dentistry, students, patients and dentists in Fiji and the Pacific.
Enrolment for Semester 2, 2021 is currently underway and interested students can visit the FNU website on www.fnu.ac.fj to learn more. Prospective students can also text on 857 or email on firstname.lastname@example.org if they face difficulties completing the process online or need further information on enrolment.