Yolande Fisher shares her compelling journey from early childhood in Cameroon to successful practice in Bristol. 

Her story unfolds from her early education and influences to the challenges and revelations she faced within the NHS and her transition to private practice. 

Alongside her clinical pursuits, Yolande delves into the balance of motherhood, continuous learning, and the pursuit of personal fulfilment. amidst the evolving landscape of dentistry.


In This Episode

01.30 – Back story

06.00 – Discovering dentistry

21.40 – The NHS Experience

27.15 – Motherhood, moving to Bristol, and family life.

37.00 – Learning and leading

42.10 – Social media 

47.00 – Family

56:20 –  Privilege

01:11:20  – Black box thinking

01:24:00  – Continuous learning

01:19:40 – Practice ownership and partnerships

01.23.56 – Standout learning experiences

01.30.32 – Future

01.36.21 – Fantasy dinner party

01.40.16 – Last days and legacy


About Yolande Fisher

Yolande Fisher is a GDP practising at the Family Dental and Implant Centre in Bristol.

Speaker1: I don’t feel guilty about leaving the NHS at all. I think that as a system, [00:00:05] the the faster people leave it, the faster it will get restructured because I don’t think it’s a functioning system. [00:00:10] Personally, I think we should just all rebel against it because it doesn’t serve people [00:00:15] at all. It keeps people in ongoing maintenance that’s not [00:00:20] actually adequate for ideal dental health, you know. So I’m in [00:00:25] favour of this whole system being restructured. And I understand that absolutely. People out there who just do [00:00:30] not have the funds to do any better or to do anything else, and my opinion [00:00:35] anyway, is that it should be an urgent care system and it should then be [00:00:40] put into maybe insurance or something like that, which is more realistic, you know, where you get a better standard [00:00:45] of care, because as long as people are not fairly compensated for the hard, hard work they do, [00:00:50] people are always going to find ways to cut corners. And then that person deserves a good standard of care for [00:00:55] what they’re paying is that even though it may not be relatively a lot, but they are still taking what they have, [00:01:00] you know, and giving it to someone and not getting something that actually reflects a good quality [00:01:05] of care.

Speaker2: This [00:01:10] is Dental Leaders. The podcast where you [00:01:15] get to go one on one with emerging leaders in dentistry. Your [00:01:20] hosts Payman Langroudi and Prav [00:01:25] Solanki.

Speaker3: It gives me great pleasure to welcome Doctor Yolanda Fisher [00:01:30] onto the podcast. Yolanda is a dentist in Bristol [00:01:35] who is just a really makes me feel like I want to know more about her. Just just [00:01:40] from just from her profile. Dentists. Do gooder. Bookworm. Businesswoman. Wonderful. [00:01:45] On a mission to thrive, not to survive. Yeah. Um, welcome [00:01:50] onto the pod. Yeah. How are you? You so.

Speaker1: Much. It’s great to be here. [00:01:55]

Speaker3: Um, this pod usually starts with the backstory. Um, where were you [00:02:00] born? What kind of kid were you? All the way to. Why? Why [00:02:05] did you choose dentistry?

Speaker1: My life is a bit convoluted and off the beaten track. [00:02:10] I was born in Cameroon, which is in West Africa. A lot of people are probably very [00:02:15] familiar with Nigeria because there’s lots of Nigerians in the UK. So Cameroon is its more [00:02:20] quiet neighbour. And my family, well, I and [00:02:25] my mother moved over when I was five to London because my mother at the time was studying law at University [00:02:30] College London. So that’s how I ended up in London and she ended up. So that was [00:02:35] actually her. Was it her first graduate degree or her undergraduate? I can’t remember which of the two, but she was ended up [00:02:40] being scouted by the UN and has ever since worked with the UN. And [00:02:45] I stayed in London for early childhood. But with the UN you [00:02:50] have family and non-family posts, so some places where you can take your family with you, some places where you can’t. [00:02:55] And a lot of her early posts were non-family posts. So I lived in London with my aunt, [00:03:00] actually her older sister, while she was in refugee camps and all sorts of things [00:03:05] advocating for refugees. And yes, I was in London for for a few years [00:03:10] until I was about 11.

Speaker3: So your mum was in other countries [00:03:15] for months at a time. And yeah, I see her years at a time. [00:03:20] Yeah. Wow. So how what’s your reflection [00:03:25] on that fact?

Speaker1: Um, I think most people ask me what it’s [00:03:30] like not growing up with my mother in the house. And to be honest, I don’t know any different, so I [00:03:35] can’t I don’t have anything to compare it to. So for me, that was just my standard baseline. [00:03:40] That was my life. So even though she was so far away, she was very present. So it’s not like she would just [00:03:45] went and I she didn’t know what was going on in my life. She still controlled every facet of my life. [00:03:50] You know what schools I went to, what I was doing, whether I went out with this [00:03:55] friend on this night, you know, my aunt would call her all the time, and she had a hand in everything that was [00:04:00] going on in my life, but just not physically present. So I still felt her presence, [00:04:05] but just not physically, I guess. So.

Speaker3: And where was your dad?

Speaker1: It was a different [00:04:10] time with my dad, so by this point my parents were separated, so they divorced when I [00:04:15] before we moved to the UK and my dad was training to be an architect and he his studies took [00:04:20] him to Italy. So he was in Italy at the time and then France. So that’s kind of he stayed on [00:04:25] that Italy France side and my mum ended up in the UK. So [00:04:30] uh, well for a short while.

Speaker3: And were you in the UK for the whole time or did you at all travel [00:04:35] with your mum?

Speaker1: So I was in the UK from five until around 11 or 12, I can’t remember exactly. [00:04:40] And then she got a family post in Kenya and I went to Kenya with her for three years and [00:04:45] that was really fun. I really enjoyed Kenya and when her time there was over, I actually said to her, just leave me here. You [00:04:50] go where you need to go. I’m fine here. I really like the country. It’s such a beautiful country, [00:04:55] beautiful people. I had a great life there and I really. Yeah, I wanted to stay in Kenya, but [00:05:00] obviously she didn’t. She didn’t have any family in Kenya, so she wasn’t comfortable leaving me there. So, [00:05:05] um, she was sent to another non-family post and I went [00:05:10] back to the UK.

Speaker3: Wow. What a what a childhood man. So [00:05:15] then how did. Then street. How did then street come into the equation?

Speaker1: I [00:05:20] had always been good at science. I really enjoyed health care, but I just actually not health care. [00:05:25] I enjoyed the human body and I thought it was fascinating, and my dad was really pushing me to be [00:05:30] a doctor because he thought, you know what? You’ve got the brains, you’ve got the skill, you’ve got the interest. But [00:05:35] I think you have to really look at yourself and look at your personality and what you are passionate. [00:05:40] And I think I felt like being a doctor is a calling. And I just did not have that calling at all. The [00:05:45] amount of work involved for what you get in return, you have to love it. And I [00:05:50] didn’t love it in the slightest bit. I’m not interested in people’s kidneys, their livers. I just don’t want to know, [00:05:55] you know, so I just yeah, I do want to know. So I went to UCL and I did a [00:06:00] degree in biomedical sciences, which obviously is just kind of like a general healthcare degree. And I did the [00:06:05] unaccredited version of the course. So it meant that I could just choose whatever modules I wanted. And I did all sorts of random [00:06:10] things. I did module in Spanish, I did philosophy of the mind, I did neuro neuroanatomy, whatever [00:06:15] I wanted.

Speaker1: At the end of it I thought, actually, dentistry is not bad because here I get [00:06:20] to still be interested in the body, but I can just focus on this one area and not have to deal with [00:06:25] people’s kidneys. That sounds great. And I went and [00:06:30] I spent. So this is when I was still at UCL. So this was my second year and I went to Gower [00:06:35] Street and I found I walked into the first dental practice I could find in Gower Street, asked if I could shadow, and [00:06:40] he was like, yeah, absolutely, really lovely guy, I wish I could remember his name. It was really lovely, man. And [00:06:45] I spent 3 or 4 days shadowing with him and I thought, yeah, this, this looks all right. I think I’ll do this. [00:06:50] And that’s how I got into dentistry. So from then I kind of started to gear [00:06:55] my work experience and my, my final year module. So I did bone physiology and my final [00:07:00] year to kind of support my dental applications and things like that. But I didn’t get in the first time round. [00:07:05]

Speaker3: So yeah, tell me about the process. Then tell me about the applications process [00:07:10] and what that meant to you.

Speaker1: And yeah, it was interesting. I um, because [00:07:15] of my weird upbringing and going back and forth in UK, I still [00:07:20] wasn’t a British citizen, so I was applying as an international student, even though I’d pretty much been [00:07:25] predominantly of my like the larger majority of my life in the UK. So they have specific [00:07:30] number of slots that they allocate international students versus home students, and then they also [00:07:35] assess whether or not they could. They think you can pay the fees. So some of [00:07:40] the universities just rejected me saying that they didn’t think I could pay the international fees, and [00:07:45] which was completely unfair because actually the UN fund a large portion of our [00:07:50] tuition. So that was quite unfair. But regardless, I thought, [00:07:55] never mind, this is not going to break me down. I took a short course in dental nursing, and in my gap year I [00:08:00] worked as a dental nurse for 6 or 7 months.

Speaker3: Wow.

Speaker1: To get like further insight into the [00:08:05] career. So yeah, six seven months I went to the dental nurse. So this was before you had to be registered or anything. I [00:08:10] literally did a two weeks course and I was straight into surgery. Um, and, and that gave me real [00:08:15] insight into like this was the old UDA contract and just the way it just. No sorry, this [00:08:20] is pre UDA because when I was doing my interviews, the UDA contract had just been released [00:08:25] like the draft of it. And I remember thinking, oh, I need to read this whole contract for my interview. And uh, [00:08:30] yeah, it was an interesting time, but I feel like it gave me real insight into what I was getting myself into and [00:08:35] kind of the conditions that people were working in because I was doing. I was working in Hackney [00:08:40] in the like, real belt of NHS work, you know, one in, one out, bash out [00:08:45] as many amalgams as you can in one hour and move them along, you know, so I [00:08:50] feel like I got a real reality. And to be fair, what I saw there [00:08:55] was what more what I was expecting compared to what I actually got when I [00:09:00] graduated. So I was actually a bit of a shock to me to go the other way. Yeah. And what I [00:09:05] experienced in London was not at all what it was like for me graduating, which [00:09:10] was an interesting difference, really.

Speaker3: So did you have more empathy [00:09:15] for the nurse’s role now? Oh yeah.

Speaker1: Absolutely. It’s really what’s the [00:09:20] word? It’s really they don’t get enough praise. Yeah. It’s really hard work [00:09:25] you know, because there’s a lot you don’t know but you’re expected just to understand. Well [00:09:30] maybe that was my perspective because I had done a short course. Yeah. Um, and I picked up quite a lot, but [00:09:35] there’s a lot of pressure and time and you can really make or break the dentist. Absolutely. [00:09:40] How how you work and also the relationship with the dentist is really important. [00:09:45] Unfortunately, the dentist I work for wasn’t the kindest, and he used to call me stupid in front of patients and [00:09:50] throw things at me. Yeah, just really horrendous man. I’ve always made it a point [00:09:55] to be just really patient and kind and kind of understanding with people because you don’t know what they’re coming with. And [00:10:00] I understand that. Obviously you want to do your best for your patient as a dentist, but also they are doing their [00:10:05] best. If they’re not meeting your standard, it’s not because for the large majority, it’s not because they’re not [00:10:10] doing their best. And you just need to have patience with people. So yeah it was horrendous man. [00:10:15] But you know made it out the other side.

