Getting to grips

London West End hygienist Catherine Cattell talks about her recent experience at the hands-on course led by Amanda Gallie and Emma Pacey

What was it about this hands-on course that made you want to attend?

Exactly that – it was a ‘hands-on’ course. I had been looking for this kind of practical course for a long time with the aim to see if I had any clinical gaps in the service that I provide to my patients, and also to update myself with new techniques and products. You see hands-on clinical courses for dentists all the time, but it’s hard to find them for hygienists.  Theory courses are great but there is nothing like getting to grips with the instruments and then trying out new techniques and improving your existing ones.

Were you apprehensive prior to the course taking place?

Absolutely! Having qualified 30 years ago, I was nervous about what I might have missed in that time. Apprehensive that there might be loads of new instruments, skills and techniques out there in the industry I wasn’t taking advantage of and therefore not delivering the best treatment for my patients. It is vital for everyone in the dental industry to be at the top of our game, especially hygienists.

As I was a bit anxious, I registered with friends and colleagues of mine. Whilst it’s always great to network and meet other hygienists, it can be very nerve racking at first to walk into a room with a load of people you don’t know.

Not only was it reassuring to know there would be others attending I already knew, but the shared learning experience with my colleagues made the event so much more rewarding to attend.

How did you find learning from fellow hygienists Amanda Gallie and Emma Pacey?

They were fantastic. Their combined knowledge was vast and the concise delivery was outstanding. As I said, I was nervous about attending but immediately the girls put my mind at rest. They were extremely approachable, very relaxed and made everyone welcome and feel part of a team. Very quickly any apprehension I had was unfounded, especially being one of the more senior members of the group.

Amanda and Emma worked beautifully in tandem throughout the whole day, guiding us expertly through the various topics we discussed and offering unbiased advice on best practice for the role of the hygienist and the instruments that were most suitable for individual treatments.

The whole group was encouraged to get involved, ask any questions we had and even share any of our own hints and tips we used in practice.

Mixing us up in pairs as we tried out various techniques and instruments was great as again I found this kind of shared learning to be extremely valuable.

What were your highlights of the day?

I left the day feeling extremely energised about the role of the hygienist. I am now recharged, excited and feeling very positive about going back to my patients, providing them with the best service that I can.

As a direct result of this course, I will be speaking to my reps regarding the new equipment we used and also investigating using loupes so I can increase and develop the service that I provide to my patients.

Last but not least, the setting. [email protected] provided an excellent environment for this course, the venue and team were relaxed and at the same time extremely professional. The fact that the venue is within a dental practice as well, meant that the context of what we were all learning was right, unlike being in a generic training centre or standard conference suite. It was a massive bonus that the catering and refreshments throughout the day were delicious!

Would you recommend this course to others?

Absolutely and without hesitation. The knowledge and skills that I have picked up from this course have been second to none. Amanda and Emma provided excellent teaching and everything I experienced made me want to know more. It was also very reassuring to know that regardless if you qualified last week or like me thirty years ago everyone there left with the knowledge we could continue to deliver the same high standards of treatment to our patients. I can’t wait to attend further events in the hygienius series including masterclasses on implant and ortho maintenance in addition to reducing work fatigue through ergonomics, correct posture and loupes.

Another attendee said on the day ‘The more I learn, the more I love my job’ and I couldn’t agree more.

Are you a hygienius?

A series of hands-on courses especially aimed at hygienists and dental therapists is taking place at [email protected], the centre for CPD, held within the private dental practice of 38 Devonshire Street, London W1. The Hygienius Series is kindly supported by Optident and is hosted by Amanda Gallie and Emma Pacey.

The Hygienius Hands-On Masterclass Series: Implant Maintenance Course takes place on Saturday 13 October 2012, from 9.00am until 5.00pm.

It costs £225 + VAT per hygienist/therapist and £275 + VAT per dentist and is worth eight hours of verifiable CPD.

Future courses include From Hygienist to Hygienius, taking place on Saturday 16 March 2013; Hygienius Masterclass – Implants and Ortho Maintenance, on Saturday 15 May 2013 and Hygienius Masterclass – Reducing Work Fatigue: Ergonomics, Posture and Loupes taking place on Saturday 12 October 2013.

For more information, visit or to book a place, call 020 7935 5354.

  Catherine Cattell EDH, FETC qualified in 1982 from Guy’s Hospital. Since then, she has worked

predominately in private practice in London’s West End, including 14 years in a specialist periodontal

practice in the City.

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