Licensing Reform: Calls for Elimination of the Clinical Exam

Licensing Reform: Calls for Elimination of the Clinical Exam

Some argue that progress has indeed been made in administering the licensing exam over the past 50 years, as regional testing authorities have increased from two in 1971 to the current number of five.

While there has undoubtedly been improvement in the uniformity, ease of taking and administering the exam, the traditional way of testing remains essentially the same.

That is, dentists and dental students in 44 states are still required to pass the single-episode/high-stakes clinical trial, whether on patients or manikins. It is striking (and embarrassing) that our dental profession remains the only healthcare profession that subjects its candidates for licensure to this mode of testing, i.e. MDs are not required to perform surgery, nurses and EMTs are not required to demonstrate CPR or initiate a drip, obstetricians do not have to give birth to a baby, and osteopaths do not have to perform various manipulations, etc.

The bottom line is that it has taken far too long for our profession to go through such an outdated and unfair licensing process.

dr. Jonathan Nash, who was president of the American Student Dental Association for Dental Licensing Reform in 1971, and founder and president of the National Council for Improvement of Dental Licensure from 1969-73, examines the current state of dental reform. license and makes a case for bolder solutions to achieve meaningful reforms.

Read the full editorial in the New dentist news.

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