From trainee dental nurse to hygiene student

Jasmine DNNI started my career in dentistry as a trainee dental nurse in 2013. I always knew I wanted to have a medical career but never knew which pathway to venture into.

I saw a job advertisement in my local area for an apprentice dental nurse, so I applied – and I got the job! I loved my first day in surgery. I had an overwhelming sense of being able to help patients, which subsequently gave me job satisfaction. Soon after starting, I was made aware of the different opportunities and career paths that dentistry could lead me to. I was able to work in different areas of the practice, such as on reception and nursing for a hygienist. I gained knowledge and confidence in treating patients with dentists who offered dental implants, cosmetic dentistry and sedation. 

In 2016, I left work for maternity leave and returned part-time later on that year after having my daughter. After my return to work, my career as a dental nurse continued to progress, but I gravitated towards wanting more patient interaction. The dental team I was part of encouraged me to apply myself in all areas, and this is when I completed an online impression-taking course through Dental Nurse Network. From this, I was able to gain experience in treating my own patients. I built a portfolio of upper and lower alginate impressions, which allowed me to get hands-on experience with patients, which I loved. 

After being able to nurse for the hygienist, I also wanted to expand my knowledge on gingivitis and periodontitis. I knew that with this, together with wanting more interaction with patients, becoming a hygienist would be a possible career path I could follow. 

I started to look around at university entry requirements and thought that without A-Levels, my chances would be slim. I found that I could apply to the FdSc Oral Health Science course at the University of Essex. With having my daughter, I knew that if I was to apply, I would have to be committed to the course and the three-hour commute each way every day (six hours in total!). For me, it was a no-brainer, and after discussions with my colleagues and family, I decided to apply in 2019. I was lucky to be offered an interview. I remember meeting other nurses on my interview day and thinking how tough the competition was, but when my name was called for my individual interview, I went in and just gave it my all! 

I waited from March to May to receive a reply from the university, and to my delight I was offered a place! I was ecstatic. I knew that the hard work was about to begin, but I was so excited to start doing something I loved so much.  

My course started in October 2019, and from the word go, it was hard work! The studying combined with raising a three-year-old was tough, but receiving my Term 1 results made it all worthwhile. All of the time I had spent revising and the time I had spent away from my daughter had paid off. After multiple sessions in the skills lab, I am now able to complete supra-gingival scaling and am looking forward to starting to learn about sub-gingival calculus removal. I can't wait for the course to progress and see what else lies ahead in my journey to becoming a fully qualified dental hygienist. Although I am missing my daughter whilst studying, I have a supportive family who help with childcare in order for me to achieve my degree. I hope to inspire my daughter with the hard work I am putting in and to be a role model for her. 

To anyone thinking about leaving full-time employment for education, or anyone who has young children who is thinking about going into education, I would say that although it is daunting and seems scary, there are both short-term and long-term benefits. I recommend it – you will reap the rewards for your hard work. Never give up on your dreams, whatever your circumstances!


Written by Jasmine Wood RDN

Banner management DNN 010620

certificate oral health promotion

Banner IPC DNN 250520


Bright Bites Sponsor