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A Day in the Life of a Dental Nurse.

Updated: Dec 18, 2018

Not just any Dental Nurse.....Vicky is a College Street Dental Nurse.

When tasked to write a blog about the 'Life of a Dental Nurse' I began to wonder whether or not any of the nurses at College Street Dental Centre, Petersfield, are actually what you would call a 'typical' dental nurse.  This is because the owners, Dr Afshin Khalessi and Dr Bita Farzad have a unique talent for employing nurses that are complete all-rounders. Each nurse is a bright, multi-skilled, flexible, patient, kind, caring, considerate and highly motivated individual, dedicated to delivering the very best in dental care for each and every patient that enters the threshold of the Practice.  Therefore it follows that 'a day in the life of a Dental Nurse' at College Street is not the same as 'a day in the life of a Dental Nurse' at any other Practice.

I cannot write this blog without a little word about the girls I work with.  Let's begin with our ever resourceful Practice Manager.  Natalie is an extremely experienced dental nurse; she has worked for College Street Dental Centre, Petersfield, for eight years and can turn her hand to every aspect of general dentistry, Orthodontics (Braces), Endodontics (Root Canal Treatment), Implantology (Dental Implants), dental administration, not to mention patient and employee management.  Nothing is beyond her. She even tackles the complex HTM0105 as well as The General Dental Council's many clinical governances.  She knows just about everything about anything.  There is very little you can encounter in this life that Natalie doesn't have some understanding of, so if you've got a problem no matter how big or small, Nat will have the answer!

Then there's the lovely Lee-Anne.  She's close on Natalie's heels for knowledge of all types of dentistry.  As Dr Khalessi's Implant nurse is perhaps where her real strength lies.  She's your go to girl for product knowledge and her organisational skills are second to none.  Not only that, she is the only dental nurse at the Practice that can make Tea to suit all personalities.

Sarah is the most experienced of all the Dental Nurses at College Street Dental Centre. She's a very hard worker and great team player; no-one can turn a surgery around quicker or find more ways to rearrange one.  She's always willing to lend a hand and join in with all the demands of running the Practice and she's an absolute asset to our team.

And then of course, there's me.  I'm literally your 'all singing, all dancing' dental nurse.  With a degree in Drama and a National Diploma in Dental Nursing I will assist you with all your dental needs in a pleasant and friendly manner, share a couple of jokes with you and, if you're still in reception whilst I'm clearing down the surgery you may even hear me singing a song or reciting some Shakespeare.

So 'A Day in the Life' goes something like this:

6:30am:  Alarm goes off and the snooze button is hit.

6:40am: Alarm goes off and the snooze button is hit.

6:50am: Alarm goes off and the snooze button is hit.

7:00am:  Alarm goes off and I drag myself out of bed and towards the kettle.

7:10am:  Shower has been had, tea drinking and morning news watching commences, whilst munching on cereal of course (knowing what's going on in the world provides a brilliant conversation starter for many patients)

7:40am: Now dressed, fed and fully updated, I'm ready to brush my teeth (for the full 2 minutes of course!) and leave with dental scrubs in tow.  I hit the road from Southsea to Petersfield and plough my way through the morning rush hour traffic, with Nick Grimshaw and the rest of the Radio 1 team for company.

8:20am:  I arrive for work, change into scrubs, collect the patient day list and organise the dental surgery for the day ahead.

8:40am:  I help the other girls organise the decontamination room for the day's sterilisation processes and fill out the first of many clinical logs. There are so, so many logs!

8:50am:  We hvae our morning meeting 'huddle'; this is when the whole team meet to discuss and resolve any patient or team support issues for the day.  With 2 General Dentists, an Implantologist (Dental Implants), an Hygienist, an Orthodontist (Braces) and hundreds of patients to keep up with, good communication within the team is essential, and most importantly this meeting means we all get to have morning tea together!

9:00am: I collect the first patient from the waiting room.

The morning then ensues; patients are guided to the surgery with a smile and a friendly chat, their dental treatment is taken care of in a gentle manner and they are then returned to the waiting room by the nurse.  Collecting patients and escorting them back to reception is something we in the biz like to call 'the patient journey'.  This process has two main benefits;  it allows the Dental Nurse to reassure and relax patients before they enter the surgery answer anu questions and also means that the nurse is on hand to book appointments and take payments should the reception be busy.  This way our patients are supported throughout their visit and it is the reason all of our nurses are dual trained.

10:30am:  By this time, if there is time between patients, I may sneak in a quick tea break and maybe even a biscuit....What's that I hear you say 'Biscuits, surely not?!', but yes I'm afraid it's true, us dental nurses do enjoy a good biscuit or two!

10:40am:  It's time to see more patients.  In surgery, the dental nurse is responsible for supporting the dental clinician as much as possible in order to stay on time and avoid keeping patients waiting.  Today's regulations and compliance with the CQC mean that almost everything that happens in surgery has to be recorded in the patient's notes and with the advancement in technology there are many different computer programmes that the nurse must know how to use in order to record these notes accurately.  This is why when you come into the surgery you will often hear the nurse typing away furiously in the background, informing the dentist about updates from the Hygienist or other clinicians and reminding them about clinical checks which need to be done.

12:00pm:  This is usually my lunch time, yay!  It's time for another cup of tea, some soup and perhaps another biscuit or two.  Then chewing gum, to neutralise those pesky plaque acids and protect my teeth!

12:30pm: Yep, you've guessed it; it's time to see more patients!

Between appointments, the dentist will check and finish off the notes made by the nurse whilst the nurse ensures that the room is disinfected and sterile instruments are put out.  All instruments go through a three stage cleaning process which each nurse is responsible for.  At first the instruments are wiped to remove any obvious signs of contamination with disinfectant wipes, they are then placed in an ultrasonic disinfector for fifteen minutes and finally rinsed and placed in a sterilising machine called an autoclave for another fifteen minute cycle.  After this they are covered and stored in surgery for reuse.  By doing this the dental nurse protects all patients from cross contamination.  This is called cross-infection control.

3:30pm:  On a Monday and a Wednesday the surgery I work in closes.  After this time the surgery is shut down again and prepared for cleaning by the external cleaners.  The nurse is responsible for disposing of all clinical waste in the correct manner, disinfecting all the work surfaces and cleaning the dental lines and suction of the chair.  We also have to make sure the surgery is fully stocked for the next day, that the rest of the clinical logs are filled out and that all equipment is ready for reuse.  Quite often there are tests that must be carried out to ensure all these processes are being carried out correctly.

4:00pm:  At this time I'm usually just about finished with my surgery so I lend a hand to make sure all the other surgeries running later have managed to keep on top of their jobs.  I also help out reception with administration tasks, do the housekeeping, put away any stock orders, and prepare for future appointments....I may also sneak another tea and biscuit in too!

5:00pm:  Home Time!! This time with Greg James (Radio 1).  And if I'm not feeling lazy, I may go to the gym or for a run.  Or go along to rehearsals if I'm gearing up for another play.

So I think that's about it, I hope this has given you all a little bit of an insight into what goes on behind the scenes at College Street Dental Centre, Petersfield.  We dental nurses work very hard within a great team which includes the fantastic Dental Clinicians and Business Manager that work alongside us.  Our aim is to give you the best dental experience in the area and we do hope that this is the case.

For further information or advice contact College Street Dental Centre in Petersfield, Hampshire on 01730 263180


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