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A week in the life of Sally Simpson

President of the British Society of Dental Hygiene and Therapy.

 

Day 1:

‎Hi Everyone,

This is my first day posting on the HYS page for “a week in the life”.

For those of you that don’t know me, I’m the current President of the British Society of Dental Hygiene and Therapy. This is not a job though; it’s a two year, elected, honorary position. I also work full time in practice in my local village in Disley, Cheshire and in the next village Whaley Bridge, Derbyshire. I adore my career choice and love working in general practice, especially locally, as I meet my patients everywhere – in the supermarket, the park, the gym and at the local pub! It’s really great knowing so many local people, that’s what makes home, home for me.

It’s been a real roller coaster of a two years for me, as President I had a window of opportunity to effect a change in working practice for the profession and all my energy has gone into this. So it’s been busy – VERY busy!

Well, its Bank Holiday Monday, and I really should be having a day off, but like Chris Barrow who has previously written “the day in a life” I use days away from practice to catch up on my BSDHT work! So this morning it’s responding to emails and writing my blog for the BSDHT website.

I get up early – usually at 5.45am. It’s a fabulous time of the day in spring, the smell of everything growing in the air and all the birds singing. I have a little dog called Tia – a dachshund who controls my life in the way only a ridiculously spoilt dog can! She and I walk to the farm early each morning to take care of the other love in my life, my fabulous horse, Zebardee. He needs to be turned out to grass and mucked out each morning – it’s a life choice not a hobby owning a horse!

If it’s a weekend I will hack out. I’m blessed with the most beautiful Derbyshire countryside around me and lose myself up in the hills for a couple of hours.

Getting out first thing always sets me up for the day ahead and a happy clinician makes for a happy surgery!

Sal x

 

Day 2:

Hello again everyone,

Well, it was back work again this morning and a cheerful greeting as always, by my adorable dental nurse, Hannah. Hannah and I have worked together since I first joined the practice. She had been taken on by the practice via an Apprenticeship Scheme and once she completed her training we simply had to offer her a job, as the Practice would not have been the same without her! Hannah is a very special person, always cheerful - no matter what, and full of laughter.

For this reason, she is an incredibly important member of our team. Her disarming nature and natural empathy makes her very approachable and patients feel very much at ease with her. She also is incredibly tolerant of her sometimes grumpy clinician (me!) and always able to lift my mood and that of all those around her. In the picture I’ve added, she is the one with the long dark hair. Laura (also pictured) works with me on a Tuesday afternoon as Phil (pictured) steals Hannah off me for the afternoon.

All the dental nurses in our practice do a fair amount of circulating between us clinicians – we find this is good all round as it varies the week, ensures that everyone knows how each surgery and team member works and most importantly means that one poor individual is not chained to the decontamination room!

Laura has been at the practice since its inception and is hugely experienced. A qualified Oral Health Educator she runs her own Oral Health Education Clinics seeing patients on a Tuesday morning. If you need to know one end of a toothbrush from another then she’s your woman – step inside her surgery and you will be disclosed within an inch of your life!

We’re really into utilising skill mix at the practice, and feel it is important that we all maximise our scope of practise. Laura and I have been looking this afternoon for resources for a forthcoming OHE session she has with the village nursery and chatting about the fun things that could be used with the children. The practise wants to engage the local community and starting early with these complimentary OHE nursery sessions is great way!

Tomorrow I’ll talk about the team dynamics between me and Phil and how we approach our patient care…

Sally

 

Day 3:

Wow, great day in practice today, sometimes you get in and look through your appointment diary and think “Oh dear, this is a tricky day” and then for some fabulous reason, everything turns out OK!

My practice is in an area of “high need for dentistry”, before we opened there was no NHS dentist in the village and much of the local community just hadn’t accessed any dental care in many years. Many of our new patients have the need for quite extensive oral care, and we start with the basics and work our way through our treatment plans.

Firstly, a new patient has an assessment and our lead Team Members Phil and Sue, who will do the full exam and assessment of the patient’s needs – once a treatment plan is agreed then patients will see Laura our Oral health Educator for Oral Hygiene Instruction and Disease Prevention Advice, we also have an onsite Smoking Cessation Counsellor too.

