Ana Tout, a previous BDA Oral Health Education (OHE) student and star of our video, was 21 when she first came to England on a student visa. She originally studied agriculture in her native Romania, but decided after a few visits to England, that farming wasn't for her.
Despite little knowledge of dental nursing, she was encouraged by a friend to build a new career in dentistry.
We spoke to Ana to see how gaining the OHE qualification has benefited her and the team she works with.
Why did you want to qualify as an OHE?
I wanted a qualification to verify my abilities, and to give patients confidence in my ability to provide oral health advice.
How effectively do you feel your OHE qualification has benefited your practice?
Everything I learned on the course I'm putting into practise. My oral health education has been very effective, as I am passing my knowledge on to our patients. As a practice, we are now providing a better service to our patients.
The OHE qualification for dental nurses helps the practice run smoother because I feel that I'm a backup for the dentists and hygienists, saving them time and enabling them to concentrate on more complicated procedures. Another benefit is that our practice can state how qualified and skilled their staff are on their website.
Have your responsibilities changed?
Yes. I feel I am now more front-line, interacting and spending more time with patients. I can do more for the patient and feel confident about the advice I need to provide.
How have you benefited having qualified? What impact has the OHE qualification had on your career?
I am much more confident. The service I am able to provide to the patients, with the level of knowledge I can impart, has improved my level of job satisfaction immensely. I am very happy in my job and being able to spend more time with patients and helping improve their experience. Having a Preventative Dental Unit is especially helpful, as patients can sometimes feel a little intimidated by dentists and the clinical environment, so it's encouraging to see how patients do listen to the advice that nurses can provide.
What interesting projects have you been involved in since qualifying?
I was involved with the schools programme for three years – but since qualifying, I took part in presentations to school groups, either by class or in general assemblies. I thoroughly enjoyed this, as it was always interactive and fun for the children.
I am also looking forward to working as a volunteer on a new project with the charity organisation, BrushUpUK.
As an OHE qualified practitioner, have your aspirations for the future changed? What would you like to do in the future?
My aspiration is to become more motivated to continue to improve in my work and my knowledge. This course gave me the wings to achieve my dream and to do more within my dental nursing career – I felt I could do more, be more helpful to patients, and support the delivery of improving oral health.
This is where I feel I have the strongest interest and would like to get more involved in education for prevention. Dental decay in children is terrible, and the message needs to get out there as far as possible.
Has the qualification changed you personally?
Yes, I am more confident. Confident in the knowledge I need to provide help to patients with their oral health, and confident in taking up new challenges. It has made me hungry to learn new topics.
What would you say if a friend or colleague asked you about the BDA OHE course?
That it is extremely good! It's flexible, as you don't have to travel anywhere or take time off work. You can do it in your own time, and there was sufficient time to complete everything. The structure of the course also teaches and helps empower students to carry out sessions with patients.
The support I was provided throughout the course was very helpful, and whenever I asked a question someone got back to me very quickly. I'm not very good with exams and get stressed in exam environments.
Things like seeing other people finishing their exam before me or seeing them getting stressed tend to put me off, so with the BDA's exam I was able to sit the exam at home, in my own comfortable surroundings. Everyone knows the BDA brand, and that it's a good qualification.
Want to find out more? BDA OHE qualification
Developed in partnership with OHE Southwest, our flexible, online course will help you learn the communication skills needed to educate your patients about their oral health, visit the BDA website, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0207 563 4551.