Celebrating 100 years of women dental professionals
Where did you qualify and when? Manchester Turner Dental School 1976
What attracted you to dentistry?
It is a creative and caring profession with the opportunity for tremendous job satisfaction from helping to improve the lives of patients. It also offers flexibility around other commitments.
What are your current responsibilities in the profession?
Since the sale of my private dental practice, Waterside Dental Care, in August 2016 I have remained working part-time as a dentist including providing clinical mobile domiciliary services as Coates Denture Services. I am a partner in Armstrong Consultancy Services offering business mentoring services including involvement with the GC Growth Hub in Manchester.
Pam’s dental story
Being the daughter of a dentist father, whose GP mother used to provide the GA sessions in the practice, I was part of the surgery team from being a baby. I subsequently spent most school holidays working there, so over time became trained in every role from cleaner to anaesthetist. I have owned three multi-surgery mixed NHS/private practices with associates and vocational GDPs. I have converted practices from NHS to private and introduced capitation schemes. I also founded Piccadilly Practice Promotions Ltd, a company that sold promotional and marketing material to dental and optical practices. I have written articles and lectured about marketing and dental lasers and featured in numerous publications and TV programmes. My professional focus has been building the environments to enable my patients to smile with confidence and my staff to blossom as they developed into new roles and responsibilities. This has involved being at the forefront of new developments and continually learning from industry leaders. My clinical skills were progressively enhanced by intensive training from which I introduced new techniques and disciplines into my practice. These included the Mike Wise restorative courses in London for 3 years, the Paul Tipton year-long dental implant course, the Aesthetic Advantage cosmetic courses in London, New York and Palm Springs, Khanna courses on facial rejuvenation treatments and courses on the use of dental lasers. I am a graduate of the Goldman Sachs 10K Small Business programme which enabled me to evaluate and drive business performance at Waterside. The success of developing a prestigious private practice in a small town was driven by participation and implementation of techniques learnt by our team from Jameson Management, Chris Barrow, Ashley Latter and Growth Accelerator in-practice training.
Becoming Chairman of “The General Dental Practitioners Association”, a founder member and a chairman of “Women in Dentistry”, a member of the Denplan Advisory Board and Manchester Local Dental Committee all enabled me to become involved in the political aspect of the development and provision of dentistry and to organise and manage meetings and speakers. Becoming National President of Business and Professional Women UK involved me in decision making at an international level.
I achieved the Forward Ladies “Professional Woman in Business NW Award” in 2015. I was also a finalist for “Dentist of the Year North” at the Dental Awards, “Employer of the Year” and “Outstanding Businesswoman of the Year “at the E3 Awards and Rochdale “Businesswoman of the Year”. Our Waterside team won “Best Dental Care UK” at the Dentistry Awards 2014, were finalists in the “Team of the Year” and were shortlisted for “Best Customer Service” at the National Entrepreneurs Circle Awards 2014.
I consider myself fortunate to have been able to prepare my practice and sell it to a like-minded practitioner motivated to continue the standard of care for the patients. It now has passed from one family to another and meanwhile, I am seeking my next challenge!
What has been your most memorable achievement in the profession?
Converting a large NHS practice to a private dental centre, undertaking major refurbishments to achieve my aspirational practice, then winning awards including Best Dental Care UK and Professional Woman in Business NW.
What advice would you give your younger self on qualifying?
To back up clinical experience with qualifications and certifications wherever appropriate as what is superfluous at one time may become essential in years to come.
Which of your mentors have influenced you the most?
Probably my father who instilled in me to treat every patient as though they were a member of my own family, to be kind and to strive to provide my best work for everyone.
How have you used mentoring throughout your career?
I have used mentors and coaches at every stage in my professional and political career, particularly when at a cross roads or over whelmed. Being a practice owner is a lonely position and the support given by others has always been invaluable.