If you’re interested in starting out in a career as a dental nurse, you’ll probably want to know what’s involved and what duties you’ll be expected to carry out from day to day. Many people may think that dental assistants are only there to pass instruments to the dentist and mix materials they need, but there’s much more involved.
In fact, nurses play a highly important role within the dental team. Patient care, support and safety is just as much their responsibility as the dentist. So without further ado, let’s take a look at a typical day in the life of a busy dental nurse.
When we arrive
In a morning, our first priority is to set up the surgery in order to have it ready for the first patient and the busy day ahead. No two days are ever the same when it comes to patients and treatments, but that’s okay, as it keeps the job challenging.
We’ll start by turning on all the equipment in our surgery and making sure it’s working. Then, the water lines in the dental chair need to be flushed through. After grabbing the list of treatments that are booked in for the day, we’ll start to organise our instruments so we can have ready what we need for our patients, which also includes stocking up our drawers.
At this point, any lab work that’s needed for the day (such as crowns, dentures and bridges) need to be collected. To finish the surgery preparations, we’ll grab our PPE (personal protective equipment) so we’ve got it to hand for use during treatments, this includes gloves, masks and visors.
Between the nurses, the decontamination room needs to be organised. This means turning on all the autoclaves (which sterilise the instruments) and running test logs to check they are working. If the test strip has changed colour, it means that the steriliser is working to the correct temperature needed to be effective. These tests must then be recorded in our log book. Once done, we’re good to go!
Collecting the first patient
When our first patient arrives, we’ll go collect them from reception and direct them into the surgery. It’s important to always be friendly and try and put the patients at ease, we know that our job makes many people nervous! Once our patient is settled, their medical history will be checked and updated. Then we’ll hand over some dark safety glasses as eye protection and place a bib over their clothes. Now we’re ready for treatment to begin.
During the day
Between patients, the dental chair and work surfaces must be wiped down with disinfectant and all instruments that were used must be placed into a ‘dirty box’ and taken to the decontamination room to be cleaned, sterilised and pouched. Somewhere in between, we have to fit in a well-needed lunch break. During the afternoon, we support the dentist as they continue to see to their patients.
After the last patient leaves
At the end of our working day, we’ll need to close our surgeries down. This means flushing the water lines of our dental chair and also our aspirator lines with disinfectant, wiping down every surface, emptying our bins and turning off all the equipment. Finally when all that’s done it’s home time!
As you can tell, the life of a dental nurse is a very busy but rewarding one and no two days are alike. If you’d like a career as a dental nurse then we can assist. Here at the Dental Nursing Academy, we can help you take the steps needed to becoming a fully-fledged dental nurse, so call us today on 020 3875 0569 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.