Speaker3: It’s that sort of hierarchy. Key situation [00:10:20] that exists in dental practices generally. Right? You know, you’ve got the principal right at [00:10:25] the top of the tree and then it’s a nurse, isn’t it? It’s a junior nurse who’s at the bottom [00:10:30] of that tree and, and that sort of abuse that you’re talking about. [00:10:35] You can you can imagine even if it’s not verbal, there’s so much [00:10:40] of it, so much of it’s a mental abuse. Yeah. That I [00:10:45] think it’s human nature. Right. When one, when one person’s in charge of another, they can do that. [00:10:50] It’s a risk of it. But are you now so, so aware of that, that you’re, you’re [00:10:55] giving your, your team the best life possible? Like give me give me some more insight about it. Um. [00:11:00]

Speaker1: I try to be as patient as I can, and I [00:11:05] feel like I think most nurses say that they like to work with me just because I, like I said, because [00:11:10] I’ve been on the other side. I know what it’s like, for example, for a locum nurse coming into scenario and you just [00:11:15] don’t know what this person’s going to be like if you do one thing wrong, whether or not they’re just going [00:11:20] to have an absolute go at you if you hand them the wrong bond or something that you [00:11:25] have no chance of knowing. So I try to take my time and teach people things, [00:11:30] and that’s the other thing making them feel comfortable to ask questions. And yeah, ask [00:11:35] me what’s going on. Ask me what you’re doing. What would you like, Lex? Because there’s a lot of I hear a lot of nurses say that they [00:11:40] they they have a lot of dentists who won’t let them speak, essentially, you know, like they [00:11:45] are there just to service their needs. But they’re not actually people, you know, and I think, as [00:11:50] you said, with the hierarchy, it’s so easy to forget that these are people and they are here as well [00:11:55] for them, like I said, doing their best and coming to work to do their best. And if [00:12:00] you treat them with respect, they give you the same respect back. Really, they’re not your lackeys.

Speaker3: Essentially, [00:12:05] I noticed you wrote a piece on mental health in dentistry. Yeah. [00:12:10] About what? Was it, a year and a half ago or something? Yeah. And, you know, we’re [00:12:15] doing this mental health podcast as well about stress and all that and, you know, try and figure out what is it about [00:12:20] dentistry that causes so much stress. You know, why dentistry. Why not? You know, [00:12:25] um, brain surgeons, um, you know why. You know, okay. It’s [00:12:30] a it’s a pressure job. But I think part of that is to do with [00:12:35] the one room you, you and the nurse. Um, and [00:12:40] and of course, there’s many other things. There’s the live patient. Yeah. That, you know, I’ve [00:12:45] got a cousin who’s an eye surgeon, and he says the operations he does on local just [00:12:50] tire him out three times as much as the ones he does in general because of because of [00:12:55] the live patient, you know.

Speaker1: Yeah, the intensity of it.

Speaker3: The intensity. But but also [00:13:00] let’s imagine, you know, we know when, when, when things go wrong mental health wise, [00:13:05] it tends to be like concentric circles, like perfect storm of things going wrong. [00:13:10] And we see it in dentistry as well, don’t we. Like patient doesn’t quite open his mouth. [00:13:15] He’s nervous. Maybe you’ve got the wrong, wrong material [00:13:20] that day. Maybe it’s a locum nurse and the things come together for this perfect [00:13:25] storm. Um, but as far as mental health, perfect storm goes, you know, the relationship [00:13:30] between you and your nurse is massive.

Speaker1: Yeah.

Speaker3: And, yeah, it’s so huge. [00:13:35] And for now, we’ve been talking about these tyrant dentists. But it doesn’t even have [00:13:40] to be that. It could be. You know, just the quality of that relationship can set, you [00:13:45] know, the rest of your life in or out of sync completely.

Speaker1: Yeah. [00:13:50] I’ve had unfortunately, a scenario where I haven’t gotten on with a nurse, which I thought, you [00:13:55] know, I thought it would never happen to me. And I was like, you know, I’m always going to be on the nurses side. It’s not [00:14:00] going to happen to me. Yeah, but it happened to me. And for me, it was more the fact that, um, [00:14:05] we didn’t have the same work ethic, you know, and not to say that I’m [00:14:10] the hardest working person in the world, there’s definitely more hard, but I feel like if you go here, you’ve got a job to do and [00:14:15] you need to do it, you know, and when somebody isn’t meeting me there, and I have been [00:14:20] patient and I have, you know, explained things and I have, you know, been like, you know, let me [00:14:25] show you how to do this. Let me help you improve. But they just have no desire to improve. And [00:14:30] as a consequence of them having no desire to improve my life is terrible. Yeah, I found that challenging. [00:14:35] And I think that was the most difficult relationship I’ve had with a dental nurse. [00:14:40] And that really made work a really uncomfortable environment [00:14:45] for me because like I said, I guess you almost get an image of yourself. I try to present [00:14:50] myself as the one who’s always good with nurses and who always kind of like is on is [00:14:55] for them, you know, and encouraging them and being like, you can do this, you can do whatever you want. And, [00:15:00] um, that one took a peg off my self image, I guess. [00:15:05] But to just made the whole working relationship really frosty. Yeah. [00:15:10] And uncomfortable when you don’t get along with them because it really does make or break your day. How you because it’s someone [00:15:15] you’re sat in a room with all day long.

Speaker3: Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Absolutely.

Speaker1: And and. And it kind [00:15:20] of wears you down mentally and emotionally. Absolutely.

Speaker3: I think it’s something that’s not talked enough about [00:15:25] enough. You know, I don’t I don’t remember any any teaching on it at all. I mean, no, [00:15:30] um, I studied in Cardiff. We had this thing, um, it [00:15:35] was it was like a close support nursing kind of four handed, four handed dentistry thing. Oh, [00:15:40] yeah. Um, but again, it had nothing to do with the, you know, the relationship between [00:15:45] you and you and the nurse and I, but I went to my job, my first job, [00:15:50] and I’d only done four handed dentistry for maybe three years before [00:15:55] because it turned out we were friends with the nurses who were taking care of that bit of the clinic. Yeah. And, um, so [00:16:00] I just sat down in my job and I just put my hands out, as you do with [00:16:05] four handed. And she just looked at me. She just she just looked at me. She said, what are you doing? [00:16:10] Yeah. Like, what’s this mean? Yeah. And I was like, you know, there’s a patient here. I was I was like looking [00:16:15] at her like as if give me the instruments. Right. You know, like that mirror and probe. That’s what that meant, right. Mirror and probe. [00:16:20] Yeah. And the patient left, and I said to her, well, what’s going on? How come you put the instruments [00:16:25] on this side? They should be on that side and bloody up my mic. And she got up. This [00:16:30] was the first nurse, first patient of it. She got up, she went to the boss and she quit her [00:16:35] job there and they’re no. Yeah. And and it turned out [00:16:40] like obviously the boss wasn’t happy. He came over to me. He said, what the hell did you do like for spaceship. [00:16:45] Yeah. But it turned out there was a history. You know, there was there was a history. And then she [00:16:50] came back and all that. He was sure.

Speaker1: That broke the camel’s back.

Speaker3: Yeah, [00:16:55] yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. The other thing I’m interested in, the question I want to ask you, you said your PSC, you did all these cool [00:17:00] subjects like psychology or philosophy or whatever. I didn’t quite remember. But what did they give [00:17:05] you? Did did they give you something that the rest of us didn’t get that they would have [00:17:10] right?

Speaker1: To be honest, I don’t particularly believe so. No, I was just no, [00:17:15] I to be honest, I don’t particularly believe so because I did philosophy of the mind, which [00:17:20] is a lot of Rene Descartes. I think therefore I am type thing, and I can’t [00:17:25] think of a single instance where that has benefited me since, if [00:17:30] I’m completely honest. It’s funny you should say that.

Speaker3: It’s funny you say that because my previous guest [00:17:35] on this pod, it hasn’t come out yet. But Chris Tavares, he he based on [00:17:40] Descartes, he he stopped practising dentistry. Oh, really? And [00:17:45] for six years he went. He became like a Jesuit monk. Wow. [00:17:50]

Speaker1: So we had completely lost track of this whole thing.

Speaker3: He got [00:17:55] more out of it than you.

Speaker1: I got nothing from it at all. Like, [00:18:00] sorry, Descartes was not. Yeah, it was not for me. I think a lot of it. I found it, [00:18:05] too. Mind bending.

Speaker3: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Speaker1: And too many.

Speaker3: Words.

Speaker1: Yeah. [00:18:10] And I didn’t get this. I know a lot of. I remember when I started the course, they said half of you [00:18:15] will start this and think you know who you are. And by the end of it you’ll have no idea. And [00:18:20] I just remember leaving thinking, I have no idea what I’ve learned this whole time. And [00:18:25] the it was. But it was an interesting reading list. And, you know, I can [00:18:30] say that I learn about these interesting philosophers, but I haven’t thought about them since. [00:18:35] So the one I really did particularly enjoy was space medicine and extreme environment [00:18:40] physiology. Wow. Which was really good. And they get lectures from NASA [00:18:45] to come over. So it’s the only course in the UK that’s doing this. So they receive students [00:18:50] from other universities just to come and do this course at UCL. And that was really [00:18:55] interesting.

Speaker3: So so was that was there space dentistry as well?

Speaker1: Space toothbrushing there [00:19:00] wasn’t space dentistry actually, but I liked the bone physiology element of it because we [00:19:05] learned about what happened to the bone in space and as well as the whole body and not just space, [00:19:10] obviously. Extreme environment. So extreme cold, extreme heat, high altitude, deep sea. And it [00:19:15] was really, really interesting, fascinating, um, module to do. So I think that but that’s more like a party trick for me. [00:19:20] I start pulling out facts. You know, but in terms [00:19:25] of like my career and life, no, I just enjoyed my time at UCL. It’s a lovely university. So. [00:19:30]

Speaker3: So then you eventually got into dental school?

Speaker1: It did? Yes.

Speaker3: At the [00:19:35] Royal London.

Speaker1: Yes.

Speaker3: Tell me, what were you like as a dental student?

Speaker1: I [00:19:40] was overwhelmed, if I’m completely honest. We all were.

Speaker3: We all were.

Speaker1: Yeah. [00:19:45] I feel like there are people who who took it better than I did. Because undergraduate [00:19:50] for at UCL, it was an absolute walk in the park, [00:19:55] completely compared to dentistry. I think in my second year I had a summer holiday that was about four months [00:20:00] long. Wow. I and I went to America and I remember thinking, because this is when again, my parents were still [00:20:05] working for the UN and at this point they were based in New York. So I went to America for the summer, and I remember thinking, [00:20:10] I’m sure I’ve been here more than I’ve been at university. And, um, so I had really [00:20:15] long holidays. I used to have maybe 810. Hours of lectures a week [00:20:20] and the rest of self-directed study. So I was very self-motivated, but at the same time it was [00:20:25] not intense in the slightest. And coming to dentistry was an absolute shock to my [00:20:30] system. And I was like, what is this? I thought I had done university, I had not done university at all. So [00:20:35] I found that quite overwhelming. And I had quite an active social life [00:20:40] at UCL, but I felt like I was drowning in dentistry, so I just completely just stopped having [00:20:45] social life. I just felt like I had to study, study, study, study and, you know, above [00:20:50] average intelligence. But I’m not the most intelligent. So I just have to work hard essentially to get the [00:20:55] same place as other people do. And yeah, I was just constantly studying, [00:21:00] didn’t have a life. I was really overwhelmed. And I realised now I didn’t really have great study techniques as well because that’s another [00:21:05] thing that’s not really taught. I think study techniques are really important, but I really had nobody, [00:21:10] even though both my parents had gone to university. My dad has got PhD, nobody [00:21:15] taught me study techniques. And I realised and I look back now, I had really terrible study techniques, [00:21:20] just a lot of rote repetition, you know, reading, rewriting that was just not getting me anywhere [00:21:25] and just was based on loads of man hours. So I just yeah, [00:21:30] I spent most of Dental school feeling overwhelmed.

Speaker3: And which which aspect particularly overwhelmed [00:21:35] you? Was it the preclinical or clinical or both?

Speaker1: I think a bit of both, because [00:21:40] if you’re either reading a book or you’re doing it practically. So it’s not like a lot of other [00:21:45] courses where you can just learn the theory. It’s just like you have to do the theory, but you actually have to physically do it as [00:21:50] well. So there’s an added element that a lot of people just don’t grasp unless you have a practical, [00:21:55] unless you do a practical course like dentistry or obviously skills like carpentry and things like that, where you have [00:22:00] to physically do the thing. So it’s very akin to that. But I feel like the intensity [00:22:05] of what we learn on the theory side makes it harder as well, with the [00:22:10] additional high, detailed, physic like physical skill that you need as well.

Speaker3: Yeah. Of [00:22:15] course. And then so you okay. You I mean, I think as a, as [00:22:20] a graduate student, you’re in a way sort of more mature anyway, right? Yeah. You [00:22:25] know, we got into dental school 18 like a total child. Total child. And [00:22:30] um, I remember there were a couple of graduates on my, in my year and they were I felt [00:22:35] like they, they were studying more, more in an adult way as well. I’d never thought they were being [00:22:40] over, over, over. Maybe they were. Yeah. But okay. So so out [00:22:45] of dental school, how clear were you about what kind of dentist you wanted to be?

