A day in the life: young associate dentist
I completed my foundation training at an independently run practice in north London, with three surgeries. After finishing training I took a maternity cover position within a corporate, and have since secured a full-time position when another associate left. I’ve been working at my current practice for almost two years now.
Working in an independent practice was a little different to where I work now. Firstly, I would say the principal had more control over the associates in terms of materials and their hours.
I now have increased flexibility regarding both how I work and the products I work with.
‘High standard across the board’
For me, one of the main benefits of a corporate is knowing that all the relevant protocols such as health and safety and cross-infection control will be followed to a high standard across the board.
We have a CQC inspection coming up and I am not concerned about it in the slightest. I can simply get on with my job with total peace of mind.
Also, once you begin working within a corporate, it is easier to pick up more work and opportunities at different locations – should you wish to – which is great.
At my current practice there is good private potential. I have taken the Inman aligner course so I can provide simple orthodontic treatment to patients, which has been quite popular. I’m also now offering anti-wrinkle treatments (using botulinum toxin), which I’m really enjoying – it helps to keep things interesting. I have a private target every month, separate to my UDA target, so I try to zone my diary to allocate time methodically and ensure I meet both targets.
In terms of my typical day, I start at 9am, but try to get in early to review my diary and check any lab work. I took on a list from a dentist who had been there for 15 years, which was a challenge initially as patients were so familiar with her, but I think they’re used to me now.
I see a lot of new patients now too, mostly young professionals, which reflects the area the practice is in. My other daily responsibilities are essentially the same as an independent dentist: working closely with other members of the team, and record keeping is very important so I spend time making sure this is accurate.
The Mydentist special app reminds me whose notes I still need to write and this is so helpful, especially when I’m very busy.
There is a great, friendly atmosphere within my practice – I certainly don’t feel like there is someone miles away, controlling everything, which I think certainly used to be a common misconception regarding dental corporates. I appreciate the clinical support too. I feel I have access to a lot of people who will help me to develop my career and because I am just three years out of university, this is really important to me.
There is obviously a degree of personal preference here, but the strong support network I have found within the dental corporate makes going out into the big, bad world of work a lot less scary for young dentists.
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