This Alice

A day in the life of a Dental Nurse

Could this be a career for you?

Ever thought about what it takes to become a dental nurse or the process involved in gaining a diploma in dental nursing? Becoming a dental nurse takes two years of training with multiple exams and endless course work which probably sounds familiar to a lot of you and is a process the majority of us go through to get to where we want to be, and being a dental nurse is definitely where I want to be.

I personally qualified as a fully-fledged dental nurse in April 2017 and have never looked back.

Every day I arrive for work at 8:20am, sit and have a natter with my colleagues and have some breakfast to ease myself into the day, starting work at 8:45am, ready for the first patient at 9am.

This is where the fun begins, a full day of various dental treatments, making sure you’ve got everything ready and waiting to ensure a smooth day. There’s nothing worse than running late. To give you an insight on what type of duties a dental nurse undertakes throughout the day I have listed them for you as follows;

  • Set up the surgery for all types of dental procedures
  • Disinfect the surgery to within an inch of its life before and after each patient
  • Write patient notes,
  • Pre-empt the dentists' next move - be able to get five things at once as the dentist hasn’t quite decided which instrument they would like...and find said instruments,

The list is endless. I certainly would benefit as a dental nurse from having an extra six arms - this would definitely make life much easier! In summary, being a dental nurse is in comparison to a psychic mind-reading octopus! All of this is always helped by the key ingredients: the odd cup of tea or coffee, the odd biscuit (dare I say it!) and amazing work friends.

Dental professionals are always in denial about how much sugar they consume, but no one’s perfect and a chocolate Hobnob undeniably cures any emotion, so is a regular occurrence in our staff room! The other thing that helps me through the day is my dental family, I definitely see them as my extended family. My work colleagues are everything and more, we laugh, shed the odd tear and always can have a good chat. Working here at Life Dental & Wellbeing I can safely say I’ve made friends for life and pardon the pun, but we get on like a house on fire.

As a dental nurse, I always find that the novelty of a different coloured dental item always makes my day that little bit more exciting, so when we have ‘accidentally’ ordered pink dental masks, instead of the boring blue colour, we all got very excited - even Ben! However, the novelty does wear off after a few weeks and I’m always on the lookout for dental items a bit jazzier, sadly though I still haven’t found unicorn print masks or patient bibs.

This brings me onto our staff mugs and all dental professionals are the same in that we all have our very own special mugs and get a bit overprotective about our special mugs. As I mentioned earlier tea or coffee is one of the main ingredients of a dental nurse/clinicians daily life and if said ‘special mug’ goes walkabouts or (shock!) someone else is using your mug, all hell breaks loose. To the point where now Abi our wonderful hygienist keeps her mug locked away in her locker, and of course this mug has tooth anatomy printed all over it!

Being a dental nurse I have learnt to multi-task to the extreme, to pre-empt the future and how to disinfect anything and everything. One of the best things about being a dental nurse and working at Life Dental & Wellbeing is waking up in the morning and being happy to go to work, there’s nothing better!

Alice Long
Alice Long
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