Sunday, 20 January 2013

Dental Nursing: the career for you?

It's not always easy for people to decide on a career path.  There's endless options, but sometimes the choices are so overwhelming you don't even know where to start!

Certainly my 'career advice' at school left a lot to be desired!  It pretty much consisted of "advisers"  (I use that term extremely loosely) asking the same old question of 'What do you want to do?'  to which most people answered, 'I don't know' - leaving the advisers at a total loss.  Never mind that a few probing questions could have thrown up a few ideas of things to consider.

Dental nursing was never brought up.  Nursing in general wasn't mentioned.  Medical careers of any description just fell by the wayside.

It has taken me best part of a decade to suss out what I wanted to do.

But perhaps if you are considering a career as a dental nurse - which is a possibility as you are reading my blog! - maybe I can help a little in sharing my experience and observations of what you need to be a dental nurse.

Now, my observations may not be typical of Career Advisers but hey, I'm not going to shy away from the negatives nor the random elements that may never occur to people to mention.

So!  Without further ado, let me start with the first thing on my list of Is Dental Nursing the Career for Me?

1.  Do You Faint at the Sight of Blood?

I hope you raised an eyebrow at that!  If you didn't, think about it.  I'll wait.

Are you there yet?  Yes?  Cool.   Yes - the dental surgery is just that - a surgery.  It is a medical environment.

There. Will. Be. Blood.

I've been in my job for about a month and already I've had several nurses give me various accounts of more than a few potential new nurses that have come into the surgery, taken one look at the blood that appears during a tooth extraction and they've been flat on the floor in moments, looking pasty and ill.

They have all walked straight out of the door never to return. 

To me, that's insane!  They've taken the trouble to apply, get the interview, succeeded in getting the job ... and it never occurred to them what they might encounter working with a dentist!?

It makes me think that some people obviously don't think about stuff like this.  Hence, it's worth mentioning here!    If you can't abide blood, rule out dental nursing as a career right now.  There's no getting away from it.  As stupid as it sounds, I figure it's a rather important thing to point out.

Are you OK with blood?  Yes?   Awesome; consider yourself a step closer to dental nursing!

* You know, I'd love to add some images to my recent posts, but Blogger seems to have an issue at the moment and isn't giving me the option.  Hopefully at some point I'll be able to add some, brighten up these posts a bit - just looks a tad dull with just text, doesn't it?

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Pure Water


Yep - water is the backbone of the a dental practice!  Surprised?  Well, perhaps you won't find it that surprising when I phrase it like this:

  • Purified water is essential for use in the autoclaves - tap water isn't going to cut the mustard here, it has to be purified.  Filtered water is not the same thing as purified; it has to be heated to kill off any micro-organisms

  • Without purified water in the autoclaves, the machine won't be able to properly sterilise the dental instruments

  • Without sterilised instruments, the dentist won't even have a clean mirror to have a nosey around your mouth - let alone do anything else like a scale and polish, a filling or an extraction

You probably don't think twice about that little mirror, whether it's clean or not - you just assume that it is - and of course it has to be before it goes anywhere near you!   It's a clinical environment and the human mouth is a fabulous place for bacteria to hang out in; anything that gets used inside your mouth is either single-use (and gets thrown away immediately after use) or made to withstand the sterilisation process.

But without purified water - nothing is getting sterilised.

Without being able to sterilise things, instruments get used up pretty darn fast and before you know it, the whole practice could grind to a halt because there's no water for the autoclaves!

I don't know how I feel about being primarily responsible for all that.  Yes - I'm primarily responsible for ensuring that the water purifier is filled regularly, any purified water decanted into appropriate containers so we have a constant stock of water.   We have several autoclaves and they're working most of the day - that's a lot of water we go through.

I imagine no one really thinks about it - certainly not the patients and maybe not the dentists themselves (since they don't have to keep tabs on it) - but like I said, without it, the practice would come to stop rather rapidly.