Friday, 7 December 2012

First Week Round Up

I have survived completed my first week as a trainee dental nurse!

Boy, am I knackered!!

It's hard enough going back to full time hours after two years of sporadic hours/days, but there's also the early starts (never been easy) and wrapping your head about something brand new.

On the up side, the days are going by fairly quickly and I'm not sat around being bored - there's no time to be bored!

Early Start

I knew exactly what was going to happen.  I'd go to bed early with the best of intentions, but be too excited (or nervous, sometimes it's hard to tell!) to fall asleep.  I'd eventually nod off around 11 or 12 only to jolt awake in the early hours, slightly panicked and mumbling "Do I have to get up now!?" only to grab the alarm clock and curse at the single digit of 3 or 4 in the early hours.  Roll over, bury self in the bed covers and try to get a few more hours of snooze.  7am will roll round, yet somehow I'll still stagger out of bed 'late', throw some tea and toast down my neck, scramble for clothes in spite of laying them out neatly the night before, they'll have moved during the night.  Hurry out the house, scrolling through a mental checklist of keys, shoes, textbook etc.

Thankfully, this has got easier as the week has progressed.  I may be out of practise with getting up before 8am, but once I'm in a routine it's not so hard.


Lucky for me, my new employer is not a million miles nor a dreadful journey away.  It should take, on a good day, about 15-20 minutes to drive there.

On a bad morning, you can hit every red light there is on route.  Or at least it'll feel like every red light on route!

Seems like the only hitches at the moment are the inclement weather.  I did invest in a windscreen cover; quite inexpensive but I felt it worth a try.  Turns out it works very well at keeping frost off my screen so that's one less window to scrape and it makes a big difference!  A little bit of de-icer on the rest of the car works wonders.  Doesn't stop my fingers freezing though.

Working Day

Hectic.  That sums up my first day.  Didn't get much less hectic as the week went by but at least I'm more familiar with the daily routine and helping out with tasks such as cleaning the surgery between patients, setting up at the start of the day and shutting it all down at the end.  Essentially all the basic cleaning duties.  The more complex work will come later as I build on the basic knowledge.

I will go into a bit more detail on things in my coming posts, hopefully give you more of an insight as to what a dental nurse gets up to on a daily basis and what they need to learn.

Which means I have to start with the absolute backbone of the dental surgery ...

Monday, 3 December 2012

First Day


I am knackered!

First day wasn't physically taxing or anything, but going from doing a few hours each day to a full 12 hours (starting from when I left the house at 7.30am and returning home at 7.30pm) is somewhat draining.

I've had so much happen over the past couple of weeks that I've not had much time to devote to the blog to even cover my interview.  Apologises for that!

Not that I'll be back on track any day soon - first week in the new job on full time hours for the first time in two years, plus sorting things out for a holiday I booked shortly before the interview came along ... well, the blog shall remain fruitless for the time being whilst I try to keep up with everything else that's going on at the moment.

But it goes without saying that I'm now quite pleased that this blog will now move into its second, long-awaited phase - of being the blog of a trainee dental nurse instead of someone job hunting for the position  :)

Thursday, 22 November 2012


As of Monday 3rd December ... I will be employed as a Trainee Dental Nurse.


Monday, 19 November 2012


I've got an interview set up for tomorrow.

I found a voice mail on my phone after finishing my shift at work asking me to call them back about setting up an interview.  Hooray!

Went home, checked that it was Monday's they are open late, and called.

Then I nearly lost out on the usual circus of trying to fit an interview into their schedule and mine.  The dentist is doing 'lunchtime' interviews - the only days I'm available are Wednesday all day and Friday morning of this week.  All other days I'm in work.  Not an easy thing to swap shifts at such short notice!

It didn't help matters that the woman I spoke sounded quite put out when she explained that they wanted to wrap up the interviews this week.  Gee, thanks, that's helpful!  Tuesday next week would have worked if that wasn't the case!

I asked what the latest time they could do was - quarter to 2.  Right, I finish work at 12.30 tomorrow.  I can run home, get changed, throw a mouthful of food down my throat as a substitute for lunch, jump in the car and zoom across town to make it on time.

No problem.

I hope.

Potential employers really don't give much leeway on interview days/times do they?   It would be fine if they specified in the job advert that interviews will be held during x week or on x day - then applicants can make arrangements in advance!

Us 'shift-workers' who can't get a day off at a moments notice ... well, that's less than conducive to finding better jobs if we can't be available at the drop of a hat.

Really makes me wonder how many people have to turn down interviews because of their current job.  How many pull a sickie so that they can go?   Of course, you can't ask for a day off and then 'mysteriously' fall ill that morning - that just looks suspicious to the boss!

Oh, and wanting to wrap up the interviews by the end of the week, you'd think they'd ask for the job advert to be removed from the website I found them on.  Someone seeing the advert and applying for it today or tomorrow doesn't have a hope!

I wish I could feel more positive about this right now, but that kind of "well, if you aren't available ..." attitude really annoys me.

I once had a call very late in the evening, inviting me to an interview the very next morning - how is that any good for the applicant?   There's no time to prepare.  No time to make childcare arrangements (if applicable) and certainly no time to get the day off work to attend!   I certainly couldn't attend for that very reason!  The response was essentially, 'Oh, well, if you're not available you're going to miss out.'  Fine.  Good luck phoning people at 10pm for a 7am interview tomorrow morning!   (I didn't really want to work there to be frank - it was a 'desperate-I-need-something-anything-application)

It's a catch-22 really.

In employment - I can't attend interviews at such short notice. But being in a job looks good to the potential new employer; recent reference, skills kept current etc
Not in employment - I'm available for whenever the potential employer wants to see me, but I have much less chance of being invited to interviews in the first place because I'm currently unemployed!


Right, outfit set out on wardrobe door ready for when I get home.  Bag and car keys ready.  Folder with certificates and stuff always ready.

Not much I can do now except re-read the textbook for a refresher.

Let's see how tomorrow plays out.

Monday, 12 November 2012


I wrote to a dental practice about three months ago; it was a general application, just to enquire whether they had any vacancies for a trainee dental nurse.

The reply: sorry, no vacancies, 'but I will keep your cv for future reference.'

Three months later (i.e. now) they are advertising for a ... lo and behold ... trainee dental nurse!  Applications to be sent to the very same person I wrote to last time and who replied.

No email.  No phone call.

Thanks for keeping my cv for future reference.

I'm applying regardless, but seriously, you don't keep a cv for even three months?

Hopefully I'll get this in the post for tomorrow.

No indication of a closing date, but the advert has only been up since Friday.

On the other hand, it's on a prominent job website - there could be a lot of competition.  Still, my Hepatitis B vaccinations are done and dusted - that ought to help.

Here we go again.

Downtime Report


Things have been a little quiet on the blogging front.

That's not to say I haven't been up to anything offline.  I've finished my Christmas shopping for instance!

Yes.  Yes, I apologise.  I'm using that awful 'C' word prior to December.  My most sincere apologies.

Simply put, I didn't want to be messing around with last minute shopping this year.  Last year I stuck to a budget and it worked out well.  This year, well, I had to cut that budget down a smidge.  What I also did was buy some gift bags and buy everyone some small, affordable bits and bobs instead of one big present.

That's all worked out well and I finished it all last Friday.  Now I don't have to worry about getting anything else!  I just have the cards to write out.

My Japanese lessons are going fairly well.  I repeated the first unit over which took some time but I think it was for the best - I wasn't 100% confident with everything and I wanted to go back over the kana (that's the written language in their characters, not our Latin letters).  I'm quite pleased with my progress so far!  I'm now onto learning home and family terminology ... proving to be both interesting and tongue-tying.

Work on the other hand ...

Getting busier as we nearer Christmas.  Adverts for the seasonal temps went up (rather discreetly I felt) and they'll be starting on the 26th, which is a good two weeks later than I did.  As of yesterday, I've been working there for a year.

