In the first of a new series, Dannii Schroven discusses why now is the time for the dental nurse to shine.
Working through a pandemic, I think all dental nurses have widened their knowledge, experience and patient care. During the time of the first lockdown, we were just as concerned as our patients. The terrifying changes to procedures, the extra PPE and the way we came across to our patients was such a big change.
I found that being really relaxed and calming around the patients seemed to ease them a lot more. I know that a lot of dental nurses agreed that the more concerned you looked, the more the patient didn’t want to interact. It’s understandable and it’s something that the dental community had to prepare for, in quite a fast pace.
Now more than ever, dental nurses are seen as critical workers. They are becoming more and more known and their jobs are finally being shown. With social media platforms forever developing, there’s an interest in dental careers. It takes a lot to do a job like a dental nurse – forever on our feet, forever running around and forever needing a five-minute sit down.
We walk into work and immediately start. There is no time to make a cup of tea and get settled…it’s always a rushed momentum in the practices. When COVID hit, the pressures were even higher. To the point, some couldn’t take the stress any longer.
I have found ways to release anxiety, stress and nerves. It was all through the power of meditation and yoga. Dental nurses tend to get a lot of tension in the shoulder and neck area. It’s common because of the way we sit during procedures, but also because we are on a constant rollercoaster throughout the day. Yoga can fix this and meditation is also key, especially when you are juggling study time in too.
Dental nursing entails so much. We often get comments on the fact that we just ‘suction all day’. Well, I can well and truly say that’s not the case. Life as a dental nurse is busy and always on the go. But when you are a student dental nurse – let’s just say there is no break. Studying while working 40 hours a week isn’t easy. On top of that we have extra duties and often go home thinking about our day.
Nursing comes with a kind heart, a helping hand and positive attitude. It can be hard, but you also fulfil a job role that is so important.
In 2020, as a dental nurse I learnt that our safety is so important. I can’t comprehend how much of a massive deal it is to be safe. Even though the PPE is uncomfortable, it’s protecting us and it’s so important that we wear it to keep safe.
I also gained a lot more confidence. I feel so much more willing to take leaps now, whereas before I was very sceptical. Now I’ll try anything and expand my knowledge a lot more.
I think dental nurses will face a lot more stresses with the pandemic, such as being redeployed. This is a major thing, especially if you are still training and learning. It’s really scary being thrown into something that you don’t know much about.
Redeployment is a high possibility. It’s a tough time, but I think we will all learn from it and become better, stronger people. It will definitely pay off in the future. Overwhelming as it may be, our job role is to care for people. I know a lot of the dental nurses will help and put themselves on the line to help – myself included.
Onwards and upwards
I would 100% like to see dental nurses become even more known. I’d like to see dentistry get recognised for all the hard work that has been put in since the COVID-19 pandemic. And I’d really love for people to notice how much we care and appreciate our patients, even though we are worried and scared too.
This is the year dentistry gets more exposure and I’ll be there to make sure that happens!
This year, I am looking forward to exploring my opportunities, starting my radiography training and finally getting my photography course finished. It’s important to me that I have many other attributes within my career – I think it will help boost me as a nurse.
This year I also hope to get in some travel before finally settling down and preparing for my wedding and buying our home. Hopefully 2021 will be a good year and bring us some positivity!
If anyone needs a chat, my inbox is always open on my Instagram: @dentalnursedannii.
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