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A Locum Dental Nurse


My life has changed so much in the last 6 months.

All of my life I have held, what I thought were Secure Jobs, Monday to Friday, 9 - 5, weekends off, and a reasonable wage to rely on at the end of each month.  I have come to learn nothing is secure.

Being made redundant, recently, has become one of the best things that ever could have happened to me.

I know that sounds strange but its very true.

I was very positive about my redundancy and firmly believe what will be will be and in my new found freedom started to think outside the box a little.

I worked very hard for 5 months trying to establish dental divas as a locum dental nurse service, while also working for a wonderful events company and having fun with stag and hen groups and people having a great time,  being self employed was and is a real treat. Slowly but surely people started to hear of Divas.

Before I knew it I was covering clinics at short notice, and then started being booked, and gradually I brought in other nurses to assist where I was unable to when busy, It is fantastic., I will make every effort to cover any clinics needs, by sending myself or another diva.

So, now my days working as a Locum are exciting, challenging and sometimes unpredictable with very different resposibilities to that of running your own surgery.

So a typical day in the life of a DIVA is this:

My morning starts at 6, well, it tries to start at 6 I am not a morning person and I never fully awake until I have had that first cup of tea and maybe a jammie dodger!

I am then eager to start the day, and need to take the pooch for his morning constitutional ramble around the village ( my pooch, a Siberian husky, you would think would be eager to walk but he is also not a morning person and often I think if he could speak he would tell me to walk my self and to leave him be on his cosy warm mat! )

My return home is then the waiting game, (there is a period of time when the phone is likely to ring) I feed my self more caffeine and wait.

This for me is the most nerve racking time, the unknown, who will it be today, will I have worked there before,  which computer system will I have a crash course in or will I be familiar with it, will it be NHS, Private or both, what new skills will I learn, will I find everything will I understand everything, and will I grasp the clinics workings quickly.

The phone rings, am I able to cover a clinic for 2 days, we need you here ASAP. today and tomorrow.Yes of course i calmly say i will be there as soon as i can

I am always ready to go apart from lunch,  so I knock up a sandwich and go.

This is somewhere I haven't worked before, it's very daunting, new people new surgery different ways of working, I focus, and become outwardly as calm as I can be, but inwardly my nerves are jangling, it's like starting a new job every day.

I get there and am immediately put at ease, all is good, the initial expectation is to do basic nursing and gradually involve myself more once I am a little more familiar with how things work, the materials used, and where everything is.

I check out the surgery, the decontamination areas and feel my way round, I draw on my years of experience and nurse to the best of my ability and ask lots and lots of questions, Infact it is really good fun, there's a few laughs about not finding things, and I always joke about being a proper nurse, but I always enjoy it.

As a locum it is good etiquette to try to keep the surgery as I found it and will leave notes of thanks to the surgerys nurse for loaning her surgery to me.

I am very aware that i am ' on loan' and working in another nurses 'home' (dental nurses will understand this )  and very much try to respect this, although sometimes I  come across the odd cupboard that I just don't get on with, for you dental nurses, I know you will agree with me, this is either a impression material cupboard or an RCT drawer!!

I pride myself on doing the best possible job and at the end of a working day it is very satisfying, clinics have not been cancelled and everything runs as normal, and I help to achieve that.

I recently said to a colleague

 ' being a locum dental nurse, I will never be classed as being a good nurse as I will always be on the Backfoot. They corrected me, and told me they thought to be a locum nurse took great skill, to be able to fit in and pick up where the regular nurse has finished, this takes an enormous amount of courage and competence. Not everyone can do it '

I have taken this on board, and thank the practices I have worked for in the past for the experience they have all given me, sometimes throwing me in at the deep end, which has enabled me to develop my skill to perform as a locum today.

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