Presumably we've had enough applicants since the sign went down last week.

We've had people leave over the past year, including some supervisors.  At some point over the past two weeks, most members of staff were asked if they interested in training up as assistant supervisors.   I was not one of them.  I was not happy to learn of this after the event.  I may have only been there a year but some of the people doing the training haven't been there much longer than I.

However, I felt a lot less disgruntled when I discovered that assistant supervisors, in spite of the extra responsibility, do NOT get any additional pay!   I was quite shocked at that!  It's extra hours, yes, but I'd have thought that the extra responsibility alone would entail a higher hourly rate.  But no, the company doesn't pay extra for the next step up their career ladder.   No wonder the majority of staff said no thank you!  Why do more work for the same money?  Especially when the hours are more unsociable?

So disappointment but also relief and disbelief at that discovery.   It's just as well I wasn't planning to stay with this company forever more!

I'm also on my first full weeks holiday in over a year.  I've needed a proper break from work so I could catch up on some things at home.  I spent the weekend with friends but the rest of week has consisted of present wrapping, cleaning, mending and a little clothes shopping to replace some of my threadbare wardrobe.

I'm also fighting off a cold.

Typical.  I'm sure I'm not the only person this happens to but I have a tendency to fall ill just as I take time off work.  No doubt I'll feel perfectly fine come Wednesday morning when I go back in.

Just typical!

Ah well, live goes on.  Hopefully I'll also be back to blogging properly before too long.  Feel a little more on top of things now, getting organised etc

Thursday, 1 November 2012

My Milk Toof - Halloween-pants

I've been waiting months for this!!

My Milk Toof has been updated with another adorable Halloween themed strip!

I strongly recommend checking it out. :)

Monday, 29 October 2012

Building Skills

I've had the Rosetta Stone program for about a month now.

I do believe I've learnt more usable Japanese in that time than I ever did in over six years of French lessons at school.

Thoroughly enjoying it so far.  I'm hoping that over the next two months I'll learn enough to 'show off' a little at interviews .. if I'm asked of course!  ;)

First Pay Slip

I've rediscovered my very first pay slip.

Wow ... £3.96 per hour - I thought I was rich!

I used to work weekends and school holidays at a local hotel, cleaning the rooms.  I remember loading up these massive trolleys that were nearly as tall as I was!

Hard work but having that first job and earning your very own money - that was such a nice 'grown-up' feeling of accomplishment.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Right Time? Wrong Time?

The last few months of the year are upon us.  It got me thinking, is there a 'right' time of year to apply for work?  Or at least a good or better time?

Oh, sure, there's job advertised all year round, but certainly at this time of year you tend to get mostly seasonal / Christmas temporary jobs.

Around this time last year, when I was still stuck in a horrible two/three day-a-week job, I reached the end of my tether and pounded the streets of my home town, looking for work.

Only Christmas temp work was around, and I was too late to apply for most of them!  I consider myself very lucky to have got the job I did and then be kept on after the Christmas period.

So if retail is what you're after, this time of year is certainly a good one to apply.  There's always going to be the risk that it is just temporary, but a few get lucky and are kept on.

But what about non-retail companies?

This time of year is busy for most, if not for the product or service you provide but also people booking time off, people fall ill, Christmas events are organised, paperwork needs to be wrapped up for the up-coming end of the financial year etc.

Wherever you are, it's sure to be busier than normal.

Which probably doesn't make it an optimal time to think 'Oh, hey, maybe we need to hire someone for that post.'   The people with the power to hire and fire may consider it a lower priority.

Possibly companies will wait until the new financial year - see what the budget is and then consider whether hiring is a viable option.

I've also been pondering whether it's even worth bothering writing or emailing potential employers at this time of year.  If you're busy and there's no vacancies, you're probably not going to pay too much attention to a CV that's just turned up.  It'll be filed away and forgotten about.

Personally, if I ran a company, if it wasn't an urgent situation requiring the hire of a new person, then I'd say forget it!  Busy time of year, not looking to hire at the moment, caught me at a bad time.

I can imagine the odds are even worse if it's a training position you're looking for.  Which certainly applies to me!

Who wants to start training a new person at this time of year?

I can't help but think that it's a hassle that people could do without.

So with this in mind, I've reached a decision.

I'm going to continue to check websites, newspapers etc for specific job adverts - if I spot one that's suitable, I'll apply.   But I won't be contacting individual companies for the time-being.  It just seems rather inconsiderate, doesn't it?   'Hi!  I know you're busy and all, but wanna hire me?!'   No - not happening.

But I shan't be slacking during the 'break' however - my time spent learning a new language is paying off and I've got my head firmly back in the textbook!

My intention is that by the new year, my language skills will be proficient enough to effectively 'show off' in an interview if questioned about them, and that my basic dentistry knowledge will be more sound.

Keep busy.  Keep improving!

Perhaps 2013 will prove to be a more successful year!

Monday, 8 October 2012

Firebox: Novelty Flavoured Toothpaste

On a mission to locate some Christmas presents, I stopped by for inspiration. 

Whilst there I came across these!

Yep.  You've read that correctly.  Bacon-flavoured and cupcake-flavoured toothpaste!

They are 70g and fluoride-free.

According to one of Firebox's comments, they are novelty products and a bit of fun - they are not intended as substitutes for 'real' toothpaste.   (If you're interested in either of them, but have any concerns you can always run it past your dentist to get an opinion on it.)

And just to clarify, the bacon-flavour is not suitable for vegetarians but there is a very happy comment on the cupcake-flavour from someone with diabetes who is pleased as punch as it is sugar-free but is still something sweet that she can enjoy.

Check out if you're interested!

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Lush: Toothy Tabs

I have returned from my long weekend away - much refreshed and feeling so much better for the break!

I now have a week off work to look forward to in November.  If vague plans become a little more concise, I may be flying off Europe over the Remembrance Sunday weekend.  May not happen but it's something to look forward to!

Anyhoo - back to blogging of dental related topics.

Upon my return I found the Lush Times Christmas issue waiting for me.  Naturally, I had a flip through the pages, wishing there was a Lush branch nearer home.  The closest one requires either a specific trip to the area or else I order online which is what I did for my shampoo some time ago.

Then, lo and behold ...

Toothy Tabs!

I have no idea how long these have been about but it's the first time I've come across them and it's only right that I share!  :)

Toothy Tabs are solid toothpaste tablets - you pop one in your mouth, suggested between your front teeth, you nibble at it and it produces a foam much like a typical toothpaste.  Wet your toothbrush and proceed as normal!

Sounds like a cool idea to me.  There's also no "chemicals, preservatives and unnecessary packaging".

The packaging is made from recycled cardboard and of course you can recycle it yourself once you're done with the pack.  No more left over toothpaste stuck in the tube that you can't squeeze out, not to mention the non-recyclable tube that gets sent to landfill!

BIG thumbs up from me as far as that's concerned!

Lush have also included Fairtrade ingredients in the "Atomic" flavour and all of the Tab varieties are suitable for Vegans.

Eco-friendly aspects aside - do they really work?

Lush dutifully performed trials using the different varieties of Toothy Tabs (they come in many different flavours) with regular trips to the dentist over a three month period.  You can check out the video here or else drop by the Lush website and search 'toothy tabs' should that link go AWOL at any point.

The tabs performed well in the trial so that's very encouraging.

AND if you happen to be at all concerned about your fluoride intake - either from your current toothpaste or other sources - this should help alleviate your worry ... Toothy Tabs are fluoride free.

So.  What lovely flavours are there?  Here's a quick rundown.

