From supermarket tills to managing a practice

From supermarket tills to now managing a practice at Bupa Dental Care, Ciara Lyle shares her experience of switching careers during a pandemic.

Have you always worked in dentistry? If not, tell us a little bit about your career journey.

I started out my career working for Sainsbury’s at the age of 17, as a part-time checkout assistant at the weekends. This was pocket money for me whilst I completed my studies in Accountancy, Business, and Marketing alongside Bookkeeping in which I also did nighttime classes at the local college.

After this, I then went on and gained qualifications in Health & Social Care and also completed a Food Safety qualification with the Royal Society for Public Health in London. I have been very lucky throughout my working career to be influenced by great leaders, that pushed me to achieve my full potential.

I then became one of the youngest managers in NI when I completed my manager training at the age of 22, and relocated to lots of different cities and towns throughout my 14 years with Sainsbury’s. I saw the role of Practice Manager advertised for the local practice in my city and thought that sounds like a bit of me.

So I decided to give it a shot and go for it, to take a chance and have a change of career at 31 years old!

The reason I chose Bupa, is because it actually matched well with my own personal values and goals for the future. Even though I knew nothing about dentistry, I knew this was something I could get stuck into and learn, grow and develop myself and my knowledge even further. I haven’t looked back since coming to Bupa Dental Care and I am really excited for the future.

Describe a typical day as a Practice Manager…

A typical day as PM would start off by arriving to work greeting the team, not forgetting to boil the kettle and enjoy a quick cuppa before we kick-off! Then I would support in reception when needed in the mornings to help with patient calls, greeting patients upon arrival, completing screenings, and seeing their patient journey from start to finish – ensuring they had a pleasant experience with us.

Then I would carry on with my own list of things to do that will benefit the practice that week and share with the clinicians, reception team and my team of nurses what our plans and goals are. I work with the team in a number of areas: patient care, commercial planning, compliance and also individually from a personal development perspective – there’s lots of development opportunities in Bupa for the whole team – no matter what your role is.

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Ciara Lyle, Practice Manager at BDC Derry

Ciara Lyle, Practice Manager, Bupa Dental Care Derry

"Don’t forget to continue to lead, develop and inspire the team you have around you."

Ciara Lyle, Practice Manager at BDC Derry

“Don’t forget to continue to lead, develop and inspire the team you have around you as you will only be as good as them. This is truly a rewarding career because of both, your patients and your people.”

How have you found your first 6 months within the business?

I have found my first 6 months to be challenging – in a positive way, inspiring, and rewarding. We have achieved a lot already in my 6 months here and we continue to grow and improve week by week. My team are great!

How have you found working through Covid-19 with BDC?

Coming from working in retail in a pandemic to now working in the Bupa setting, I was used to wearing a face-covering all day long, so that side of things didn’t change. I have found it to be eye-opening with all the different national and local guidance coming through and changing so often.

But the support that I and the team have received from our up-lines and peers has been nothing short of amazing. We have grown, adapted, and supported each other throughout, and being able to still give great patient care and results. It has been a real testament to my team and we’re still be delivering great NPS scores. Our patients are happy too –  which is the most important thing.

What words of encouragement or advice would you give to others considering entering the world of dentistry?

First of all, I would say get used to the workload, give yourself time and don’t forget to breathe. It can be overwhelming at the beginning coming into a brand new field and industry, however the more you put in, the more you are going to get out and gain from your experience here.

Be patient with yourself, as this is something I struggled with when I first joined, as I want to know things, yesterday! However, of course, there was so much literature to study and get your head around, which meant that things took time.

Also, don’t forget to network with new Practice Managers who have also just joined the business as you can develop and grow together, whilst also building your support network. Don’t forget to continue to lead, develop and inspire the team you have around you as you will only be as good as them. This is truly a rewarding career because of both your patients and your team.

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

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.

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