Celebrating 100 years of women dental professionals
Where did you qualify? And what year? Northampton 1999
What attracted you to dentistry?
Working in a clinical environment
What are your current responsibilities in the profession?
I am a senior lecturer at the University of Northampton where I teach across a number of professional groups/disciplines to include dental nurses, general nurses and paramedic students. I am a mentor and also a Care Quality Commission inspector. I also provide external quality assurance for CACHE, which is an awarding body for dental nurse qualifications.
Nicky’s dental story
I started my dental nursing career at the age of 16 in a two dental surgery practice just outside Norwich. However, becoming a qualified dental nurse came much later in my career. I gained a valuable insight into dental nursing and practice management through working at the practice in Norwich so when I moved to Northampton I had the opportunity to become a practice manager in a small one-surgery practice. After having children, I went back into the profession as a part time dental nurse and was delighted when I was promoted to head dental nurse in a very busy three surgery NHS practice. I thrived on the organisational aspect of the role and soon realised the importance of providing trainee dental nurses with a strong foundation of the principles of dental nursing. I felt this was the right time to become qualified myself to provide a positive role model to the trainees. I decided to take post qualifications in radiography and oral health care and fluoride application and impression taking to support the dental practice in providing care for the patients and impart my knowledge to the trainees. The opportunity to progress in my career at the University of Northampton as an NVQ Assessor and Internal Verifier gave me the confidence to form judgements on the students’ competence and support them accordingly. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to gain a level 4 qualification in work place coaching, and this enhanced my silks in supporting students and staff. During this time, I gained the Stage One and Stage Two Certificate in Higher Education and subsequently my manager asked me if I would be part of a team to write a foundation degree for dental nurses that lead to registration. This was a huge task and one I was able to successfully achieve. I believe that I have been privileged in the support I have received in all aspects of my career especially in achieving the BSc in Professional Practice, and Nursing and Midwifery Council Level 7 teaching qualification. This enabled me to teach oral health care to student nurses and mentorship to qualified nurses and dental nurses at the university. I enjoy the quality assurance aspect of dental nursing programmes, and I jumped at the chance to be part of a team to quality assure another awarding bodies dental nursing qualification. My professional interests include: education; quality assurance; mentoring and coaching; oral health education and continuing professional development
What has been your most memorable achievement in the profession?
Gaining the BSc in Professional Practice (dental)
What advice would you give your younger self on qualifying?
Have confidence in your ability to succeed
Which of your mentors have influenced you the most?
Margaret Ashford and Janine Brooks
How have you used mentoring throughout your career?
I have supported student dental nurses through mentoring in clinical practice, and delivering a level 6 mentorship qualified dental nurses a level 6 mentoring qualification to qualified dental nurses.