As one door closes . . .

On 31 December 2006 the British Dental Receptionists’ Association (BDRA) sadly ceased to exist. The British Association of Dental Nurses has generously offered BDRA members the chance to transfer their membership to them, an offer which has been taken up by our members.

When the BDRA was founded in January 2002, its primary aim was to give receptionists a voice in the dental community. At the time of our foundation, dental nurse registration was imminent and it was apparent that those receptionists without a dental nursing background would become isolated as the only non-professional members of the team.

Now that dental nurses enjoy their new professional status, the need for receptionists from non-clinical backgrounds to have their own administrative and customer care-based professional development path is still relevant.

The skills and aptitudes that make an excellent receptionist are not the same as those that make for an excellent nurse. In fact, most nurses and receptionists have a strong preference for one or the other discipline. As time goes on, and the skills needed for each role continue to diversify, we will see increasing numbers of receptionists from non-clinical backgrounds whose training needs will be centred upon administrative and customer care skills.

There can be no doubt that over the coming years the differences between the levels of professionalism in the teams committed to CPD, and those who are not, will become apparent to patients, who will continue to place increasing demands on front-of-house staff as well as clinicians.

There is every possibility that many patients will migrate to the practices offering imaginative services which directly meet their needs, leaving only the patients that are not accepted or acceptable to the ‘better’ practices.

The BDRA’s key agenda was professional development for receptionists. One of the numerous ways of promoting this was through regular articles in the dental press on subjects relevant to receptionists. In future these articles will continue under the banner of the Receptionist Network.

In addition, The Dental Resource Company will produce an electronic, quarterly newsletter to be distributed, initially free of charge, to any receptionist asking to be added to the email subscription list. To subscribe please email me at [email protected].

It is to be hoped that at some time in the future a group for receptionists will attract the support required both from receptionists and their employers to make it viable. Until then, a small number of us will continue to try to keep receptionists’ interests on the dental agenda.

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