A day in the life of a dental mentor

A day in the life of a dental mentor

At mydentist, we’re strong believers in supporting our clinicians to learn, develop and grow in their profession. One of the career paths we’re keen for clinicians to consider is mentoring.  We recently spoke with Susan Williams, who is not only a dentist with us, but also a clinical support manager and a mentor.

Graduating from Bristol in 2002, she did her vocational training in Shepton Mallet and then worked as a Senior House Officer (SHO) in Max Fax in Bath. Nowadays, Susan has quite the whirlwind of a schedule: working 3 days a week in surgery, 1 day in her CSM role and then 1 day a week (alternatively) as a dentist with a specialist interest (DwSI) in minor oral surgery in a dental access centre. She fits her role as a mentor within this, saying: “I provide support to my mentee while working in practice and aim for tutorials once a week and surgery observations at least once a month.”

When asked to pick the favourite part of her role, she couldn’t quite pick just one: “I love the variety of my different roles, supporting my mentees to develop their career in dentistry and treating a variety of different patients - sorry that’s 3 things.”

Life as a mentor

Susan started mentoring in 2007: “Initially I went on a day long course organised by the deanery, I have since attended updates in 2010 and most recently 2015.  There is now a lot more support for mentors and mentees than when I first started mentoring.”

“Initially I mentored 2 dentists who had completed their IQE exam, the first dentist I mentored only had to complete 3 months conditional inclusion. I then mentored dentists from the EU and now have come full circle to mentor dentists who have completed their ORE exam.”

So what does Susan’s role as a mentor involve? “My role as a mentor involves helping the dentist settle into the practice and working in the UK. I provide tutorials and carry out surgery observations. Where necessary, I provide practical clinical help, for example with difficult extractions, interpretation of radiographs and treatment planning for difficult cases.”

“I have mentored a variety of dentists from different backgrounds and with different levels of experience.  Often the dentist has a lot of clinical experience in their home country and just needs help with NHS rules and regulations and ways of working in the UK.”

Susan on being a mentor

“Being a mentor helps me consolidate my own knowledge. I am always learning from my mentees as well as passing my knowledge on to them. I get a real sense of satisfaction from helping a dentist develop a successful career in dentistry in the UK.”

When asked for to share some advice for clinicians considering becoming a mentor, she replied: “Do it! It really is a great career opportunity, allowing you to share your knowledge and skills while constantly learning new ones, and there is plenty of support out there. Full training and a mentor pack are provided and your CSM/CD are always willing to help out if you have any questions.”

Susan, whose practice has recently been rebranded, has seen a positive change in the business since becoming mydentist: “The practice feels and looks so much brighter, patients are always commenting positively on the appearance of the practice. The mydentist academy and clinical conference provide fantastic opportunities for clinicians to further their knowledge and meet up with colleagues from all parts of the company.”

Looking to the future, Susan says: “Currently I’m really happy with the variety in my different roles. Long term, I’d like to develop the oral surgery side of things and possibly become an FD trainer.”

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