Q&A with Leah Cronk: It’s not all about teeth!

L CRONKWhen did you first become a dental nurse?

I started in 1994, when I was just eighteen. I had just finished school and I decided to train in Oral Surgery and Orthodontics in London.

What led you to become a dental nurse?

I have always been interested in health care and I just knew it was something I wanted get into. I did my National Exam in 2001 at Kings College and from there I worked myself up to be Practice Manager of my Practice.

I managed to juggle my full time job as a Practice Manager, while raising my daughter. It was hard work but I loved every minute of it. I then moved to Kent in 2006, to start planning for a bigger family. I then returned to work, part time, running a Private Dental Practice. I have worked in both Private and NHS practices throughout my fifteen years in Dental Surgeries.

What did you enjoy most about dental nursing?

I have been a dental nurse, a receptionist and have been involved in extended duties such as Implants. I have been lots of different roles in practices and I have really enjoyed learning new skills. I have loved meeting new patients; you meet all different kinds of people, every day. It’s been fifteen years, you could say that I’ve seen nothing but teeth but the truth is, for me, it has been about people and the people I’ve helped! One of my most memorable experiences was working for a private practice where the dentist used holistic treatments. The ingredients in our materials and injections were all natural. The dentist worked mercury free. It was definitely a different approach to the other practices I have worked in.

What did you enjoy least about dental nursing?

Probably working in NHS practices. It is a very, very busy environment. The hardest part is trying to get people in when there is a limited amount of time and space. I also found the staff turn over in NHS environments very quick which is something I didn’t like.

So you now own a business?

Yes. I own a Recruitment business which specialises in Dental Staff Recruitment.

How did you business come about?

I moved to Kent six years ago. I did some part time Practice Management in a practice but after having my second child I took some time out to start my business. I had always had the business idea but there had never been a good time. But then the right time came. I thought to myself ‘it’s now or never!’ I knew if I didn’t do it then that I never would. I wanted to have the flexibility to spend more time with my family too. This way I could still incorporate all my background knowledge and experience in the dentistry industry with the aim to help other dental professionals find the right job. I have a lot of friends and contacts who are dentists so I knew I already had a platform in which I could build on.

How is your business doing now?

It’s going really well. It takes a lot of hard work and time but my main focus is getting the word out there.

What advice would you give to dental nurses who want to develop their career?

They really need to think about what they want. Being a dental nurse can be involve very long hours and often you can feel unappreciated but these days there are so many courses and qualifications that you can do. Nurses can shape their career to suit them. Once you start your courses, you can work your way up the ladder and see where it takes you. You don’t have to do the same thing every day!

Please visit www.enigmadentalnetwork.co.uk for information.





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