Helen Rochard’s Story: Broom handle, dental chairs, Bunsen Burners on fire, two babies and finding the best!

I became a dental nurse in 1993. It wasn’t something I’d thought of doing before and I kind of fell into the profession. I’ve been nursing ever since and have never wanted to change. I initially worked in an NHS practice in Dorset, then a private practice in Bath (whilst I did my qualification at Bristol Dental Hospital), then a corporate owned specialist practice in Hampshire (predominately working in Periodontics) and I am now back in private general practice working part-time.

In the last 20 years I’ve seen it all, from a dentist propping up the back of the dental chair with a broom handle, as he didn’t want to replace it, to the accidental fire in the surgery caused by an errant Bunsen burner! I’ve even managed to squeeze in having my two lovely daughters and moving house a fair few times. The job is never dull that’s for sure and in spite of all the changes with the CQC regulations, the job, for me, remains fundamentally the same. My main role is to look after the patient, to ensure they are comfortable, at ease and have the best possible journey from their initial examination to the completion of their treatment and beyond for regular check-up appointments.

I have worked in my current practice for the last 18 months and have never been happier. It is a small, private practice with just two part-time dentists and a hygienist. I work three days a week between the two dentists. We offer general dentistry, hygienist treatments, tooth whitening, cosmetic dentistry, Inman Aligners and more recently anti-wrinkle treatments.

A lot of our patients comment that the practice has a lovely feel to it as you walk through the door. I would whole-heartedly agree. We have a staff of three dental nurses, a practice manager and receptionist (also both qualified and registered dental nurses), a hygienist and two dentists. We all get on so well and have fabulous working relationships. Mark, the principal dentist, will go out of his way to make sure we are all happy and is often seen bagging instruments and backing up data loggers if the nurses run out of time (honestly!) He has such a passion for his work and this is reflected in the way he treats the patients (and the staff!) Ingrid, our associate dentist, has the same passion and although she’s only been with the practice for six months, she has already made a great impression with her sympathetic and empathetic approach.

If you are unhappy in your current position then I would advise you to be pro-active. If you can’t change things where you are, then change where you are! I didn’t actually realise how unhappy I was until I was forced to change practice due to redundancy. Since then my enthusiasm has been renewed and I have not looked back. I work in the most amazing practice with an incredible team and I hope to be here for many years to come!

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