Jo Dickinson, winner of UK Best Outstanding Team Member at The Dentistry Awards says that there has been an increase in patients joining their practice since winning an award.
I am very humbled to be awarded this title, especially as I believe it is the first time this title has been awarded. I feel I am just one part of the picture though. You can only be a good team member if you are part of a good team.
I have been made to feel very welcome at the Old Surgery Dental Practice in Crewe; it feels like my second family if that’s not too crass. I was struck by the professionalism of the team and their approach to patients.
They have a similar ethos to me in terms of patient care. Personally, I have always felt my role is more than just treating patients; it’s looking at the bigger picture of creating projects locally that improve oral health and also being part of the mentoring and peer support of fellow dental care professionals (DCPs). This is becoming increasingly more important as the profession moves towards some big changes in the next few years.
In addition, I feel we should all be developing good relationships with dental companies to give them feedback about products and help them develop portfolios of materials, instruments and equipment that are likely to be in demand in the future. I feel this is synergistic for both dental suppliers and clinicians.
Realistic and measurable
The future for hygienists/therapists is likely to change significantly over the coming years, and so being part of a profession that provides good quality verifiable continuous professional development (CPD) means a lot to me. I feel quite strongly that anyone providing CPD should have some understanding of the learning process and that learning outcomes should be both realistic and measurable.
As we move towards accreditation being compulsory, it will become easier to identify high quality CPD courses. Although I love treating patients and can’t ever see myself not doing this, I have found that another real love is teaching. Not just formal lectures but hands-on workshops. I have been thrilled to be offered some fantastic opportunities to be a guest speaker at some of the major dental conferences. I think the experience and knowledge we develop in practice is invaluable and to be able to pass this on to other DCPs is a real privilege.
A look back
When I look back over the 30 years that I have been in the dental profession, so many things have changed. I feel the gradual increase in extending the duties of DCPs has been a very positive one. I no longer feel submissive needing permission at every stage to complete the treatment I have been trained to do. I understand that many medical nurses felt the same before their duties were extended some years ago.
There was initial concern through the medical profession that it was a step too far and undermining GMPs. As they patiently demonstrated their skills and professionalism, their new duties became accepted as the norm. Now it is almost unheard of for GMPs to carry out the simpler tasks of smear tests, blood tests and other procedures. If we are to continue to ask our dental colleagues to support our desire to extend our duties further, we need to take the same professional approach. I would hope that this transition can be done collaboratively with our dental colleagues and not see dissension damage the profession as a whole.
Value of awards
In regard to the value of awards, we have already noticed an increase in the number of patients joining our practice. It would seem the kudos of receiving such an accolade does influence patient decisions. Our existing patients are also delighted that they are part of an award winning practice.
I have no doubt that award ceremonies like this do lift the perception that the general public has of the dental profession. I am tired of hearing about negative stereotypical images of dental professionals. Accolades like The Dentistry Awards do create positive images of a profession that cares and performs at the highest level possible.
My advice to other dental professionals is to enter these awards. It is a fantastic night and you can get to mingle and network with many other practices from across the UK.
For more information and to request an entry pack visit www.dentistry.co.uk/awards or to register call the awards team on 0845 184 1498. Entry deadline is 27 July.