Speaker1: And because [00:22:50] of my experience working as a dental nurse, I thought I would just be an NHS dentist. I’m [00:22:55] very much, as I said on my profile, a do gooder. I’m all about doing good for people and [00:23:00] serving people, and I thought I would be the kind of dentist who just goes out there and meets [00:23:05] the needs of the people. So I just had a vision of working on the NHS for the entirety of my career. [00:23:10] But the difference of working is it dental nurse versus [00:23:15] when I actually started working, is that they just don’t actually meet up with. [00:23:20] The reality of serving the people well, is what I found in my experience of NHS dentistry. [00:23:25] My first year was obviously and I did that in Southampton and that was fine [00:23:30] because, you know, you don’t really have targets, you don’t really have goals. You’re just trying to like be surefooted [00:23:35] clinically and get comfortable with the environment. But my first year [00:23:40] post vet, I worked for a corporate which I won’t name the name, but it was not [00:23:45] a great experience and they had ridiculous targets, really ridiculous pressures. If I didn’t [00:23:50] do a band three on every child that came through my surgery, I got called in to the clinical, [00:23:55] the area manager’s office. Wow. They were giving me daily targets to refer [00:24:00] to the hygienist privately in a very NHS area. And I just thought, I [00:24:05] can’t force these people. They don’t have the money to do that, you know, and they’re entitled to this treatment on the NHS. [00:24:10] So this is not something I’m comfortable doing. So I was there to just meet the needs and I was put given [00:24:15] all these targets and expectations, which I thought were unethical. And I found it, I [00:24:20] found I really struggled there.

Speaker3: What year was that?

Speaker1: That was in 2012. [00:24:25]

Speaker3: Yeah. I think, you know, the corporates back then [00:24:30] were really clueless.

Speaker4: Um.

Speaker3: A very different now by the way, [00:24:35] very different. Now, I know I come across people who on purpose leave independent [00:24:40] practices and go to corporates, okay. Because they know what they’re going to get. You know, at [00:24:45] least with the corporate, you know, what you’re going to get. You can you can talk to other other people [00:24:50] in the corporate. And the other thing they’ve realised is losing a dentist is the most expensive thing that can happen [00:24:55] to a dental practice. And, you know, in the end, their businesses. It’s surprising [00:25:00] because I’ve heard so many terrible stories about corporates from back [00:25:05] in that time, you know, um, go on. What happened next?

Speaker1: So [00:25:10] I did that for just under a year. So I was the dentist who stayed the longest, as you said, [00:25:15] can’t keep losing dentists for a practice is very expensive. And I didn’t read the contract thoroughly, and I actually had [00:25:20] a leaving clause in there. If I left in less than a year, they took a few thousand from me, and [00:25:25] that’s exactly what they did. But at that point I was just beyond done. So I just thought, [00:25:30] take the money, I’m going to go. So I worked, moved on to an independent mixed practice, and [00:25:35] I was there for, you know, in Portsmouth. So I’d stayed in the area where I did my best. So [00:25:40] I worked there for a few years and yeah, I was that was fine. That was more what I was expecting. [00:25:45] I was there to just to meet the need and, you know, serve the people. And yeah, I had a good time [00:25:50] there and I really grew clinically. I think I left that role in the end just because I didn’t want to [00:25:55] be in Portsmouth anymore. And I wanted to move back to London.

Speaker1: Yeah. So eventually I moved back to London. [00:26:00] I worked in a lovely practice just outside of London, but then I found myself quite isolated because [00:26:05] by that point a lot of my friends had moved out of London. A lot of my family had moved out of London. So [00:26:10] I just thought, I don’t know what I’m doing here. And London is such a big city. It’s very hard to feel lonely. It’s very easy. [00:26:15] Sorry to to to get lonely there. And I my, like I said, because my family is so international. [00:26:20] My brothers had emigrated to America, my cousin emigrated to America. Everyone’s just all over the place. [00:26:25] So I felt quite isolated. So I decided to leave London again. And this time I went to Leeds because [00:26:30] I had a good one of my best friends from um, university, from my first degree actually, [00:26:35] who also ended up being a dentist. I convinced her to do dentistry. I told her that she’s away and [00:26:40] she ended up being a dentist, and her boyfriend ended up being a dentist as well.

Speaker4: How funny.

Speaker1: So [00:26:45] she said, Come to Leeds. It’s, you know, the pastures are green here. And so I [00:26:50] went to Leeds and I. And just as I went to Leeds, I started dating my husband [00:26:55] who I’d met in Portsmouth.

Speaker4: Okay.

Speaker1: So the timing was terrible. So we did the long [00:27:00] distance thing for a year and a bit and we thought, actually, this is not great long [00:27:05] terme. So I decided to move back to Portsmouth just because I already had friends there. He’d been there for a long time, [00:27:10] so I found myself back in Portsmouth.

Speaker3: So you didn’t actually go to Leeds?

Speaker1: I did, so I lived [00:27:15] in Leeds for a year and we did long.

Speaker4: Distance for one year.

Speaker1: And then yeah, he toyed with moving to [00:27:20] Leeds, but it made more sense for me to move back to Portsmouth because I already had a life there as well.

Speaker3: Is he a dentist [00:27:25] too?

Speaker1: He’s not. No, he is a recruitment consultant. And does property investing.

Speaker4: Okay okay [00:27:30] okay.

Speaker1: So then so then I ended up back in Portsmouth. I [00:27:35] worked went back to the the previous NHS practice that I was at. So we had a really good relationship. [00:27:40] I told him I was coming back and he said please come back. So I said okay and I went [00:27:45] back to that job. At the same time, I also decided to apply for a private job. So I started my first [00:27:50] private role part time and the loveliest little practice in Portsmouth. And [00:27:55] um, that was a really interesting position because six months after joining, the principal actually had a stroke, unfortunately. [00:28:00] Well, and it was run, it was, uh, just a two surgery practice. The principal, [00:28:05] his wife was the practice manager and an associate, and he had a stroke. So it became [00:28:10] completely associate led for about two years. So it was predominantly me. And then they hired another [00:28:15] associate just to help them keep it going until they sold it. Unfortunately, he couldn’t go back to work, [00:28:20] so but I had a yeah, a really nice relationship with them and they were really lovely team and [00:28:25] practice to work in.

Speaker3: So this thing you were saying about working in the NHS and [00:28:30] the judging part of that, by this time you’ve gotten over that notion.

Speaker1: I [00:28:35] had I still wanted to do good, but I realised I couldn’t do the good I wanted to do on the NHS. Unfortunately, [00:28:40] because your hands are tied in many aspects and [00:28:45] I didn’t want my hands to be tied, I wanted to offer the people what I thought was [00:28:50] the best and what I thought would be in their best interest, and not be worried about [00:28:55] limitations that the NHS puts on you essentially.

Speaker4: I mean.

Speaker3: Look, this question comes [00:29:00] up. We we had an episode on here called leaving the NHS and it was [00:29:05] the third most listened to episode. Oh really that we’ve done and [00:29:10] we’ve done, you know, 220 episodes. Right. Wow. And it wasn’t [00:29:15] you know, it’s not like the information in it was so amazing that people were passing it to each other. I don’t [00:29:20] think it’s just like it’s just such a hot topic. Right. Leaving the area and, and and you know, what [00:29:25] stops you from leaving the NHS and what you should think of this question that you’re bringing up, sort of the guilt [00:29:30] of leaving the NHS sort of thing. And am I doing good or [00:29:35] not? I think we need a sort of a frank conversation about that. What you just [00:29:40] said about, you know, you want to do good in the correct way without a third party [00:29:45] telling you what to do. Or, you know, I fully understand that. But I think also we [00:29:50] need to be clear that, you know, rich man’s toothache is just as painful [00:29:55] as a poor man’s toothache. Yeah. And then and then you can say, well, okay, [00:30:00] but the rich man’s got resources. He’ll find someone. I want to be there. I want to be there for the poor man. [00:30:05] Okay, good. You want to be there for the poor man? Go do your mum’s work. Yeah. [00:30:10] You know, your poorest patient is probably still in the top 2% of the world’s [00:30:15] sort of, you know.

Speaker4: Chloe. Yeah.

Speaker3: So, you know, I [00:30:20] think there’s a lot of sort of fooling ourselves about this question of, you know, [00:30:25] I don’t think we need to worry ourselves too much with guilt of leaving the NHS. [00:30:30] You know, you want to be the best dentist you can be for the community that you can serve, whoever [00:30:35] that community is. That community could be a 100 billionaires or it could be [00:30:40] whatever you. Everyone needs a dentist.

Speaker4: Yeah, [00:30:45] I don’t have.

Speaker1: I don’t feel guilty about leaving the NHS at all. I think that as [00:30:50] a system, the the faster people leave it, the faster it will get restructured. Because I [00:30:55] don’t think it’s a functioning system. Personally, I think we should just all rebel against it because [00:31:00] it doesn’t serve people at all. It keeps people in ongoing [00:31:05] maintenance that’s not actually adequate for ideal dental health, you know. So [00:31:10] I’m in favour of this whole system being restructured. And I understand that absolutely. [00:31:15] People out there who just do not have the funds to do any better.

Speaker4: Yeah.

Speaker1: Or to do anything else. [00:31:20] And my opinion anyway, is that it should be an urgent care system and it should [00:31:25] then be put into maybe insurance or something like that, which is more realistic, you know, [00:31:30] where you get a better standard of care, because as long as people are not fairly compensated for the [00:31:35] hard, hard work they do, people are always going to find ways to cut corners. And then that person deserves [00:31:40] a good standard of care for what they’re paying is that even though it may not be relatively a lot, but they are still [00:31:45] taking what they have, you know, and giving it to someone and not getting something that actually reflects [00:31:50] a good quality of care.

Speaker4: Mm hmm.

Speaker1: So I think [00:31:55] that, yeah, the whole system needs to be just broken down and redone, and I [00:32:00] feel like the faster people leave it and rebel against it, the faster it would happen. How long has the talk have been [00:32:05] about, you know, redoing the contract? Is it still even been talked about? I don’t know. I stopped [00:32:10] listening.

Speaker3: But you’re right, because the funny thing, when I was a vet in 1996, [00:32:15] my my boss, my boss was talking about let’s go [00:32:20] private first so that when the whole thing falls apart, we’re already private. And [00:32:25] you know, we can be the best private practice. And, you know, we we take it for granted that it would have fallen apart back [00:32:30] then, back then. And the conversations are still going on.

Speaker4: You’re going. Yeah. [00:32:35]

Speaker3: It’s mad. It’s mad. So. Okay, so. But you now live in Bristol. So how [00:32:40] did the story go from Portsmouth to Bristol?

Speaker1: So we lived in Portsmouth for a while. We got married, [00:32:45] we got pregnant and then the pandemic hit.

Speaker4: Okay.

Speaker1: And um, even [00:32:50] though we had both spent some time in Portsmouth and had built a life there, we didn’t have any family [00:32:55] there. And with a young child you realise that actually family is valuable, especially when you’re [00:33:00] hit with such a life changing thing. When you’re isolated and you become [00:33:05] more aware of the value of family and relationships and things like that. And because my family is so [00:33:10] widely dispersed, we leant towards going to where his family is. And he has a [00:33:15] sister in Bristol who has children the same age. So we thought that would be nice. And I grew [00:33:20] up in London with my cousins for a lot of my childhood, and I thought, it’s really nice to have cousins, and they [00:33:25] liked my siblings, so I thought I’d really like my children to grow up with their cousins and have them feel [00:33:30] like they’re siblings. So that’s how we ended up in Bristol. So we followed my sister in law. So she lives here. She’s a nurse [00:33:35] in the NHS. Good for her. And she’s, you know, fighting the good fight and the nursing side and [00:33:40] um, yeah. So her two children are similar ages so. Well, one [00:33:45] slightly older and her second is the same age as my first. So.

Speaker3: So you were actually pregnant during [00:33:50] Covid?

Speaker4: Yes.

Speaker1: So I gave birth. So I was due to [00:33:55] have my baby shower the day that the stay at home orders were given and [00:34:00] I went on maternity leave a month early. So I was meant to start my maternity leave in April, [00:34:05] and I had to start in March. Um, because of. Yeah, because I was so far along [00:34:10] and they just thought, actually, it’s better if you just go home. So that’s what I did. And it’s really funny because my dad is a big [00:34:15] conspiracy theorist. And since from like.

Speaker4: December, take the.