Ultrablast - peppermint, spearmint and lavender
Sparkle - vanilla, lemon and grapefruit
Breath of God - fennel, vanilla and sandalwood
Chou Chou, I Love You - rose and lemon  (I hope I've got that right, the blurb isn't 100% clear)
Aquatic - Earl Grey, lime and jasmine
Dirty - spearmint (the classic minty fresh flavour had to be here somewhere)
Atomic - clove and cinnamon

You may want to check out Lush's website - they may come out with new flavours in the meantime and you can check out reviews and current prices.  At the time of writing the tabs are priced between £2 and £3.50 depending on the variety (Dirty and Aquatic respectively.)

Each pack contains 40 tabs, so for £2 to try a pack out, it's not much is it?  Sounds like they're worth a go!

As much as I'd love to rush out and get a pack, remember I mentioned earlier about my lack of local Lush branch?  Yeah, I'm not spending that much on petrol and parking just for a pack of Toothy Tabs alone.  Just being realistic here.  If my shampoo was running low, I'd take the opportunity to order it online and throw in a pack of Sparkle or Breath of God.  But my massive bottle is nowhere near being empty - over 20 washes out of it and the contents isn't even down to the top of the label.  Not going to run out for months yet!

Hmmm, pondering ...

It occurs to me that maybe I could order one of each and give them to people at Christmas - I'm making up little gift bags for everyone this year, each with lots of little gifts inside rather than one big gift which I've done in the past.  Might not be a bad idea to consider these as little extras.

Lots of unusual and intriguing flavours to try out

Anybody reading this tried Toothy Tabs before?   I've clearly been slow on the uptake as according the comments on Lush's website, they've been around for months already!

Have you tried them yourself?  Any preference as to the variety you'd recommend or not?  Please share!  :)

Wednesday, 26 September 2012


My current job and my desired job collided unexpectedly the other day.

I'm sat at my till, serving an elderly man.  I turn away for a moment to look at my till screen.

I hear a clattering sound.

I immediately look round to see a set of false bottom teeth bouncing down my till!

I don't know if the poor man had opened his mouth to say something or what, but his teeth were making a break for it and his shirt was rather damp.

He apologised immediately, then grabbed his teeth and shoved straight back into his mouth.

Both rather gross and unfortunate. 

It was only after he left that it occurred to me that perhaps I should have recommended he visit his dentist.  Perhaps it's not my place to do so, bearing in mind I am employed as a cashier, not a dental nurse at this moment in time.  But to be frank, if your teeth can fall out of your mouth that easily, they obviously do not fit properly!

False teeth should fit reasonably snugly - just tight enough that they don't fall out when you open your mouth, but loose enough that you can remove them when necessary without difficulty.  It's a fine line and worth getting a set that fit perfectly.

Otherwise the teeth could land somewhere less pleasant.

Yes, I did have the till cleaned shortly after.   I hope he thought to clean his teeth when he got home!

Monday, 24 September 2012

So much for that!

I told myself I was going to have a short break from job hunting.

I was going to have a week or so where I didn't stress over looking for job adverts or tweaking my CV.  Everyone needs a break now and then, otherwise your brain just goes into meltdown and it's impossible to concentrate and so on and so forth.

So why do I find myself re-writing my CV again?

I haven't even had my weekend away and I'm back to revising it.

Urgh!  Why am I doing this AGAIN?

OK, that's not a bad thing, but clearly I am a glutton for punishment.  That said, I think this will be the best version of my CV yet.

Now that my Hepatitis B vaccinations are finished, that will come across as an excellent selling point!  "Fully vaccinated" sounds so much better than "Currently receiving vaccinations" doesn't it?

I'm also trying to highlight what I've learnt by studying the textbook - which in turn gives me a kick up the rear to keep at it, re-read things to keep the information fresh and to keep progressing.  Hold my hands up, I've not been as studious of the book as I should have been.  But I can't very well continue to slack if it's down in black and white and being sent to potential employers - that's the whole incentive: keep it current and relevant.

Will read - will learn!

I'm also trying to highlight more of my voluntary work and my efforts to learn a foreign language.  Potential employers really do like that sort of thing!  :)    I've been a volunteer for years but I can elaborate on what I've done, the awards I've won (why I didn't think to include those in the first place I'm not sure, but hey it happens) and the progression I've made through the ranks of the organisation.

As for the foreign language - I've biten the bullet and ordered the complete Rosetta Stone collection.  Not every language, just the one I'm learning!  The methods I'm currently using have been fine for building up vocabulary but without more conversational tutition, it's slow and stilted progress.   Rosetta Stone may be a little pricey when you first look at it, but as I say, I've ordered the complete collection - lucky for me that's only three sets, not four or five which they offer for some languages.  Plus it was on offer so I've saved a bit of money.  Would be an awful lot more if I'd opted to buy each one separately.

Can you guess what I'm learning? :)
Being fluent or at least partially fluent in a foreign language is undoubtably a boon to any employer, but especially for people in the medial profession when it's guaranteed that you will treat people who don't speak English as a first language.

Even in my current role as a cashier, my Sign Language is limited but the people who are deaf that come to shop with us do apprecaite the sign for 'thank you'.  I'd like to improve my Sign as well but I've got so much to learn at the moment that that one will have to wait.  Plus it's one you really need a tutor to work with you face-to-face.

So, yes, so much for taking a break from it all!  Thought I shalln't be applying for anything until after my weekend away - four more days, I can't wait!

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Electric vs Conventional

I'm already packing a few things for my upcoming trip.

One thing we all take with us?  Our toothbrush!

Since my first (and sadly unsuccessful) interview for a trainee dental nurse position, I have owned an electric toothbrush - courtesy of my potential employers as a consolation prize.

Now I'm off for a long weekend, I've taken a look at it and thought 'Huh, that's not going to work out.'

The electric toothbrush can be charged ... but exactly how long does it last?

In my experience - not that long.

I have my doubts it'll last the whole trip.  I take my time brushing my teeth.  It's not a quick scrub and spit!   I like the health of my teeth and gums and would very much like to maintain that.  Not to mention it wouldn't look very good to proclaim my interest in a dentistry career when my own teeth are in an awful state!

Not that I'm a fanatic!  God no - I can assure you that my regime doesn't consist of endless brushing, tooth-picking, tongue-scrapping, mouthwash-rinsing, and flossing every frakking day!  I just take my time over the brushing, and floss when it's needed.  And I love a thorough tongue-scrape now and again.

Any hoo.  Back to the brush.  I take my time - that runs the battery down.  I don't want to get to the last day and find my toothbrush is dead!

What about the charger I hear you ask?  Sure.  I could take it.  But it's not small: it consists of a stand with a rack for the extra brush heads and accessories.

Not to mention that the lead is way too short!  That was my immediate problem when I got the darn thing home.  It would not reach the plug in the bathroom.  It now sits in my bedroom on a low table next to a plug with an adaptor plug.
Seriously - I don't need to cart all of this around!

I really don't want to faff around, packing the charger and the plug, when really all I need to do is spend a quid on a manual toothbrush.

I've managed all this time without an electric toothbrush and my dentist has complimented me on my well-looked-after teeth.

It's not going to kill me to have a manual toothbrush for the weekend!

The humble manual tooth scrubber - it does the job just fine!

How about you?  Can you not live without your electric?  Would you take it, accessories and all?  Can you be bothered with one?  Do you have both??  Any preference?

Sunday, 16 September 2012


In 12 days time I shall be off on a weekend break.

I can not wait!

I haven't had a holiday of any description for over a year.  When I started as a Christmas temp in my current job, I didn't dare take any time off - primarily due to having no idea whether I'd still have a job after Christmas.

Then throughout January in spite of asking several times whether I was being kept on, I never got a straight answer.

So in spite of earning a few days off, the holiday entitlement has to be taken before February.  Hence, I lost what few days I might have had.  Then I had to start afresh but with the same unanswered question of 'Am I still going to be employed next week?'

Considering I'm still there nearly a year on, I'd say I'm unlikely to be told anytime soon that they're cancelling my contract.

