Extraordinary people

Young Dental Hygienist & Therapist of the Year 2012, Kirstie Thwaites, shares the passion that made her a winner

When the business manager at one of my practices suggested I enter the DH&T Young Hygienist & Therapist of the Year Award, I was more than a little uncertain.  I love my job and always aim to give 100% but I certainly didn’t see myself as an award winner!  Having never entered an award before, I didn’t know where to begin but, after discussing it with colleagues, I decided to enter.  Once I had decided to enter, the daunting task of writing my entry dawned. Writing my entry provided me with time to reflect on what I have achieved so far in my career and my plans for the future, it also created lots of discussion in the practice!

Being shortlisted for the Young Hygienist & Therapist category was amazing. All of my colleagues and patients were very excited leading up to the ceremony and winning was absolutely fabulous!

It has been motivational for the whole dental team and a huge talking point in

the practice!

Kirsty’s tips

• Your journey

Where did you begin? Why are you where you are today? What made you choose a career in the dental sector? What drives and motivates you?

• Think of the extraordinary

Tell the judges what is different about you, you are up against lots of other people who have done the same as you, but what sets you apart?

• Showcase your work

Give specific examples and as much supporting evidence as possible. Don’t just say it – prove it!

• The main event

Include campaigns and events. How have you tried to raise oral health standards and awareness in your practice or community?

• The big achievements

Ask colleagues what your main achievements are and ask them to write a testimonial for you

• Be amazed

Ask your patients to write you testimonials, you will be amazed at what they will write about you!

• Show your passion

How do you exceed your patients expectations to deliver that 5 star service to ensure they receive the ultimate care?

• Jumping hurdles

Be honest, nobody is perfect! What hurdles or challenges have you faced? What has gone wrong?  How did you overcome and correct them?

• Future plans

What are your plans for the future? How do you see your career developing?

• Be proud!

My final tip is not to be uncomfortable with entering an award. It is not about telling the judges that you think you are the best, it is about rewarding and acknowledging your hard work, dedication and success of which you should be proud

Get creative

The award ceremony will take place on the 24 January 2014 at the Barbican Centre in London
• Best Young Hygienist (under 30) or Best Young Therapist (under 30)

If you are a dental hygienist or therapist aged 30 or under (on 14 December 2012) then why not enter this category? If you have worked hard and produced impressive results through your career so far, get the recognition you deserve! Tell us what you have achieved, describing any hurdles you have overcome. Have you championed a successful project or maybe something else? Please include a photo and 750-2,000 words on why you fit the bill.

• Best Young Hygienist (over 30) or Best Young Therapist (over 30)

Tell us how you ensure that your patients receive the ultimate in oral health care. Do you have particular methods to make everyone visiting you feel extra special? Do you go the extra mile when it comes to providing 5* customer service? Provide us with patient testimonials to support your entry. Please include a photo and 750-2,000 words on why you fit the bill. The overall ‘Best Hygienist or Therapist of the year’ will receive a truly impressive trophy.

• Best Preventive Practice

This category is designed to recognise the UK practice with the strongest, best established and well thought out preventive ethos, whether it be NHS, private or mixed. As a team, you will successfully communicate the oral health message to your patients, you will work together to raise oral health standards and you will regard prevention as your number one priority above all else. You may send in as much supporting evidence as you like as well as your team’s personal opinions and patient testimonials! Please include a photo and 750-2,000 words.

• Best Marketing/social media (campaigns during school holidays etc)

Effective marketing can mean the difference between success and failure. With direct access to patients on the horizon for you, there has never been a more important time to market your skills. Provide us with examples of your innovative campaigns that successfully reach your target patients and referring dentists. With many of you now using social networking sites, Twitter and Facebook, marketing can come easy – but it’s those that think outside the box that dream up the best campaigns! Please include proof of effective marketing.

• Best Dental Innovation (healthcare promotion)

Have you been creative with oral health promotions and campaigns? Did you go out on a limb to raise awareness of National Smile Month or Mouth Cancer Action Month at the practice. Or did you dream up, initiate and run an exciting oral health project or development? It may have been a special children-only day in practice or a visit to local schools or an oral health awareness campaign. Submit your entry today.

• Best Hygienist or Therapist of the Year

Tell us how you ensure that your patients receive the ultimate in oral health care. Do you have particular methods to make everyone visiting you feel extra special? Do you go the extra mile when it comes to providing 5* customer service? Provide us with patient testimonials to support your entry. Please include a photo and 750-2,000 words on why you fit the bill. The overall ‘Best Hygienist or Therapist of the year’ will receive a truly impressive trophy.

• Best Scheme for Treatment of Nervous Patients

Do you provide special or dedicated treatment for nervous or phobic patients? Are your initiatives unique and ground breaking? Tell us how you excel in delivering care to this patient group

• Best Child Dental Health Initiative

Children are the future and ensuring easy access to quality oral care is a vital tool in ensuring the dental health of the nation. Do you have an innovative, exciting and unique scheme for ensuring that your young patients look forward to attending your practice and receive outstanding service, designed to meet their specific needs?

Entry is so simple!

• Simply choose the categories you wish to enter, you may enter as many as you like for just £10 + VAT

• Call Karen Sherwood on 01923 851775 to pre-register your entry as soon as you can

•  The full entry deadline is on 30 September 2013 so you still have plenty of time to produce a top class entry. You can save your entry onto a USB or dropbox via email to [email protected]

Kirstie qualified in 2006 from Leeds University as a dental hygienist and therapist. She performs a range of treatments at Start Smiling, from routine dental hygiene appointments to more complex periodontal therapy. She is also trained as a dental therapist that allows her to carry out restorations for adults and children. She has a special interest in children’s dentistry and children are often referred to her for their dental treatment. As a dental therapist Kirstie is able to carry out all aspects of children’s dentistry and some adult treatment. Kirstie gets great satisfaction from helping patients to overcome their fears and anxieties related to dentistry and will shortly be completing training in inhalation sedation. In 2010, Kirstie completed a postgraduate certificate in medical and clinical education which allows her to teach. She is a clinical educator for the dental hygiene programme run by Essex University. She is an active member of the British Association of Dental Therapy and a member of the British Society of Paediatric Dentistry.

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