Speaker3: Vaccine and you couldn’t [00:34:20] know.

Speaker1: From December 2019, he was telling me to stay at home.

Speaker4: Oh, really?

Speaker1: Yeah. [00:34:25] And because he’s such a conspiracy theorist, he’s always coming up with something. I just thought, no, no, no, dad, this is another [00:34:30] one of yours. And consistently from December, he’s like, no, you’re pregnant. You’re in a really high risk career. [00:34:35] You need to stay at home, stay at home, stay at home. Every week he would call me and say, you need to go home. And then in [00:34:40] March, I was like, oh yeah, you’re right, I need to go home. So he felt quite vindicated. But of [00:34:45] course he didn’t take the vaccine.

Speaker4: So did you. You. I did yeah.

Speaker3: I thought I thought pregnant women couldn’t [00:34:50] take it. No.

Speaker1: After I had the baby.

Speaker3: Aha. Yeah. So he actually turned out to be [00:34:55] right about the vaccine.

Speaker4: Anyway, [00:35:00] don’t tell him this.

Speaker3: It’s funny. Conspiracy theory is a [00:35:05] funny thing. Yeah, because you’ll find if you come from unstable places where real conspiracies happen. [00:35:10] Yeah. Then then you realise that. That you know what? What can [00:35:15] go down due to conspiracy and. You know, I’m not sure exactly about Cameroon, but [00:35:20] but West Africa in general, there’s a lot of there’s a lot of, uh, you know, conspiracies, [00:35:25] right.

Speaker4: There are there’s a lot going on.

Speaker1: Yeah.

Speaker3: What happens is you, [00:35:30] you if you really look into it, there are conspiracies here too. They’re just much more. They’re just [00:35:35] much more sort of ingrained in the system. They’re much more difficult to unravel. It’s not [00:35:40] like one guy taking one amount, putting, you know, state funds straight into his bank account [00:35:45] a bit more. It’s a bit more complicated than that.

Speaker4: Yeah, but.

Speaker1: The Cayman Islands first. [00:35:50] Yeah.

Speaker3: Exactly, exactly. So all right, so you [00:35:55] became you went to Bristol, you found a job. What kind of job?

Speaker1: Yeah. So I’m in a private practice. I [00:36:00] actually worked just outside Bristol. I work in street, so it’s about an hour commute. So I [00:36:05] it’s a two hour round trip, which is not too bad. I work part time so it’s two and a half days, so I find [00:36:10] it manageable. Although my principal, he lives not too far from me and he does it every day, so [00:36:15] it’s doable. And yeah, it’s a really lovely family practice. I think he’s owned [00:36:20] it for 15 years or so around that period. And it’s [00:36:25] yeah, completely private and really nice. We’ve got a small NHS contract and [00:36:30] see plan patients as well.

Speaker3: I, I talk to mothers [00:36:35] on this pod who are dentists and when they’re talking about their lives [00:36:40] and their days, it’s the thing that they call sort of me time [00:36:45] is, is like, I don’t know, it’s like sorting out the kids calendar or [00:36:50] something on the tube or anything. The juggle, the juggle, man, [00:36:55] the juggle. Tell me about the juggle. Because because it must be a big juggle. How many days a week are you a dentist?

Speaker1: So [00:37:00] I’m a dentist. Two and a half days and I’m always on a course. So yeah. [00:37:05] Um, I’m currently doing the Simply Endo ten day course, um, [00:37:10] aiming to do the PG cert and hopefully through to MSC. Last [00:37:15] year I did the cath tactics. Um, and [00:37:20] also I haven’t finished that because I was actually pregnant while I was doing that, and I had to leave towards [00:37:25] the end to have my baby. So I need to I still, I need to hand in the cases and finish that one. [00:37:30] But yeah, the juggle is. Depending on the support. So [00:37:35] I can completely say that I could not do this unless my husband was as supportive [00:37:40] as he is. And I’m very fortunate in that he’s very supportive. It helps that he works from home, so [00:37:45] he’s the one who does the nursery jobs. Most of the nursery drop offs, pick ups, if [00:37:50] they get sick, he’s the one who goes in, you know? So a lot of things like that falls to [00:37:55] him, especially since I’m so far away when I am at work and he is at home. So a lot [00:38:00] falls to him and I’m really lucky for his support. And in all of that, even tonight, [00:38:05] he was the one who was mainly putting the kids to bed so that I could get ready for this. So I [00:38:10] think the juggle is made easier or harder by the support system that you have around you. Really. [00:38:15] Um.

Speaker3: But, but, but you know, we I’ve been talking to several people like this. What gives? [00:38:20] Because, you know, work often doesn’t give. You end up, you [00:38:25] end up. It’s not it’s not like you can you’re gonna suddenly call up on a Wednesday morning and say, I’m not coming in for my [00:38:30] patients. That’s just not going to happen.

Speaker4: No.

Speaker3: And and I look, obviously I don’t know you [00:38:35] very well. I know you from your sort of persona, online persona. Right. But you seem to be [00:38:40] sort of on this journey of sort of self-improvement, um, reading [00:38:45] sports, you know, looks, looks like, looks like you’re [00:38:50] taking care of that sort of side of things as well. Can you have it all in, in dentistry [00:38:55] as a woman mother?

Speaker1: I think you can have it all, but not at the same time.

Speaker4: Good. [00:39:00]

Speaker1: That’s absolute reality. So it’s really interesting. You say you look at my persona and it looks like [00:39:05] I’ve got it kind of like I’m doing this, I’m doing that. I’m not doing them all at the same time. And that’s the absolute [00:39:10] reality. So last year, like I said, I had a baby. She’s now nine months and [00:39:15] last year was what I call survival mode. And as much [00:39:20] as I was, I was very silly to do that pgcert while I was pregnant because I was actually exhausted. [00:39:25] Half of it went in and out of my ear because I was too tired. And [00:39:30] you know that always there’s not everything that you can do at once. So [00:39:35] at that time, I was focussed on focusing on, you know, having a healthy pregnancy whilst [00:39:40] trying to maintain my career. But things that let up, for example, was home organisation, [00:39:45] like I just did not have the time or energy to declutter and sort my [00:39:50] children’s toys out or you know, even book them loads of activities and [00:39:55] deal with meals. So I I’m not ashamed to say I don’t like cooking, so I order meals [00:40:00] in for them, like freshly cooked meals, and I just put them in the freezer and that’s what they eat, because I’m just not [00:40:05] the mum who’s going to be at home cooking home cooked meals. That’s just not realistic for my life. When I come home from work [00:40:10] and I start to study.

Speaker1: So something you just have to choose [00:40:15] what it is you’re going to focus your energy on. And for me, as long as I had some quality time with [00:40:20] my children, some quality time with my husband, and was able to [00:40:25] move forward in one of my goals, then that was enough for me. So most of my time, that [00:40:30] one goal that I’m always trying to move forward in is dentistry because there’s always so much to learn. But yeah, things always [00:40:35] give. Like last year, it was definitely self-care and this year I’m trying to have more self-care. I’m trying to [00:40:40] look more at how I eat and how I move my body. Because I started to have aches and pains. [00:40:45] I’m ageing, my knee gives in sometimes and you know, things like that. I need [00:40:50] to start taking care of my body and start exercising and stretching, starting going for massages and things like that. [00:40:55] So I think women can absolutely do everything, but you’ve got to choose what you want [00:41:00] to do, when and what and prioritise according to the time and time scale. Essentially, [00:41:05] I think that’s the most important thing is choosing appropriately and [00:41:10] thinking about timescales, really. And I think back now, there’s so many things that I wish I’d done different [00:41:15] way around. But, you know, hindsight is a great gift.

Speaker3: Like what? Like what? Like what?

Speaker1: I [00:41:20] think I wish I’d focussed more on my studies before I had children. So because I spent [00:41:25] so much time in my BSc, then dentistry when I graduated, [00:41:30] I just spent a lot of time just working and not really thinking where I wanted to go with my career. I [00:41:35] was just working, and actually that would have been the prime time to focus and get my career [00:41:40] where I wanted to be and then have a family. But now I just spent all those years just kind [00:41:45] of like floating about in dentistry, not really knowing where I wanted to go with it. And that’s like I said, partly that’s because I [00:41:50] just thought I’d be churning it out in the NHS for the foreseeable future. And then I realised, actually, this is [00:41:55] not fulfilling for me. It’s not what I want to do. I want to maybe achieve X, Y and Z and [00:42:00] now I’m saddled, not saddled. But now I have the extra responsibilities of two children [00:42:05] and a marriage to maintain and ageing happening to me very slowly. And [00:42:10] it’s just harder. It’s not impossible, but it’s harder, you know? So if [00:42:15] anything, I wish I had done all those things before I had all these additional responsibilities. But, you know, you don’t know what you [00:42:20] don’t know. I didn’t know that this is how I’d feel at this point in my career.

Speaker3: Yeah, yeah. Especially as, [00:42:25] you know, um, the reason why you want the education is because the other situation wasn’t fulfilling, [00:42:30] and you wouldn’t have known that until you got to that point.

Speaker4: That’s true. Yeah.

Speaker3: I [00:42:35] think not enough people tell you. Maybe it was just me. I know, but the second kid [00:42:40] really messed this stuff up at home.

Speaker4: It really does.

Speaker3: Because you think you’ve had a kid. You’ve had [00:42:45] one kid. You know what kid is? Yeah, yeah, but no one really tells you that. The first kid [00:42:50] kind of. It almost becomes a plus one on the couple. Kind of the couple continue doing [00:42:55] this stuff they used to do. But there’s a kid. Yeah, but the second kid sort of completely [00:43:00] throws that in the air, I find. Really?

Speaker4: Yeah.

Speaker1: It was just a really [00:43:05] hard adjustment for both of us, really. Probably my husband [00:43:10] more than me because he said, I think a couple times he said it. I guess it’s too late to not do this, isn’t it? [00:43:15]

Speaker4: Funny.

Speaker1: Yeah. [00:43:20] We’re here now. Uh, I think we’ve just just moving past that point where it’s absolute [00:43:25] torture to kind of like finding our feet, but it’s still just grinding, [00:43:30] like it really is grinding. And there’s absolutely some people who have the gift of, like, dealing with [00:43:35] multiple children. I am not one of those people. So it’s really hard work for me. [00:43:40]

Speaker4: I think it’s.

Speaker3: Really hard for everyone, though. I think it’s really hard for everyone. It’s it’s not talked about enough, you know, [00:43:45] because look, I see this picture behind you here of you and your son. [00:43:50] Is it. Yeah.

Speaker4: Yeah.

Speaker1: My son.

Speaker3: That’s that’s the image that that that sort [00:43:55] of gets put out about motherhood. It absolutely. Staring, staring into the, [00:44:00] the, the waves or whatever it is holding arm and arm and, um, [00:44:05] the, you know, I think until they figured out how to put their own socks on, you’re in trouble. [00:44:10]

Speaker4: That’s even beyond that. He can put his socks. [00:44:15]

Speaker1: On, but he just.

Speaker4: Won’t stop. Perfect.

Speaker1: It’s an endless [00:44:20] battle. It’s an. And even with, like, with the studying, like I say, I’ll come home from work and I’ll study. And actually, I [00:44:25] find that I find it easier to study on the days that I’ve been at work.

Speaker4: Mhm.

Speaker1: Work is like [00:44:30] restful for me now.

Speaker3: I’ve heard that so many times from others.

Speaker1: It really is on the days that I’m [00:44:35] at home, by the end of the day, I literally have nothing left to study. There’s nothing left. I have [00:44:40] to squeeze all my studying in on the three days that I’m at work, because that’s the only [00:44:45] time when I come home and I feel like I still have some energy because they really just suck it all out of you, [00:44:50] like in the most loving way.

Speaker3: But you know, not everyone who does a course ends up doing all [00:44:55] the reading and all the studying and all that. So. You know, are you are you that person? Are you that [00:45:00] person who’s going to read around the subject 13 times?

Speaker1: I just, like I said, I [00:45:05] just have to work harder than everybody else.

Speaker4: So that’s just my.

Speaker1: Reality and [00:45:10] I’m still improving my study techniques. I’m actually also doing a course on studying, like better studying [00:45:15] because, you know, you can always improve. There’s always better ways to do things. So. [00:45:20] But I think I just like to study I like to learn. My husband’s always saying, this is going to be the last [00:45:25] course you’re going to do. Right? And I’m always like, yeah, yeah, yeah. And then like six months later I found another one.

Speaker3: So why is that? [00:45:30] Why is that?

