Dental Nurse | EPA Standards | NCFE | NCFE

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EPA Standard

Dental Nurse

Level 3     £6,000      18 months

1. What the role entails

The Dental Nurse provides chair-side support to all dental professionals, making sure there’s high standards of cleanliness and infection control. Dental Nurses prepare instruments, materials and medicaments for dental procedures; mix materials; sterilise instruments; keep records; note dictation; carry out stock control; and ensure patient comfort and safety throughout their visit. Dental Nurses work in a clinical environment that could be in an NHS general dental practice, hospital, private dental practice, specialist dental practice, community dental service or military dental clinic.

2. On-programme assessment

Before entering Gateway, the apprentice must complete the following onprogramme assessment requirements:

  • Level 2 English and maths
  • a Level 3 qualification the General Dental Council approves of as meeting the requirements for entry to the professional register as a Dental Nurse.

3. Gateway requirements

The employer, independent training provider (ITP) and apprentice make the decision to take the apprentice through Gateway. The apprentice must complete all the on-programme elements before they enter Gateway, including completing a Portfolio of Evidence.

4. End-point assessment

The EPA for Dental Nurse contains two methods of assessment:

Observation in Practice

The Observation will last for 60 minutes (plus or minus 10% at the discretion of the Independent End-Point Assessor [IEPA]) and will take place in the apprentice’s place of work. Apprentices must evidence all of the knowledge, skills and behaviours identified in the assessment plan. Some of the criteria may be assessed in a 10 minute Question and Answer session at the end of the Observation.

Grading: the Observation in Practice is graded as Fail or Pass by the IEPA.

Professional Discussion

The Professional Discussion is a structured discussion of 40 minutes (plus or minus 10% at the discretion of the IEPA), following the Observation in Practice, which will assess the knowledge, skills and behaviours identified in the assessment plan. The Professional Discussion will be based around a scenario which will be given to the apprentice 30 minutes prior to the discussion to allow them to make preparation notes.

Grading: the Professional Discussion is graded as Fail, Pass or Distinction by the IEPA.

5. Grade aggregation table

Observation in practice Professional Discussion Overall Grade
Pass Pass Pass
Pass Distinction Distinction

If the apprentice fails any assessment method, the EPA will be graded Fail overall.

6. Completion and certification

We’ll activate certification once the apprentice has successfully completed all EPAs, and the IEPA has verified this. Working with the apprenticeship certificate issuing authority, we’ll ensure the apprentice receives their certificate.

7. What next?

On completion of the Dental Nurse EPA, apprentices can register with the General Dental Council as a qualified Dental Nurse.


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