Dental nurses have the ability to push their careers as far as they want to go. Those who develop good knowledge and understanding of their career are the ones that have the power to go beyond dental nursing duties alone. As dental nurses, we have many opportunities to develop our skills and knowledge. We can take on additional responsibility, gain promotions in the workplace, and study for further qualifications. Keeping an open mind and thinking outside of the box is the key to pushing yourself forward in your career.
What do our patients want from us?
Patients want a calm, reassuring dental nurse who is confident in the role; someone they can rely on to comfort them during their treatment. They want someone who is up-to-date with their studying to ensure they are receiving the best care possible.
What do our employers want from us?
Our employers want nurses who can make their businesses grow, who are reliable, and who are popular with their patients.
To meet the needs of both our patients and our employers, we must go above and beyond our job description; this just contains basic expectations. Team members who do more than the average dental nurse are the ones who motivate others and push the business in the right direction. Here are some examples of how to exceed expectations:
- Keep up-to-date with the latest products: impress your employer by researching the latest dental gadgets such as Cerec machines, intraoral cameras or CBT X-ray machines. This shows that you want the best for your patients and that you have an interest in the business.
- Keep up-to-date with industry news: it is always good to know what other practices are doing and what is new in the dental world. This can help to ensure that your practice is on the right track.
- Study for further qualifications: this develops your skills in the surgery and also opens new doors. Dental nurses with extra qualifications tend to be more desirable to work with, which can lead to promotions in the workplace and can even help towards a placement on a hygiene therapy course at university for those who want to develop their careers further.
- Engage in Continuing Professional Development (CPD): this is a GDC requirement, but also expands our useful knowledge. We can learn about new legislation and which toothpaste is the best for sensitivity on the market. This knowledge can then be passed to other team members in the workplace and also to our patients.
Try to imagine your career five years from now. Consider the following questions:
How much would you like to earn?
What would you like to be doing?
What would you like to achieve in that time period?
Now think of ways you can reach your goals. Remember that knowledge is power - the more you know about the business you work in, the more you can give people what they want and the more likely you are to achieve your goals.
Author: R Gibbons RDN