Speaker1: I like the knowledge. I think it’s I find interest. And to be fair, [00:45:35] admittedly I think I’m not implementing all of it. So actually one of my 2024 [00:45:40] things is use what I’ve learned because there’s so much, you know, we all go an endless number of courses [00:45:45] and we don’t actually implement a lot of them. So I have all this knowledge, but it’s not being used. [00:45:50] I don’t feel comfortable or confident or, you know, don’t know how to talk about it to [00:45:55] patients. And I just think, actually, I’ve invested all this time and energy and money and hours in the evening [00:46:00] studying. I should actually there are people out there who would appreciate this. I need to go out there and do it. So [00:46:05] but yeah, the moral of the story is I just have to work harder.

Speaker3: And is, is there is there an [00:46:10] element of you want formal studies? I mean, am I studying while I’m listening to a podcast [00:46:15] or that doesn’t count?

Speaker1: No, that does count.

Speaker3: Yeah, that’s I’m studying every night. [00:46:20]

Speaker4: Then there you go. There you go. I’m amazing. Yeah. It’s anything [00:46:25] that is new.

Speaker1: Information is.

Speaker4: Studying. Yeah.

Speaker3: But, you [00:46:30] know, some people are literally course junkies. Some some people are diploma junkie junkies. They [00:46:35] want pieces of paper. Yeah, some people are degree junkies. They want actual, you know, [00:46:40] letters.

Speaker4: Yeah, I.

Speaker1: Was definitely on the degree junkie, but that’s more something that’s [00:46:45] come from my family. My family is very academic. You know, for my dad, the least you could do is a [00:46:50] PhD. So my, my brothers both have masters and he’s pushing them both to [00:46:55] do PhDs. And they’re like, actually, you know, we’re fine with our masters, you know? And um, [00:47:00] when my mom heard I wanted to do, for example, a master’s in endodontics, she’s like, oh yeah, yeah, yeah, that’s the thing [00:47:05] to do. So for, for them and it’s the whole African thing, you know, when you have because they were [00:47:10] raised in Africa, they were raised with lack, with, you know, poverty, with seeing people [00:47:15] die for a really simple things just from not having, you know, so for them, [00:47:20] education was a huge door out of all of that. And so education is on a massive [00:47:25] pedestal in our in my family and in my home. So the more letters you have after the [00:47:30] name, the more highly regarded you are in my family basically. So yeah.

Speaker3: I think we can [00:47:35] all sort of sort of relate to the idea of that. But the interesting thing is it’s no longer [00:47:40] education is no longer the one way ticket to success that it used to be. [00:47:45]

Speaker4: Yeah. Absolutely not.

Speaker3: And at the same time, I thought I was kind of immune to all this [00:47:50] by now. And yet when the thing came up in my son, my son’s doing A-levels, [00:47:55] when, when it came up, hey, Oxford and Cambridge. Yeah. And suddenly some part of [00:48:00] me said, yeah, yeah, yeah, you’ve got to do that. Yeah. And, and you know, it’s [00:48:05] within, you know, it’s a bit like you think you think you’re not racist until you realise you’re racist about [00:48:10] something. Yeah. Or you think you’re not sexist until you realise you’re sexist. You know, we all have a certain [00:48:15] bit of all of that in us, but it seems it seems like were you doing all this [00:48:20] to, to kind of fit in to the family thing to do you, did [00:48:25] you want to go and say, hey, mom, dad, guess what? I got a extra degree, you know, like, where [00:48:30] does it come from exactly?

Speaker1: It wasn’t fitting in. It was more that this was just the path that [00:48:35] I had been led down. I didn’t even think of anything else. So I remember when I was applying [00:48:40] for university and years and one of my friends said, oh, I don’t even know if I’m going to go to U.S and that [00:48:45] was the first time that idea that you don’t have to go to university genuinely entered my head. Like, [00:48:50] I’m not even kidding. Like the thought that I’m not going to go into university was never [00:48:55] something that I even. Sexualised because it was such. It was made like [00:49:00] this was the norm in our family, you know, do ABC and then this is the next step and then that’s [00:49:05] the next step. So for them it was school, university, preferably a postgraduate degree as well as [00:49:10] a minimum. So anything other than that was just not normal [00:49:15] to me. So it’s not like I was trying to people please. But this was the my this was my normalcy [00:49:20] essentially. And I didn’t know anything outside of it.

Speaker3: And [00:49:25] then so now now looking at looking at your output, there’s an [00:49:30] element of it that is like sort of inspiring others.

Speaker1: I hope to, yes, because I [00:49:35] think social media is something that’s quite. What’s [00:49:40] the word? Um. Oh, what’s the word when polarising. There we go. Yeah. [00:49:45] Social media is something that’s very polarising, and even I myself can get sucked in in [00:49:50] the bad way. And I think about when I was a student and when I was at university, and how I [00:49:55] didn’t have the pressure of social media and comparing yourself to other people. And because that’s something that I feel [00:50:00] I’m particularly susceptible to comparison and looking at what they’re doing and like, [00:50:05] oh, you know, I should be doing that too. And I really wanted to have a space on social [00:50:10] media where I was where it’s kind of like, you know, your current life is a dream. You [00:50:15] know, you what you do doesn’t matter what everyone else is doing, but actually your current life [00:50:20] is amazing compared to such a large percentage of the world. And I think I think [00:50:25] like that just because, like I said, with my parents job, I’ve been fortunate to go to many of these places where people [00:50:30] really do not have anything. And then, you know, the other day I was telling my husband about this.

Speaker1: I had this big revelation [00:50:35] because I have a Range Rover, and I was having issues with it and I was getting really angry with [00:50:40] it, like really angry. I was going back and forth with the dealership and like things were not working. [00:50:45] And then one day I just thought, oh my God, yeah, if this thing never gets fixed fixed, I’m okay [00:50:50] with it. Because here I am being angry that my luxury car is not luxurious enough. You [00:50:55] know, where there’s people out there who literally don’t have food to eat? I was like, what a ridiculous thing to spend so much [00:51:00] energy being angry about. Like, what is my life? You know? And once [00:51:05] you start to get that bit of perspective, you’re like, this is not the thing. Like, it’s okay to be angry, [00:51:10] but this is not the thing to spend your energy being angry about. You know, there’s actually real [00:51:15] issues in the world where you need to spend your your energy being angry about, not because you’re luxury [00:51:20] car is not being working the way you want it to, you know. And I just thought I realised [00:51:25] how ridiculous I was being in that moment.

Speaker4: And where did it come from?

Speaker3: This, this, this question [00:51:30] of sort of inspiring others and, you know, like teaching other people how to [00:51:35] live sort of thing, how to how to improve themselves. But I don’t understand where that thread started [00:51:40] in your, in your career.

Speaker4: Like it’s more what.

Speaker1: I would have liked for myself. So [00:51:45] I kind of try and share for other people what I would have liked for myself, because in the early [00:51:50] years of my career, I was very unsure of everything. And I think there’s still lots of elements that I’m [00:51:55] still unsure about. But actually, like I said, I realise how far I’ve come and I want to help other people [00:52:00] get to that place as well. Now, at the moment I just don’t have time to put out stuff with [00:52:05] children, but I really hope to show people that actually [00:52:10] where they are at the moment is great, and what they have within themselves is also great, [00:52:15] you know, and they have everything they they need already [00:52:20] to be great, and all they need to do is put it in place and start walking in it. [00:52:25]

Speaker3: Look, this, this thing you were saying about social media being polarising and making [00:52:30] you feel sort of worse about yourself. I got that feeling from [00:52:35] your page.

Speaker4: Oh, really? Yeah.

Speaker3: Because she just seemed so successful. Man, you seem like [00:52:40] you’re living your best life, and and I. And I see you, by the way. I [00:52:45] get it right. It’s so that’s just Instagram. Yeah. Yeah it is, but but I [00:52:50] see you, you know, one moment writing a sort of motivational quote. Next moment [00:52:55] you’re stretching in the gym or something, next moment you’re with your kids, [00:53:00] next moment you’re talking about teeth whitening. Yeah. And I think, well, God, like this [00:53:05] is, this is a person who’s clearly busier than I am and yet still gets time to, you know, [00:53:10] go to the gym and look after a kid. Yeah. Extras. You’re doing so much more than me. You’re doing so much more [00:53:15] than me sort of feeling. Yeah. Now, I’m not a mother and I’m not, you know, I’m not even directly comparable [00:53:20] to you. Yeah, but what you said before, where you see other people and you think that’s [00:53:25] competitive nature comes out and it’s for [00:53:30] it’s one of the downsides of it, for sure, of social media that makes you [00:53:35] end up comparing. And then the weird thing is, like, [00:53:40] you get the people who I’ve got a couple of friends who have private jets [00:53:45] right now, I’ve never seen a picture of their private jet on their social media. [00:53:50] Never. Yeah. And then you get all these other people.

Speaker4: On on.

Speaker3: Private [00:53:55] jets and they’re like, you know, like people put this sort of different side of.

Speaker4: Themselves. [00:54:00]

Speaker3: Forward. Right. But now in your in your work, in your, in [00:54:05] your life and, you know, someone as busy as you nine month old kid, do [00:54:10] you think going forward, as the kids grow up, that you’re going to lean more into this sort of trying [00:54:15] to teach or inspire or, you know, do that stuff? It looks like looking at your [00:54:20] output, it looks like that’s the direction you’re going.

Speaker1: To be honest, I think I’m gonna [00:54:25] spend more time pursuing what my true passions are and bring people [00:54:30] along on the journey. Aha! And if people are inspired by that or [00:54:35] are looking to go on similar journeys, then that’s what I’m there to support. Because as you said. It’s always [00:54:40] a persona. And even in that and it’s funny you say that, but that’s not what I was trying to [00:54:45] portray.

Speaker4: You know, you’re just putting.

Speaker3: Down, you know, bits of your life, right?

Speaker4: Exactly.

Speaker1: But it’s it’s funny [00:54:50] how different things perceive. Different people perceive what you put online and what they [00:54:55] take from it themselves. So yeah, it’s but yeah, my goal essentially [00:55:00] isn’t to tell people how to live or teach them how to live, really, [00:55:05] it’s to help them kind of like reach within themselves. Yeah. [00:55:10] And do what they want to do, because that’s what I’m trying to do for myself all the time. I think one of my posts [00:55:15] I put recently is about how I’d taken a break from social media, because I was getting too influenced by [00:55:20] other people and getting really distracted on what I wanted to do, and I just needed to [00:55:25] take some time to reflect on actually what was important to me and, and focus [00:55:30] on those things. And in the same way, I hope people will not look at my page and think, oh, [00:55:35] I want to do what she’s doing, but be more, be like, if that’s something, that’s also something I want to do, [00:55:40] let me see how she’s doing and see if I can learn anything from there, you know. But how do we do that? [00:55:45] How do we be authentic without making people feel bad? That’s the challenge of social media, [00:55:50] you know?

Speaker3: And it’s not up to you. It’s not up to you to stop people feeling bad. You know, [00:55:55] in the end, you know, you’re busy person, you’re posting whatever, you’re posting this, [00:56:00] you know, it’s just a side effect of it. You know, it’s one of those things. So your your [00:56:05] parents or your mum, particularly UNHCR, um, what are some of the things [00:56:10] that you’ve learned from her? And um, you’ve, you’re doing some charity [00:56:15] work. Dental charity work as well.

Speaker4: Yes.

Speaker1: Yeah. So I think the biggest thing that I [00:56:20] learned from my mother is how privileged I am. Yeah, really, from all the places that [00:56:25] she’s been, she’s told me some of the horrendous stories that she’s had to deal with and come to terms with. So [00:56:30] she started off as a refugee lawyer in refugee camps. You know, she would deal with just women [00:56:35] who were displaced and and getting raped in refugee camps and advocating for them. Then she moved on [00:56:40] to advocating for groups of people. Then she would tell me more individualised stories, for example, [00:56:45] children who would be unwell, and then they would get moved around internationally to get some treatment, and then for several [00:56:50] of them would die before they’d managed to get the treatment. So there’s really like people who are having such struggles. And then you look [00:56:55] at your life and you think, actually, I’m so privileged. So that’s I think the biggest takeaway from my parents job [00:57:00] is recognising my privilege. And what a like a great life [00:57:05] I have. It’s it’s difficult to you can forget that easily. But yeah. And I think that was the biggest thing. And [00:57:10] also the desire to make any change that you can do for, for [00:57:15] the world because you think, who am I am such a little person, what can I do? But you know, when she said [00:57:20] to me, here’s an opportunity, here’s what you can do. I’ve laid out the road for you. Will you [00:57:25] come? You know. And I was like, well, why would I say no? You know, so she she [00:57:30] made the introductions. She, you know, said, here’s a camp, here’s someone you can work [00:57:35] with. Here’s a place you can work here are the people needing help, you know.

