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NOV
17
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Career development opportunities and support

Career development opportunities and support

 

 

Sarah Weston (pictured above) has been working for {my}dentist – a member of the Association of the Dental Groups (ADG) – since 2013 and currently works in Woodbridge, Suffolk. Here, she explores what a normal day entails…

 

I qualified from Guy’s hospital in 1996 and have worked in Australia, New Zealand and the UK. I have worked across most sectors of the profession – as a house officer in New Zealand, in NHS and private practices and as a partner and an associate.

 

At my current practice in Woodbridge, we are predominately NHS in a small market town, but do offer a range of private services. With an interesting demographic of patients we get the chance to utilise all our skills. It is a busy practice as we routinely see 25-30 patients a day. I am lucky that I work with a really great team and most of us have worked together for a while now. It’s good to be with other people who understand the stress and strains of the job and can have a good laugh together at times.

 

I work full time so my days tend to be fairly similar. I start with a coffee then move on to checking day-lists, patient records and lab work etc. I hate surprises so I like to know what’s coming. I spend my day performing a mix of examinations and treatments with the odd interesting case thrown in.

 

I also offer facial aesthetic procedures and have recently been on the denture excellence course. It is great to be able to offer such a wide choice of treatment options to patients and the denture excellence has really taken off. It’s an area I really enjoy as a good denture can make so much difference to someone’s quality of life. I am hoping to undertake an implant restoration course soon as well, so I will be able to restore the implants placed by colleagues at local practices in the group.

 

Since working for the corporate I have also become a mentor, which has definitely been a highlight for me. It is a role I really enjoy, as after 20 years in the job it is nice to pass on some of my experience to the younger generation. I had a great VT instructor when I started and I hope I can be as good to new associates as he was to me. It’s a job that is mutually beneficial – it is extremely rewarding to see a mentee improve and gain in confidence and it does the same for the mentor.

 

Within the corporate we are so lucky to have a high level of support from practice and area managers through to clinical support managers (CSM) and clinical directors. They are there to help prevent small problems becoming larger ones. I know that the ‘red flags’ and KPIs can feel intrusive at times, but I do feel they are there to help clinicians above everything else. A visit from the CSM should be seen as a positive thing and I am lucky to have a great CSM in my area. One thing I have learned is that it can be lonely in the independent sector and there is no-one looking out for you in the same way. I think the support network available is the real strength of corporate dentistry.

 

We are also incredibly lucky to have the online academy and the reminder to complete CPD when it is required. This can be a burden for dentists and if there is any way to make it easier then we should be grateful! My practice manager keeps us in check with when our CPD is due and the opportunity to complete it online is a great help, especially when I am busy in practice five days a week. Overall, I feel that my move to {my}dentist was the best thing I could have done for my career. The opportunities are there to further my career in ways that I didn’t feel existed in the independent sector.

 

Having worked for most of my career in the independent sector I was aware of the negative press surrounding corporate dentistry before I joined the group, but I have to say that those rumours were all unfounded. In fact, I feel quite passionately that new graduates are still being given that negative message and as a company we should try to give the next generation the facts and talk to them directly.

 

I enjoy my job enormously but I would relish the chance to move out of the surgery environment a little in the coming years. I would like to expand on my mentoring role and continue with more training and support of new dentists and I hope I can achieve this within the company.

 

 

For more information about the ADG visit www.dentalgroups.co.uk

 

  1843 Hits
1843 Hits
NOV
08
0

A day in the life: a young associate dentist

A day in the life: a young associate dentist

 

Christine Gordon is a young associate dentist at Putney Bridge Dental Centre in London, a MyDentist practice which is a member of the Association of Dental Groups (ADG). Since graduating from The University of Sheffield in 2012, she has worked in both an independent and now a corporate practice. Here, she discusses her career so far and how the move into corporate dentistry has impacted on her working life…

“I completed my foundation training at an independently-run practice, which I very much enjoyed. It was in North London, with three surgeries. After finishing my foundation training I took a maternity cover position within a corporate; and have since been lucky to secure a full-time position when another associate left. I've been working at my current practice for almost two years now.

“Working in an independent practice was a little different to where I work now. Firstly, I would say the principal had more control over the associates in terms of materials and their hours. I now have increased flexibility regarding both how I work and the products I work with. For example, I can put in a request for the materials I would like to order and, within reason, these are usually authorised so that I can use the materials I prefer.

“For me, one of the main benefits of a corporate is knowing that all the relevant protocols such as health and safety and cross infection control will be followed to a high standard across the board. We have a CQC inspection coming up and I am not concerned about it in the slightest. I can simply get on with my job with total peace of mind and no last-minute panic that the practice won't pass and will need to implement any big changes! 

“Also, when I finished the initial maternity cover with the corporate, there was about a month before my full-time role began and I was worried about having no Units of Dental Activity (UDAs) to do during that period. But then I was told about a nearby practice in the group that I would be able to work with in the meantime. Once you begin working within a corporate, it is easier to pick up more work and opportunities at different locations, should you wish to – which is great.

“At my current practice there is good private potential. I have taken the Inman Aligner course so I can provide simple orthodontic treatment to patients, which has been quite popular. I'm also now offering anti-wrinkle treatments (using Botulinum Toxin) which I'm really enjoying - it helps to keep things interesting. I have a private target every month, separate to my UDA target, so I try to zone my diary to allocate time methodically and ensure I meet both targets. 

“In terms of my typical day, it doesn't differ too much from life in an independent practice. I start at 9am, but try to get in early to review my diary and check any lab work. I took on a list from a dentist who had been there for 15 years, which was a challenge initially as patients were so familiar with her but I think they're used to me now. I see a lot of new patients now too, mostly young professionals, which reflects the area the practice is in; with lots of flats and new builds. My other daily responsibilities are essentially the same as  an independent dentist: working closely with other members of the team to make the patient journey as pleasant as possible and record keeping is very important so I spend time making sure this is accurate. The MyDentist special app reminds me whose notes I still write and this is so helpful, especially when I'm very busy.

“There is a great, friendly atmosphere within my practice – I certainly don’t feel like there is someone miles away, controlling everything, which I think certainly used to be a common misconception regarding dental corporates. I appreciate the clinical support too. We have a Clinical Director and if I have any problems I can just fire off an email and he will help in any way he can. I feel I have access to a lot of people who will help me to develop my career and because I am just three years out of university, this is really important to me. There is obviously a degree of personal preference here, but the strong support network I have found within the dental corporate makes going out into the big, bad world of work a lot less scary for young dentists.”

 

To find out more about the world of ADG please visit http://www.dentalgroups.co.uk

  2567 Hits
2567 Hits

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