Joao moved to the UK to follow his passion for dentistry. Here he shares what he loves most about his job and his career ambitions.
Tell us about your career journey and where it started.
I qualified from Porto Dental University in 2010 and worked in Portugal for about six months. I always wanted to move to the UK after completing my degree - the opportunity to live in a different country and improve my English was a real pull. I then saw an opportunity for a position in Cardiff and eight years later I’m still here.
Was the move easy?
The opportunity to experience a different culture, while doing the job I love was too good to miss. The beginning was naturally hard, I missed my family, the nice weather in Portugal – although Cardiff isn’t far from the beautiful Welsh coast - and the fact I didn’t really know anyone having just arrived in an unknown place. There were times I questioned my decision. But I’m so glad I stayed, I have never lacked support or guidance from Bupa Dental Care and my co-workers, and it was easy to connect to lots of dentists in a similar scenario, with help from the company. From working here I’ve made some long-lasting friendships.
What’s the best thing about your current role?
I love being an associate and Bupa Dental Care. Many times, I have been asked about the possibility of becoming a practice owner which I do not even consider. Being an associate gives me the freedom to focus on only what I have trained to be - a dentist. All aspects of managing a dental practice, marketing, ordering materials, working schedules are managed by very competent people in each specific area. I believe this is a perfect scenario because who wouldn’t want to be able to just focus on being a great dentist for their patients?
What is the most memorable story you can recall from the time in your current job?
Despite the fact our profession can be stressful and comes with a high level of responsibility, there are many funny moments along the way. I could mention plenty of them - although I will keep them to myself for now, maybe I’ll write a book one day!
What’s the best thing about your job?
The best thing in my view is that I start my day thinking about dentistry and what I can do for my patients, but then finish my day switched off from the job, relaxed and enjoying my life in Cardiff. All the extra responsibilities inherited as part of the day-to-day running of a practice are dealt with by trained people. It’s them that give me the luxury of solely concentrating on my patients. This is truly a major benefit of working for Bupa Dental Care.
What is next for you, what are your future ambitions?
I have already achieved some personal goals during my last eight years in the UK. I have passed the Membership of the Joint Dental Faculties (MJDF) examination and am now a member of the Royal College of Surgeons. Additionally, I qualified in 2016 with a master’s degree in Implant Dentistry from Warwick University. There are some other postgraduate courses that are on the horizon and, who knows, maybe I can become a clinical director for Bupa – I know the pathway is there.
What advice would you give to someone looking to make the move into a new role like yours?
I would say that I understand that owning a dental practice can be incredibly stressful, even after your last patient has gone home. If you are not working as a dentist, you are working as an accountant or even an engineer fixing your broken dental chair.
If you want to live your life working as a dentist and enjoy your free time with your family and friends, have a big team supporting you and have the courage and ambition to move abroad, then working at Bupa Dental Care is tailored for you.
It’s better to regret what we do than what we don’t do.