Speaker4: What are the details? [00:57:40]

Speaker3: What were the details?

Speaker1: So basically, we went to a refugee camp in Malawi. So it’s [00:57:45] the biggest refugee camp there. It’s called Zalika and it’s been there for over 25 years. And they had not had any [00:57:50] dentists in the entire time that the camp had been there. Because unfortunately, the UN sees dentistry [00:57:55] is a luxury. So they provide medical care, but they don’t provide any dental care because obviously the funds [00:58:00] are stretched. So a lot of the people there who have [00:58:05] dental pain or abscesses are they’re just on a rotation of antibiotics basically. [00:58:10] How long terme. So the first time I went, she was [00:58:15] what we call the UN representative from Malawi. So in Malawi she represented UNHCR. [00:58:20] So she was completely in charge of refugee camps. So it gave her a more leeway to do what she wanted [00:58:25] essentially. So she said, okay, why don’t you go in and have a look? So I went there and I did first a screening [00:58:30] program, and I just looked at what the need was before I decide what I needed to come [00:58:35] and do. And I just saw the vast majority of them just needed extractions. And [00:58:40] you had children that had been on like courses of antibiotics for years, basically [00:58:45] on cycles. It’s just really tragic. And so I planned and a [00:58:50] year later I came back with a team of dentists and we went to. So Zuleikha is [00:58:55] the biggest camp. And then they have another smaller camp called Luani. And we did both camps and we were there [00:59:00] for about a week each time, and we just did extractions back to back, no X-rays, no anything. [00:59:05] You’re just doing it. But I was the way it all came together was really amazing. I had an [00:59:10] oral surgeon who came from Egypt, and so she was our failsafe [00:59:15] if anything went wrong. Uh, because like I said, we didn’t have access to X-rays. So [00:59:20] you’re just going for it and hoping that you can get the majority of the tooth out.

Speaker4: Did you have dental.

Speaker3: Dental chairs [00:59:25] and dental?

Speaker4: No, no dental chairs.

Speaker1: So it was in Zalika. They have a medical [00:59:30] centre. So we were working in the medical centre. So they had beds, and I essentially made a list of [00:59:35] equipments that I asked all the dentists to bring, and they just came with their torchlights and I bought loads of. Extraction [00:59:40] equipment from Dentaid, and that was pretty much all we had. And they had a steriliser in [00:59:45] the medical department. So fortunate we were able to use their steriliser. Um, but that’s pretty much [00:59:50] it. So head torch forceps and a translator and we went for it.

Speaker3: And have you got [00:59:55] numbers like in the week? How many teeth did you take out?

Speaker1: So I think we tallied up, we took [01:00:00] over 2 to 300 teeth out.

Speaker4: A week.

Speaker1: In that week. Yeah.

Speaker4: Oh my. [01:00:05]

Speaker3: God.

Speaker1: It was just back to back extractions all day long. And then for for the [01:00:10] ones who had, you know, treatments that we weren’t able to complete in that week because the abscesses [01:00:15] were too large or just, you know, could not be managed in our makeshift clinic, the [01:00:20] dental office still in Lilongwe, which is the capital city. So the camp is outside of the capital [01:00:25] city, and the refugees are not actually allowed to go into Lilongwe. They have to stay [01:00:30] within the camp, and some of them have been there their whole lives, so they could literally be there ten, 20 years and [01:00:35] can never leave the camp unless they move on to their permanent home. And a lot of them get stuck [01:00:40] there. So while we were there, the I went to the hospital [01:00:45] in Lilongwe and they agreed to accept referrals from us. So we were able to refer the [01:00:50] most urgent children who needed more advanced care, essentially, but they [01:00:55] wouldn’t take any adults just because they were overwhelmed as well with just their general populations, but they were willing to [01:01:00] see the children.

Speaker3: So what was the what was the story of the people who [01:01:05] ended up in the refugee camp? Because, you know, my my, my cousin [01:01:10] works, my wife’s cousin works for the UN and and she said that, [01:01:15] you know, it depends on where it is and all that. But the sort of the link between, [01:01:20] you see, we talk about a refugee as if that’s what they’ve always been. [01:01:25] But she she was telling me that there was there was a doctor [01:01:30] and a lawyer in Syria, and their eight year old kid couldn’t [01:01:35] read and write because of the war. They hadn’t had a managed school, and they’d ended up in a refugee [01:01:40] camp, you know, now. Okay, rewind three years back, that was a doctor [01:01:45] and a lawyer in a city somewhere that ended up in this refugee camp. And, you [01:01:50] know, in the same way as, I mean, we see we see these pictures coming out of Gaza, right? People walking, [01:01:55] walking the streets that they didn’t always walk the streets, they had houses or.

Speaker4: Yeah, exactly. Yeah. [01:02:00]

Speaker3: Or even even even down to, I mean, this totally different thing. But you [01:02:05] see, an old person in the street wasn’t always an old person. It was a young was [01:02:10] a young person.

Speaker4: Young thing. Once upon a time.

Speaker3: Yeah, yeah, yeah. What [01:02:15] are the stories like? How did they end up in these camps? And what are some of the stories that sort of stuck with you?

Speaker1: A [01:02:20] lot of them were fleeing conflict. Naturally. Africa, unfortunately, [01:02:25] is just strife with conflict. There’s a long colonial non colonial history behind that that we [01:02:30] just don’t need to go into. But the vast majority of them were fleeing conflict. [01:02:35] You do obviously also have some economic migrants as well and they just get stuck in Malawi. [01:02:40] So Malawi was a lot of them a transit point. A lot of them were aiming to get to [01:02:45] more industrialised countries in Africa. So along, for example, the east Kenya [01:02:50] is doing quite well, Tanzania is doing quite well. Some of them were aiming to go further down south [01:02:55] to South Africa and Namibia, Zimbabwe, and they just get stuck in Malawi essentially. [01:03:00] And I don’t know exactly what the processing process in Malawi is, [01:03:05] but I know that a lot of them find that they’re not able to leave, they’re not able to go back to where they [01:03:10] were coming from, and they’re not able to join society in Malawi because the Malawi is overwhelmed. [01:03:15] So they get stuck in this limbo point where they’re not essentially living, [01:03:20] they’re not moving forward, but they’re not going back. And it’s just a really. So that’s I found that a lot of them had were just [01:03:25] despondent because they had been there for so long and they didn’t know where where they were going next, [01:03:30] essentially. So Malawi is a great country and that it does accept refugees [01:03:35] in quotas. But they were just, I think, [01:03:40] 24,000 refugees in that camp.

Speaker3: And is what tents, literally tents.

Speaker1: Some [01:03:45] of them are houses, some of them are tents. But because it’s been there for so long, it’s got more infrastructure [01:03:50] to it. So there are schools in there and things like that. But you know, it’s still not a proper [01:03:55] city. It’s because it’s it’s a size of a city, you know. Yeah. Um, but [01:04:00] it’s still not, you know, they still don’t have proper services. And like I said, they have this medical centre which [01:04:05] is running on bare minimum with the funds from the UN, which they have to stretch, you [01:04:10] know, across a lot of services. So it’s really a half life essentially, which is [01:04:15] quite tragic. And a lot of them were heading there either leaving, as you said, good [01:04:20] lives, hoping just to find a place of safety or where we’re going from lack [01:04:25] and finding themselves in another position of lack, not having moved any further forward [01:04:30] in their hopes and their dreams. So.

Speaker3: And you must have you’re busy, dentist, mother and [01:04:35] all that, but you must have had moments where you thought if I had resources. What [01:04:40] would be sort of the best way of using them for these sort of situations. I [01:04:45] mean, I’ve got one friend. He was he was saying, look, if you could many, many of us [01:04:50] as dentists and doctors would give up 1 or 2 weeks of, of our, of our year [01:04:55] to do something like this. If there was a nice, organised way of doing it, you know, if. Yeah, [01:05:00] if and he was looking to do that, he was looking to set up a website and, and so forth, and then, and then [01:05:05] he realised he did that, he did that in medicine. And then he realised that, [01:05:10] you know, there’s an aspect of it that is almost still selfish, insomuch [01:05:15] as, hey, it’s nice for us to do a bit of charity work as, as well about it.

Speaker4: Yeah.

Speaker3: Feel good [01:05:20] about ourselves. Yeah. But you know, when they did the study on what would give the best [01:05:25] outcomes, it was training people out there.

Speaker1: Exactly. So the goal [01:05:30] of my charity had three arms essentially was outreach because you need to give practical help immediately. [01:05:35] But actually there was an education aspect and a future aspect as well. So I had [01:05:40] three arms in my plan. So this all happened before I had children. So my outreach trip was in [01:05:45] 2016, 2017, and my goal had been to do annual [01:05:50] trips to give, you know, immediate urgent relief, but also to do training [01:05:55] trips and to train local dental health care advisors who could deal with basic situations. [01:06:00] And I also wanted to set up a dental scholarship as well to help train dentists [01:06:05] in locally, because there’s a huge element with charity work, especially [01:06:10] coming from the Western world. When you’re doing charity tourism, you know you’re going and you’re leaving [01:06:15] and you know you feel good yourself. You’re like, oh, I’ve done this wonderful thing. But actually, what lasting impact is [01:06:20] there? It’s great to help a few people. But you know what Long Terme is, is there. And [01:06:25] places like dent are great because they have got long terme roots in places. Yeah. [01:06:30] And they, you know, they go back repeatedly. And one of the things I wanted to do was to set up something where we go back [01:06:35] repeatedly and have relationships and not just, you know, it’s not just a one time thing. You know, you’d [01:06:40] want people who would say, I can commit to doing this once a year for the foreseeable future, for example. [01:06:45] Right. It’s not about you. It’s about what change you’re putting, what foundations [01:06:50] of change you’re putting in. But children just derailed all of that.

Speaker4: Have [01:06:55] you have you heard of.

Speaker3: Have you heard of effective altruism?

Speaker1: No, I haven’t actually.

Speaker4: I just [01:07:00] had.

Speaker3: A kind of a bad name recently because that guy, um, Sam Bankman-Fried from the, you [01:07:05] know, the crypto thing, he, he was really into it. But but what it means is I from [01:07:10] what I understand, what it means is that look, the okay going going to the camp [01:07:15] and taking the teeth out and the gratitude of that patient who’s now out of pain and [01:07:20] that makes us feel good. And what you just said about tourism, you know, charity, tourism. But [01:07:25] effective altruism says, you know, what would be the most effective thing for you, you [01:07:30] to do. Yeah. So let’s say it’s you. Actually, the most helpful thing for you to do [01:07:35] would be to earn loads of money as a private dentist and give them money to [01:07:40] local dentists to go and buy locally, whatever, you know, whatever [01:07:45] it is. Yeah. And it’s a funny thing. It’s an important thing that we need to understand that our motivation. [01:07:50]

Speaker4: Absolutely.

Speaker3: Yeah. At the same time, your insight that you’ve got [01:07:55] into it from your mom’s work.

Speaker1: That’s what I mean. I’m in a.

Speaker4: Unique position because.

Speaker1: I have a lot of open doors. And [01:08:00] that’s why I think.

Speaker4: For you.

Speaker1: It’s it’s it would be remiss of me not to use them because I have [01:08:05] access to so many people that other people just don’t have. Like because of her role [01:08:10] in the UN, she can connect me to a lot of important people all over Africa who have [01:08:15] access to these refugee camps, you know? So it would be that’s why I feel quite [01:08:20] burdened by it’s a waste of my connections, essentially not to do something, even if I, I can’t [01:08:25] physically go there at the moment, but even it’s just to set up relationships and just to say, you know, what can [01:08:30] we support with. That’s what I’m currently trying to do. So my one of the things I want to do this year is revamp the charity and [01:08:35] actually just start to say, maybe as an element of effective altruism, [01:08:40] what can I do now without me physically coming there that is going to support advancing [01:08:45] the chair? So for example, with our last trip, when we left, we found local dentists and we gave away all [01:08:50] our equipment.

Speaker4: Nice.

