Celebrating 100 years of women dental professionals


Jane LukerjaneL

Where did you qualify and what year? King’s College London 1981

What attracted you to dentistry?

I knew I wanted to work in healthcare and didn’t want to be a doctor. Dentistry seemed like a good option, in hindsight I probably knew very little about dentistry when I applied other than going to my own dentist, and speaking to him about it.

What are your current responsibilities in the profession?

Postgraduate Dental Dean HEE South West

Consultant in Dental & Maxillofacial Radiology

Deputy Medical Director (Professional Standards) of a large teaching trust

Chair of examiners Royal College of Radiologists, Diploma in Dental & Maxillofacial Radiology

Jane’s dental story

At dental school I enjoyed my clinical training and my sights were set on becoming a general dental practitioner, probably because I was not fully aware of other career opportunities.

Following graduation I undertook a 1 year house job at King’s College Hospital, during this year I won the DENTSPLY student clinician award, which led to a trip to the American Dental Association annual conference in Las Vegas, my first experience of a dental conference.

I then moved to undertake an SHO post in Bristol where I was encouraged to apply for and was successful in obtaining both an MRC training fellowship and FDS, within three years of completing my BDS. Over the next 3 years I completed my PhD and got married.

In 1987 I was appointed as a senior community dental officer based within Bristol Dental Hospital to provide dental care for medically compromised patients, and support oral medicine clinics. This was an extremely rewarding time developing services for this group of patients especially those with HIV and children with cancer. In 1996 after two periods of maternity leave I decided to undertake training in Dental & Maxillofacial Radiology, I was extremely fortunate that the Dental Hospital supported me in this training and I continued to lead the medically compromised service. Speciality training was not easy and tested my organisational skills to the limit, as I was required to travel to London on a regular basis for training, revise for exams and had the demands of two young children.

Following completion of my speciality training in 2000 I was appointed to a consultant post at Bristol Dental Hospital & School and just after two years in post became clinical director for dental services at a time when a new consultant contract was introduced and dental undergraduate numbers were increased by 50 per cent at Bristol. I was given an opportunity to lead on the 12 week RTT for the surgical specialities.

As a consultant I developed a device for head and neck ultrasound and secured funding for a CBCT machine. Initially I was also undergraduate teaching lead for radiography and radiology and then became lead for the oral disease course.

In 2007 I applied for and was appointed to the role of Deputy Medical Director for the University Hospital Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, this was initially daunting as I had not been involved in the senior management of medics before, but I felt I was judged on my behaviours and actions rather than my being a ‘dentist’.

I was fortunate to be offered a place on the South west Top Leaders Programme for leadership and management in 2009. I also established a new consultant mentorship programme for the trust.

In 2013 I applied for and was appointed as Postgraduate Dental Dean for HEE South West, it is a privilege to undertake this role and influence the training and development of the dental workforce, I have a great team to support me locally and approachable and knowledgeable colleagues nationally.

What has been your most memorable achievement in the profession?

Developing the medically compromised service and in particular a screening service for patients undergoing bone marrow transplantation.

What advice would you give your younger self on qualifying?

Keep your options open, take opportunities as they arise, the timing may not always be ideal but might not come around again.

Which of your mentors have influenced you the most? Professor Crispian Scully

How have you used mentoring throughout your career?

Early on in my career I was not as aware of coaching and mentoring, but I certainly had several mentors to whom I could go to talk through my options. The importance of coaching was highlighted to me when I was a coachee to a colleague training to be a coach, this encouraged me to undertake a coaching course, the skills have been invaluable in supporting colleagues, trainees and friends.

Who We Are:

Dental Mentors UK is run by two experienced dental mentors.
We are:

We believe that all dental professionals would benefit from regularly working with a mentor from a personal as well as a professional point of view. Mentors are experienced dental professionals who can guide and support you throughout your career.

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