Celebrating 100 years of women dental professionals
Where did you qualify? And what year? Birmingham 1987
What attracted you to dentistry?
Doing work experience with a family friend who was a most inspirational dentist and I just loved his work.
What are your current responsibilities in the profession?
Associate in General Dental Practice.
Dental Educator for HEE Midlands and East working at Birmingham Dental Hospital and Worcestershire Royal Hospital and as part of a central team designing the quality assurance for the curriculum providing Continuing Professional Development for dental teams.
Dental mentor for HEE Midlands; supporting dentists returning to work after a career break, dentists with performer list conditions and those colleagues who find themselves in difficulties with the regulatory bodies, and facilitating training programmes for mentors in the region.
Marie-Claire’s dental story
After qualifying in 1987 I was one of the first cohorts to take part in Foundation Training and worked in General Dental Practice for two years and then for a few years in the Community Dental Service in Birmingham. I went on to help run two dental practices with my husband and was a Foundation Trainer for several years. I took on the part time role of Postgraduate Dental Tutor in 2002 as I recognised that for me a “portfolio” career would help me manage the stresses and strains of running a practice and help me grow my skill set.
My desire to be a better tutor, trainer, “HR manager” and dentist saw me complete multiple post graduate qualifications in the fields of Dentistry, Medical Education, Coaching and Mentoring and NLP. For the past ten years I have worked as an associate in practice part time and this enabled me to increase my role with the Postgraduate Dental team at Health Education England, working across the Midlands to help design, facilitate and manage the Continuing Professional Development programme and act as one of the lead mentors supporting colleagues. Over the past few years I have been fortunate to be involved in facilitating 2 and 3-day Coaching and Mentoring programmes for dental trainers, educators and managers, in Primary and Secondary Dental Care services and helped create a register of dental mentors across the West Midlands. We have also created a package of resources and processes to support these mentoring relationships.
What has been your most memorable achievement in the profession?
When my patients put their trust in me to care for them.
What advice would you give your younger self on qualifying?
Be the very best you can be at all that you do and be kind to yourself.
Which of your mentors have influenced you the most?
Jane Davies- Slowik, my Interim Dean, has encouraged and supported me and when needed raises an eyebrow at my “but I can’t do that“ moments. And my late parents whose inspirational achievements and unconditional support I sadly miss.
How have you used mentoring throughout your career?
Surviving thirty years in Dentistry, running a practice, parenting five teenagers and supporting colleagues who face challenges has taught me that given the time to explore and think we all have the resources within us to find our own solutions to challenges. If we have someone sitting beside us when we are facing these challenges it can help us not only manage the issues but grow, develop and learn at the same time. I have had the fortune to be surrounded by colleagues and family inside and outside the profession who have listened, supported and encouraged me throughout my career. They believed in me and I believe in the colleagues I support and hope that I can “help people become better at helping themselves in their everyday lives.” (Egan G., 'The Skilled Helper', 1998).