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.