Gareth Edwards is working as a locum dentist for a corporate group. He tells us about his day....
My alarm goes off….
At 6am. And every part of me wants to snooze it for 7 more minutes. But no…I get up and go to the gym. This clears my mind and sets me up for a positive day.
Once I've worked out, I'll have a strong coffee and some eggs and I'm ready for whatever my day will throw at me.
I'll always drive to work, usually listening to a podcast on the way.
I'm responsible for…
Providing general dentistry within the practice, exactly as an associate would.
There are no principal dentists in a corporate, so the full weight of patient care sits on my shoulders.
I got the job!
I graduated from Cardiff in 2012 and worked as an associate in Manchester for 5 years.
But I've always had an insatiable urge to travel.
So, I've spent 14 of the last 18 months abroad, in South America and Asia. This costs money, so locum work is a great short-term solution to fund my passion for seeing the world.
Corporates usually find locums through recruitment agencies.
The agencies require a lot of documents during the application process. This is for them to ensure you have the right qualifications and you're up to date with CPD and necessary vaccinations. Once you supply these, they'll then do most of the legwork going forward.
The recruitment system is good for negotiating rates and terms. It means there's no awkward conversations between yourself and the owners.
My typical day
I'll arrive in work 30 minutes before the first patient and my nurse and I will plan the day.
Monday to Wednesday I work in a practice in Bournemouth providing general dentistry.
The practice had a turbulent past so the aim is to stabilise the patients and regain some trust. The practice is located in a high need area, with a lot of FTAs and cancellations. It's highly unlikely I'll do an examination and not need to perform treatment.
Thursdays and Fridays, I work in a practice just 20 miles away, but the contrast is striking. This is an affluent area with an older patient base so my days here are a breeze. Exams were typically the order of the day.
The mixture breaks up the week nicely.
The worst part of my job…
The uncertainty of my future.
With only a 2-week notice period, the practice may bring in another locum or find an associate at any time and I'd have to move on again.
It's also sad to move on when you enjoy working with the practice team.
The best part of my job…
Conversely to the worst part, if I really don't like a practice there's no 3-month notice period to work.
Having no long-term commitment creates a freedom to live whatever life you want to live and not be shackled by a 9-5.
When I'm not at work I'm usually outside exploring. I love to travel, eat out, go for walks and visit new places.
I've also started blogging this year to help inform and educate patients about dentistry in an easy to understand way.
My Plan B
If I ever got struck off, I'd be an investment banker. What a life…!
I'd be licensed to make a fortune investing irresponsibly, losing other people's money and crashing economies.If dentists even sneeze too loudly these days, it feels like we get into trouble.
Gareth Edwards, locum dentist
Tell us about your day...
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