How to be a well-rounded dental professional
Personal well-being, behavioural change and oral health promotion are subjects close to the heart of Victoria Wilson and are central to her lecture programme at professional dental events this season. Philips Oral Healthcare, which has supported Victoria throughout 2020 and 2021, is sponsoring this speaker programme as part of its ongoing support to dental professionals.
The overall wellbeing of dental hygienists and therapists is of tantamount importance and delegates at Dental Partners will be privy to Victoria’s lecture on this subject on 8th December.
Victoria explains: ‘Wellbeing is a huge aspect that underpins every element of the work we do. Very early on, I identified the challenges hygienists and therapists face in clinic with the nature of the work we physically undertake. We are eager to go above and beyond for our patients. We are so committed and dedicated that we often end up quite exhausted, and burnout is often discussed within the profession.
We should consider ourselves lucky that a lot of work has been done to tackle the stigma associated with mental health problems and it is reassuring to see that an increasing number of people seek help when they reach that burnout threshold. During the pandemic, many papers were written about stress, anxiety and burnout leading to the development of new frameworks for the profession providing clear and simple everyday guidance and promoting mental health wellness for all members of the dental team.
Every one of us should be taking steps to incorporate wellbeing into our daily life. Awareness is one thing, but until we are actively participating in something that can benefit us, we will not make tangible progress.
For the past eighteen months, I have been supporting the wellbeing of some of my peers six times a week through yoga sessions. The feedback I receive is really positive. Regardless of their initial motivation to attend my classes, all individuals report an increase in wellbeing and health benefits. I am not saying that yoga is the answer to everything- it works for many - however everyone has to find what is right for them.
What I am trying to get across in my talks is that we all have a duty to maintain our professionalism and do whatever we can for the patients. However, that also means understanding the importance of wellbeing and accountably and committing to supporting one’s own wellness. If our personal wellbeing is affected, then our normal output is going to be compromised”.
On 9th October, Victoria Wilson will talk to BSDHT delegates about behavioural change in oral health improvement. This is a subject which has always fascinated her and has been an area of special interest throughout her career. As she explains: “One of the most important elements of our role as hygienists and therapists is to facilitate a positive change in a patient’s oral health regime, and encourage a commitment to oral health improvement. To achieve this there is a need to develop a framework to support oral health modification. As behavioural change underpins everything, we must tailor our messages to our recipient.
The topic is covered as part of undergraduate education so although it is not new as such, the actual emphasis on behavioural change and communication as a softer skillset is not emphasised enough, in my view. Collectively, as a dental profession, we are good communicators but it still does not guarantee behavioural change. If we look at our bleeding score results for our patients, for example, have we successfully reduced the plaque and bleeding scores deemed to be acceptable and healthy for every patient? I can say throughout my career I have not consistently reached the plaque and bleeding scores deemed a success rate I would have liked for every patient. Although it is ultimately the patient’s responsibility, we can still find more ways to get patients motivated to reduce their bleeding scores and reach a healthy zone with less risk of disease.
We have the right competencies to continue in our work to reduce dental health inequalities through the education of the importance of oral health change. We are getting somewhere - but could do better. More recently, I have been exploring the role that tele dentistry has in facilitating behavioural change within oral health education - and this is something I will be continuing to explore and to talk about.”
Victoria Wilson will also be talking at the BSDHT OHC on 27th November in Glasgow on the theme of Oral Health Promotion - Back to the future where she will look back at what has been achieved in oral health promotion and assess how the profession aligns itself with the 2021 WHO resolutions.
Almost time for OHC 2021!
For dental hygienists, dental therapists and students of the profession, the Oral Health Conference (OHC) is an occasion not to be missed!
The flagship event of the British Society of Dental Hygiene and Therapy (BSDHT), this year’s show will take place at the SEC in Glasgow on November 26-27.
Combining a gold-standard educational programme with hands-on workshops, the latest industry information and many chances to mix and mingle, the show provides dental professionals with all they need to take the next step in their career.
Tickets are available now, with special rates available for BSDHT members, students and recently qualified dental hygienists and dental therapists.
To find out more, contact the team today!
For more information please visit https://www.philips.co.uk/c-m-pe/dental-professionals
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