The Dental Nursing Bug- Dominique Newton

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The Dental Nursing ‘Bug’ Dental nursing started for me 2 days before my 17th birthday.

I was employed as a junior receptionist and only planned to stay a year before going into general nursing - but haven’t left. After being thrown into the surgery one day when a nurse was off sick (as we all know training was done in house many years ago) I got the nursing bug.

I would then combine my time between nursing and reception for several years until 1995 (or 1996 it was a long time ago) when a colleague went on maternity leave and I took a pay cut to become a full time nurse at the practice. I qualified in November 1997 and have since completed the national certificate in Oral Health Education and BTEC Diploma in Care-Coordination. I will undertake Radiography when I'm brave enough. Care Coordination & improving the patient journey within the practice is how my role has developed most recently as clinical manager. I have the responsibility of being the first point of contact with any new, and even existing, patients that are interested in cosmetic work. I can discuss with them their reasons for wanting treatment, their expectations, what we can do for them, procedures and of course the sometimes difficult subject of cost. This means that when I book them to see the clinician the are fully informed and more likely to take up treatment – thus not taking time out of a busy diary with patients that possibly have no real intention of treatment just want to ‘know their options’. But it’s not all about saving time, it’s about the patient having a one to one contact, a point of contact for all their questions and queries. As we all know patients never ask the dentist while in the chair but speak to the receptionist or nurse on leaving. On the days when the diary is busy I also help with emergency & review appointments. I take the patient through to the surgery, take full complaint notes, the dentist can then come through, diagnose the problem and then leave me to explain treatment process and book appointments etc. Under my umbrella of clinical manager I also deal with BDA Good Practice, Practice Manual, NRPB, rotas, holiday allocation, complaints, working on reception, stock control, protocols and procedures and organising the Christmas party to name just a few. In the 13 years I’ve been with my current employer my role has changed and developed and I still enjoy my job very much, though I do miss the day to day nursing – like I said before the bug never leaves you.

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