Nicki Rowland fills us in on what to expect from the Dental Business Theatre CQC panel at this year’s Dentistry Show.

Just around the corner is this year’s Dentistry Show and after huge success in 2016, Practice Plan will be curating The Dental Business Theatre programme for the second time.

One of the many industry-renowned experts taking to the stage is dental consultant and award-winning practice manager, Nicki Rowland. Nicki will be one of the ‘Power Hour’ panellists discussing how to ‘lead, manage, comply’ and stay on the right side of employment law and the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Practice Plan caught up with Nicki ahead of the show to get a glimmer of what delegates might be able to hear at the panel discussion.

Practice Plan (PP): You’re in the theatre for the first time and on the panel with Sarah Buxton, Pat Langley and Sheila Scott. Do you think you’ll have conflicting opinions considering your backgrounds and line of work?

Nicki Rowland (NR): I am looking forward to meeting the other panellists and packing a punch with our amalgamated knowledge. I think we may have different approaches because of our experiences and personalities, but essentially, we will be singing from the same CQC hymn sheet. A combined approach to a topic is very powerful, as it pulls together expert knowledge and opinion that delivers the pearls of wisdom that delegates are searching for.

PP: A lot of your work focuses on team management and communication within dental practices. How integral is this to passing a CQC inspection?

NR: It is absolutely essential. The majority of practices that are currently failing inspections are in breach of the ‘well-led’ key line of enquiry (KLOE). When you drill down into this KLOE, it’s all about good leadership, management and governance systems. To ensure that your practice is well led, each individual team member needs to understand the finer details of what the CQC inspectors are looking for. This means that robust communication systems need to be in place to help build trust, gain commitment, generate accountability and ultimately produce compliance. Great leadership and communication are a must to achieve all of the above.

PP: You were a practice manager yourself for nine years. Does this help you to relate to dental professionals?

NR: Definitely. I have stood in the same shoes as the practice managers that I work with and have a genuine understanding of the challenges facing dental teams, day in, day out. I have had to deal with the sleepless nights, staff conflict, financial issues and bureaucracy, just as practice managers do right now. As Gina Greenlee said: ‘When we establish human connections within the context of shared experiences we create community wherever we go.’ This is definitely my ethos.

PP: In these ever-changing times in the dental industry, if you had one piece of advice for practice managers, what would it be?

NR: Be courageous. To be a great leader and manager, sometimes you really have to dig deep to produce the results. Running a practice is no easy task and making decisions for the greater good can often lead to conflict and resistance. Very few of us relish a skirmish and dealing with dysfunctional team members can be particularly challenging. Courage, self-belief and inner strength are the order of the day.

PP: What can delegates expect to take away from the CQC discussion in the theatre?

NR: Between the panellists, we will deliver the pearls of wisdom I mentioned earlier. Managers and providers often want the CQC Chinese whispers cleared up and want to know what best practice is, what is mandatory and what is a legal requirement. Hopefully we can do just that!


This year’s Dentistry Show will take place Friday 12 and Saturday 13 May at the NEC Birmingham. To find out more about Practice Plan’s Dental Business Theatre programme, visit www.practiceplan.co.uk/events.