Celebrating 100 years of women dental professionals
Angie McBain-Heilmann MBE MA FBADN
Where did you qualify? And when?
I undertook my dental nursing course at Tottenham Technical College, my exam took place at Guys Dental Hospital. 1989
What attracted you to dentistry?
I was intrigued by dental nursing. Being a phobic patient as a child. I recall the many times the dental nurse supported and helped me get through my treatment. I felt compelled to do the same.
What are your current responsibilities in the profession?
Dental Workforce Development (DWD) Advisor, (HEE East) – where I lead on dental nursing education and I’m responsible for the organisation, monitoring and quality assurance of dental workforce development education programmes.
Dental Care Professional Tutor, Luton & Dunstable University Hospital Trust - where I’m
responsible for: leadership and delivery of training and education of DCPs within the Health
Education East of England region. I chair the Beds and Herts Local Dental Education
Director of Dental Nurse Education, Antwerp Dental Academy (ADG), Cambridge – here I
provide leadership and mentoring in career development to members of the dental team. I quality assure education events across (ADG) and I develop training programmes to support the CPD of ADG dental nurses.
CACHE/NCFE Dental Nursing Education Consultant/Programme Lead for the Principles and Practice of Dental Nursing Qualification – in this role I provide support and guidance to the awarding organisation to support the continual quality of the dental nursing qualification.
Your dental story
My first encounter of dental nursing was at 13 years old, this was my choice of work experience at a local dental practice. I left school in 1982 to undertake a trainee dental nursing post as part of a YTS scheme. In 1984 I decided to follow my interest in fashion. Although I enjoyed the work, it was not fulfilling enough, and the pull of dental nursing took hold once again. I started to undertake temping work in London to get myself back into dental nursing. Securing a job at South Tottenham family dental practice, I worked towards gaining the NEBDN National Certificate. On qualification I joined ABDSA (now known as BADN) and the voluntary national register (VNR) for dental nurses. After a move to Bedford, I was offered a DN post in the Oral Maxillofacial and Orthodontic Department of Bedford Hospital, later becoming a senior dental nurse. I gained the NEBDN Certificate in Dental Sedation Nursing (DSN) with Distinction, being awarded the 2000 Roche Award for the highest achieving DSN candidate that year.
At this time, I contacted Barnfield college to seek a teaching opportunity and I began as a guest speaker/lecturer. Then I trained as an NVQ assessor, eventually being requested to take over the delivery of the NVQ DN programme.
In 2002 I formed the BADN Bedford Local Group. I went on to hold various terms of office within BADN Council. I was elected as BADN President in 2007, serving a two-year term of office, it was an honour to lead the profession during the introduction of statutory registration. In 2011 I was awarded BADN Outstanding Contribution to Dental Nursing.
I decided to focus on the education aspects of my career and in 2004 I took up the post as NVQ Coordinator for Health & Social Care at the college. Fortunately, this enabled me to further develop the dental nursing provision, focusing on the role as Oral Health Coordinator. This provided the opportunity to develop a dental nurse training room. Working part time at the college allowed me to undertake commissioned work for Eastern Deanery 2006-20011, including planning and running Dental Nurse Symposia across the East of England. I then took up the permanent part-time post of DCP tutor in 2011, later extending my post to include Dental Workforce Development Regional Advisor
Priding myself in being visionary in the education and development of the dental nursing profession, I undertook a feasibility study for the University of Bedfordshire (UoB) in 2006, regarding the development of the first Foundation Degree (FdSc) in Dental Nursing. Employer response was excellent; going onto successfully write and lead on the delivery of the Foundation Degrees. It was hugely rewarding to see students successfully graduate.
Working within Antwerp Dental Academy since 2012 after meeting my colleague Raj during our Master’s Degree Programme, has provided numerous opportunities to continue to work in developing and supporting dental nurses, helping mould the profession for the future. Antwerp Dental Group were awarded a Princess Royal Training Award in 2017 for the work we are undertaking with Antwerp Dental Academy.
I continue to be fortunate in my dental nursing career, working with committed colleagues as we support the changes that are required in our profession. It is both exciting and challenging and I look forward to contributing what I can for the future.
What has been your most memorable achievement in the profession?
Receiving an MBE for Services to Dental Nursing. – in the 2012 New Year’s honours list, closely followed by completing my Master’s in Medical Education in 2015 and developing a Dental Nurse Training room at Barnfield College
What advice would you give your younger self on qualifying?
Nothing is out of reach – take every opportunity that comes you way. Work hard, and you’ll reap the rewards. If you believe in yourself, others will too……
Which of your mentors have influenced you the most?
Sarah Taylor – dental nurse colleague at Bedford Hospital - invaluable mentor for clinical dental nursing.
Pat Harle, BADN Past-President – I recall her feedback when I was unsuccessful in securing a tutor post at Eastman Dental Hospital as I was trying to embark on a career in dental nurse education. “Go and help develop and shape things in your own area” Which prompted me to contact Barnfield college back in 2001. Best advice she could have given me and certainly paid off.
Debbie Reed – dental nurse colleague – for her professionalism and determination to move dental nursing forward.
Pamela Swain – BADN CEO
Numerous tutor colleagues from Barnfield college
How have you used mentoring throughout your career?
Mentoring for myself has been more of an ad hoc process over the years. Nevertheless, hugely valuable. I have been fortunate to have the support of many dental and education colleagues, who have demonstrated excellent work that I could observe and learn from and not just clinical dental nursing or teaching skills and knowledge. Also the softer skills, professionalism, communication and coaching and mentoring.
Mentoring others has been a part of my working life for many years, in the beginning as a support to trainee dental nurses and new tutors that I worked with. My current role is fully immersed in mentorship, which I find hugely rewarding. Mentoring others is also a learning process for the mentor as well as the mentee. Supporting dental nurses to develop and nurture themselves and their career is a huge privilege.