Speaker1: Uh, there. So we didn’t bring anything back. We gave it to the dental hospital [01:08:55] in Lilongwe, and we gave it to a local dentist who who found out about our trip online. And he travelled [01:09:00] quite far because he said he literally had nothing, you know. So we gave him all our equipment [01:09:05] and it’s just, you know, things like that. And I think everyone has specific sets [01:09:10] of skills or connections or something that they use, and I’m just trying to use what I have [01:09:15] to the best that I can. But it’s challenging.

Speaker3: Of course. And what was the name of the [01:09:20] charity? Did it have a name?

Speaker1: Yeah. So it’s called Oral Health Africa. It’s on Instagram. I’ll tag it. [01:09:25]

Speaker3: Oh, excellent. Excellent. I’ll take it in the thing as well. Let’s let’s get back to dentistry. [01:09:30] Your job now. Um, what is it? Fully private.

Speaker1: Yeah, [01:09:35] so 100% fully private. We see NHS kids and plan patients. [01:09:40]

Speaker3: Okay. And the practice is is it, is it what I would imagine a [01:09:45] fully private practice in around in and around Bristol to be is it very nice and [01:09:50] slow and so forth or what is it like, what kind of practices.

Speaker4: It’s actually quite busy. [01:09:55]

Speaker1: It’s not as busy as an NHS practice. Nowhere near, but I think [01:10:00] probably compared to other private practices, probably a little bit busier. Mhm. Um, and that’s I [01:10:05] think we’re seeing a lot of the fallout from the kind of like reduction of [01:10:10] NHS pay access. Essentially we’re having a lot of patients who are joining our practice [01:10:15] saying I used to be an NHS patient, I literally cannot find an NHS dentist and they’re having to space [01:10:20] out their treatment because they just can’t afford to pay for it and things like that. So we’re quite inundated with [01:10:25] patients at the moment. So it’s an interesting climate to be working in.

Speaker3: What kind of dentist [01:10:30] are you? Are you general? I noticed you do a lot of facial aesthetics.

Speaker1: I did. [01:10:35] I haven’t done as much recently. When I was in Portsmouth, I was running a facial aesthetics clinic. [01:10:40]

Speaker4: Mhm. Um.

Speaker1: Independently. Then Covid hit and that ended. Um, [01:10:45] and I haven’t really done much with it since then. Since moving to [01:10:50] Bristol, I’ve definitely focussed more on general dentistry. I’m trying to pursue my interests [01:10:55] of orthodontics, endodontics and a little bit of restorative as well. [01:11:00] So those are kind of the three things I’m trying to hang my hat at. But I have the unfortunate [01:11:05] thing that I’m always I have too many legs out. So [01:11:10] I’ve progressed very slowly because I’m doing so many things at once. But yeah, those are the things that I’m interested [01:11:15] in kind of trying to move my career towards. Essentially.

Speaker4: Let’s get to darker days. Oh, [01:11:20] um.

Speaker3: We like to talk about mistakes, errors, um, [01:11:25] maybe your most difficult patient or the biggest [01:11:30] clinical mistake in your view. What comes to mind when I, when I talk, when I ask that question.

Speaker1: Oh, [01:11:35] so I think it would be a difficult patient. And this is one I just really did not know what [01:11:40] to do with. So this is an elderly man when I was living in Portsmouth and [01:11:45] he was just really, really challenging. He really needed help. So [01:11:50] he had loads of rotten teeth that needed removing. He was in pain, but he [01:11:55] was a very abrasive and just rude man. And for me that [01:12:00] was a huge human relations thing to overcome because on the one [01:12:05] side, like I said, I’m I’m such a do gooder. I like to do good. And I thought, this is someone that really needs my help, but [01:12:10] this is someone that I really do not like.

Speaker4: Um.

Speaker1: And that was just the harsh reality [01:12:15] of it. I really did not like him and I did not want to see him, but he had been banned [01:12:20] from many practices and almost no one else was willing to see him, essentially.

Speaker3: And you thought you were [01:12:25] the one who’s going to break this?

Speaker4: I thought I was.

Speaker1: The one, and boy, did it come back to bite me in the butt.

Speaker3: Go on [01:12:30] laughing.

Speaker1: So I did clearance for him on the lower arch and made [01:12:35] him dentures. And he was unhappy with the outcome and [01:12:40] he ended up suing me, called the local health board and he [01:12:45] was a serial complainer, so they weren’t surprised to hear from him. [01:12:50] But at the same time, it was a huge period of stress for me to go through that complaints [01:12:55] process. And, you know, it’s always the ones you’re trying to help the most, you know.

Speaker4: That [01:13:00] come back to bite you in the bum.

Speaker1: Yeah. And that. Yeah. It just just because [01:13:05] I already didn’t like him, you know. And I was like, oh, and you have this gut feeling like [01:13:10] I really shouldn’t treat him. But it was really fighting the other side of me, which is like, no, but nobody [01:13:15] else will see him, you know, like, where is he going to go? Somebody needs to see him. And I [01:13:20] should have sent him to the hospital. But there I was.

Speaker3: So go. What can we do? What happened? [01:13:25] What actually happened?

Speaker1: So I he was unhappy [01:13:30] essentially. So the actual clinical treatment went fine in terms of the extractions and [01:13:35] the, you know, the clinical part of it. But the dentures he found uncomfortable, [01:13:40] he just wasn’t happy with them, you know. And we spent several appointments going back and [01:13:45] forth. First of all it was the appearance of them. Next it was the comfort of them. Next, [01:13:50] he can’t talk, he can’t eat. He just didn’t adapt to them. And he was a little bit older. [01:13:55] So it was you know, it was challenging for him to adapt to them. But just the whole process of making [01:14:00] them, you know, he was in the clinic just all the time, you know, back and forth, denture ease, denture adjustment. [01:14:05] We talked about remaking, you know, redoing. But he just thought, no, he didn’t want to go through the whole process [01:14:10] again. And we spent like ages going back and forth with him [01:14:15] like months.

Speaker4: You know.

Speaker3: About you I don’t know about you, but [01:14:20] in my career, I can’t think of that many patients that I did a clearance on [01:14:25] and then made full dentures. I made loads and loads of full dentures for existing [01:14:30] full denture patients. But if you put yourself in that [01:14:35] person’s shoes, it must be a complete nightmare.

Speaker4: Yeah, it’s a complete shock. [01:14:40]

Speaker1: Complete. But he wasn’t able to eat properly anyway because they were making roots, you know? So a [01:14:45] lot of broken teeth are mainly roots. So it’s not like he had much to compare it to, but at the same time, [01:14:50] and he’d been like that for a long time. Um, but.

Speaker4: Yeah, he got a letter from [01:14:55] a lawyer.

Speaker1: Yeah. So he, he complained formally, which was not delightful. [01:15:00] Um, and I and I haven’t had a lot of complaints. You get the little [01:15:05] ones like, oh, I’m not having that. And then you kind of like, you know, deal with it quickly and it doesn’t really go anywhere. But [01:15:10] this was the full, you know, get the indemnity involved, the letters back and forth and it dragged [01:15:15] on like that. Basically him giving details, you know, my indemnity responding [01:15:20] back and forth like that for quite a while.

Speaker3: How long like how long are we talking.

Speaker1: Less [01:15:25] than a year.

Speaker4: Oh, my.

Speaker3: God, as long as I.

Speaker1: Yeah. [01:15:30] Um, I can’t remember exactly because it’s quite a while ago now, but it went on for quite a while. What [01:15:35] was the.

Speaker3: Feeling that you had? Was the feeling that you had was that, uh, this guy was [01:15:40] sort of an outlier. Difficult patient. Maybe I should maybe I shouldn’t have jumped [01:15:45] in.

Speaker4: Oh, I completely.

Speaker1: Felt I shouldn’t have.

Speaker4: Done. No no no no no.

Speaker3: But I’m saying maybe I shouldn’t have jumped [01:15:50] in. But, you know, at the end of the day, this was going to happen somewhere along the line with this guy with with someone. [01:15:55] Or was your feeling sort of much, much darker than that, that [01:16:00] you know, you were trying your best? Now this guy saying you weren’t and maybe, maybe you could have treated him better. [01:16:05] Maybe you could have warned him. What was what were you thinking? Was it getting you properly down about the dentist [01:16:10] you were, or was it getting you down about the decision to treat this one patient?

Speaker1: I think [01:16:15] it was probably the decision to treat the one patient because by and large, we’re always doing our best. You [01:16:20] know, if I, I don’t not that I don’t feel bad about my mistakes, but when I [01:16:25] do make mistakes, I don’t I try not to beat myself up about it because it’s not because I’m not trying. It’s [01:16:30] genuine human error. And these things are going to happen, you know? And obviously as you go along in your career, [01:16:35] it should hopefully happen less, but it’s still going to happen. But what I found particularly [01:16:40] difficult is that despite me being my best, trying my best and saying, yeah, here are things that I could [01:16:45] have done better, but I’m still trying my best. That wasn’t good enough, you [01:16:50] know? And I think that’s the bit that really hurts. And that was really difficult to deal with because, like, [01:16:55] I was trying my best for you where a lot of people wouldn’t.

Speaker4: Yeah. Yeah.

Speaker1: You know, and [01:17:00] that was yeah, it was more I think again, it’s it’s always the human [01:17:05] relationship element of it that I found difficult.

Speaker4: You know, on, on reflection. [01:17:10]

Speaker3: Apart from not treating him because that you’re saying that’s the [01:17:15] right move, but that would.

Speaker4: Have been the right move.

Speaker3: Yeah, but but apart from that, would you have done something [01:17:20] differently within the within the treatment or within the communication?

Speaker1: Um, [01:17:25] I think maybe I would have made the downsides. Um, [01:17:30] sound worse than they were. You know, they always say under-promise and overdeliver, and I [01:17:35] didn’t under-promise enough. You know, I just thought from someone who hasn’t had [01:17:40] dentures and who’s been in so much pain, this is going to be great. You know, it’s going to be such [01:17:45] a step up from his current situation. That’s the way I kind of looked at it and presented it, and I [01:17:50] it never even crossed my mind that he would be unhappy with any [01:17:55] outcome from where he currently started. And I think that was the difficulty.

Speaker3: It’s [01:18:00] funny prosthetics that there’s such a such a psychological side to prosthetics as well. Um, [01:18:05] I have a bunch of experience with it. I did a house job which had a prosthetic bit [01:18:10] in it. One of my bosses was was. That’s all he did. Um, and then we [01:18:15] had a great teacher in university, and the guy in university, he used to say this, actually, he’d say, say [01:18:20] to your patients that it’s a wooden leg. You know, let them understand.

Speaker4: Really? Good. [01:18:25] Yeah.

Speaker3: And he used to say, so it’s a wooden leg. And eating is [01:18:30] like playing football with a wooden leg. And I guess that’s what he’s saying, isn’t it? Lower expectations. [01:18:35]

Speaker4: Yeah, really.

Speaker1: Like I did not know it enough, but I’m just thinking he’s had abscesses for [01:18:40] so long.

Speaker4: I’m sure he’s just glad.

Speaker1: Yeah, he’s just going to be glad to be pain [01:18:45] free and have something to put some food against. But no, that I [01:18:50] just yeah, I made it sound too great I think.

Speaker3: I’ll [01:18:55] take I’ll take that one. I’ll take that one, I’ll take that one. Because sometimes, [01:19:00] sometimes I, I don’t know what was the outcome. What was the outcome. How did it all end?

Speaker1: Oh, [01:19:05] God. It’s actually quite a horrendous story. Oh, God. Um, he dropped it in the. Oops, sorry. [01:19:10] He dropped it in the end. Um, he just kind of, like, idled away, and he. [01:19:15] But he still wanted to come to see me, which is the difficult part and the practice. And you’re like, [01:19:20] okay, cool, you can come. And then he passed away because like I said, he was older. So that was the end of it. [01:19:25] Yeah. Okay.

Speaker3: That’s that’s that’s that’s that’s a good one [01:19:30] we can all learn from.

Speaker4: Brilliant. Yeah.

Speaker1: Yeah. So it didn’t like in terms of like claim and [01:19:35] everything, it didn’t go anywhere because after all the back and forth he just decided to drop it.

Speaker3: So so [01:19:40] in the preamble, you told me that you kind of decided not [01:19:45] to open a practice.

Speaker4: Um, is.

Speaker3: That your final decision or is that just for now?

