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Home>Dentists> Policy and Campaigns>Campaigns> We are dentistry > James

 

 

 

 


I’m a senior clinical teacher and consultant in prosthodontics. I work within the Academic Unit of Restorative Dentistry at Sheffield University.

Most of my time is spent teaching undergraduate and postgraduate students, but I also have a smaller commitment to NHS consultancy in prosthodontics. The academic environment comes with its own pressures. Time management is probably the most important aspect, and attention to detail.

Academia is a relatively long career pathway, but the journey brings with it many opportunities for personal and professional development, scholarship and innovation. No day is the same, which is one of the main reasons why I love the academic environment.

I'm part of a huge team: my academic colleagues and junior colleagues (my students), all of the support staff at the University, and also all of the staff that work within Charles Clifford Dental Hospital, which is part of the Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
 

quotation-marks-open.png Being a dentist places you into a privileged position. Not just in terms of being responsible for the patients that we care for - but also the commitment we need to have to high personal and professional standards.quotation-marks-close.png


It's very important for me, as a teacher, to keep my skills up to date, both in terms of practical operative skills, the evidence base, and my ability to teach.

Regular continued professional development activities are critical, and sometimes these do not relate to dentistry at all; but I see this as a really nice opportunity to engage with colleagues from other disciplines, and to allow me to look at dentistry in a wider context.
A typical day for me begins with the family having breakfast, before I drop our two boys off at nursery and walk down the (steep) hill to work. From then on, anything goes, until I pick the boys up again in the evening. My wife also works at Charles Clifford as a restorative consultant, so we put in some fairly long hours between us and our weekends off are very welcome!

Being a dentist places you into a privileged position. Not just in terms of being responsible for the patients that we care for - but also the commitment we need to have to high personal and professional standards. We must be responsible and accountable, and to maintain public trust in our profession.

To me, all of these aspects underpin the concept of being a professional, and we should not underestimate the high level of responsibility of role(s) that we undertake.

Generally speaking, dentists and dental care professionals are a very supportive group of people. We see this as teachers, as students move through years of dental school together. I’ve found that this collegiality has remained along my career path, which is something that cannot often be said within other higher education disciplines.

My journey into dentistry was fairly convoluted. I started studying at Newcastle University for a Masters degree in astrophysics - you can't get much further away from the mouth than that (relatively speaking, anyway)! But then I switched to a zoology degree after a change of heart - and after that I applied to study veterinary science in the Czech Republic. However, at the last minute, I turned down my place, and chose to study dentistry in Newcastle instead.

So here I am today. My point is that you need to follow your heart. And now, I really wouldn't change what I do at all - and I also wouldn't want to have changed the journey I took. I think the journey is as important as where you are going to end up!


James Field, Senior clinical teacher and Consultant in prosthodontics

 

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