Celebrating 100 years of women dental professionals
Where did you qualify? And when?
I qualified from Queen Mary University, London with a dual diploma as a Dental Hygienist and Dental Therapist. 2005
What attracted you to dentistry?
My mother was a dental nurse, so I had a familiarity with the profession. I wanted to be in a profession that helped people and where I felt I could make a difference.
What are your current responsibilities in the profession?
Currently I am working four days a week in general practice. I mainly undertake the work of a hygienist and am also a Safeguarding Lead / Deputy.
I am a freelance dental writer for various dental journals but routinely publish in Dental Nursing Journal and in Oral Health Journal.
I am in the final year of a Master’s Degree in Dental Law and Ethics from the University of Bedfordshire. As part of this degree I am undertaking research into Professional Identity of Dental Therapists and Hygienists and their perceptions of their positioning within the team.
Your dental story
I started my dental career as a Dental Nurse, qualifying with Merit in the early 2000’s. After a couple of years nursing I decided I wanted to train to become a Dental Therapist and Dental Hygienist. I wanted to make a difference and especially enjoyed the challenges that treating children presented.
After qualifying in 2005 I have worked within private practice and really enjoy the patient interaction. I love my job, but I do find it stressful at times; the clock is your constant enemy!
In 2007 I was nominated and became a finalist for Dental Therapist of the Year and I won the award in 2011. I have tried to use this award to help raise the profile of Dental Therapists and Dental Hygienists over the years.
In 2011 I joined the British Association of Dental Therapist’s (BADT) council as Editorial Panel Member for their journal Dental Therapy Update. I did this role for about 4 years; this was an interesting time within the profession as it saw the implementation of Direct Access in 2013. I was part of a team that gave a presentation to the General Dental Council when they were considering Direct Access. Being on council was a great and worthwhile experience, I think associations can be integral to a profession’s advancement.
Since 2015 I have been a regular freelance dental writer, and in the same year I decided to embark on a Master’s Degree. I am currently in my final year of the Dental Law and Ethics Masters at the University of Bedfordshire. This has really stretched my mind and I have enjoyed collaborating academia with clinical work. I have found a passion for research and have been able to indulge my love of reading evidence-based literature and analysing data. I decided to undertake research about Dental Therapists and Dental Hygienists as the literature review showed this group have not been asked many questions about their professional identity and their positioning within the team. I have a love for dentistry and always strive to raise the profile of our DCP group, this research is still in it’s early stages and I am looking forward to seeing what this group of professional’s perceptions are.
What has been your most memorable achievement in the profession?
Winning the accolade of Dental Therapist of the Year in 2011 I feel is my greatest achievement. It was nice to be able to invite my parents who have been a great support in my career to the awards ceremony to be part of my journey.
What advice would you give your younger self on qualifying?
I would advise my younger self to stay true to why I joined the profession. To be realistic in what you can achieve clinically and to appreciate having time off. I am and always have been a workaholic and my greatest critic. I have learned the importance of taking time off over the years!
Which of your mentors have influenced you the most?
This is a difficult question. I have had two main mentors in my working career thus far. Bal Chana has been a great mentor, both clinically and emotionally. Bal has been there from the beginning of my career; she has seen my high’s and low’s. Since 2015 Dr. Hoda Wassif has been a great academic mentor, as supervisor of my research project she has been a big influence on this academic area of my professional development. I have been fortunate though, I have had some great working relationships with many colleagues who I have worked with. Each of them in their own way, being an important part of what is a fluid mentoring process.
How have you used mentoring throughout your career?
Having mentors has been important to me. Dentistry can be lonely and intimidating at times, it is nice to have a confidant who you can talk things over with. That person who can be objective and give you advice, reassurance and encouragement when it is needed. I believe that mentors have had a direct affect on my personal and professional development and this has added to my job satisfaction and my clinical ability.