Setting the standards – an interview with our Clinical Nurse Manager

Setting the standards – an interview with our Clinical Nurse Manager

As society grows gradually more accustomed to living with Covid-19, many businesses are working tirelessly behind the scenes to enable this ‘new normal’ for their customers. We spoke to Sarah Smith, Clinical Nurse Manager at the Essex Smile Centre, about the challenges this pandemic has presented and how patients are responding to the new working practices.

How long have you worked as a dental nurse?

I qualified as a Dental Nurse in 2014 and have been part of the team at The Essex Smile Centre since March this year. Prior to that, I worked as Head Nurse at a practice in Leigh-on-Sea.

What does your role entail?

In my nursing role, I provide chairside assistance to the dentists for a wide range of cosmetic dental treatments. But as Clinical Nurse Manager, I also have some important compliance duties. I am responsible for maintaining quality management, infection control and audit standards set by several governing bodies. This variety of responsibilities suits me well as I have the benefit of both managerial and hands-on work around the dental surgery.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

As a Dental Nurse my special interests are cosmetic dentistry, dental implants, and oral surgery. I get huge job satisfaction from being a part of the patient’s journey and seeing them achieve their dream smile – for some, the results can be life-changing.

How has Covid-19 changed daily life at the practice?

Working in dental healthcare during the current pandemic has been the most challenging time of my career. Despite the strict infection control procedures already in place at the Essex Smile Centre, the management team had to work incredibly hard to implement new working methods, finalise a ‘’return to practice policy’’ and train all staff in the new protocols. The standards set have meant that we are now working at a lesser capacity than before, but our team has adapted so well to the new changes, we are extending this week by week.

How have patients adapted to the new working practices?

We have received overwhelming support from our lovely patients. Many have commented on how well organised things seem, with buddy nurses greeting them as they first arrive and easy-to-follow social distancing measures as well as face masks and other PPE equipment clearly in use. I think that clarity in the way we have implemented and communicated these new procedures to our patients has contributed to helping them feel safe in this new environment.

How is Essex Smile Centre different to other practices you have known? 

As a new member of the team, I feel proud to be working for The Essex Smile Centre at this challenging time. The hard work that my colleagues put into re-opening the practice was managed professionally and with great caring by Stephen and Declan, demonstrating the pride they have in their family business. It also demonstrates the great value they place on staff and patient safety.