Since February I've earned 13 days of my allotted 20.  So I'm going to be taking 3 at the end of this month.  Then take some time off in November (hopefully a week!), then perhaps some time in December and January to use up the remaining days.

It's about time I had a break!

I shall be sightseeing, visiting museums and a special trip to a charity that my grandmother supported.  Until now I haven't had a change to visit since it's well outside the range of 'local'.

I'm also taking my boyfriend along ... although he has no idea where we're off to!!  Mwhaha - I'm keeping the details under wraps!

Friday, 7 September 2012

Course Complete

Well, it's taken six months and a total of £66 - but today I received my final vaccination against Hepatitis B.

I certainly noticed an increase of interest in my CV when I could say that I'd started the course.  Hopefully now I can update my CV with 'fully vacainated' this may further aid my job search.

I did mean to do a post on Hepatitis B a little while ago but got distracted by the recent interview.  I shall endeavour to address this soon - once my busy weekend of work is out of the way!

Monday, 3 September 2012


How fortuitous.

Working part time, I don't often get more than 18 hours worth of shifts.  This week consists of nearly 30 hours, plus I will be paid for an extra three due to working Sunday.

My payslip for that week is going to look extremely healthy!

That can go towards my long awaited mini-break at the end of the month. Yay!

Something to smile about :)

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Time for a Break

Well ... it's been two weeks since my interview.  No phone call.  I'm calling time on that one - there's only so long you can reasonably assume that 'they're busy' and not got around to calling.

Needless to say that's a huge disappointment.

I felt the interview went very well; I asked plenty of good questions, I ticked all the boxes ... really the only hitches that I could see were being rather nervous (it's a frakking interview, what do they expect?) and the question of 'you've had a number of different jobs' ... yes, I have a ten year working history, five years of which I spent in one place and then the recession hit, leading to a few short-lived employments and now coming up for a year in my current role.

Seriously, if that was such a major issue then anyone affected by the recession is going to be penalised!  Ridiculous.

I can show my commitment to the career path of being a dental nurse; I've been studying the handbook, I'm paying for the Hepatitis vaccine out of my own pocket, I've paid for a CRB check, I have the administration and receptionist background and I'm very keen to learn.

So why was I not given a chance with a second interview to see me in action on reception and spend a little time in the surgery with the dental team?

It's such a kick in the teeth when I did so well with my last interview and it got down to me and one other woman, out of forty who originally applied.

But what really gets me is the total lack of contact.  If I'm not through to the next round then is 30 seconds out of your day asking too much?  Pick up the damn phone - 'Hi, this is Dental Practice, I'm sorry to inform you that you've not be selected for the second round of interviews, good luck in your job search.'   Is that genuinely asking too much these days??

Just call will you!?

Sorry, but this is the worst thing you can do to any job hunter - leave them sitting, anxiously waiting on a phone call you don't intend to make.   Especially when you say that you will call!

Either keep your promise or give a time frame: "If you haven't heard by x date then you've been unsuccessful.'  Thank you, that's so much more beneficial to my mental state than trying to make excuses for your rudeness of not calling me back.

Well - sucks to them.  I know I'll be a great dental nurse and my administration skills are brilliant.  They have missed out.  And I'm not the sort of person who feels comfortable with bigging myself up.  I don't boast.  But I am good at what I do and I will be a good dental nurse.

With that in mind and having got over the disappointment and the anxious state of mind they put me through this past two weeks - I'm taking a short break from job hunting.

This is partly due to my final Hep B vaccination taking place later this week - not much point in applying until I'm fully vaccinated now.  Looks so much better on my CV to be frank.

The other aspect is that I have been working my rear end off for a year without a break.  I did have a holiday last year for three weeks but since then, I've been working two jobs over six days a week.  I've not had any time off beyond my allotted rest day from work.

I've got three days off coming up at the end of this month which I fully intend to do something with.  I can not abide the idea of sitting at home doing sod all.  So I'm plotting a trip to the Lincoln area and its historic sites.

I also have to plan for my stint as a Dungeon Master for my RPG group.  Yes, I run with the nerd crowd and proud of it!  I shall be conducting an adventure for the classic Dungeons and Dragons game and I can not wait to get absorbed in the planning!

They shall decide your fate!

My brain needs a rest from the worry and repeated job applications.  Time for a break and to relax for a little while.  We all need some time to ourselves and to devote to hobbies and relaxation.  Yes, job hunting is very important but without a little downtime now and then, I'm going to do ever so slightly insane ... if I'm not already.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Blogs of Interest

Going off topic with this post.

Well, the post is actually about going off topic!

Typically, anyone with a blog will maintain a Blog Roll with a list of various other blogs that are similar in content to their own.  I have thoroughly enjoyed a series of wait-staff blogs who invariably link to each other, sharing stories of their working life, funny incidents, or general insights into their jobs.

I would have liked to have done that but I've been searching on Google to no avail.  Any dentistry related blogs are typically those of a practice; their latest offers, maybe changes in staff.  It's more like business announcements to their patients rather than insights into their work.

I also can not find any blogs written specifically by a dental nurse.

Perhaps there are some out there and I just haven't been able to find them.  If you do happen to know of one, please share the link with me!

Ultimately, this has led me to the point where, were I to only include dentistry related blogs my list would look pretty darn sparse and boring.

So, I figure why not share the blogs that I actually enjoy visiting in general?  I enjoy a variety of topics and if a blog has a great writer then why not share it?   So take a gander at my Blogs of Interest (to me at any rate!) list - you may find something you like.

I plan to add to the list gradually with links to blogs on topics such as health, money management, humour and the just plain random!  Hope you'll enjoy them as much as I do!

My Milk Toof

My Milk Toof

Possibly the most charming photo web-comic I've ever had the pleasure to read!

Meet ickle and Lardee, two adorable little milk teef who come back home and have wonderful adventures together.

The amount of time, effort and work that goes into creating these sweet little stories is incredible.  I cannot recommend "Sick Lardee" enough!

ickle reads sick lardee a wonderful fairytale ...

Saturday, 25 August 2012

No Answer

I'm sure that if you read the title of this post. you will probably be able to guess how I'm feeling right now.

It's the single most horrible thing about job hunting - not getting an answer.

Especially when you're given a timeframe in which to expect the phone call.

Questions go round in your mind - have they actually finished all the interviews?  Did someone have to re-arrange?  Have any of the people involved in making the decisions been off work ill perhaps?  Has the final decision simply not been made yet??

Why tell someone when to expect your call and then not call them?

I now have to try to put this out of my mind until Tuesday.


Thursday, 23 August 2012

Still nothing

Still no phone call.

I sincerely hope that by tomorrow, all interviews will have been concluded and that decisions for the second round have been finalised so that all that remains to give those lucky people a quick phone call ...

I could do without being driven ever-so-slightly insane with what feels like endless waiting.  OK, it's only been a week since the interview and yes they did say they'd call 'towards the end of next week' but as every job hunter will know, the sitting around waiting for an answer period really does a number on your nerves and patience.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Nothing yet

No phone call yet.  I have a long shift at work tomorrow so I'm half hoping to find a voice mail once my shift is up.

God, I used to think I was patient!!  The waiting is horrible!

Monday, 20 August 2012

Making Time

It's quite a mixed bag of opinions over whether being in a job or not is helpful when seeking alternative employment.

Large periods of unemployment certainly don't look good.  But the flip side of being unemployed or working only a few hours is that you are available, for the most part, at the drop of a hat to attend interviews at your potential new employers convenience.

If you're in work it may not be that easy.

Sure, it looks good; no or very few gaps in employment, a current reference available, and should the job be something you took on purely for the sake of earning something (or anything at all to pay the bills) it looks like you're determined and not above putting in some hard graft.

HOWEVER ... your 'this'll do' employment may well get in the way of attending interviews.  Particularly if you can not get time off at short notice to attend said interviews, scuppering your changes of gaining better employment!

