An eight year journey, told by Domingos Mamede
Eight years! Already? It seems like yesterday when I was having a meeting in Porto, my home town, and being recruited to come and work in the UK at a dental practice in Warrington.
Now that I look back, I realise the path has not always been smooth, and it took a while to get to where I am today.
I have always been involved with IDH (now mydentist) for the last eight years, whether as a locum or a full time associate, a GDP, an implantologist, a mentor, a changing program clinician, and, although having worked in between for independent and/or private practices, emergency and out of hours access centres, I have always ended up going back to where I feel at home.
I knew that my objective of becoming a private dentist, working mainly in the areas of surgery and implantology wasn’t going to be an easy task. I started being a purely NHS provider, struggling to understand the system and to deliver the best possible care to the patients.
Four years later I was doing a multitude of clinical and theoretical courses to improve my skills and knowledge, but I still couldn’t implement them into my daily practice.
Change can be scary
In early 2013, I had an invitation to join the Manchester Academy/Stevenson Square team; I thought: “Great, that’s the opportunity I’ve been waiting for to progressively become a private dentist” – The downside? Having to let UDA’s go in order to be able to extend appointments and do more private treatments. Easy, right? Not at all.
Suddenly, I have found myself loosing a third of my usual monthly income, productivity levels got worse as extending examinations slots weren’t paying off – Twelve difficult months followed and I must confess there were times when I considered going back to a 95% NHS dentist.
But I’m glad I didn’t! After 18 months I’m doing better dentistry than I’ve ever done, completing implants and aesthetic dentistry cases that I’ve always wanted to do (ones that in the past I wouldn’t of had the time to properly discuss with my patients when I had a purely NHS mindset – even with the excitement of freshly done training courses over the years). Who hasn’t been in that situation of doing orthodontics/implantology/endodontic training and then not knowing where to start or how to implement it effectively in your daily practice?
Achieving greatness as a team
It all changed for me when I decided to face my fears of failing when starting to offer the patients dental implants in our daily practice, and decided to seek help within the group. That was probably the best decision of my career – between practice managers, the marketing team, area & regional managers, we established a plan, and we have been implementing it ever since. I have been given marketing tools, the trust of my superiors, any materials and resources needed, to create a common and shared vision for the future.
We, as a team, started reaching to the other clinicians and also non clinical staff from other mydentist practices, organising lunch and learns, clinical panels. We took the best that a corporate had to offer and grabbed it with all our strengths. We analysed the company modus operandi, and adapted it to our needs. We created systems, protocols, routines, retrained peoples common sense levels and ways of thinking.
I have since been provided with a treatment coordinator who helps me in overcoming the bureaucratic burdens – she’s helped me become more productive and better at managing time, it really was a game changer!
By the time I decided to move down south with my wife, the way was paved, not only for who came after me, but also for myself while moving. I was offered the possibility to create and develop an implantologist position within mydentist in sunny Cambridgeshire, and implement the same protocols and systems that had proved successful in Manchester.
A new life down south
Now, four years later, I am able to keep growing as an individual and as a clinician, I have continued my studies and I have ticked off the different levels of experience required within mydentist in order to progress up the ladder as an implantologist. Until getting to the point that allowed me to become a mentor, an opportunity which I took straight away, and I am now trying to help other colleagues within the group to become more experienced and get their own wings.
So yes, exciting times ahead, for everyone…
My advice? Work hard and become part of something bigger. Surround yourself with like-minded people. Be ambitious. Invest in yourself. Aim for greatness with your team.
Sometimes you need to go one step back so you can go two steps ahead!!