In The Spotlight – Pramila Gurung
How long have you been working at Woodborough House?
It’s been nearly 6 years.
What is your area of specialism?
I am one of the dental nurses at Woodborough House. I work with all the clinical team including the hygienist and,the general and specialist dentists. More recently I’ve been working mainly with Nick looking after our patients having dental prosthesis. After a patient’s initial consultation, I am involved the whole way through the patient’s journey, including surgery until completion. I am essentially the patient’s nurse throughout all the different stages of the process.
What is your background and your journey to where you are now?
I started my job at Woodborough House as a trainee dental nurse. I hadn’t had any dental training prior to that. I am from Nepal originally and did general nursing for sixteen years back at home. When I first came to this country I initially worked in care homes working as a carer. Then in 2015, when I realised I was pregnant with my son, I decided I wanted to improve my working situation. I wanted to upskill, and find an opportunity and place to train that would provide me with a ladder for me to climb. I was looking for a dental practice in the Reading area and fortunately for me, I came across Woodborough House. There was the opportunity for a trainee dental nurse role where I could train and become qualified. I applied for the position, Sarah contacted me and I had an interview and did a trial day. Afterwhich, Sarah decided to keep me as a trainee and that’s how my journey at Woodborough House started.
While I was training, I worked mainly with the general dentists and the hygienists. I’ve always been happy to work with any clinicians in the practice because you learn new things from each person. Once I qualified, following passing my exams, I started working with Sarah, the lead clinician at Woodborough House and specialist dentist, Kuljeet. My confidence has grown so much from working with different dentists over the years. Now I’m working with Nick, our most skilled specialist. It’s been a long but fulfilling ladder to climb for me, and I’m still climbing it!
What is it about your job that you enjoy the most?
I enjoy assisting the dentists. I enjoy myself whatever I am doing and whoever I’m working with. I’m quite a shy person, so I enjoy the contribution of my job. How my role has changed over time is something I’m particularly proud of. I feel a lot more confident now as a result of being successful in something that was completely new to me not too long ago.
Compared to general nursing, working as a dental nurse with dental specialists is more like being a surgeon’s nurse. It is a big responsibility, but it’s a responsibility that is shared with the dentist. With general nursing you spend more time taking care of patients by yourself, which can be very stressful. I feel like I’m on the front line still, assisting the dentist, but there’s less personal responsibility. Don’t misunderstand, I’m not any less conscientious and I still have tasks that are my own responsibility, but I enjoy working more in a partnership. I’ve enjoyed learning new skills and I’ve learned so much from all of the dentists at Woodborough House.
Where would you like your career to go next?
I’d like to continue working with Nick. He is highly regarded and he is a very skilled dentist, so it is a privilege to be involved in what he’s doing. I have to always try hard and do well working with Nick which is good for motivation.
I’d like to continue to get better and better at what I do. I’d like to learn more about sedation and in particular IV sedation so that I can take on this as part of my role. (I can only do oral sedation at the moment.) There is so much I still have to learn, but that particular area is what I’d like to focus on in the next few months.
What is it about the WH culture that you like?
The environment at Woodborough House is very much like a family, everyone is very friendly. I feel like I get on with everyone, we are a good team. Sarah and Nick are very encouraging and supportive of us all. They understand the challenges of juggling work and family and have been very accommodating, allowing me to work part time so I can look after my son. Working at Woodborough House we get the opportunity to go on courses so that we can continue learning and improving our skills, that is also very important to me. Woodborough House is very highly regarded and I can’t think of any other practice that is like Woodborough and that I would like to work for.
How would you describe WH in 3 words?
How do you unwind outside of work?
I play with my son, I like to spend as much time with him as possible. He’s going to be seven in August. I take him to the park and now, having got my confidence back after covid, to other places like the cinema.
What’s your favourite film or book?
My favourite film is Home Alone. I’m not into serious movies. I think it’s very funny. My son hasn’t watched it yet, but he might be old enough to watch it this Christmas. I’m really looking forward to watching it with him, I’m sure he’ll laugh a lot.
What’s your favourite meal?
I like typical Nepalese food. Chicken or pork curry, lentil soup, rice and vegetables. I make it myself at weekends.
Who was your childhood hero/heroine?
My mother. She made sure I had a good education. Back home in Nepal when I was a child, a girl’s education was not always given priority. When I was growing up, my father was in the British army in Nepal, so my mother looked after me and my brother, as my dad was out of the country a lot. She couldn’t read or write, but she was determined that wouldn’t be the same for me. My mother made sure that both my brother and I were educated. She also made sure that I took school seriously so that I would be able to get a job and would be less reliant on a man for finances. My mum’s view really shaped me as a person, and made me what I am today.
What was the last picture you took on your phone?
It was a picture of my son at school last week when he got a certificate for good writing. He is proudly holding his certificate in the photograph.