What is your area of specialism?
I am a trainee dental nurse. This is my first job in dentistry.
How long have you been working at Woodborough House?
Since the end of February this year. I actually came to be working at Woodborough House by accident. I was supposed to be going to an interview at a dental practice up the road, but I came here by mistake. I turned up and Sarah came and had a quick chat with me and told me to come back to her if my interview with the other practice didn’t work out. I contacted Sarah about a week later and returned for a proper interview and got the job. It was so fortuitous that initially I went to the wrong place!
What is your background and your journey to where you are now?
I originally worked in the retail sector and in customer service roles including working on cruise ships for five years. Since returning to my ‘land life’ I’ve met my husband and had my children. I then decided that I wanted to do something completely new. So here I am!
I chose dental nursing mainly because I enjoy working with people. I love meeting people, talking to people and helping people. I’ve always liked the idea of working in the medical industry but didn’t want to go into nursing because I think that it would have been a bit too gory for me! So I thought dentistry would be a good middle-ground. I like learning new things and I know that as a dental nurse I’ll have the opportunity to continue to learn even when I’ve completed my training. Every patient’s case is different and there’s the possibility of expanding my knowledge over time and honing particular skills.
So far, it’s been great! It’s been very interesting. The team is lovely, so it’s been very positive. I spent the first six months working with the hygienists, learning the basic skills like suctioning and patient care and hygiene within the working environment. I now give chair-side assistance to Hamish, so I’ve been learning loads and growing the skills I learnt with the Hygienists.
I’ve just enrolled in my dental nursing course which is a year’s training with modules to work through over the months and I’ll be sitting my exams next November. After I’m qualified I can continue learning through different courses such as radiography or oral health. The dental nurse qualification is the foundation, you can learn so much more after that.
What is it about your job that you enjoy the most?
There is a lot more to dental nursing than I realised before I started. It’s more complex than I expected, but it is thoroughly enjoyable and is very rewarding. I like meeting the patients and chatting to them, but I was expecting that. The greatest reward has been when someone has a fear or anxiety around dentistry and so hasn’t come for a long time and they’ve finally got a serious problem and have been forced to come and allow us to help them overcome their fears. It’s nice to be able to see people at the end of their treatment and how much they’ve changed their opinion about going to the dentist and how their life has improved. Some people are so self-conscious when they first come that they are not confident enough to smile day-to-day. So to be able to treat that person and see their confidence lift, so they smile without thinking, is lovely. Witnessing that transformation is definitely the most enjoyable part of my job.
Where would you like your career to go next?
I’d love to study further and maybe gain a qualification in Oral Health Education, I think it’d be really rewarding to be able to educate people in oral health and help them to get into good, healthy routines early on to avoid problems in the future. I’m also interested in doing a Radiography or Phlebotomy course too, then I’ll be able to take X-rays and blood samples.
What is it about the WH culture that you like?
I’m very happy at Woodborough House. Everyone is genuinely caring and helpful. Everyone works so well together as a team, there are no cracks whatsoever for things to fall through. Everyone is respected and respectful and everyone is willing to help, learn and educate. I’ve really appreciated the amount of support I’ve received, I’ve never been told by anyone that they couldn’t help me.
How would you describe WH in 3 words?
How do you unwind outside of work?
As I have three children under the age of 6, I don’t exactly unwind outside of work! I don’t have much time to relax, the 10-minute drive home is my chill time. I love music, so outside of surgery I always have music on and you’ll find me usually singing or humming. I also like to read, especially books by B.A. Paris, he writes thrillers and they keep me gripped, so I don’t nod off reading them!
What’s your favourite film or book?
I enjoy watching films that I’ve already seen before – I know that sounds strange! I like lighthearted films that are also good fun, like PS I Love You and Bridesmaids. But I also enjoy a good, jumpy suspense thriller!
What’s your favourite meal?
I love a good pad thai. I’d highly recommend Thai Now on Oxford Road in Tilehurst and there’s one in Caversham called Thai Table, both do an amazing, authentic pad thai.
Who was your childhood hero/heroine?
I would have to say my sister. She’s six years older than me so she has always been an understanding and guiding force in my life. She was close enough in age that she understood, but obviously had more experience than me so I could always look to her for help and advice. She’s always been determined and focussed and I’ve always admired that about her. She has always been my first port of call, particularly since I’ve had children, as she had her children ahead of me, she has helped me navigate motherhood.
What was the last picture you took on your phone?
The last photos I took were at the Abingdon fireworks display. We went as a family and it was incredible! It was done by a pyrotechnics company so it was a proper show, it was all done to music and choreographed, it was really good. So I’ve got lots of photographs on my phone of me and my children at the display.
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