Celebrating 100 years of women dental professionals
Jane Davies-Slowik MBE
Where did you qualify and when? University of Liverpool in 1980
What attracted you to dentistry?
I wanted to be in a profession where I could help people and where I could have flexibility in my working life as well as the possibility of being my own boss. I have always been a people person and had excellent role models in my parents, my Dad was a GP and my Mum a nurse.
Jane’s dental story
I applied for a place to do dentistry as a result of watching a friend of mine having an anterior composite done with great skill at his brother’s practice.
I thoroughly enjoyed my student years in Liverpool and decided to work in the local community dental service before applying for a house job, but I loved the job so much that I stayed. I loved the variety in the work, working with patients who had higher disease levels and special needs, the public health aspects, the opportunities to continue learning and the jokes from my Scouse patients. During this time, I also worked as a salaried GDP near the docks – an eye opener for a young dentist with a spiky haircut (it was the punk era) “You don’t look like a dentist – you look like a dolite!”.
I moved to the West Midlands due to family circumstances again into the CDS – I tried to find part time work in GDP but at the time there were no associate vacancies, and worked my way to managing the service and collected a Masters in Community Dental Health and Diploma in Dental Public Health on the way.
I was lucky enough to spend 12 months in India training Tibetan dental therapists which combined my love of travel, dental public health and training – it was great to see the young men and women developing to be able to go back to their settlements to provide dental care for their communities in exile.
Back home, I continued as Clinical Director and developed my special care clinical skills resulting in me being grandfathered onto the GDC specialist list in 2012. This has allowed be to become an examiner for the Diploma in Special Care Dentistry, RCS England, as well as further developing my clinical skills and acting as a clinical supervisor for young dental core trainees.
My portfolio career reflects my interest in postgraduate education, starting work in the West Midlands Deanery as Retaining and Returning Adviser in 2002 and then taking on further roles as they became available culminating in my role as Interim Postgraduate Dental Dean until April 2018. As part of my deanery role I work with dental registrants needing professional support and took a coaching and mentoring qualification to enable me to use these skills to improve communication and facilitate their development. I work as a sole trader and coach/mentor individuals as well as co-founding Dental Mentors UK, which is an on line directory of mentors from the whole dental team for the whole dental team.
I remain enthusiastic and eager to learn and feel that I continue to have a varied and interesting career in dentistry and take every opportunity to develop new skills.
What has been your most memorable achievement in the profession?
An audience with the Dalai Lama with my Tibetan trainees and being awarded an MBE for improving the oral health of disadvantaged people in Wolverhampton
What advice would you give your younger self on qualifying?
Make the most of every opportunity, be brave in taking on new challenges and chase all your goals!
Which of your mentors have influenced you the most?
My current mentor, Sally Strazzanti and the consultant in Dental Public Health who believed in me and increased my belief in myself.
How have you used mentoring throughout your career?
Mentoring has been important to me throughout my career. Having a mentor has been invaluable particularly at times of change and at crossroads. I use my coaching/mentoring skills in my roles as a manager, educational supervisor, and with registrants I support.
What are you doing now?
Working as Interim Postgraduate Dental Dean, mentoring as a sole trader, co-founder of Dental MentorsUK, examiner for Diploma in Special Care Dentistry, lead assessor for National Clinical Assessment Service (NCAS).