The truth about it
So, over the last two years I have become involved with sixth form students who are interested in dentistry at the school just up the road where I am also a Governor and where my daughters go to school (and where my son will go)
West Bridgford School is a ‘good school’. It’s one of the highest achieving state funded schools in the East Midlands, so clearly the raw materials they get in that school are pretty good and they should get great results.
One of the exciting things about it though is that West Bridgford School has become the centre of a Multi Academy Trust (MAT) pulling in secondary schools from different areas and from much less advantageous backgrounds. Those are the guys that interest me the most. Those guys that could be the future of dentistry.
What’s interesting though is that when you interview these guys or speak to them at information sessions and ask them why they want to be dentists, they say “I want to help people and work with my hands”
They all trot out the same answer, sometimes paraphrased in different ways, but always the same but if you look at their faces and their eyes they don’t all mean it.
Getting to the truth of it is the most important thing and I employ shock tactics by telling them that they won’t make any money as a dentist anymore which usually cuts out about half the group. That leaves the other half of the group who are either genuinely interested in healthcare for healthcare reasons or think I am a d&@k and I’m lying.
But they go through the process of mock interviews and applications with the same lines and everybody accepts those lines and doesn’t dig any deeper. It’s good news when we get to the other side though because we all said this when we went to interview and so if that’s what we get then we got exactly what we asked for.
I did dentistry because I couldn’t believe they would let me do it. I didn’t believe they would let me be a healthcare professional and to occupy that kind of position in society, whatever that might mean.
Until my eyes give up (which has started already) I will always practise clinical dentistry and I’ll never give it up.
I bought my own practice so that I could control the environment that my patients were treated in, so that I could provide the best possible level of care I could with the best team, the best equipment and the best environment. That would be why I have invested and re-invested so much money into that environment and continue to do so.
In doing that though I had to learn new skills. I had to become a manager and a then a director. I had to understand how to count the money, or at least get someone who does it for me. I had to look at marketing and sales and standards and quality assurance and human resources and all that stuff because we are now heading towards 40 people in the organisation. The truth is though, I didn’t go into dentistry to become an accountant by the back door and I never forget the fact that what the practice does is allow me to practise to the highest level I possibly can and that’s what I want for these guys that I meet.
I want them to tell me that that’s what they want, then I want them to want that, then I want them to go and get that.
That’s how we should be interviewing people for dental school.
Blog Post Number: 1738