How long have you been working at Woodborough House?
I have been working at this practice for over 40 years. I started as a trainee dental nurse in 1979!
What is your background and your journey to where you are now?
So, I started working with the previous owners of Woodborough House as a trainee dental nurse when I was just sixteen. Over the years, I worked my way up and became the head dental nurse. Then, in 1986, I took a short break after getting married and having children. I was asked if I could do maternity cover as they needed a nurse for the hygienist, and it worked well for me with my kids and the flexible hours. I haven’t left since!
John Andreassen and his partner Brian Ferris, both also from New Zealand, originally owned the practice. Brian eventually went on to do other things, leaving John as the sole owner. Eventually, John sold the practice to Sarah and Nick, around 18 years ago, and that’s when Sarah and Nick inherited me!
For the past 18 years, I’ve continued with dental nursing, moving to working closely with Nick as his Treatment Coordinator, and he taught me everything about dental implants.In the last couple of years, my role has shifted, and I am now the Clinical Manager for the practice, so I’ve moved away from dental nursing on a day-to-day basis.
Woodborough House has undergone significant changes over the years. When Sarah and Nick first bought it, there were only about eight or ten of us, but now we have nearly 50 staff. The growth has led to the need for different positions and responsibilities. We’ve also experienced various technological changes. Nick is always ahead of the game, never hesitating to invest in or try something new. I enjoy the challenge of learning new things, and Sarah has always been pleased about my willingness to embrace change and go along with them on their journey. I appreciate new challenges; otherwise, life can become a bit monotonous. It keeps you young! I’m turning sixty at the end of this month, and I can hardly believe it!
What is your role?
My primary responsibility as Clinical Manager is to ensure exceptional customer service at the practice. I work closely with both our patients and referral dentists, ensuring they receive top-notch care. This involves spending a lot of time on the phone, connecting with other dentists, and inviting them to visit us for educational events and socials. I also focus on providing support and comfort to patients undergoing complex treatments.
Though I used to be more involved in dental nursing, now my role is more focused on maintaining strong relationships with our referrers and patients. The dental nurses will still come and ask for advice, and I occasionally assist with sedations and dental nursing for major cases requiring experienced hands. But I generally don’t do nursing very much any more.
In essence, I ensure we maintain excellent relationships with both our referral dentists and patients. Sarah calls me our “customer service queen”!
What is it about your job that you enjoy the most?
I enjoy the interaction with the patients and the people. I’m a people person, and I prefer chatting face to face or on the phone rather than emails or messages. The most rewarding aspect for me is the connection with patients and the journey we go on together. Witnessing a nervous patient becoming at ease after their treatment is incredibly gratifying.
Over time, I’ve built strong relationships with some patients, and it’s heartwarming to see familiar faces in the waiting room. Patients trust me because I’ve been here for a long time, and that makes it easier to address their concerns and speak with them personally.
It’s amazing how much I’ve seen families grow, from caring for patients’ children to now knowing their grandchildren. We have a few patients who visit the village and come in for a hot chocolate or coffee, and we sit down and chat while they show me pictures of their grandchildren. Being part of this close-knit community is truly special to me, and we take our role in the community very seriously.
When patients go through difficult times, like bereavements, we make sure to send flowers and acknowledge their feelings when they come in. I’m always here for a coffee or a chat, providing support and a listening ear whenever someone needs it. It’s crucial to show that someone cares, and I’m more than happy to extend that gesture to our patients.
Where would you like your career to go next?
I believe this role will remain my focus, and I’m content with not nursing as much. To be honest, I prefer not to run up and down the stairs! Instead, I enjoy the responsibilities of visiting the referrers and fostering stronger relationships with other dental practices. Plus continuing to focus on patient relationships. The customer service aspect of working at Woodborough House is my passion, and I find great satisfaction in it
What is it about the WH culture that you like?
Woodborough House is unique. It’s not a corporate practice and our ultimate goal is to provide exceptional customer service and patient care. Delivering good quality dentistry is our constant aim. Our values are founded on good old-fashioned principles like loyalty and prioritising the patient above all else.
The culture at Woodborough House revolves around customer service, patient care, and ensuring top-notch dentistry. Nick and Sarah have brought this culture to the practice and taken it to new heights. Although the practice was already excellent, their influence has elevated it to another level. At the core, it’s all about the patient, and that remains our primary focus.
How would you describe WH in 3 words?
How do you unwind outside of work?
I like spending time with my family and my friends. I like going for lunch, having a glass of wine and meeting people basically. I know people like shopping, but it just bores me. I just want to get in and get out. Whereas my sister and daughter love it. No, I like going out for lunch with friends far more than shopping! I also like to go on holiday and visit my sister in Portugal.
What’s your favourite film or book?
To be honest, I don’t have a favourite film; I enjoy a mix of movies, from golden oldies to more recent ones. Lately, I’ve been more into watching series, and one that I absolutely love at the moment is Yellowstone. I’m eagerly anticipating the new season. There’s something about it – the storyline, the actors – that makes it so easy to watch.
What’s your favourite meal?
I must admit, I do enjoy a nice steak, preferably cooked medium to rare. Sea bass is another favourite of mine. When I have steak, I like to pair it with either a jacket potato or chips, along with some tasty steak Diane sauce and vegetables.
For a full meal, I’d begin with a prawn cocktail starter, and instead of a dessert, I’d opt for a cheese and biscuit selection.
What was the last picture you took on your phone?
It is a picture of my son Matthew with his greyhound, Mary Eileen, which I took over the weekend. He adopted Mary from a rescue centre, and she originally came from Cork. Before Matthew got Mary, I used to be scared of dogs, but not anymore. I now take her for walks and everything. She’s the most lovely and peaceful dog, truly as good as gold.
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