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An interview with dental nurse Finley...

What made you decide to do a dental nurse apprenticeship? 

I wanted to work and didn’t feel university was for me at the time. I wanted to do something practical and I had been interested in dentistry for a while after studying health & social care and science at sixth form. I really enjoy caring for people and I have a calming manner which would be well suited in a dental practice. 

How long have you worked at Crossbank Dental Care and how did you find the practice? 

A friend of a friend worked at the practice and suggested I write in to see if there was any vacancies. I had been writing to several practices in the area and started working here in 2019!

What was the most challenging and enjoyable parts of your training? 

My training was in covid which proved extremely difficult to complete at times! This involved a complete change in our SOP’s (standard operating procedures). The additional PPE required during covid was extremely uncomfortable to wear, especially the respirator masks! I would say one of the best parts of the training was the support I received from my colleagues and the encouragement to be hands on in surgery! 

How long did it take to complete your training? 

Altogether, it probably took around 2 years or possibly longer. During the lockdown we temporarily couldn’t physically work and there were no online classes at the time which delayed the process. On top of that, my training provider accidentally booked me on the wrong exam, I only realised this during the exam in Carlisle! That slowed the process down and I ended up sitting the correct exam in Blackburn because they only held the exams in Carlisle once a month!

How has completing additional training helped you to develop your career? 

Following my nursing qualification I later completed training in radiography and intra oral scanning. I am currently working on treatment coordination training. I enjoy the added responsibility that comes with the additional training and this gives me a larger role in the patient journey, often the nurse scans the patient's mouth as part of their treatment and work with the dentist to provide the patient with their optimal treatment plan. I am also trained in ILS (immediate life support), in the safeguarding team and a trained fire Marshall!

What are you planning to do in your professional future? 

I am currently studying to work as a treatment coordinator. I would love to work directly with patients as a familiar face and a point of contact at the practice. 

How do you see the role of the dental nurse changing in the future? 

I think there will be a larger scope of practice in the future for dental nurses. This is really exciting for my future in dentistry!! 

What do you find interesting about your job? 

For me I enjoy working with the clinicians who provide cosmetic dentistry, I love a good before and after! Sometimes a patients smile can be transformed in a day, seeing a beautiful end result is very rewarding for me!

What would you advise others who consider becoming a dental nurse? 

I would say that it is very outfacing at first, it is a whole new language with lots of terms to learn. Persevere with it as it will all click in the end! There will be a lot of procedures you likely won’t have seen before and it can be daunting at first, but in time its something you will get used to and becomes second nature!

If you had to swap jobs for one day in the practice, which job would you swap to and why? 

I’d probably swap with a cosmetic dentist for the same reasons mentioned earlier - its so satisfying to see the end result! 

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