In my case, if I want time off, I have to book it around six weeks in advance.  Yes - six weeks!  The rotas are varied and I typically get one weekday off per week.  And sometimes I get a weekend day off.

I was lucky that I received my invitation to interview just before I had a Thursday off work.  Now that I'm waiting on a phone call I'm really hoping to hear back on Wednesday at the latest, because I happen to have this Thursday off as well.  With a little luck, I could potentially get my second interview to tie in nicely with my day off.

The main problem I have hit is that if I don't hear back in time, next week is awkward.  I have the bank holiday off work, but I imagine that the practice is closed that day anyway.  The only other day I have off that week is Saturday.  The practice isn't open on weekends.

I can't ask for the day off because the rota is already set.

The only way around that issue is to swap shifts with someone.  So I consider myself very lucky that one of my colleagues is quite willing to swap with me - I'll work his Saturday shift and he'll take one of my weekday shifts to free up a day.

That said, I may not even need a full day - if it's not inconvenient for the practice, I could offer to attend a morning one day and an afternoon on another day.  Granted there's every chance that that won't be very convenient but it's another option available.

Thus, my initial panic of 'oh my god, I only have this Thursday free' has now been calmed.  I have options.

I just have to wait on that phone call and just hope that it's good news.  I doubt I'll hear anything today now since they're only open for another hour or so.

Maybe tomorrow ...

Sunday, 19 August 2012


Patience is not a virtue when you're waiting on something important.  The next few days are going to be an agonising wait.

I almost hope that they call whilst I'm working, so it can just go to voice mail and I can weep or scream joyfully as the result dictates.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Round One Complete

I think my interview went OK.  :)

I was quite nervous - which is typically my downfall in interviews these days.  But I do think the practice manager understood and I hope I otherwise made a good impression.

As already mentioned, there are two jobs up for grabs.  The trainee dental nurse role is three days a week, which would actually give me more hours than I'm currently working.  I currently work short shifts over six days but three solid days works out better.  It would also involve going to college for one evening a week.

That role would be great since it would get me straight in with the training.

On the other hand, the receptionist role will also involve some dental nursing responsibilities so it would be a great stepping stone towards becoming a dental nurse.  Added to that the job is full time, five days a week - so the money would be a lot better.

So they're pretty balanced as to which one I'd like to have.  If I'm offered either of them, I'll gladly accept!

But I am going to have to wait until next week to find out if I'm through to Round Two of the interview.  It would involve spending a day at the practice, being on reception to see how I am with the patients, and some time in with the dentists, shadowing a dental nurse.

All sounds quite exciting!  I'm hopeful, partly because I doubt I would have been told what Round Two consists of if I didn't have a hope in hell of being invited back.

I don't know how many other people are being interviewed.  I applied to this practice simply ages ago and got a call back, so I'm pondering how many other people they've simply called up from their stock of CV's.  Like I've said before, I'm not surprised that companies don't have to advertise their vacancies any more - with so many people looking for work, they can save a lot of money by simply going through the applications they already have.

I've got my fingers crossed that I'll at least get invited back.  With two jobs up for grabs I can imagine maybe four people getting through to Round Two.

Shall just have to sit tight and hope for the best!

Wednesday, 15 August 2012


Received a letter today from a Practice I recently applied to.  Another 'Sorry, no vacancies but we'll keep your CV for future reference'.

Which is fine by me!  It may be a no, but at least they replied.

Rather nervous about my interview tomorrow.  Already getting my clothes sorted, shoes will be polished this evening (they've got rather grubby, I'm at a loss as to how!) and satnav is set.  I've already driven to the Practice to have a look around.  It doesn't appear to have its own parking so I'll have to find a street nearby to park.  I would have gone for the supermarkets car park nearby but it's for a limited period so that rules that out!  Still, it should allow for enough time for my interview.  Failing that, I'll be driving up early so I can always circle round, find a place and explore for potential places.

Should all go well, I'll still have to work my notice which will allow plenty of time to scout the area.

Trying not to get my hopes up too much since I've been disappointed before but it's such a lift to have the possibility of a new job!

Friday, 10 August 2012


Just as I was starting to really feel down about the seemingly endless job hunting, I got a phone call this afternoon.

It was from a dental practice that I applied to months ago.  It transpires that there are some new vacancies.

One is a part-time dental nurse.  The other is for a full time receptionist.

Without knowing more, I can't be sure which one I would accept, should I be offered either.

I feel that it largely hinges on how 'part-time' the part-time job is.  It's a half hour drive so I have petrol costs to consider.  The practice is open five days a week (no weekends), so does part-time consist of a few hours on each of the five days, or three or four full days?  If it's less than three full days then the money probably won't be worth it.  I'd need closer to 30 hours to make it worthwhile.

On the flip side - it's a dental nurse job.  I could get started on my training.

Yet, the receptionist role is full time - just what I need as far as the money goes.  Plus it would be within a dental practice - that's a decent springboard if ever I saw one!  I could theoretically accept the reception job, gain a good understanding of what the dental do and how the receptionist supports them, deal with the patients etc.  It's all the background work and many dental nurses double as receptionists anyway.

There's potential there in spite of it not being a dental nurse job.  The hours and money obviously what I need and I can use it as a learning experience whilst continuing to search for a full time dental nurse job or perhaps I will get the opportunity to start some training whilst working reception.

Without knowing more details at this moment in time, I'm leaning a little towards the receptionist job.

Interview is next Thursday.  Shall see how it goes.  :)

Saturday, 4 August 2012

One Month

One more month to go and I shall receive my final vaccination against Hepatitis B.

I'm quite confident that been fully vaccinated will help my job search.  It's a major requirement of working in an environment where you are more than likely going to come into contact with blood.

Tonight's is another short post but I shall follow this one up with somewhat more detail on Hepatitis B and why it's so important for dental nurses (and indeed all dental staff) to be vaccinated.

Friday, 3 August 2012


Right!  Boot up the backside today!

August is suddenly upon us and I did not apply to as many dental practices as I should have last month.  Yes, I'm ashamed of that - I should not be slacking!

I've located another practice that isn't too far away, but would require an early morning drive.  My ultimate goal is to move out of my home town, so I'm more than happy to move for the sake of a job - especially to a slightly more affordable area.

It's a small village practice but like all of them, it's worth a shot!

I've also emailed a more local practice as to the name of their practice manager - all I could find on their website was a first name; no title or surname.  That's not overly helpful for people wanting to write!

I intend to have both letters ready to go in Monday's post!  Think I shall take a chance this time and apply to both simultaneously.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Writers Block

I've started and discarded about three posts this evening.  I have subjects in mind and can't seem to get them to come together without rambling unnecessarily.

Guess you'll have to make to do with a brief note; hot weather has finally hit the UK and I'm melting, cowering in the shade and praying for winter.  [I'm not a sun worshipper by a LONG shot!]  A medical emergency with a friend has kept me running all over the place to play nursemaid, then back to work at both my jobs, and back again, repeatedly for the past week.

I'm knackered and have had no time to job hunt.

So I sat down about an hour ago, having had a few ideas for some good and hopefully interesting posts and my brain is refusing to cooperate.

I'm getting a cup of tea and ... oh, I was about to put 'pick up a good book' but I'm out of books to read.  Everything I have has been read at least twice and the only new book I have I finished yesterday.  Oh well, I don't think I could concentrate in this heat anyway.  Perhaps I'll put a film on - that doesn't require much, just sit and veg.

I'll return with something more interesting next time. Promise!

PS - My friend is on the mend now :)

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

A reply!

I actually received a response!  Sometimes it feels like such a rarity and I'm sure anyone who is job hunting will appreciate how surprised I am.

Sadly, there are no vacancies at my most recent place of enquiry, but I have just received an email saying that they'll happily keep my CV on record.

That's a result!

