Hi, my name is Rebecca, I am 26 and I have been a Dental Nurse for 2 ½ years. I studied on the evening course in my local college in Belfast, every Monday night straight after work, and sat my exam in May 2009 and qualified with the NEBDN National Certificate in Dental Nursing.
Becoming a Dental Nurse was the best decision I ever made, and believe me I have had my fair share of jobs. Walk around your local shopping centre and at least 50% of the stores there have employed me.
If you’re the same as me I am guessing that you got pretty bored very quickly in retail.I have been everything from a Christmas temp to Santa’s elf, to nursing home kitchen assistant to travel sales to assistant manager of your favourite accessories store, but it all got pretty boring very quickly, to me once you’re in, you’re in, there isn’t much progression and there certainly isn’t much money!
I came to Dental Nursing after working as a supervisor in a supermarket, which I absolutely detested and after a really bad day I knew something had to be done. At the same time, a girl I knew who was a Dental Nurse knew of a surgery who needed Maternity Cover, that evening she called to say they were expecting me the next day for an interview. I didn’t think I stood a chance, I mean there were qualified nurses out there, who would want some random from the local supermarket? But no, they wanted a trainee and they hired me. That was the beginning of the best career decision I ever made.
I love my job, it’s never predictable and no day is ever the same. I really enjoy the cosmetic side of dentistry, I love seeing people leaving the surgery with that new smile that they always wanted after maybe years of being unhappy with the colour or the shape of their teeth. The fact that we can transform someone’s confidence in themselves in just a couple of visits really makes it worthwhile. I think it’s amazing that we can place a bridge and suddenly someone’s whole appearance changes. I love it when the kids come in and are really excited to see the dentist and tell us about their new musical toothbrush and that they use it twice a day, educating them is so important. Don’t get me wrong, it a stressful job sometimes, from that simple extraction that turns into a surgical because the root has fractured off and you just cant get at it to the patient at the desk demanding to be seen at 4.45pm on a Friday evening! I think sometimes the job is misunderstood by people, (the amount of times I get asked what I do and reply, to get oh so you’re the wee girl who stands there with the sucky thing? Yes, 2 years of training to stand with a sucky thing, that’s all I do!) I don’t think people realise the studying you actually have to put into it, there is more to it than meets the eye!
I am now studying for the NEBDN Dental Sedation course which is really interesting and a lot of work but it will be worth it! I am also taking part in the Alginate Impression Taking course next year which I think is great that nurses are able to do this now. There are so many courses out there for nurses now that there is always going to be something there to interest you and progress, whether you want to study sedation, radiography, orthodontic nursing… the list is endless for us to progress onwards and upwards. I personally would love to work in Maxillofacial/Oral Surgery so I will do all the courses I can to get there!
I am really enjoying writing the articles for The Dental Nurse Network, its such a great website and is well needed and was well overdue as there was nothing of its kind out there for us before it came along, it’s such a great opportunity and I hope you enjoy reading them and are of some help!
And always remember… the dentists would fall apart without us nurses!!!