Trust, empathy and honesty lies at the heart of dental care – but does your attitude towards workplace colleagues reflect this?

The expectations upon dental nurses have ramped up greatly since registration became an integral part of the role. From 30 July 2008, all qualified dental nurses in the UK had to be registered with the General Dental Council (GDC).

In any interview with dental nurses of considerable experience, registration rates high in the list of the biggest changes in their lifetime. It was a turning point and one that underpinned the position of the dental nurse as one with great responsibility – raising the profile and the bar when it came to meeting professional standards.

Within dental health care, professionalism includes:

ν Working to defined standards and principles

ν Demonstrating clinical reasoning and decision-making with an evidence base

ν Managing sensitive information

ν Considering complex ethical and moral matters.


Roll on to 2018 and dental nurses are now on the cusp of further change in their professional development – ECPD. Starting on 1 August, it will involve introducing a personal development plan for each member of the dental team – something the GDC hopes will help develop and encourage lifelong learning.

And, while the expectations upon you to meet ECPD requirements are clearly stipulated here – – there is a further and broader spectrum of mores and values that also shape the professional you.

Good interactions with your patients should be mirrored by those you have with your colleagues and you need to be accountable to them, too, in order to carry out your professional duties.

Do you conduct your behaviour with staff with the same integrity as you apply in patient interactions? Are you honest and open? How do you manage challenging relationships within your team? How do others interact with you?


None of us choose who we work with and there are the inevitable clashes in any working environment. The key to successful outcomes is how we all manage these relationships. The way you behave at work affects every aspects of your job – and can affect not only that all-essential patient-centred care, but the health of the business as well as those of you and your colleagues. Less than exemplary conduct could cost everyone dear.

In this issue, we take a look at workplace behaviour and, in particular, the ‘who, what why and whens’ of bullying and victimisation. We look at the challenges, the flashpoints (and how to avoid them) and hear from some you whose lives have been seriously impacted by such behaviour.


Dentistry is a highly stressful and closed environment and we also hear from the agencies that can help you to seek a peaceful resolution. In any workplace, there is a need to discuss issues and tackle them swiftly – doing nothing often only serves to exacerbate a problem. A healthy attitude towards each other is the responsibility of everyone in any workplace and, even if world leaders struggle to do so, let’s make 2018 the year to work together peacefully for the greater cause.