Life as a dentist in Cornwall, told by Andrew Samaan
Cornwall is a hot topic in the press at the moment, labelled the ‘Cornwall crisis’ people in Cornwall apparently face a wait of up to 18 months to register with an NHS dentist. Despite its natural beauty and many benefits in terms of quality of life, recruiting clinicians in Cornwall is a real challenge. With this in mind, we speak to Cornwall dentist, Andrew Samaan about his move from a busy city to the beautiful town of Redruth, and the affect it’s had on his career:
“Cornwall – where the sun shines and people travel from all over the country to get a nice, even tan (or so they say). You’ve probably heard how lovely Cornwall is for holidays and summer breaks, but how does being a dentist down here compare to just visiting on holiday
Living in Cornwall has its perks, especially if one chooses to work in a smaller practice. I for one have chosen to work in Redruth, hometown to the father of the steam locomotive, William Murdoch. Before moving here, I had my reservations and worries regarding life in a small town, and the implications that come with it. Many questions swamped my mind – will I have enough patients to see every day in such a small town? Will I be able to experience cases as interesting as the ones in bigger cities? Can I progress my career as a dentist and build a name for myself? Despite these worries, I decided to embark on the journey of becoming a dentist in Cornwall, and it has proved to be one of the best decisions I’ve made.
During my first few weeks here, most of these worries dissolved straight away. With the practice being fully booked, there was certainly no shortage of patients. Communities in Cornwall are very interlinked, meaning the practice develops a chain of patients, where each patient refers the people they know to their dentist. This means you won’t just have your patient to treat – you’ll also get to meet their siblings, spouses, children, grandchildren and even their neighbours! This proved ideal for me because, as a medical professional, you have the opportunity to build strong, solid relationships with your patients. When treating people, you often talk to them and get to know them better; working in a small town makes this aspect of the job more rewarding as it allows you to build those connections both within and out of the practice. Things as simple as walking down the main street become a source of gladness as you run into one of your patients and have a casual chat, meaning that being a dentist in a small town such as Redruth not only allows you to fulfil your potential as a dentist, but also helps you acquire warm, sincere friendships. This makes living in places like Cornwall more attractive as you experience a friendlier, more wholesome atmosphere than in bigger cities. So, as the saying goes – small town, big connections.
In addition to the social aspect being quite gratifying, living in Cornwall also fulfils your dental dreams and aspirations. Living in a smaller town means you have the chance to experience a vast range of widely interesting cases – each with its own challenges. This very much satisfied my mental curiosity and passion to face new and exciting cases. In big cities, the most interestingly fascinating cases tend to go to high-profile dentists in larger practices, which leaves the smaller practices in those cities with the more mundane, routine cases. Working in smaller regions means you can familiarise yourself with more of these exciting cases, as well as the routine ones, as most of the people in your town will choose to stick with their regular dentist, even when their cases are a bit more unusual. This has allowed me to grow more as a dentist and expand my professional expertise, and has allowed me to fully implement and apply what I learned in books to real-life situations more often.
Now, whilst this may all attract a lot of people, you might still have a couple of questions in mind, the most pressing one being what everyone wants to know – what is the money like? The truth in the matter remains, the financial security that accompanies being a dentist in Cornwall isn’t any different to that of being a dentist in bigger cities. With most practices being fully booked and having a constant, even influx of patients, this ensures that you will always have enough patients to meet your UDA target. This could be even better than in larger cities, where there are more practices and more competition for patients. In smaller towns, however, the patients are evenly spread out between a lower number of practices, which deduces that you will almost always have a relatively steady number of patients with a steady workload, therefore meaning you have ample room to meet your financial commitments.
However, living in Cornwall, like anywhere else, also comes with its own challenges. As someone who is used to living in bigger cities, it can be a bit tricky to acclimatise to moving to a small town. Living in big cities tends to be accompanied by more excitement given there is more to do – or so people say; however, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Regardless of where you live in Cornwall, there’s bound to be a beach less than an hour away, which is great for spending some quality time with your family, or my personal favourite – watching the sunset whilst having a BBQ with friends after a long day at work. If you’re someone who is more attracted to the greater social scene in bigger cities, fear not – Plymouth, which is home to some of the country’s most popular social events; Very often it stages massive concerts and festivals, as well as sporting events in everything from football and basketball to rugby.
Cornwall also proved ideal for me as I moved here with my family, and I found it calming to know that it has one of the lowest crime rates in the UK, which eased my worries and allowed me to feel safer and more secure than living in bigger, more metropolitan cities. On a final thought, moving to Cornwall wasn’t just a good idea … it was a brilliant idea.”
Dr. Andrew Samaan graduated in 1997 with a DDM degree in Dentistry from the Medical University of Plovdiv, Bulgaria.
Currently providing NHS and private dental care at mydentist practice in Redruth, Cornwall he is intensely involved in prosthetic dentistry.
He was awarded with ‘Silver Status 2016’ from the Denture Excellence Ltd for demonstrating outstanding performance, dedication and
commitment to the brand and ability in providing excellent service to customers.