Evie Calderhead, lead dental nurse at Visage Cosmetic Dental Clinic in Glasgow
, has been awarded the prestigious Dental Care Professional of the Year award at The Scottish Dental Awards 2019. We caught up with Evie after her win to find out more about her career and her advice for aspiring dental nurses.
How did you feel when you found out you had won?
Amazed, I never thought anything like this would ever happen to me! It was a great night and is overwhelming to be recognised for my efforts. I can’t thank Tariq (Dr Tariq Bashir, Dentist at Visage Glasgow) enough for putting me forward for this award.
Tell us about your career journey and where it started
At 21 I went to the Glasgow Dental Hospital where I trained for two years to be a dental nurse. When I was there I was the first student to ever win Dental Nurse of the Year and Best Academic Achievement. I stayed at the hospital until 2007 and was involved in training dental nurses, then I moved to a specialist referral clinic where I worked for 10 years.
Two and half years ago I moved to Visage Glasgow to be closer to home and for career progression. The other practice I worked at had no room for promotion, but I came to Bupa and they’ve since promoted me to lead nurse.
What do you love most about your role?
I love being in public service and helping people. I always want to help patients be happy and calm and I don’t want anyone to be anxious. I like everything to run smoothly, so I am very organised to avoid any mishaps. I believe every patient should feel prepared for like they’re the first patient of the day, and they’re made to feel important and at ease.
What is the most memorable story you can recall from your time at Bupa so far?
We had a Make-A-Wish Foundation patient once - a little girl who had cancer - and her wish was to have straight teeth, so she came to us for braces. It was so lovely that we could help, and you could see how much it meant to her.
What advice would you give to someone looking to make the move into dental nursing?
Find a good practice with a good reputation and a good team that will nurture you and help you thrive, like I do with my colleagues at Bupa. I really enjoy working here and would recommend it to any other dental nurse.
How do you build a successful career at Bupa Dental Care?
Be a part of the team, go on courses and take everything they say on board. Learning from your peers is essential, so surround yourself with people that will help you grow.
What character traits do you need to be a dental nurse?
You need to be calm, organised, caring and have an empathetic approach. Excellent communication skills are a must as you need to be able to speak up to your team. Communication is key to correct treatment - you always need to be checking in with the team during surgery. You must also be able to speak clearly and professionally to patients about their treatment.
Who inspires you?
It was my own experience of the dentist when I was a child which inspired me to become a dental nurse. I had a lot of work done when I was young, and from that time I have always been interested in dentistry. I also had a lovely dentist and a lot of the work he did for me when I was younger I still have in my mouth now.