As dental nursing is rising in its professional status, salary has continued to be a topic of discussion. With opportunities galore for dental nurses to develop their skills and expertise further, it is only natural that income has been a point of consideration amongst professional dental nurses.
The Annual Survey of Hours and Salaries publication from the Office for National Statistics issued data which revealed the average dental nurse salary in the UK, in 2012 was £17,949. In 2011, it stood at £18,498, which reflects a significant drop in just a year. The Annual Survey also established the median value of a dental nurse salary at £16, 858, which is virtually unchanged from 2011 where is stood at £16, 857.
The British Association of Dental Nurses (BADN) issued a document which set out the minimum thresholds in terms of salary for a dental nurse position which they deemed acceptable. This was carried out in response to demands for salary guidelines for dental nurses by many dental professionals. The BADN issued the following guideline amounts which represent an annual salary for a 37 hour week:
Position Minimum Salary
Registered dental nurse £20,000
Registered dental nurse (extended duties) £24,000
Senior dental nurse £28,000
BADN also mentioned overtime, they declared that overtime should be paid 1.5 times the normal rate and 2 times the normal rates for Sundays and public holidays. When considering BADN’s guideline it becomes clear that the average figures provided by the Office for National Statistics demonstrates that the average dental nurse salary falls way below criterion compiled by the BADN in the UK.
It is interesting to consider dental nurse salaries abroad. The average annual salary for a dental assistant in New York is $56,000 which is just under £40,000. The average annual salary for a dental nurse in Perth, Australia is roughly $62, 000, again which is just under £40,000. There figures are nearly double the average dental nurse salary in the UK.
The role of a dental nurse is to assist the dentist with all elements of dental treatment. This ranges from preparing and sterilising equipment to reassuring the patient and ensuring they are relaxed and comfortable. There are many other aspects which dental nurses are responsible for. Since the regulation for registration of dental nurses with the GDC, the profile of dental nurses has risen. The reputation of dental nursing is now regarded as professional in the dentistry industry. Extended duties and enhancing skills are now more relevant and available than ever for dental nurses. Dental nursing jobs are available in a variety of different areas: surgeries, hospitals, aid work and armed forces. There is general consensus that with the expansion of dental nurse duties and the professional status of dental nursing, dental nurses’ salary should reflect and match the value and expertise of an individual dental nurse.