Monday, 16 July 2012

Another Letter

Sent another application off this morning.  This one is for a private practice not far away - tucked away in a recent development area with plenty of free carparking in the area!  Bonus!   I would have to drive although I could always consider getting a bike; that's assuming I can find a place to lock it securely.  I didn't think to look for bike racks when I scouted the area the other day.

Friday, 13 July 2012

Speedy Delivery

I'm impressed - I only requested my second coupon from Aquafresh on Wednesday and it arrived in this mornings post!  It's only 30p off this time, but it's good until the 10th August.

I have so much toothpaste it's starting to get a bit silly.  Maybe I ought to start brushing three times a day ...

Wednesday, 11 July 2012


I finally used my Aquafresh coupon.  Found the Ultimate variety in my local Tesco and dutifully chose the + Whitening version.

As I'm standing in the queue for the self-service tills, I spot in the tiny text that the coupon is for the 75ml tubes.  I double-check the box.  Ah, I have picked up the 100ml.  But now I'm stuck again since 100ml was clearly the only size on the shelf - there wasn't anything smaller in the Aquafresh range.  Great - now where am I supposed to find the smaller version?

Well, I'm now standing in front of a till.  It's worth a try, just to see if the coupon will work.  If it doesn't, I can just say I didn't see the 75ml in the tiny text ... it's small, I wear glasses, that'll fly if needs be.

"Please scan your coupon!"  ... *hold up barcode* ... beep ... "Coupon accepted"

Mwahaha!  It works on the 100ml!

So if you happen to get a coupon that specifies a certain size, turns out it's worth giving it a go on the larger product!

I don't think I really need to buy any more toothpaste for a while

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Coupon from Aquafresh

I've been emailed with another coupon from the Aquafresh Club.

It's 30p off their Aquafresh Ultimate or Ultimate + Whitening toothpaste.

If you have a printer, you can obviously print it straight off.  If you don't have a printer, they've done the sensible thing of giving you the option of requesting it being sent to you in the post - which I have requested since the computer I'm using isn't connected to a printer at this moment in time.

Nice to get a coupon, although I still haven't used the one I recieved with the free toothpaste sample yet!  I must use it soon as it's only valid until the end of the month.  It's a shame that my current employer does not stock the Ultimate toothpaste - guess I'll have to take a look in the local supermarkets, see who has it.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012


An Overview of the Differences

When a toothache comes on, a painkiller tablet or two can serve as a stopgap until you can get to your dentist for treatment.  More than likely there's a box of paracetamol or ibuprofen in your medicine cabinet, or perhaps some aspirin.

They're all painkillers, or to use the correct medical term: analgesics.  The word analgesia is Greek in origin, meaning painlessness or without pain.

But in spite of being in the same group, paracetamol, ibuprofen and aspirin do have differences.  They do not do exactly the same thing.
One of many brands available
Paracetamol - this analgesic has what is known as anti-pyretic effects.  It will work to bring your temperature down if you are suffering from a fever.  What is does not do is treat inflammation.  If you have any swelling, paracetamol isn't going to do you much good other then dull the pain.

The primary concern of taking paracetamol is the potential damage it can do to your liver.  If you read the instructions that come with your pills and follow the guidelines, then you don't have to worry.  The liver is a sturdy organ that can handle the odd course of painkillers.  Serious damage is much more likely to occur if you take too much by mistake (elderly people in particular can forget when or if they took a painkiller recently).

Plenty of supermarkets do their own brands
Ibuprofen - unlike paracetamol, ibuprofen is an anti-inflammatory.  You have swelling, go with this analgesic.  It's also considered to be safer than paracetamol since it doesn't have the same effect on the liver.  However, there are dangers with taking any medicine excessively.  In ibuprofens case, it's the risk of stomach ulcers.  Stick to the guidelines that come with your pills!

It's recommended that people who suffer from asthma don't take ibuprofen since it can make asthma worse in a small number of cases.

All pills will come with guidelines for the correct dosage
Aspirin - the use of aspirin  perhaps has more limitations to its use than the other two.  Like ibuprofen, it is an anti-inflammatory but it is also an anti-coagulant: it prevents blood from clotting.

This is the primary reason that you will be advised not to use aspirin as a painkiller after you have had surgery such as a tooth extraction.  It won't help your mouth to heal if you simply keep bleeding!

Similar to ibuprofen again, taking too high a dose of aspirin will put you at risk of stomach ulcers.  It is also strongly advised not to give aspirin to children under the age of 16 because of links with the rare but often fatal Reye's Syndrome.  Aspirin is by no means the sole cause, Reye's has not yet been found to have a definitive cause, but you should not allow a child to take aspirin unless it on the advice of your doctor.


As with any kind of medication, always listen to the advise your doctor, dentist or dental nurse gives you, read any pamphlet that comes with your pills and keep to the recommended dosage.  If you are ever in any doubt, ask for advice.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

The Importance of Being Up-To-Date

I have a working history of over ten years.  I've had a few different jobs, gained a variety of skills and experience.

Compiling it all into one document can become a little tricky - what to include, what's relevant and what isn't.

Potentially, one area that some people may neglet is how up-to-date some of their information is.

For example; references.   Not everyone includes these on their CV's and there is debate as to whether they ought to be.  I chose to include mine as I had the space.  I have three - my current employer, a recent employer, and someone I do volunteer work with.

My 'recent' employer is from an office and the named person is not my original referree.  Reason?  My manager, whom I got along with fabulously and respected, decided to retire last year.

I had kept in touch with people in that office so I knew that she would be leaving.  So I quickly asked someone else to provide a reference.  It wouldn't be nice for my manager to be distrubed whilst enjoying her retirement - to say nothing of the fact I don't have a private contact number for her!

You can picture it now - I have a fabulous interview and it hinges on the references.  They phone the number I provided and ask to speak to Mrs.Ref ... oh, she retired last year?  Well, who else can we speak to??  This isn't very professional ... shadows of doubt, feelings of annoyance and timewasting ... doesn't reflect well on me, does it?

Yesterday, I received news of something else that I'll have to change on my CV.

About a year ago I designed and built a website for a friend.  I'm no computer wizz but the site was pretty good.  So that has been included under my IT skills section of my CV.

Yesterday, my friend texted me to ask how to close it down.

So now that the site is not going to be visable on the internet very shortly, I can't include that information as it is.

I can not include the website address, but I can still state that I built a website and include some screenshot printouts in my portfolio.  That's really the best way around it.  I don't want to omit what I did because it's a great example of IT skills, but if the website no longer exists then it would be pointless to include an address - potential employers won't be able to view it!

So where's this website?  The address doesn't even exist!?
If they ask during interviews about it, then I can be honest and state that the owner chose to close it recently but I still have evidence of it in my portfolio which I can then show them.

Even before now, I would check that the website was still up, just in case my friend took it down without mentioning it first.

Always check what you include in your CV, particularly references and anything that can potentially change or go out of date.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Repeat Job Application

I've posted off another job application this morning.

I'm somewhat more hopeful of gaining a reply from this Practice as I've been in contact with them before.

Near the end of last year, I applied for dental nurse job that they were advertising on directgov but was unfortunately too late: they'd already filled the post when they received my application.

BUT ... they liked my CV and offered to keep it on file for any upcoming vacancies!

That was awesome news!  However, you should never assume that anyone is going to hold onto your CV forever more - you need to revisit and make contact again later.  Preferably with a more up-to-date CV.  Which is what I've done.

Basically, I've highlighted that we have communicated before and that they kindly offered to keep my CV on file (always good to remind of this and that you're not just randomly contacting them), so I am now sending along my updated CV, highlighting that since my last application for a dental nurse role, I have been getting vacinated against Hepatitis B (a job requirement) and of course studying the textbook.

Not only am I keeping a communication going with them, I can demonstrate that I'm still serious about the career path and have been working towards it.

Whether or not they yet have any vacancies, it doesn't matter.  They'll have my recent CV and be reminded that they considered me in the past - I'm still a viable candidate.

