I worked as a General Dental Practitioner, both as an Associate and Practice Owner, latterly for a Private Corporate Chain prior to my recent retirement from clinical dentistry. Throughout my career I have had many positive mentoring opportunities such as being a vocational trainer and founding Women in Dentistry to help empower female dentists to achieve their potential.
My training included being a part of the Mentoring Development Team, including tutoring, on the Certificate Course of the FGDP(UK).
My interest in supporting colleagues to ‘reach their full potential ‘was sparked many years ago listening to my mum speaking to a colleague about a training programme they were organising for counsellors working for Marriage Care, a charitable organisation that offered Couples therapy. They were discussing Egan’s “Skilled Helper” model and as they explained it to me I realised that despite my mum’s background being not in dentistry, but in education she had used her listening and questioning skills when I was struggling in my first year in practice, to help me find my own solutions to get the support I needed at a potentially precarious time in my career.
Where did it all begin? For years I had been supporting others, watching them grow and develop into dental professionals and when their road took different twists and turns I would be there to listen and help them on their way. It all seems a long time ago and a lot has happened over the years; I have learned a lot and I am still learning.
What is my story? Well as the years went by and I had experienced many fields of dentistry I began to search for something that would foster and aid my passion for dental education. Having worked for a number of training providers and set up my own business I could see that the way I worked to support others had to change, but I didn’t know how. I had undertaken numerous qualifications and was very comfortable in my field and in education having been successful to Masters level and now being a PhD student.
The late sixties was a great time to be a student. Revolution was in the air, and deference to the establishment was being challenged. My teaching hospital was based in Leicester Square, and a generous student grant covered rent, life sustaining food, and a good ration of beer. I didn’t want it to end, so instead of going straight into general practice, I stayed in the hospital environment as a House Surgeon for a year.
Although I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Oral Surgery, and learnt a lot of skills that were very useful later in my career, a failed attempt to pass Primary FDS reminded me that I was no academic, and that General Practice was my only realistic next step.