Behind the scenes of DNN

Marama-Millar-DNNThis week we’re getting behind the scenes of DNN and finding out what it really means and stands for!

Meet Mars!

Mars, what does DNN mean to you?

Dental Nurse Network is an online magazine, with various writers contributing informative, inspirational, relatable and fun information and stories. It is also a place for nurses to connect and talk to one another. I think of DNN as a source for inspiration. We are always gathering stories of other people’s experiences in the dentistry profession and sharing various ideas. We are also focused on post-registration education.

DNN offers access to practical workshops by skilled, professional teachers and also provides that all important verifiable CPD.

If you could describe DNN in three words what would they be?

Dental Nurse Empowerment

How would you describe the role of a dental nurse?

I strongly believe that the position of a dental nurse is unique. You gain specific skill sets; you become an expert in patient care, and you also learn how the surgery and the reception are managed. Many dental nurses don’t often realise they have even acquired these skills. You get a 360-degree view of how everything works in a dental practice and understand the building blocks that are put together. There are some nurses who just suction and pay no attention to anything else. That is fine if you want to stay this way but you won’t develop further if you do. I think DNN inspires nurses to broaden their horizons and use their initiative. Change comes from you and DNN helps you to realise this.

Why do you think dental nurses need empowerment?

I was a dental nurse and I am still a registered dental nurse. I know what it’s like to be a dental nurse. I have been very blessed to work with an extremely great dentist who I now class as a friend. I also have experience temping and worked at other practices. Some of these experiences proved to be rude awakenings. Before launching DNN in April 2010 I felt there was very little for nurses out there and there was not much for them to turn to. The way I want to empower nurses is by motivating them to improve and develop themselves so that they feel more confident to make career decisions and achieve the salary and the working conditions they really want.

When you worked as a dental nurse did you meet many other dental nurses who you felt needed empowerment?

When I was working in my first practice I had no idea what other practices were like. Then when I was temping I saw nurses who were being treated badly, nurses who didn’t really know what was available to them and nurses who didn’t know scope of practice. So, I wanted to create a platform to get this information. I’m not about moaning and complaining, the approach that I take is empowering people to make a change, improve their working conditions or change their working environment.

You also have recruitment experience in dental nursing, what did this reveal to you?

When in recruitment I would ask nurses what implants they had used before and some nurses had been using implants for years and they didn’t know anything about the implant they were using. They didn’t know the implant make, the manufacturer, where it was made or why the dentist was using the specific product. I think it is so important to know these things, not just for yourself but for your dentist and your patients too.

What makes the network unique?

There is no platform which is similar. Dental Nurse Network is the fourth most searched dental nurse term on Google. It gets over 70,000 page hits a month. The average time on the site is 6 minutes. This shows that it is popular and it is what dental nurses want. An average of 25 nurses join our membership every day.

How did your idea for DNN come about?

I was having lunch with a fellow dental nurse one day, Janine Greyling who runs Dental Recruit Network. We were considering what was next for dental nurses. From a small seed of an idea, it grew rapidly.

How does the network support itself?

Most memberships have a fee but I wanted to make DNN accessible to every nurse. The network supports itself by loyal members purchasing affordable online CPD and places on our nationwide courses. Our members support the network by buying from the network. It is the dental nurses themselves who help DNN to grow and grow. I really want to keep courses affordable and available to everyone. Our sponsors Henry Shein and Ivoclar Vivadent help reduce the costs of our courses. They are behind the cause to help dental nurses develop their careers further.

What is the most important element of dental nurse network to you?

Career development. With changes in Direct Access I really feel the industry is progressing, moving forward, changing and we’re moving with it. Developing yourself further as a dental nurse can do a lot for progress into becoming a Specialist Nurse, Head Nurse,  Treatment Co-ordinator, Sales, Practice Management, Dentistry and even prospects of owning your own practice.

Do you think your own experiences as a dental nurse has helped you with your business?

Hugely. I understand the industry. I understand what nurses need. What is more, I still gain understanding, I’m always learning more by networking and meeting other nurses myself.

What is the best part of your job?

I love this job. I love business and always have. When working as a dental nurse I always wanted to get into the background of things. At the same time I loved helping people. In this job I get to do both!

What advice would you give to dental nurses out there right now?

I was a very well paid dental nurse and I had extremely good working conditions but at the same time I was confident in my position. I regularly asked for pay rises after proving I was irreplaceable. I want to empower nurses to have the same confidence. This empowerment comes with knowledge. They should seek to know everything they want from their industry and scope of practice.

What is the future for DNN?

Melanie Joyce and I have been developing the Oral Health Education Certificate. This will be in the form of online videos and tutorials, as well as practical workshops held nationwide. Nurses will get the benefits from different types of learning styles. I want to be able to offer many more qualifications, certificates and courses. DNN will continue to network and introduce new courses. I will keep them available, accessible and affordable. I want the network to grow and grow and grow and bring even more dental nurses together.

One last thing, what is the cherry about? What does it stand for?

Before launching DNN we opened up a Facebook page called Dental Nurse and we used it as a blogging page. On the page we used a image of pacha lips with a cherry. The idea behind it was that dental nursing is something which is cool and classy. We didn’t want to put a predictable picture of teeth, we wanted something that would inspire people. We’ve stuck with the cherry ever since. It is a fruit which grows and it symbolises the idea of fruitfulness. Dental nurses can pick cherries just like they can pick their career choices!

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