The difference between a medical nurse and a dental nurse

Choosing a career in nursing is something that thousands of people do every year. The chance to assist people when they are sick or in need of certain procedures is attractive to people who enjoy helping others.

One of the choices that people need to make is whether to study medical or dental nursing. Whilst it may seem to the layman that the two roles are nearly identical, there are several key differences. Understanding these differences will help people to make an informed decision as to which aspect of nursing they want to study. Remember that university is a large commitment in terms of time and money, so it is sensible to have as much information as possible. First Point recruitment can help graduates find jobs as medical or dental nurses.

Read this guide to understand the differences between a medical and dental nurse.

Patient Interaction

Patient interaction is an important aspect of nursing. Medical nurses are in constant contact with their patients, making sure that they are as comfortable as possible and that they have the medicine that they require on a constant basis. However, the more senior a nurse becomes in their role, the less face-to-face contact they have with patients. In contrast to this, dental nurses are the main point of contact for patients and they remain in a face-to-face role throughout their careers. People who enjoy the interactive side of dealing with patients may prefer to be a dental nurse in Perth.


Paperwork is another area in which dental and medical nursing differ. Dental nurses will have to fill out a small amount of paperwork on a daily basis, which includes writing referrals and taking patient notes dictated by the dentist. These patient notes are usually very brief unless the case is more complex.

In contrast, nurses have to keep detailed notes on all the patients that they see. Certain cases can be extremely complex, which means that a patient’s file could contain lots of pages. Some medical nurses may feel that their workload is greatly increased by the large amount of paperwork that they have to fill out on a regular basis.

People who are comfortable with note taking and large amounts of paperwork will not struggle as medical nurses.

Working Hours

Dental nurses will work a set number of hours a week, whether that is full-time or part-time. In contrast, medical nurses work shifts that can vary from week to week. For example, a medical nurse may work night shifts in January and then day shifts in February. Some nurses are required to be “on-call” which requires them to be available at a moment’s notice. This is most common for junior nurses and midwives who are on home visits.

People who prefer a set routine may find that being a dental nurse is more suitable for them.

Use this guide to help decide between careers in medical or dental nursing.

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