Opportunity for reward and celebrationNews
Posted by: probe-admin 7th December 2018
The Probe caught up with Dental Therapist Amy Hills, to see what life has been like since her Award win.
What was your first reaction to the news that you had won Dental Therapist of the Year at the 2018 Dental Awards?
I was absolutely elated to have won. I never dreamt I would, and never felt my achievements would be recognised on such a grand scale. For weeks, all my team were saying I had a good chance, but I was honestly just happy to be considered for the shortlist. I truly felt so privileged and honoured to have won. I was up against some amazing DCPs and we all did amazingly to reach the finals.
What has changed for you since you were awarded first place?
It has been an amazing boost for my practice. Patients were very excited to see the award in our reception area. I also did some interviews for the local radio and newspaper, which was great for spreading the word about dental careers and options.
What are the most important skills needed to become an exceptional dental therapist?
I think personality is one of the biggest aspects of being successful in any dental role. I find my patients often come to the practice for a chat and catch up and I believe this stems from having a good bedside manner and really getting to know your patients. I also think it’s very important to keep up to date with new approaches, skills and courses. I’m always training, whether it’s a three hour online course, or a weekend conference and practical training session.
What has been the most challenging aspect of your career in dental so far?
100% opening a clinic and learning just how much was really involved. It’s been a rollercoaster journey this past four years and I’ve had a lot to learn, but in the end it’s very rewarding. My team are like my family now, and my clinic is highly regarded as one of the best in the area which is such an achievement, however challenging it has been along the way.
How has dental therapy changed in recent years?
I think there have been positives and negatives for me, personally. Without a doubt direct access and the role of a DT has grown and I believe we are able to use our skill set more so now than 7-8 years go. However, the obstacles in facial aesthetics are disheartening and draining. Dental Therapists are categorised with beauticians and “non-medics” within the industry when it comes to performing facial aesthetics, and it’s very upsetting for many Hygienists/Therapists. Fortunately, we have some amazing support and spokespeople standing up for us as professionals and trying to get the world to understand what a DHT really is and the vast knowledge we have.
Why are the Dental Awards significant?
Recognising hard working individuals and teams is important in terms of keeping teams motivated, as well as networking opportunities. I think celebrating dentistry is a great thing as our day to day work can be tiresome, and to add that fun element each year and reward people for all their hard work makes for an amazing celebratory evening for dental colleagues nationwide to get together.
What are your plans for 2019?
Well… I’m actually in the process of opening another premise! This isn’t yet revealed however it will be announced in the next few weeks. I’m very excited to work with my team to expand and grow Whitehills as a brand. I also get married later this year so hopefully I will be starting a family at some point soon.
What is your professional background?
I joined the military at the age of 16 to start my career as a Dental Nurse. I qualified at 18, at which time I was the youngest Dental Nurse to gain the National Certificate, which was a huge achievement. I spent six years working as a Dental Nurse both in the UK and abroad for the Royal Navy. I went on to work in the Maxillofacial field and absolutely loved this position. I learned so much by working in theatres and joint clinics with our medical teams to give a wide approach of treatment to our patients.
When I left the military, I attended Sheffield university to gain my Dental Therapy qualification and graduated in 2011. I worked in the Cotswolds for four years in a private practice, gaining amazing experience and developing my skills. After twelve years in the dental industry I decided I wanted to take the plunge and open my own practice. In 2015, I opened my first Whitehills Dental Clinic in my hometown of Hull. Since then I have expanded three times, and moved to a much bigger premises, growing from a one-chair clinic to a very busy four-chair private practice. I currently have three amazing GDP and nine staff, each of which are instrumental ing helping me create my vision of high-end personal care at affordable prices.
In what ways do you strive to be the best dental therapist that there is?
Patient care! My number one priority is my patients’ experience and ensuring they have had amazing service from the whole team. I think patients enjoying their dental appointments as much as possible can really help in terms of them maintaining their oral health and not seeing it as a chore.
Do you think there is enough recognition for individuals/ practices that demonstrate work, commitment and passion?
I think we’re getting better at celebrating the industry. I feel for DHT there are still so many obstacles and frustrations as we are not as recognised and are somewhat underappreciated by a minority. I do feel this is something we all need to work on to recognise the hard work and passion of all DCPs, and how we all work together.
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