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Posted by: The Probe 10th February 2021
Career progression offers many advantages to the modern dental nurse. Not only does it improve job satisfaction and therefore creates a better place to work, but it also helps the individual to fulfil their professional ambitions – whether they involve advanced skills, greater role diversity or moving into specialist disciplines.
Traditionally, many dental nurses have been unsure about the career pathways available to them, as well as how they might adapt their skills and transfer them to different roles within dentistry. More recently, the pandemic has also raised additional challenges in that time and effort has been focused on adapting to all the changes required in the practice in order to keep colleagues and patients safe.
However, as highlighted by the GDC’s Scope of Practice,[i] the role of a dental nurse includes a wide range of tasks and responsibilities, from preparing and maintaining the clinical environment to handling bio-materials, providing chairside support to clinicians, keeping records, maintaining equipment, processing radiographs, monitoring and reassuring patients and so much more. Of particular importance recently has been their role in infection prevention and control, with all dental practices required to work to new regulatory guidelines and protocols. Many dental nurses have been leading the way in this area for their teams.
Choosing a pathway
When it comes to creating a career pathway, there are various factors involved. As such, it is essential to research the options out there and to really understand the opportunities available. Some will offer training and development to advance clinical skills, while others will lead to new roles in management or operations. There is also often the chance to take on roles as Head Dental Nurse or to move into training and mentoring of colleagues to share experience and support others.
Once you have identified the aspects of your current job that you enjoy the most, you’ll have an idea of what type of roles would suit you best. This could reveal a passion for implantology or perhaps direct patient contact roles such as fluoride application or taking impressions, or it might highlight your talent for managing colleagues. From here, consider how you could develop your role to do more of what you love, seek our training courses where appropriate and speak to colleagues to see how they progressed in their careers. These first-hand accounts will be invaluable when choosing your next steps and reaching your goals. You may also need to speak with your practice manager if flexible working hours are an option, or they may be aware of funding options or events that could support your development.
Getting the right support
Depending on the route you select, it is essential that you have the right support to help you on your way. This could include everything from help at home to rearrange childcare or other commitments, to encouragement at work and the willingness of colleagues to cover any work that you need assistance with.
At Rodericks, we have a huge amount of success with our career pathways. Colleagues are open about the opportunities they were presented with and happy to share with others. Dental nurses need only speak to their practice managers to design a development plan specifically to help them fulfil their career ambitions. From trainee and apprentice dental nurses supported through their qualification and GDC registration, to those looking for postgraduate courses in additional skills like fluoride application, oral health and impression taking, we are here for them. We are also accredited to deliver training in dental radiography.
In addition, we have seen many dental nurses progress into a variety of other roles from lead dental nurses to dental hygienists, therapists, practice managers, area support managers, clinical and compliance support roles, recruitment business partners and heads of departments and our Chief Operations Officer also began her career as a dental nurse. There is an extensive network of professionals throughout Rodericks who support our dental nurses, including a dedicated dental nurse training team and a wider development team who organise internal training. There is a real family-feel to Rodericks, which makes individuals more comfortable to speak to others and get the support they need to thrive in their chosen career.
You might have taken on new roles due to the pandemic, or perhaps you are simply looking to make a change. Whatever the reason, progressing in your career could provide the skill development and/or role diversity that you are looking for moving forward. Think about where you want to be in one, three, five years’ time and plan how you’re going to get there. With the right support and motivation, the opportunities for career development are endless.
For more information on the career opportunities available at Rodericks, please visit www.rodericksdentalcareers.co.uk,
or contact Ashley Lillyman at firstname.lastname@example.org or on
01604 970988 (option 1)
Tracey Rodgers, Clinical Education and Development Manager for Rodericks Dental
Ashley Lillyman, Head of Recruitment for Rodericks Dental
Emily Gibbons, Recruitment Business Partner for Rodericks Dental
[i] General Dental Council. Scope of Practice. Effective from 30 September 2013. https://www.gdc-uk.org/docs/default-source/scope-of-practice/scope-of-practice.pdf [Accessed December 2020]
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