An extraordinary dental nurse

When she left school, Kerry didn’t know what she wanted to do, but knew she wanted to help people – a career in dental nursing did this and more. Kerry shares her experience and what she believes makes an extraordinary dental nurse.

Tell us about your journey into dental nursing.

I’ll be honest, when I left school I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. I went to a careers fair and one of the options introduced to me was dental nursing. I’ve always loved looking after people, so it just seemed to make sense to give it a shot. Things obviously went well because I’m still here twenty-five years later and loving it.

The Everyday Hero Awards – Each quarter, we give our teams the opportunity to nominate their colleague for the everyday hero award. A chance to highlight the incredible work they’ve been doing throughout the year, and to shine a light on just a few of our everyday hero’s across the business.

Why were you nominated to be an Everyday Hero and how did it feel to win?

Firstly, I was really surprised and overwhelmed to hear I’d won the Everyday Hero award for being an extraordinary nurse. My colleagues tell me that it was my work leading the Infection Process Control work in my practice and supporting my area with the fit-testing for our new COVID-19 safe PPE that made me really stand out.

When we needed someone to take all of that on, I immediately put my hand up as I’m the most experienced nurse in our practice. Luckily for me, our team at Yarm are super
enthusiastic so it wasn’t a hard job.

Kerry, a dental nurse at Bupa Dental Care Yarm

Kerry, Dental Nurse, Bupa Dental Care Yarm


"I’ve always loved looking after people, so it just seemed to make sense to give it a shot."

Kerry, a dental nurse at Bupa Dental Care Yarm

“I’ve always loved looking after people, so it just seemed to make sense to give it a shot. Things obviously went well because I’m still here twenty-five years later and loving it.”

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Kerry’s top tips to be an #extraordinary Dental Nurse

Bupa Dental Care Dentist in surgery with patient
Building positive relationships

Make building a positive relationship with your clinician your top priority. If you’re starting with a new clinician then set aside time to find out how they like to work so you can build a great partnership. You spend most of your day with them and if you’re lucky most of your career too

Apprentice Dental nurse - Bupa Dental Care
Be proactive

Be proactive and stay two steps ahead of what your Clinician and Practice Manager need so they can focus on the bigger picture. Reading the weekly internal comms for the latest updates first thing on a Monday is a great place to start.

Bupa Dental Care Dental Nurse
Form a supportive team

Form a strong and supportive team with your fellow dental nurses as you’re going to stick together to help each other out if one of you needs to take time off or needs a hand with something

Bupa Dental Care Dentist with patient in surgery
Put your patients at ease

Get out into the waiting room and put your patients at ease. We want them to trust us and keep coming back, and us dental nurses are at the forefront of that conversation.

Bupa Dental Care therapist showing Patient scan results
Leadership

Don’t be shy about taking on tasks that might require a bit of leadership. Not only will it help your Practice Manager but it will also help you take steps towards becoming a lead nurse or even a manager if that’s the the direction you’d like to head in.

Kerry’s top tips to be an #extraordinary Dental Nurse


Building positive relationships
Bupa Dental Care Dentist in surgery with patient

Make building a positive relationship with your clinician your top priority. If you’re starting with a new clinician then set aside time to find out how they like to work so you can build a great partnership. You spend most of your day with them and if you’re lucky most of your career too

Be proactive
Apprentice Dental nurse - Bupa Dental Care

Be proactive and stay two steps ahead of what your Clinician and Practice Manager need so they can focus on the bigger picture. Reading the weekly internal comms for the latest updates first thing on a Monday is a great place to start.

Form a supportive team
Bupa Dental Care Dental Nurse

Form a strong and supportive team with your fellow dental nurses as you’re going to stick together to help each other out if one of you needs to take time off or needs a hand with something

Put your patients at ease
Bupa Dental Care Dentist with patient in surgery

Get out into the waiting room and put your patients at ease. We want them to trust us and keep coming back, and us dental nurses are at the forefront of that conversation.

Leadership
Bupa Dental Care therapist showing Patient scan results

Don’t be shy about taking on tasks that might require a bit of leadership. Not only will it help your Practice Manager but it will also help you take steps towards becoming a lead nurse or even a manager if that’s the the direction you’d like to head in.

What would you say makes a great dental nurse?

If I had to whittle what makes a great dental nurse down to one key point, it would be the ability to put yourself in other people’s shoes because our job involves interacting with and supporting almost everyone else who sets foot in our practice. That mindset will help a Dental Nurse make great working relationships with everyone they need to.

But first and foremost is the relationship you have with your clinician because this is someone we spend at least 6 hours a day with within the surgery. A great nurse is always a few steps ahead of their clinician so pre-empting what they need is great. If you’re starting with a new dentist, always make time to ask them how they like to work, how they chart and how they like things mixed.

Secondly is thinking about what you can do to make your Practice Manager’s lives easier as they have a lot of things to juggle and knowing they’re surrounded by a proactive team who will just get on with things means they can focus on the bigger picture, getting more patients through the door and helping you build a more satisfying career.

In every practice, there’s always a handful of dental nurses and we work very closely together so being able to create a really strong bond is also really helpful for everyone. Having each other’s backs if you need an extra pair of hands, having to take time off or if there’s a sudden rush of appointments – it’s a real relief.

And last but not least, thinking about what patients need is essential. I used to be quite nervous when I first started but now I always make time to speak to every single patient that my dentist and I see.

Obviously now we’re a bit restricted by COVID rules but as soon as social distancing changes then I’ll be back to my normal routine of going out to chat with them in the waiting room, asking them how they are, what they’ve got on that week; just to put them at ease before they come into the surgery.


Our practice culture


Our culture is centered around going above and beyond for patients. Whether you’re working with patients directly or indirectly, you’ll be based within an empowering environment to give your all to create positive experiences and broad smiles.

Our caring approach extends to our employees too. It’s why we’re so big on training, development, and progression. It’s also why our practices are such friendly, collaborative places – people quickly become friends as well as colleagues.

Bupa Dental Care Dentist - London

Why we're different


As the only corporate dental provider in the UK not backed by private equity, we’re in a unique position. We’re committed to the UK dental industry for the long-term – both private and NHS – and are ready to treat not just today’s patients, but generations to come.

Furthermore, Bupa has no shareholders, so we’re able to focus 100% on delivering the best service for customers. We are run commercially to ensure we remain competitive, but we reinvest 100% of our profits to help provide better care for patients across the world.

Why not join us today? You can find our latest vacancies here.

dentist and patient smiling into a mirror

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