Celebrating 100 years of women dental professionals
Where did you qualify? And what year? School of Dentistry, Belfast 1990
What attracted you to dentistry?
I originally wanted to become a General Nurse but when it came to getting some work experience at school I didn’t fancy the local nursing home. My mum suggested the local ‘school dentist’ so I went there for two weeks and absolutely loved it. I applied for the next available training course at the Dental Hospital in Belfast.
What are your current responsibilities in the profession?
I am currently employed by Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust as Associate Director – Lead Nurse for the Dental Services Division. I am part of the Divisional Leadership Team providing Clinical Leadership for all non-dentists and also have responsibilities for Safeguarding, Governance & Patient Experience.
Tina’s dental story
I trained as a dental nurse in Belfast back in the late 80’s and was awarded the Kilner Mc Court prize for the highest mark in Ireland for the NEBDN qualification. I then gained 10 years hospital experience across all dental specialities to include Orthodontics, Advanced Restorative, Orthodontics, Maxillo-facial surgery and Special Care Dentistry. Having been the first person in Northern Ireland to complete the NEBDN Certificate in Dental Sedation Nursing I then went on to complete a management qualification through Queens University, Belfast.
In order to use these qualifications, I moved to work in Homefirst Community Trust Dental Services to set up a GA and Sedation Dental service for Special Care Adults. Following completion of my teaching qualification I moved to Birmingham Dental Hospital to teach full time introducing the NVQ Level 3 for Dental Nursing. At the same time, I completed my assessing qualifications and also introduced the NEBDN Special Care Dental Nursing post-qualification to support the workforce in the West Midlands. I moved to Dublin Dental University Hospital to take up a post of Director of Nursing with responsibility for Nursing, Nursing Education, Household and Decontamination Services and oversaw the introduction of the National Dental Nurse Training Programme, regular Continuing Professional Development programmes despite there not being mandatory registration for the dental nursing profession in Ireland.
I returned to the UK in 2015 to take up a position as General Manager – Dental Nursing in Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust with overall responsibility for nursing services between the Dental Hospital & Community Dental Services. The Trust received Foundation status in 2016 and as a result Dental Services became a stand- alone Division with the introduction of a Divisional Leadership Team and a new post of Associate Director – Lead Nurse position which I have been in since March 2017.
I have, at every opportunity afforded to me, actively promoted dental nursing, team dentistry and both personal and professional development. I have represented the dental nursing profession in a number of arenas to include:
- Member – British Association of Dental Nurses – 1990 – 2003
- National Examining Board for Dental Nurses (NEBDN) UK external examiner for National Certificate and Conscious Sedation Post Qualification 1998 – 2013
- Member – Irish Dental Nurses Association 2003 – 2016
- Dental Nurse Representative – British Society for Disability & Oral Health 2004 – 2010
- Dental Nurse Representative – Irish Society for Disability & Oral Health 2004 – 2011
- Co-Author – Special Care Dentistry Chapter - Advanced Dental Nursing Textbook - 2004
- Continuing Education Officer – Irish Dental Nurses Association 2005 – 2008
- President - Irish Society for Disability & Oral Health 2008 - 2010
- Executive Committee Member – Conscious Sedation Examiners Committee (NEBDN) 2011 – 2013
- Secretary - Irish Dental Nurses Association 2011 – 2015
- President – Irish Dental Nurses Association 2011 - 2015
- Dental Nurse Representative - Irish Dental Council (Dental Auxillaries Committee) 2011 – 2015
- Dental Nurse Representative - Inter-Collegiate Advisory Committee for Conscious Sedation in Dentistry, publication of Standards for Conscious Sedation in the Provision of Dental Care. April 2015
- Ambassador – Society of British Dental Nurses – 2015 – to date
What has been your most memorable achievement in the profession?
I have been quite privileged to be involved in a number of memorable achievements but two that stand out are:
- I hosted the first Joint Executive Committee meeting between the British Society of Disability and Oral Health and the Irish Society for Disability & Oral Health as part of our annual conference, which was opened by our then Patron, President of Ireland, Mary Mc Aleese (2009)
- I was co-ordinator of the first Mouth Cancer Awareness Day held in Dublin Dental University Hospital with a drop in for free mouth cancer check up with 2000 unplanned patients processed in one day (September 2010)
What advice would you give your younger self on qualifying?
Never doubt any opportunity that presents itself – just grab it, use it, learn from it.
Which of your mentors have influenced you the most?
Professor June Nunn, Consultant in Special Care Dentistry and past Dean of School of Dental Science, Trinity College Dublin.
How have you used mentoring throughout your career?
Informally I have used mentoring throughout my career taking guidance and support from various experienced clinicians, academics and managers who have helped me become a strong professional clinical leader and manager.