The Dentist Magazine.

Society of British Dental Nurses plays host to Professor Robert Ireland’s final lecture as he retires

Published: 04/10/2017

Professor Robert Ireland delivers a final lecture and encourages dental nurses to ‘take up research and challenge the traditional’

The Society of British Dental Nurses recently hosted an education event in celebration of the lifelong work of Professor Robert Ireland as he retires.

Professor Ireland is well known across the dental field and dental professions. He registered with the General Dental Council in 1965 and only recently retired.

He worked at University of Liverpool Dental School, West Germany, and the University of Warwick Dental School.

Over the years, he held a number of prestigious posts, including President of the Odontological Society, and was presented with numerous awards. He also became the director of the dental therapist training school in Liverpool and, until recently, was involved in orthodontic therapy courses.

Professor Ireland was a Presiding Examiner for the National Examination Board for Dental Nurses (NEBDN) and was involved in the continuous development of the oral health, the orthodontic and the implant NEBDN qualifications, finally being appointed an Emeritus Examiner by the NEBDN in 2012. He was also the External Examiner of the certificate in higher education for dental nurses at the University Trinity College Dublin and Cork.

Donna Holden welcomed everyone to the event at the Royal College of Surgeons Edinburgh Birmingham offices and Fiona Ellwood, the Society’s Patron, set the scene. Professor Ireland gave the inaugural speech, one that will now become The Prof Robert Ireland Lecture on an annual basis for the Society.

A great advocate of skill-mix and team work, he talked about dental education – past, present and future – with a particular focus on dental nursing education, the need to embrace skill-mix and the need to encourage and support dental nurses to take up research and challenge the traditional.

The event was well attended by the dental professions, dental educators and leaders from across the country and was also designed to give verifiable continual professional development to dental educators.

With this in mind there were three supporting speakers: Dr Richard Cure, who spoke on inter-professional education, Dr Michael Snowden, who spoke on mentoring in learning, and patron Fiona Ellwood who addressed reflective practice.

The morning ended with a final acknowledgement of the tremendous work that Professor Ireland has contributed to the profession over the years and included tributes from Dr Suzanne Noble, author of the Clinical Textbook of Dental Hygiene and Therapy, Lesley Sharpe, a SBDN member and a oral and maxillofacial dental nurse, who thanked Professor Ireland for the fantastic textbook, Advanced Dental Nursing, Anna Ireland, who paid tribute to her father, and finally Barry Cockcroft, former Chief Dental Officer for England, who shared some memories.

Professor Ireland was presented with a glass plaque from the Society and a gift that many had contributed to, as well as a copy of a newspaper published on the day he first registered with the General Dental Council back in 1965.

He received a standing ovation and the morning was rounded off with wonderful hospitality and networking. With thanks to guest Dr Rob Dyas, who filmed the event.