Q&A with Rachel Hughes: Frogs, Princes and the Right Dental Practice for you!

Rachel HWhat’s your role?

My title is the Clinical Treatment Coordinator and I am also the Training Manager of the practice. I work at JM Dental Care in Sutton, Coldfield.

How long have you been a dental nurse?

I’ve been a dental nurse for seventeen years now.

How did you get into dental nursing?

I wanted to train as a general nurse but failed the entry exam. I was actually waiting to take a re-sit when I found an article advertising a change in career as a dental nurse. I went for the role advertised and I haven’t looked back since.

How long have you been in your practice?

Eight years now.  When I joined my practice I had my qualification in Radiography, I then went on to gain qualifications in both Oral Health Education and teaching. My practice also supported me in developing my extended duties which include: Impression Taking, Shade Taking, recording Plaque Indices and Clinical Photography. This then allowed me to develop my role as a the Clinical Coordinator. It is this kind of development I believe, which can raise the profile and people’s perception of dental nurses. Patients treat you differently, they take a greater interest in you and this has a positive knock on effect for the rest of the dental team. It definitely gave me a lot of confidence having the support of the practice and the trust they put in me.  I now have my own patient list and a vast variety of extended duties. It keeps my day nice and varied.

What sort of treatments does your practice do?

We are a fully private general dental practice, so we do normal routine dentistry but we also have specialist services such as Dental Implants, Botox and Fillers, short time Orthodontic systems, as well as the Complementary Treatment Coordinator service. My practice really put a lot of emphasis on education and prevention for our patients.

What makes it different to other practices you have worked in?

The time and investment in the staff is what makes it significantly different. Employed as a dental nurse I was allowed to personally extend my skills to become a Treatment Coordinator. The practice then paid for my Oral Health training and for my other extended skills. The practice also pay for the GDC registration and CPD costs for all the nurses. It is a really good practice because they invest a lot of time and finance into their staff. They focus on developing their staff. The practice also put me through my teaching qualifications and this is what led to my role as Training Manager of the practice. I now have weekly meetings, with a focus on training other nurses. Something most practices don’t do.

How are staff treated within the practices?

I have to say we are a lucky team and a well bonded team. We are treated really well. We are given a budget for staff entertainment which we are in control of. We have had so many great experiences. We got to go for a cooking experience at a Michelin star restaurant where we did some wine tasting and had a five course meal. We also got to attend Lady’s Day at the Ascot Races. It was a memorable day, with a lovely atmosphere. We get to chose how we entertain ourselves and this gives us personal preference, flexibility and something for all of us to look forward to.

What advice would you give to dental nurses who may not be happy in their jobs?

It’s like they say: to find your prince you’ve got kiss a lot of frogs and it’s the same with finding the right dental practice for you. You have to try a lot of dental practices to find the right one for you. You want them to look at you as a person, invest in you as person and motivate you to want to be as good at your job as possible and benefit your patients.

One thing I’ve always been passionate about is people’s perception of dental nurses and so I have been invited to speak at the Dentistry Show at the NEC on Saturday 2nd of March. Nurses will hear about my role and how I got to be here in a job I love!

To hear Rachel speak at the Dentistry Show visit http://www.thedentistryshow.co.uk/programme-timetable-preview/

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