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Holly's story - Dental nurse

Holly - Dental Nurse, Special Care Dentistry

"Day in the life of a Special Care Dental Nurse"

I have been with the service for 2 years now and knew for a very long time that I wanted to work in Special Care Dentistry within the Solent NHS Trust. I knew there would always be opportunities for extra training and development and I would be looked after which is why I was extremely excited when I was offered the position here at Gosport War Memorial.

Special Care Dental provide a service to a wide range of individuals that otherwise would find it hard to access a general high-street dentist. For example Children and Adults with Learning Disabilities, members of the public that have severe or debilitating dental phobia, the frail/elderly or housebound, patients with severe mental health conditions and many more types of patients these are only but to name a few.

I have always been passionate about working as part of a team that looks after the extremely valuable members of our society and want to provide the best care to the people who really need it. I have learnt from my own personal experiences how important it is to get the right help for a family member from staff that are trained and have the relative knowledge to aid in more specialist areas that often general practices don’t champion in.

We as a service are understanding of people’s different situations and circumstances and do not alienate or judge them but find different alternatives to aid them in their Oral Health care.

As a special care nurse I am always adapting and evolving to enable me to meet our patients current and ever changing needs. One day is always completely different to the next. Almost on a daily basis I’m learning new things from my colleagues and patients that I later put into practice.

There are so many different elements to being a special care Dental nurse. The service recognise that this job role is challenging and demanding but provide us with all the training and support needed to be the best Nurses and make sure we are continually developing ourselves. They provide us with advanced medical emergency training and an online and classroom training programmes which cover subjects from safeguarding all the way through to moving and handling.

These are a few of the further services we provide that set us apart from a General Dental Practice that we as Special Care Dental Nurses are also trained in:

  • We are able to help assess the mental capacity of a patient to help contain consent for treatment though the use of a Mental Capacity Act Assessment and best interest meeting where we work alongside the patient’s family and carers to decide the best outcome for the patient.
  • Any members of the community that are unable to leave the place they call home we are able to provide Domiciliary visits where we go out and see the patient in the comfort of their own home for a dental check-up.
  • A high volume of patients we see are extremely nervous and anxious. We offer a treatment called Inhalation Sedation which is similar to gas and air that is used for women when in labour. The sedation relaxes the patient and enables them to accept dental treatment. All nurses that join the service are trained in Inhalation Sedation so they can assist the dental officer.

The training provided has enabled me to become a highly skilled member of staff that is fully equipped to meet the needs of the patients we see and look after them with a set of skills learnt and nurtured by the Special Care Dental Service. All the extra training that I have had since joining the team at Gosport has enabled me to progress over the past two years from a Band 3 Nurse to a Band 4 Nurse. For me this is one of the main reasons I moved from a General Dental Practice to Special Care to gain knowledge and progress. I hope to continue to develop and grow for many years to come within this service.