Saturday, 23 June 2012


My free sample from Aquafresh turned up in the post this morning.

In addition, they sent me a coupon for 50p off Aquafresh Ultimate or Aquafresh Ultimate + Whitening (75ml size).  It's valid until the end of July and as an added bonus, I'm fairly certain that my current employer happens to stock it.  Excellent!  Staff discount and a coupon - that's cheap toothpaste!

No point letting the coupon go to waste; I'll get around to using all my little sample tubes eventually!
My free sample :)

Friday, 22 June 2012

The Right Person

Here's a tip for job hunters.  Particularly if you happen to pound the streets, a stack of CVs in hand, popping into shops and such, and then go up to someone to ask if there are any jobs available.

Ask to speak to the manager.  Or the duty manager if the manager isn't available.

Don't go up random employees and expect them to know the most up-to-date vacancy situation. 

Especially don't stand in a long queue and hold up the people waiting to pay for their goods whilst you question the cashier; there are supervisors around, at the very least go and ask them.

This has happened to me a lot recently.  I currently work as a cashier and it puzzles me no end that people seem to think that 'I' am the person to ask.  There are always a number of supervisors around - heck, we have a Help Desk!  Either of those would make a more sensible choice of 'who to ask'.

Instead, someone will come up to me, ask if we have any jobs going, and then hand me a CV asking if they can leave it with us.  Sure, I'll take it, but you've just missed a golden opportunity to speak to management directly since you've already turned to leave as soon as I take hold of your CV.

When I write to potential employers, I try to find out the most appropriate person to address my letter to.  If I can get the name of the practice manager, then that's awesome; they are more than likely to have the power to hire and fire.  If a practice manager appears to be elusive, then I address it to the senior dentist.

What good would it do to address my letter to a dentist at random?  Or one of the hygienists?  It would waste their time and imply that I can't be bothered to give my application some thought and reach the most logical conclusion.

In addition, I always write to a named person.  It's just plain lazy and rude to write Dear Sir / Madam. If you got a letter would you rather someone actually get your name correct (that includes spelling!) or a vague sir / madam that implies they can't be bothered to find out who you are?

With my current employer, I'm fully aware that several individuals are job hunting.  Beyond that, I have no idea whether anyone has recently been successful and handed their notice in.  Management are going to be far more aware of that than I.  They'll know whether they can absorb the loss or need to employ someone new.

As a 'random' employee working on the shop floor ... how do you propose that I will know anything specific about it?

Ask for the person in charge!  If they are available and can speak to you face-to-face, they could potentially have a quick chat with you, consider whether you are potentially employable - if you're extremely lucky, they might offer you a impromptu interview on the spot.  You just don't know, if you don't bother to speak to the right person

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

All a Little Quiet

I've had not a single response from anyone yet.  No phone call, no letter, no email.  Disappointing, but I guess one or two may consider keeping my CV on hand for a while at least.

I've also not yet received my free sample from Aquafresh which is annoying.  I'm aware that the website states 'while stocks last' but if they've run out then they ought to remove that offer.

Shall be writing another letter tomorrow - this time to a practice I've actually had a reply from before.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012


Off we go again - another application sent off in the post this morning.

Another local Practice, it's practically round the corner from an office where I used to work.  Thus spawning the pseudo-name of RTC (obviously short for round-the-corner).  I know - I'm just so creative with these!

Location is handy, but it'll be a quick hike in the mornings.  Wouldn't be worth driving really since it's within a fair distance and their car park isn't very big and I don't want to take up space unnecessarily.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Anatomy of a Tooth

All teeth are made up of a crown and the roots.  The crown is the section that you can see within your mouth, sitting above the gums.  The roots consist of everything below the gumline.  The point where the crown and roots meet is refered to as the neck.

Each tooth consists of four elements; enamel, dentine, cementum, and the pulp.

Encyclopedia Britannica

Enamel - the outer coating of the crown and is the hardest substance in the human body

Dentine - the main body of the tooth, making up the interior of the crown and root.  It is protected by the enamel in the crown and by cementum in the roots.

Cementum - like the enamel, it is a protective coating of the tooth, covering the roots below the gumline.

Pulp - differs from the other three in that it is soft tissue, lying in the centre of each tooth, containing nerves and blood vessels.

Thursday, 7 June 2012


Well this week has been somewhat unproductive as far as job hunting goes.  Things have just been somewhat busy with work and home - happens to us all, doesn't it?

My weekend is looking to be busy - I finally have a Saturday off work (such a rarity!) so I dutifully made plans to enjoy it.

As for Five-Minute and East Village ... neither have replied to my applications.  I'm hoping that either or both will at least consider keeping my cv on file should something come up.  However, I'm off the school of thought that you should reply to correspondance, even if it's just a quick email to say 'thanks for your application, sorry we have no vacancies'.   I personally find it rude not to recieve an answer.

It's a little different these days if you're one of (maybe) hundreds of people answering a job advert, I can appreciate they may be unable to respond to everyone other than those shortlisted - but a direct letter of enquiry should recieve a reply.

Hopefully next week will be somewhat more productive.

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Aquafresh Ultimate - Free Sample

Sign up to the Aquafresh Club to recieve a free sample of Aquafresh Ultimate!

Members can enter prize draws and recieve information (by email or post as per your preference) on exclusive offers.

I've signed up myself for the sample and to see what the offers are like.

Friday, 1 June 2012

Professional Status

Dental nursing became a recognised profession in 2008.

All dental nurses must be registered with the General Dental Council; the governing body of the dental profession.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

2nd Letter

I've had no reply from Ten-Minute as yet.

So I'm now writing to another Practice a short drive away.  I'm going to try and send out at least one letter per week, allowing time for an initial reply before sending out the next.

I'm not so keen on sending out multiple letters at once because I have limited availability each week for interviews - my current job doesn't exactly allow for time off at short notice.

So, second letter off to East Village practice in the post first thing in the morning.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Best laid plans

I had it nicely worked out.

I would deliver my application yesterday evening after work.  The letter would be read this morning and perhaps by the time I finished my shift I might receive a call this afternoon, or Thursday when I'm free most of the day.

Then 'things' happened, as they do and I was unable to deliver my application yesterday.  No worries.  I'll deliver it today!  That still gives me most of tomorrow to anticipate any immediate response (unlikely perhaps, but not impossible to hope for).

I've just been out and posted my application to Ten-Minute and just as I turned to leave I noticed the practice opening times pinned up next to the door.

They are a bit different to what is on their website.

Namely, that they are closed on Thursdays.

Wonderful.  Now they won't see my application until Friday morning and I'm at work pretty much all day.  Any phone call they may make won't be picked up (except by my voice mail) and I won't finish work in time to return any calls because they close mid-afternoon.

So I have to wait even longer.  Yes, I'm a tad impatient and probably expecting too-quick a response from them, I know.  I was just hopeful that I'd hear back fairly swiftly and am a tad annoyed that their website doesn't give accurate opening times.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Signed and Sealed

One freshly re-vamped CV plus one covering letter complete!

Signed, sealed and ready for delivery.

I finally put a reasonable covering letter together.  I say reasonable because I'm not 100% happy with it but if I don't send something out soon I'll never get anywhere.  It's good enough for a first attempt.

This evening I shall be hand-delivering it to a nearby dental practice.  Wherever I find employment I shall of course be bound by confidentiality, so for this reason any practice names will be fictional, as will any names of work colleagues and patients.

So I shall be referring to this practice as Ten-Minute Ltd - simply because it doesn't take me ten minutes to walk to it!   That would be incredibly convenient - no need to drive, ergo no parking charges or petrol to pay out for.  Easy commute, minimal disruption in bad weather and I'm home in no time at the end of the day.

Ten-Minute is also only open weekdays - no need to work weekends at all!

