Changing careers during Covid-19

After 30 years with the same dental practice Dr Jane Samways decided she needed a new career challenge and joined the {my}dentist practice in Wyke Regis in April 2021. She shares her experiences of joining a new team during a pandemic and why concerns about meeting NHS expectations should not hold others back from making the move.

Why did you decide you needed a career change?

I was in Dorchester for 30 years in an independent practice which was mainly NHS dentistry. I was really happy there. I had lots of lovely patients and I saw many generations of the same family. But the pandemic gave me time to reflect about what I wanted to do with my career, and I felt that I wanted new challenges. I started looking around at what was available and I was very impressed at what I found with {my}dentist.

What has the experience of getting to know your new colleagues and your patients been like – especially with the restrictions in place and the pent-up demand for dental care lockdown created?

Before I joined the team I came to visit the practice. Everyone was friendly. I felt like a part of the team straightaway.

With the patients there has been quite a lot of demand, obviously because of lockdown, but they have all been very friendly and they are all very grateful that they have a new dentist in the practice that is caring for them. With all the PPE I sometimes feel that it can make it a little more difficult to build a rapport with patients because a lot of your face is covered and I’m smiling behind a mask. But they’ve been really welcoming.

I joined in April this year and it’s been a positive experience.

When you were looking for your next career opportunity what was important to you?

When I was deciding to leave my previous practice the biggest wrench for me was leaving the patients that I had got to know over the last 30 years. I was treating grandparents and their grandchildren, children and their parents. I wanted that kind of practice when I moved on and I got that with the {my}dentist practice in Wyke Regis. We have very loyal patients, I’m seeing several generations of the same family and I feel that we’re a really important part of the community.

Also, I did want to do some private work. Now I have private patients every day. I’ve got a nice mix. That was really important to me.

What were your worries about joining a new team during the Covid-19 pandemic?

Joining a new practice during the pandemic was a concern because I wanted to make sure the safety procedures were just as good as in my last practice. And I wanted to make sure all the staff and patients felt safe. I had no worries about this joining {my}dentist. They are following all the Government operating procedures and they have put in place additional safety measures themselves. I feel very confident that the practice is Covid secure.

Being a clinician can be a lonely profession have you felt supported?

From the moment I approached {my}dentist I felt a great deal of support. While I was thinking about making the move I was in touch with a recruitment agent at {my}dentist and any questions I emailed were always answered the same day.  When I decided to join I had Jake who is a resourcing support assistant there to help and he was always at the end of the phone.

Within the first week of starting at the practice Rob the area development manager and Mark the clinical support manager both came to meet and welcome me. Also, I have Kerry, our practice manager who is incredibly supportive and always available.

Aside from new colleagues and patients, what else has changed about your career since joining the practice?

Firstly, I’d say the things that are different are we have {my}options an affordable private scheme. Every day from 8am to 9am I have {my}options’ patients booked in, so I’m keeping a regular flow of private patients, which is great.

Secondly, I do feel that there is a great deal of support if you want to further your career. As I mentioned, in my first week I met Mark, the clinical support manager and he wanted to know what {my}dentist could offer to further my career.

One of the ways they’ve helped me do this is through ClearCorrect training.

Often if you do go on a course you find that when you’ve finished you don’t always implement your training straight away because you have to get the equipment, inform your patients – there is a lot to do. But with {my}dentist as soon as I booked onto the ClearCorrect course someone got in touch with me and they’ve supported me at every stage.

I saw one of my first ClearCorrect patients this morning in fact. And the course really prepared me  – I felt really confident.

You feel that if there is anything you’re interested in pursuing you have the support and back up of the {my}dentist team and that’s fantastic.

What would you say to other clinicians who are perhaps reluctant to move {my}dentist during the pandemic?

If you’re reluctant to make the move because of the pandemic, I would say first of all the cross-contamination procedures are absolutely excellent. Safety should not be a concern for you, or patients.

I’ve felt extremely supported and you will be encouraged to develop your career.

And you shouldn’t be concerned about meeting the expectation of the NHS either. I’ve been at the {my}dentist practice in Wyke Regis now for three months and I’ve had no problems reaching the 60 per cent expectation. But, they do recognise that it can take time to get to know your new patients so in the first two months they pay 100 per cent of your payments whether you reach the expectation or not.

It’s been a fantastic move for me.

Find out more about the career opportunities available for clinicians at {my}dentist by visiting

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