As treatment and patient coordinator, Cathy is your go-to girl in the practice. Whether you’re a first-timer or a regular with us, she is armed with answers to your questions, information on all our dentists, and a friendly smile to soothe any nerves you might have!
I started off as a trainee dental nurse here at Woodborough House in 1979 after leaving school. The practice was owned by John Andreassen and Brian Ferris at this time, and after starting as a trainee nurse and passing my exams I worked my way up to head nurse before leaving in 1986 to start a family. I now have 2 children; a son aged 21 and a daughter aged 18.
Woodborough then contacted me in 2000 to cover someone for maternity leave, and I have just never left! When Sarah and Nick brought the practice in January 2006 I trained to be Nick’s implant nurse, and as time progressed I moved into the position of treatment/patient co-ordinator, and took my radiography exam.
As a treatment/patient coordinator the role varies. We have a lovely patient lounge which is a private but homely room in which new patients are offered a complimentary consultation with myself (and a cup of tea or coffee of course!) During this consultation I have a chance to build up a relationship and rapport with the patient and listen to what the patient has to say about their dentistry history, any problems that they are finding with their teeth or any treatment that they would like to have done; from this I will then go on to explain what treatments our practice offers and reassure patients about our practice professionalism and excellent customer service. I normally go through each dentist/hygienist briefly explain what they do, the experience they have in their role and then I will go through individual dentists/hygienists in more detail depending on what the patient has decided to attend our practice for whether it is for a general check-up or for more specialist treatment.
At this point I will also go through basic fee’s and should the patient decide to go ahead and book an appointment, I will arrange this for them and select the best dentist for them to see for their individual treatment needs.
When the patient returns to the practice for the appointment visit I will personally go and greet them and introduce them to the dentist they are seeing. After the patient has been assessed by the dentist, any x-rays prescribed by the dentist can be taken by myself, as I am now qualified to take radiographs, allowing more time for the dentist to get to know the patient and discuss treatment options. Once the patient assessment has finished with the dentist I will ensure the patient was happy with the service, and if they wish to go through any further information I will take them through to the patient lounge to discuss this. At this point, I will also schedule in any further appointments needed and take payment. If they have any further questions or queries once they have left the practice I will always make sure they have my contact details.
As you may be able to tell, being in the role of treatment/patient co-ordinator is very busy work, but also really enjoyable. No two days are the same and you always get the opportunity to meet new people. You can help change a person’s perception of dentistry, especially the more nervous patients, and it’s great to be able to provide such a high level of customer service! Building up a good professional relationship with the patients is so rewarding, it enables you to support them throughout treatment and give them an individual patient journey and you wind up making lots of dear friends.
It’s always great when you can keep your employer happy at the same time as enjoying your job, and through creating an individual patient journey it enables us to keep the dentists busy with a variety of treatments. Needless to say, I very much enjoy working at Woodborough House. I wouldn’t change my career for anything…except for, perhaps, being a mum.
Cathy Hickey – Treatment & Patient Coordinator.