Convenience is the main allure for this one.  Although I'm not expecting miracles with my first direct application.  It's nice to hope but I have to realistic at the same time.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Covering Letters

I can quite readily admit that I'm pretty good at putting together a decent CV.  In fact, I quite enjoy it.  Yes, I know, that sounds weird to say the least but being a perfectionist a fusspot I love to draft, re-draft, and amend until I'm happy.

Covering letters on the other hand ... not so much.  I've rarely had to write one; typically I've filled in a form or simply been asked the CV.   Applying via email I have had to cobble something together:

"I am writing to apply for the position of XYZ, advertised on ref ABC ..."

Followed by a quick run down of what skills I have that are relevant to the job, please find attached a copy of my CV, when I'm available for interview, sign off.

That's worked fine for email applications when I was just trying to find something to provide an income.  But now that I'm set on a specific career path I am trying a new route of writing directly to potential employers to enquire as to whether they have any vacancies (either available now, expected to become available and so forth) but if they don't, perhaps interest them enough to keep my CV on record should something come up.

It was rather a surprising discovery when I read that most jobs are not in fact advertised.  Perhaps as many as 3 in 4.   And these days I can believe that.  Where I currently work I talk to at least one person a week who had come in to ask whether we have any jobs going.   We've not advertised but that's not to say someone hasn't just put their notice in.  (Believe me, a fair number of people are looking elsewhere.)   Someone is sure to come in at just the right time and a CV could be accepted on the spot and considered.

Why waste time and money on advertising when people are knocking on your door regularly?

Not that I feel that I can just waltz in and hand my CV over.  It just seems lacking in the professionalism that's expected.

Thus I am spending a stupid amount of time putting together a decent covering letter.   It will obiviously be tweaked for each person but getting the bare bones of it down is harder than I'd anticipated.

The bit that's giving me the most trouble is the part where you say exactly 'why' you want to work for this particular company.  What is it specifically about them?   I'm thinking it's a lot easier if you're already in a specific field of work and applying to a bigger / better company to further your career, but when you're brand new and trying to start a new career it's a bit harder to convince someone that you are a potential assert to the company since you have no experience.
Why does everything I write look wrong??

I currently have a pile of CV books next to me, all chapters on covering letters marked and I'm still ever so slightly flumoxed as to how to re-phrase "I like the look of your company, do you have a training position available?" into something a tad more professional!

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Caught Up

Well, that's all my 'archive' posts completed.  From now on, all new posts here at Nothing But The Tooth!

And I guess the first order of business is to break the news that, unfortunatly, I did not get the job I was interviewed for recently.

I was informed that myself and the other candidate were very similar and that the only difference was that she had come across as 'slightly' more confident ... and that's what got her the job.

That doesn't exactly do much to help my confidence really!

On a brighter note, I was enlightened as to the many other applicants; there had been 40 job applications for the job, not one was a qualified dental nurse, we had all applied in the hope of getting a training position.

Only one in ten were invited to an interview.  Out of those four, myself and the other woman went through to a second interview, then the third and final.

Now that the initial disappointment has worn off I think I can say with some certainty that I will eventually be successful.  If I'm good enough to come 2nd out of 40 applicants then I'm damn well good enough to win a position elsewhere.

The practice offered to keep my details on record, explaining that they were still growing and expanding - reassuring but not something I can pin my hopes on.  It's lovely practice and I'd be thrilled to work there one day, but for now it is not to be.

On the plus side, I do have a shiny new electric toothbrush, as promised.

Almost there

[Originally posted on Working to Live, 30th April 2012]

When the phone rang early in the morning and I could see by the number that it was the dental practice, I was braced for the news.

The tone wasn't entirely upbeat so my heart sank, certain that I'd missed out and that someone else had secured the job.

Turns out - not quite.

It's down to me and one other woman. Seems that an agreement couldn't be made on which of us should get the job, since we 'both have good qualities, but different qualities'.

So we've both been invited back again.

It was hinted that I ought to get my head into the textbook and absorb some knowledge, perhaps to prove that I am reading it. This is a relief in a sense because my mind did go horribly blank when asked what I'd covered from the textbook. Truth be told, I hadn't read it as studiously as I should have.

It's difficult to know what to focus on - do I try to learn a little from several subject areas or concentrate on one or two main topics? Prevention of cross-infection is pretty much the main focus but there's a lot more. Today I've learnt something about oral cancer, sterilisation, and fungus (really, it's interesting!).

I'm trying not to panic, just to try and absorb a little bit of information that I can recite when asked. I'd rather get a little bit firmly in my brain than try to read the whole book and just get flummoxed.

There's also something of a consolation prize for whoever doesn't the job. A brand new electric toothbrush. Quite a pricey one. I only have a manual toothbrush so it would be nice.

But I don't want the toothbrush. I want the job.

Round Three commences on Friday morning.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Interview Part Two

[Originally posted on Working to Live, 26th April 2012]

Guess my eagerness outweighed the nerves - I was phoned up on Tuesday morning and invited to spend a morning at the practice, observing and getting a feel for the work I'd get to do (if offered the job).

Needless to say, I was chuffed to bits and we made arrangements for me to come in Thursday morning.

Initial joy wears down a smidge and I go to bed willing myself to wake up dead on time. I'm not known as an early riser by any stretch of the imagination. I'm mentally setting an alarm for 7am ... I proceed to snap awake at 6am. That's not so good when you're on the late shift at work that evening. After an hour of dozing I get out of bed, get dressed, and head off allowing about 50 minutes to get there - whilst I'm very familiar with the route I've never taken it early in the morning so I'm uncertain as to the traffic conditions - better to be early than risk being late.

Thankfully, in spite of a bit of slow moving traffic, I make it in good time and head inside at 9am. The arranged time was 9.15am but that can show that I'm more than punctual and considerate of their time.

I'm shown into the staff area, get a nurses shirt to wear and get the tour.

It's much larger than my own dentist's practice (which is a small converted house) with several surgery rooms, a big waiting area, own car park (free - bonus!) and a reasonable sized kitchen/staffroom.

I spend the morning with the head dentist, observing a new patient getting a checkup, someone enquiring about tooth-whitening, another with a broken tooth getting repaired, an elderly lady with an abscess beneath her tooth needing advice having come from another practice feeling dissatisfied with her treatment. It was quite varied with several x-rays taken, I watched the computerised charting system (my own dental practice still uses the paper version) and some of the terminology was familiar from the textbook, and I got to try out using the suction tool on the dentist himself.

I think it was clear to him that I was a lot less nervous than during my interview.

However I didn't do very well when he threw some mental arithmetic questions at me. I'm terrible at mental maths - give me paper and a pen and I'll work it out before too long, but in my head I find it very difficult to visualise numbers and solve an equation. I don't know how much of a stumbling block that is but I made it clear that I really wanted to improve my maths.

He also mentioned that whilst some older more experienced nurses had applied (whether he meant for this position or in the past generally I'm unsure) because the practice is so modern and computerised, a lot of them just didn't have the computer skills necessary to do the job; a few apparently had hardly touched a computer. Not ideal for a modern practice. But then I suppose there's little to stop them going on computer courses to learn; certainly in my area there's plenty of introduction courses for adults wanting to learn.

My view is that regardless of whether you tick all the boxes, you can still have a good chance if you can prove that you're keen and willing to learn. My CV includes my attempts at learning a foreign language, various university level courses, plus obtaining the textbook and the Hepatitis B vaccinations - it all works in my favour, showing the effort I put in to learning and wanting to get into the profession.

All in all, I have mixed feelings about the day. It was insightful but I just wish I'd come up with some intelligent questions or at least been able to get the maths right.

I was told that there were a few other candidates to see and that I should find out one way or the other by the end of the week or else early next week.

Granted, this is the closest I've come so far to securing the job I want yet I'm trying not to get my hopes up too high because I know how upsetting it'll be if they chose someone else.

My next post will obviously let you know the result one way or the other.