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  Posted by: The Probe      19th December 2019

Holly Payne speaks to the winner of this year’s Dental Nurse of the Year award, Siana Garstang.

What first appealed to you about dental nursing?

I have been involved in the dental world since I was a little girl – my dad is a specialist dental technician and in my school holidays I remember begging for him to take me to work so I could help him in the lab! I loved this but figured out I wanted to be able to meet the patients he was making the lab products for. When I was thinking about what I wanted to do as a career I looked into many different options including photography, which I studied at college. I decided I wanted to venture into the dental world for myself and I found an apprentice position at Sharoe Green Dental Practice in Fulwood, I went for my interview with Lesley Holden and was offered the Job – I was so excited.

What is your recollection of the first time you helped a patient?

On my first day of nursing I remember feeling so nervous but excited to be there, I was just amazed at the variety of treatment that could be done in one day’s work. I couldn’t wait to be able to gain all the knowledge the qualified nurses had about each treatment. That day I helped in the fitting of a bridge for a lady – she was so happy she cried and hugged and kissed all of us. At that point I knew I wanted to be a dental nurse and help create beautiful smiles.

Who has inspired you the most during your career to date?

Many people have inspired me and encouraged me to push myself and progress my career. As a nurse at Sharoe Green we don’t only work with one clinician, we have a weekly rota that means we work with different clinicians each day of the week. I feel this is a really good way of working and learning, as you pick up different tips and knowledge from all the clinicians which you can adapt to your own technique – whilst nursing I feel this has really helped with my skillset.

Other people I have had so much advice and support from include my practice owner Lesley Holden, principle dentist Graeme Fisher and specialist in restorative dentistry Meena Ranka. They have given me the confidence to push myself and encouraged me to go that bit further with my studies and roles and responsibilities within the practice.

Have you noticed a difference in the way dental nursing works in the years since you qualified?

Yes, in the seven years I have been a dental nurse I feel that the clinicians are now more willing to let nurses get further involved in the treatment of patients. I am able to take impressions, digital scans, X-rays and do oral health sessions. I love being able to get more involved.

What was your first reaction when it was announced that you had won Dental Nurse of the Year at this year’s Dental Awards?

I couldn’t believe it! I was so shocked I was shaking! It was my business manager’s idea to put me in for the award but I didn’t think for one minute that I would actually win! I feel that the award is not only a celebration of my achievement but a celebration of the people who have encouraged and supported me.

Do you have any other memorable moments from the evening?

How proud and happy the whole team were for me.

What are your hobbies outside of work?

I have been involved with scouting my whole life and I love to help out at the local groups. I am a keen photographer, baker and love to explore the outdoors, either walking or mountain biking. I love to travel, whether it’s in the UK, in our caravan or travelling to exotic places. My husband and I feel there’s nothing better than going on adventures and seeing new places.

In what ways do you promote the message of practicing good oral hygiene outside of the practice?

I do oral health sessions at local beavers and cub groups, and dental nurse Gemma Holden and I go into schools and nurseries to do oral health sessions. Me, dental therapist Suzanne Morton and business manager Lesley Holden got in touch with a local homeless shelter and together we set up a charity called Street Teeth in January this year. We go one day per month and deliver emergency treatment to the homeless.

What’s the most important piece of advice you could give to someone studying to become a dental nurse?

Ask lots of questions, never feel like you will sound stupid about asking anything, Your clinicians and nursing team are there to help – they want you to learn and that is the best way to do it. I love asking questions – I feel if I don’t ask I will never know – and I love to know!

If you’d like to submit your application for the Dental Awards 2020 please visit:

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