Longborough Primary School Visit

Longborough Primary School Visit

Longborough Primary School Visit

 

Tuesday 24th January 2017 was a busy day. I had the Care Quality Commission coming to the practice in the morning to make an inspection. The CQC are the governing body that oversees the healthcare profession in the UK from dentists to hospitals to care homes and everything in between. I was nervous. I’m never nervous, as a dentist nerves are not a good thing and over time I’ve honed myself to deal well under pressure but today I was being judged on the practice management aspect and I knew I faced a mountain.

When I set out to build my own practice I set an aim to be the best dentist I could be for both my patients and my staff, but owning a practice is so much more than that. It involves staff management, checklists, contractors, building maintenance, accounts, planning, marketing, systems, policies, procedures, in fact the list is probably never ending. I had to learn on the job. I had 5 years at university training to be a dentist but I had zero hours on how to run a practice.

I was right to be nervous as the CQC highlighted where my organisational and filing skills were lacking but I was proud as we flew through the patient care side of things. I accepted my failings and used one of my mantras I use for life. When we receive an outcome that we don’t like, instead of fighting it, look at what you can do in the future to change it. The CQC were right, my filing isn’t great and I immediately set to work to rectify it, it’s just a shame it required the CQC to give me the kick start but unfortunately with life running at a 100 miles per hour sometimes the more mundane jobs need more self discipline.

However, there was no time to lick the wounds because there were 50 school children awaiting our arrival at Longborough Primary School. What better way to show that we do truly care than to close the practice and give a talk on prevention to the next generation? I went with the hope that we, Chloe, Josh and myself could inspire the children to make informed choices about caring for their teeth but what actually happened was they inspired us.

Along with their headmistress, Fran Reagan, who has insatiable energy and made us feel so welcomed we set to work on testing the children’s knowledge of the hidden sugars in food and drinks specifically marketed at their age range. They were brilliant! I think the only one that caught them out were the naughty raisins, which actually contain more sugar per gram than Haribo yet come in a box advocating ‘goodness’ and strongly implying them as a healthy option.

I then did a disclosing tablet demo, which we had put in their goody bags. Apologies to all the parents that had children running round with blue mouths that evening!

 

We finished with a great Q & A session where I got asked by the children ‘why I wanted to become a dentist’ and ‘what are the worst teeth I’ve seen’ etc they wanted all the gory details but it was fun and most importantly it was brilliant for myself to remember why I started. The answer was so simple, I wanted to help people. As long as I never lose sight of that I can perfect my filing skills and I can always be more organised, but if I lost that inner calling and true belief it suddenly dawned on me that it would all be for nothing.

I slept well that night, despite my failings as a practice manager the children of Longborough School taught me something that I needed to remember.

Best wishes,

Caroline x

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