The dental world – transferrable skills
Oral hygiene soon became her passion, so, when a year on, the prospect to study for a Masters in Advanced and Specialist Healthcare (Dental Professional Practice) it was too exciting opportunity to turn down. It was reasonably priced course and she could still work full time to fund it since most of the educational sessions were run at weekends.
During a podcast conversation on Smile Revolution Melanie discusses what the Masters has given her three years down the line, with podcast host Victoria Wilson. She also talks about how important it is to seize as many opportunities as possible to be able to give yourself the flexibility of a different career pathway.
As she explains: 'I had no idea where this Masters was going to take me, I had no idea what I was going to be doing in a few years’ time but I knew it was important not to shut any doors. The Masters does not tie me into clinical – it will hopefully open up some doors – and that was my thought process at the time and I think it has paid off. Having a Masters is not going to mean you can start doing more things in practice, but it means that if you want to do something outside of practice, or if you want to really push for something, your voice is a little bit louder if you have done further training.'
Melanie goes on to describe the findings of her dissertation about Direct Access, and how she is hoping that her research is going to help her peers achieve prescribing rights.
Throughout the podcast, it becomes evident that Melanie’s passion is not only for oral hygiene and research, but also her desire to instil confidence in her peers, to let them realise – if they have not already – that the work options are endless if they just want to apply themselves and look out for opportunities. She says that if she has been able to achieve so much in such a short time, so can they too!
She also talks through the whole cycle of team collaboration and the benefits of it.
Melanie chats about the Dental Nurse Network and how her skills were utilised as a tutor and writing CPD content; how she was also asked to put together online oral health education course for dental nurses, develop tutorials and even a course work book which students could work through.
One element that Melanie expands on is how some course content she worked on includes community work with projects extending to care homes, children centres and scout clubs, which she thoroughly describes as an exciting way of trying to promote oral health not only in surgery and practice but into communities.
She adds: 'It is not until you step out of the surgery that you realise that there are people out there, groups - especially vulnerable groups – that just have very little to no awareness about how to maintain their oral health. Sometimes we can look through rose tinted glasses because we see patients who come and see us and can pay and have their treatment done but there is a huge group out there who don’t, and nurses and hygienists are definitely the best people who can help them. I wish I could do a lot more of it. If anyone is interested in oral health promotion, there are jobs out there and they are so rewarding I would recommend them to anybody.'
Melanie also described her work with Philips Oral Healthcare, how she always aspired to work for the company because she loved its products, and how, as a professional educator, she is now able to educate and support her peers with lunch and learn in practices, one to ones with hygienists, nurses and dentists, as well as her work with the BSDHT.
'As hygienists and therapists, we have the theory behind everything, but also the practical side of thing and our dexterity skills. The transferrable skills have become very handy in all the other roles I have done too - the empathy we have for our patients. When I go to a practice now and speak to the teams there, because I have come from a clinical background there is a bit of relatability there because people understand I have come from that background myself. It definitely helps.'
Melanie explains in this podcast how she speaks with a many hygienists who are interested in exploring different avenues but don’t know where to start. She speaks of the trials and errors and about confidence to reach the stage she has and believes it all about believing in yourself. About giving it a go. 5 years from now, Melanie hopes to continue working for Philips Oral Healthcare and continue seeing her patients in practice. She is encouraging her peers to find what works for them.
She concludes: 'There are so many opportunities. Find out what other things interest us. We are all brilliant in surgery and we all know we can do our jobs brilliantly. But there are other things out there that hygienists and therapists the can do, contribute to writing, creating content, raising awareness for the public and people who wouldn’t necessarily come through our doors on a day to day basis. Now is the perfect opportunity to explore these avenues because some of us have a bit more time to spare.'
For more information about the podcast:
iTunes - https://podcasts.apple.com/…/smile-revolution…/id1452405496…
soundcloud - https://soundcloud.com/user-108396645/sr-s3-melanie
Available on - stitcher, Spotify, tunein, Acast, pocket cast
For more information about www.philips.co.uk/dentalprofessional or call 0800 0567 222.