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Posted by: The Probe 2nd June 2018
Sara Ryan is practice manager at West Quay Dental Practice, which offers high-quality treatment to both private and NHS patients in Barry, Vale of Glamorgan, and the surrounding towns. Here, she describes her journey from dental nurse to the practice manager of a thriving team and six busy surgeries…
I began training as a dental nurse in 2007, at the University Dental Hospital in Cardiff. I loved it – seeing the joy in patients’ faces after treatment was such a bonus of the job. I learned a lot and had the pleasure of going out on domiciliary visits in the community. After my training finished, I started working for a corporate in Caerphilly. The pace was quicker than in the hospital, which I preferred, and it was lovely getting to know the patients.
I left to go on maternity leave and after my daughter was born, I began working part-time in a practice closer to my home. I worked was on reception more, so I began to find my feet with the admin side of things. I found this interesting and still had interaction with patients, so I was happy. In 2012, a friend asked if I could help out at another practice, as they were short-staffed and struggling. I fell in love with the place – the patients were great, the team was friendly and helpful and I immediately knew that this was where I wanted to be. I went to work there full-time as a dental nurse, but I remained involved with the reception team and learnt about policy and procedures. When Rodericks Dental bought the practice in 2017, I applied for the role of practice manager and was thrilled to get the job.
I started in March last year and things have come on so much since then. We have new premises, patients, policies, computer systems and staff. We have also grown significantly, with six surgeries instead of four. Luckily, I like a challenge!
As it was before and as it is now the practice has joined the group, the patients are my number-one priority. What I really love about my role is that I still get to see them and interact. I ensure that they are getting the best treatment in the safest environment, delivered by friendly, knowledgeable and competent staff. I also manage the day-to-day running of the practice, making sure that we have the correct equipment and enough stock for our surgeries to take place. I supervise staffing issues, including sickness and holidays. I check the dentists’ NHS claims both daily and monthly to make sure we don’t miss anything and get paid correctly by the Health Board. At the end of every month, I check the dentists’ private pay, too. I keep folders with policies and procedures up-to-date and correct, and double-check the daily cashing up, inputting the data for the accounts department. I also hold monthly team meetings to give out essential information and updates, and also to listen to any issues that people might have. One of the most important parts of my role is to make sure that everyone is happy, or as close to it as possible! A happy team makes being at work so much more enjoyable.
I have grown in confidence and the support network is fantastic. If I am ever stuck with anything, I can ask one of the other practice managers in my area, or even within the company, for advice. There are also knowledgeable area managers to speak to, or I can go to the practice manager trainer or one of the dental nurse trainers. Then there is head office for things like IT, HR issues and any questions about marketing. No matter how small my query, I have always been made to feel welcome and valued by people who are ready to help and will do whatever they can to make sure that all staff are happy and that patients get what they need. We really are one big team.
Rodericks offers some amazing conferences, as well as ongoing education. There is a lot of training available for practice managers and they are looking into more courses for dental nurses at the moment. Not only have I had great career progression, but I am also training some of the dental nursing team to be able to cover my role when I am away. I’m proud to say that they have shown so much potential. Ongoing training not only helps you become better at your job, but also helps you to progress further along your chosen career pathway. There are so many opportunities if you work hard and are willing to learn.
As for job satisfaction, I know I have done my job well when I see happy staff and happy patients. At my practice, we are 100 per cent committed to the provision of excellent patient care. That is what it is all about for me and this ethos is very much shared by the group.
For more information please visit www.rodericksdental.co.uk,
Please contact Rebecca Bird at firstname.lastname@example.org
or on 01604602491 (option 5)
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