Student FAQs

Here you can find the answers to some key questions relating to student professionalism and student fitness to practise.

If you have any other questions please get in touch.

Frequently asked questions

Yes. They are based on Standards for the Dental Team which applies to all registrants.
​No.  While you are training it is your training provider, not the GDC, who is responsible for ensuring your student professionalism and fitness to practise and that you are ready for registration by the end of your course.  
The GDC does collect anonymous information on student fitness to practise cases as recommended by the Professional Standards Authority.  This is for the purpose of improving standards of education and training and the provision of guidance to students about professional conduct and competence.
When you apply for registration with the GDC you need to declare whether there are any issues which may affect your fitness to practise. You are required to state on your GDC registration application form whether or not you have been given certain sanctions during your training, such as increased supervision or suspension, as result of student fitness to practise proceedings. 
More detail can be found in the guidance and your training provider can advise you what you would need to include.  You are responsible for disclosing this information in your application. Failure to declare issues is viewed seriously and may affect your registration. ​
​Yes, as a student dental professional you are expected to speak up if you have a concern about something that you believe could be putting others at risk. We understand that it may be difficult to tell someone about a concern you have about yourself, another student, or a member of staff, or even your supervisor, teacher or employer.
Your training provider will give you information about the different ways you can do this and provide a supportive environment to do this.  They are obliged to support and help those who have a concern raised against them. 
​Again, the first thing to do is tell your training provider and explain clearly what has happened, when and why.  This will show the training provider you are responding appropriately. The training provider will discuss how best to solve the issue, what support you may need and whether the issue is a student fitness to practise issue or not.  It is very rare for a student to be expelled from a training programme.  This would only happen if the issue was so serious it would be completely incompatible with GDC standards and with continuing on the course or eventually practising as a dentist or dental care professional.
The GDC guidance on being open and honest with patients when something goes wrong, also known as 'the duty of candour', can be downloaded here.

​View our guidance on social media here. Remember that, as a student of a profession that is regulated, your position is different to other students who will not enter professional regulation upon completion of their course.

You must take care with the information and images you and others share online:

You must always respect patient confidentiality.

You should not post or share any content which could cause offence to anyone – including patients, colleagues and members of the general public – or which may cause people to lose their trust in student dental professionals. 

Look at the guidelines on your course, NHS guidelines and familiarise yourself with the our  social media guidance.  Think about what you would worry about if you were a patient. Test yourself using our case studies to see if you know the right thing to do in different situations.​

​It is important you are aware that as a student dental professional you have a responsibility to:
  • be aware that your own health conditions may put patients and colleagues at risk.
  • seek advice if there is a concern about your health.
You will need to know about immunisation requirements and other regulations relating to health. Your training provider will explain what you need to know and how to access any services.  
If you have a disability or other health requirements your training provider should make reasonable adjustments for you on your course. 
In rare cases it may affect your ability to complete your training programme and register with us. For more information download our health self-certification guidance.
Patients understand that you are learning but expect you to meet the same standards as dental professionals where you can. For example they expect you to put their safety and interests first, be honest and trustworthy, and maintain their confidentiality. Of course there are certain things you won't be able to do, or aren't required to do until you are registered, such as take responsibility for your own indemnity, but most of the principles will apply.
Patients, your training provider and the GDC understand that you may make mistakes. The important thing is recognising when something is wrong and responding in the appropriate way.
As a student you are expected to meet certain student fitness to practise requirements during your training relating to:
  • Clinical/technical and academic work
  • Professional behaviour
  • Health

These areas reflect those that the GDC requires you to meet as a registrant once you qualify, join the register and start practising. These registration requirements are in place to protect patients.

Where there are concerns about clinical/technical or academic work, professional behaviour or health, a training provider will consider if this amounts to a student fitness to practise concern. If so, the provider will need to think about what support you may need and whether the issue warrants consideration through their formal procedures.
Student professionalism is an important part of meeting student fitness to practise requirements.​
​Student professionalism is the way you respond to standards required of you, and how you take responsibility for meeting them. It is how you demonstrate appropriate attitudes and behaviour with patients and those around you, in a range of situations. Even if you don't meet a standard on a particular occasion, your recognition of the issue and ability to respond in the right way also demonstrates professionalism.
It is your responsibility to meet these standards of professionalism.
The first thing to do is inform your training provider and explain clearly what happened, when and why.  They can guide you through our criminal convictions and cautions guidance and how they may affect your registration application.  If the offence happened some time ago and you can demonstrate you have shown insight and not repeated the behaviour then there may not be a problem. 
You will need to declare certain criminal convictions on your application. If you do not and the conviction subsequently becomes known to the GDC, the failure to declare criminal convictions and cautions is viewed as dishonest and incompatible with professional behaviour and being on the register. It is likely to lead to referral to the Investigating Committee, or case examiners after 1 November 2016, and then Professional Conduct Committee. This can affect your registration.
Convictions/cautions considered spent should still be declared as they may lead to a referral to the Investigating Committee and can affect your registration. More detailed guidance can be found in our criminal convictions and cautions guidance. This includes differences between England, Wales and Scotland.​