Patients requiring extensive restorations and treatment for periodontal disease are referred to me and when this treatment is completed will see either Sue of Phil for any more complex treatment such as prosthetics, crown and bridge or endodontics.

It’s a true team effort – not forgetting Carole on our reception that co-ordinates all these appointments!

I’m sure you are all wondering how we manage all this on the NHS contract, well, that’s where our “High Need Contract” comes in, we were awarded this from the PCT when it was identified that our area was in need of help in addressing the Oral Health of our Community and this has enabled us to put the significant time and effort into rehabilitating the oral health of those that need it in the comfort of a local practice for the people around us.

That’s why I love my job, we all work together to see a patient through a complex care plan and get a great feeling of satisfaction when at the final reassessment, that patient can go onto our UDA contract for general care and out of the “high need bracket”.

As BSDHT President, I have tried to champion the team approach to dental care. I see with my own eyes, in a small village in Derbyshire what a difference can be made. I have huge respect for everyone I work with and can see what a dynamic like ours can do in healthcare.

I have indulged myself today and added a random picture of me on Zeb – this picture is taken only around the corner from the practice when I was out drag hunting with the local hunt – Tally hooo!

Sally

 

Day 4:

So today is incredibly busy in Practice – it’s my “Perio” day today in the Practice that I live across the road from – so it’s a stroll across the road and then on with the day. I specialise in providing specifically treatments in periodontal disease on this one day. It’s hard work, but very rewarding.

Each night after I’ve finished the day job, walked the dog and put the horse to bed then I settle down on my computer and plough through my Presidency work from BSDHT, I usually respond to between 30-50 emails a day so I need to keep on top of my work load, otherwise my inbox gets somewhat out of control and I go into meltdown!

But we don’t have a TV here at home (I know – people think I’m a total weirdo, but I am convinced it breeds laziness!) so my evenings are free to do work like this.

I listen to a lot of radio and music whilst I get on with my emails.

The BSDHT Presidency has been highly rewarding and a fantastic opportunity to try to influence the changes in the profession that I believe in. I’m really proud of how the profession and the society has evolved over the years, and being part of that is really exciting. My work is incredibly varied for the society, but is by no means the “figure head” role that some are lucky enough to have in other organisations. Myself and the Executive Team all contribute our time voluntarily and have the responsibility for running a large organisation with nearly 4000 members. I am incredibly grateful to my Executive Team for all that they contribute as each and every one of them, like me, have other paid work that takes their time and they all help me so much continuing to develop BSDHT.

As well as the internal work within our organisation, my duties include meeting with the Department of Health, the GDC, the All Party parliamentary Group for Dentistry and many other organisations within the wider dental arena. We also work hard to build relationships with the dental trade to help fund training, information and education for our membership.

I’d encourage anyone to get involved with their own professional organisation, it’s a fantastic opportunity to be part of the “bigger picture” and offers so much in the way of personal reward to know that you can be part of changing things for the better and standing by your beliefs.

Pictured is the boat that we sailed at Cowes last year - sometimes there are perks to being President - and this was one - a fabulous invitation from Simon Gambold to crew this amazing "First 40"! Have a lovely evening all.

Sally

 

Day 5:

Hello everyone,

Today is a paperwork day for me – which means lots of telephone conference calls, emails and letters galore, in other words, a day tied to my desk. I’m not very good at sitting still for long periods of time and really relieved that I didn’t end up in an office job!

I punctuate my day with lots of excuses to get up from my desk – today for example, I decided that it was very important to go and wash the car, visit the dry cleaners and sweep out the courtyard! This is a false economy though, as it just means my working day is longer as I’m up and down from my desk!

If I’m not at home on a Friday I’m usually at BSDHT linked meetings that can be anywhere in the UK and I am a seasoned traveller of train, plane and automobile routes throughout the country. My favourite mode of transport is the train, I love to watch the scenery go by and for some reason can really focus on getting work done on my computer – I guess because there is little else to do.

I’m preparing for our BSDHT Executive Meeting next Friday in Birmingham which will be a full day meeting.

Tonight is a quiet night in, a Thai food take out with a glass of wine I think, my husband is home too which is great – he travels internationally with his job so we pass like ships in the night!

Have a great evening everyone

Sally