Speaker1: No, [01:19:50] no, that’s just for now. Just because I think in this moment of life with children and life [01:19:55] and trying to always move forward, I feel again a little bit overwhelmed. And [01:20:00] opening a practice is just another big hurdle that I don’t know if I want to. And plus, because my husband’s [01:20:05] not a dentist, he’s not really interested at all in doing it with me. I might get convinced him, [01:20:10] but it’s just for him. It’s too much of a learning curve and he doesn’t show [01:20:15] any interest in it. And it’s not something I’d want to do on my own. So. But, you know, we both might change in the future. [01:20:20]

Speaker3: What about a business partner?

Speaker1: A business partner I had thought about. But there’s, you [01:20:25] know, it’s it’s an intimate relationship. And the relationship is very important. [01:20:30] And you’ve I’ve heard about, you know, because I did a little bit of research on it and just the number of failures that [01:20:35] happened because of poor partnerships, you know. So for me, [01:20:40] the only comfortable person I would feel with at the moment is my husband. [01:20:45]

Speaker4: Um, I.

Speaker3: Don’t think you should take those those failure stories too much to [01:20:50] heart, though, because you know well a number of failed [01:20:55] marriages, if you want. If you want, you know what I mean?

Speaker4: Yeah, yeah.

Speaker3: I don’t know about [01:21:00] you, but I find I’m similar to you in so much as I find it particularly [01:21:05] daunting to start a business by myself, I just there’s so many things I’m bad at that [01:21:10] I just do not. I want someone else to. To help.

Speaker4: Yeah, yeah.

Speaker3: Um, [01:21:15] but the question of who that partner should be, actually the, the sort of the received [01:21:20] wisdom on that is in a way, it’s better if it’s a total stranger sometimes. Now, I [01:21:25] can’t live without I can’t I’m like you, I’ve got a fully 100% know [01:21:30] that person. Trust that person. And before I can get into a business relationship with [01:21:35] them. Mhm. Um, but business people, you know, business people, it doesn’t [01:21:40] matter who they’re partnering with. Yeah. They set out expectations at the beginning.

Speaker1: And they want you to meet.

Speaker4: Them. [01:21:45] Yeah.

Speaker3: And, and and they meet them. You know, they say, all right we’re going to meet once a week. We’re going to do this. And, and [01:21:50] um, I think in dentistry we one of the reasons to open a practice [01:21:55] is to have full control, isn’t it. That’s that’s one of the reasons why [01:22:00] associates start practices is to get control. And so in a way, [01:22:05] if if you’re partnering with someone who you’re not aligned with, then you haven’t got control. [01:22:10] So what was the point of opening a practice.

Speaker4: Yeah that’s true.

Speaker3: It’s rare that [01:22:15] people do it for the money. And and often the money isn’t as much as a very, you know, well, [01:22:20] well, well associated with doing very well often. Definitely at the beginning [01:22:25] the money’s not there, but the control piece really is. So, you know, [01:22:30] you’re let’s imagine you run into a Russian billionaire and he says, look, I [01:22:35] trust you. I want you to open our dream practice. I’ll give you the money. I’ll [01:22:40] give you the resources. What kind of practice would it be?

Speaker1: It would definitely be a restorative based [01:22:45] practice, as I said, predominantly focussed on orthodontics, endodontics and just [01:22:50] restoring because I think that’s a lot of people. Even though orthodontics has a huge cosmetic [01:22:55] element, it’s not just cosmetics.

Speaker4: Yes it is. Come on.

Speaker1: It’s not just [01:23:00] cosmetics.

Speaker4: It’s just huge. And that’s the issue.

Speaker1: I’m interested in, like the functional [01:23:05] movements as well, you know, moving teeth to be able to better place a bridge or re intruding [01:23:10] teeth. You know, a number of teeth are taken out in dentures because they’ve over erupted [01:23:15] and things like that, like there is definitely a huge element to that. And yeah, [01:23:20] anyway, it would be a restorative practice. Um, and [01:23:25] it would be very digital, digital technological I love technology. [01:23:30]

Speaker4: Oh do you.

Speaker1: So I love technology. So I always have the newest I try not to [01:23:35] get over to. I’ve got like I live in the Apple world, so I’m all Apple phone, iPad, [01:23:40] Apple Watch. You know, I get everything connected to everything. So [01:23:45] I would have a nice technologically connected practice, get [01:23:50] every CAD cam, everything in the practice, all the scanners. And yeah, that’s the kind of environment [01:23:55] I would work in.

Speaker3: Of all the courses you’ve been to, what were the standout ones?

Speaker1: Oh, [01:24:00] that’s a good one. I went on a really good communications one. Oh I can’t remember [01:24:05] his name. This is terrible. Um. Oh it will come to me [01:24:10] later. I think it’s called the PLP course.

Speaker4: Plp.

Speaker1: Yes. [01:24:15] I cannot remember his name, but it’s not marketed at all. [01:24:20] It was recommended by somebody. It was recommended by Rena, actually, who? I went to university with. The Reno [01:24:25] idea.

Speaker4: Oh. Were you in there? Yeah.

Speaker1: Yeah, she she took every award going.

Speaker4: I [01:24:30] heard, I.

Speaker3: Heard that, I heard that.

Speaker1: Yeah, loveliest, loveliest person in [01:24:35] the world. Um, so.

Speaker4: On this.

Speaker3: Podcast as well.

Speaker1: Yeah I know, yeah. Everyone’s [01:24:40] had her everywhere. She is. Yeah. She’s all over and she’s deserves to be because she deserves [01:24:45] everything that she has. She’s worked so hard and is the kindest person ever. Um, [01:24:50] so yeah, Rena recommended and referred me and it’s a, it’s [01:24:55] a communication course. And actually it was really good just about the patient journey and how to interact [01:25:00] and communicate with patients. And it’s just a lot of he breaks it down into really minute [01:25:05] steps and just makes it really reproducible that anyone can do. And [01:25:10] I really enjoyed that course because again, communication is something that is not really focussed enough. [01:25:15]

Speaker3: So one of the nuggets, what were your sort of two three takeaways on [01:25:20] communication that you can teach us?

Speaker4: Oh, okay.

Speaker1: One major takeaway [01:25:25] is agree with the patient. You know you don’t want to [01:25:30] bring negatives into the conversation as much as you can. You reinforce and agree with [01:25:35] whatever they’re saying with you as much as it’s true, obviously, you know, but you want to get [01:25:40] on the same playing field of patient. And one of the good ways to foster [01:25:45] a good environment is by agreeing with people essentially, you know, obviously if it’s something you do not agree with [01:25:50] or it’s factually wrong, then you have to make that clear. But as much as possible, you want to be in [01:25:55] agreeance and repeat their agreement. So I remember one thing on the course is like when they say things, you want to repeat their yes [01:26:00] to them, and it’s just little things, but it helps foster a connection when [01:26:05] people repeat your language. So that was one thing I took away. Another thing was [01:26:10] to match the patient’s energy. So if [01:26:15] someone comes in and they are down, it’s not great to be chirpy. Chirpy. Even if you are feeling [01:26:20] chirpy, you know you need to kind of look at where they are and match your energy [01:26:25] and your mood and your tone and yeah, just everything about you to where they are.

Speaker4: Kind [01:26:30] of like the.

Speaker3: Nlp mirroring thing. Exactly.

Speaker1: Yeah, completely. And so [01:26:35] many times I remember I’ve had to actively do it, and it’s only later on the point where I’ve had to fight. I’ve found out [01:26:40] why. So, you know, someone will come in and they’ll be really surly or quiet or down, and I may be really [01:26:45] happy and laughing and joking with the previous patient, but I think, let me just tone myself down for this patient, and [01:26:50] you’ll find out halfway through the appointment that their husband died yesterday, or, you know, so they don’t need [01:26:55] you laughing and sounding cheery at that moment. You know, they need you.

Speaker4: At their pace [01:27:00] the.

Speaker3: Way they. There are some people who are really good communicators. Right. And so what is [01:27:05] a very good communicator? The person who does that naturally without without even thinking about it. For [01:27:10] the rest of us, we can think about these forces. We can think about it [01:27:15] and adjust ourselves down or up or whatever. I mean, it’s the same as sales training, isn’t it? [01:27:20] There’s the there’s the killer salesman who just naturally can tell what the person [01:27:25] wants and and can. And then there’s the rest of us who have to say, okay. When when there’s [01:27:30] an objection. So think about it like this. Okay. And what [01:27:35] other courses. So that was communication.

Speaker1: That was communication. Um, other stand [01:27:40] out courses. To be honest I’m actually really enjoying the, um, simply undo ten day course. [01:27:45]

Speaker4: Really?

Speaker1: Yeah, I really enjoying it. It’s giving me lots of nuggets. Um, I’m doing it online [01:27:50] because I can’t do anything in person with young children. Yeah. Um.

Speaker3: And [01:27:55] is a hands on element to it as well. Yeah.

Speaker1: So they send you all the, um, equipment. [01:28:00]

Speaker4: Bits?

Speaker1: Yeah. All the bits, um, with the blocks and things like that. And you [01:28:05] need to collect extractor teeth as well. I’m a little bit behind on the, the number of the lectures that I [01:28:10] should be. So I’ve got a few of the, of the sets that I need to work through the practical elements. But yeah, [01:28:15] they send you all the bits. And then I bought a nice little cheap endo motor online and I just [01:28:20] at home, like I said in the evening, I’m just sitting there drilling on my blocks, you know, listening [01:28:25] to the lecture. And it’s just really good nuggets. It’s not just you know.

Speaker3: The [01:28:30] nuggets go on for the general.

Speaker4: Practitioner.

Speaker1: I don’t know if I have enough yet to be honest.

Speaker3: Couple for the general [01:28:35] practitioner.

Speaker1: I think I’m too early I don’t think I have anything. Oh don’t be.

Speaker3: Shy. Don’t be shy. [01:28:40] Go on.

Speaker1: I’m still kind of like working. Okay. Actually, the most important thing I think [01:28:45] that has really impacted my endo so far from doing the course, is the importance of a glide path. [01:28:50]

Speaker3: Remind us, remind us about that. [01:28:55] That does ring a bell.

Speaker1: So, yeah. Um, I couldn’t give you an exact definition if [01:29:00] I’m if I’m honest, which is terrible.

Speaker4: It’s kind of from, from.

Speaker3: From the access to the tip.

Speaker4: Being smoothly. [01:29:05] Just making.

Speaker1: You. Yeah. Giving you a clean access all the way to the apex. [01:29:10] Because a lot before this, I was working on enlarging with the rotary files, but actually [01:29:15] or even finding the access with the rotary files. Um, but it’s actually, as you say, it’s [01:29:20] making a path for the rotary files to go on and follow more smoothly. And it’s just [01:29:25] made everything more straightforward.

Speaker3: And how like, like how [01:29:30] long is this course? Is it ten weeks.

Speaker4: So it’s 1010.

Speaker1: Days.

Speaker4: Ten days over.

Speaker1: Yeah. [01:29:35] So two days a month. So it’s five months essentially. So you can go in person [01:29:40] for two days. And I’m doing it two days online and watching the videos in the evening. [01:29:45] And then they send you all the practical stuff to do at home if you’re doing it on the online course. So it’s really great [01:29:50] for, for someone like me who, like I said, I’m in the phase of my life where just going to things hands [01:29:55] on courses is just not practical for my life at the moment. Like I can’t have my husband doing [01:30:00] all the bedtime’s that often. It’s just not fair. But I still want to kind of pursue knowledge. [01:30:05] Online has been absolutely amazing with the how much it’s expanded since Covid, [01:30:10] but just so fantastic. And I’ve really tried to make the most [01:30:15] of it. And just I do everything online now as much as I can. Obviously hands on is important because dentistry is [01:30:20] a practical and clinical degree, but I’m definitely going to get as much as I can while I can at this [01:30:25] point until I can go back to being more hands on. And there’s a lot you can do here. [01:30:30] Really.

Speaker3: What’s the future hold?

Speaker1: Ooh, that’s a good question. [01:30:35] Um, the future for me holds diversify. For [01:30:40] a long time, I thought I wanted to leave dentistry just because I was disillusioned and blah, blah, blah. But I was talking to my husband [01:30:45] the other day, and I think actually, even if I was really, really wealthy, I don’t think I would stop [01:30:50] being a dentist because I’ve worked so hard to get here. Like it’s been blood, sweat and tears. And I [01:30:55] just when you’ve I don’t know if it’s a sunk cost fallacy where, you know, you once you’ve put so much energy [01:31:00] into something, you don’t want to give it up. But I have put a lot into dentistry. And for that reason, I think it’s [01:31:05] always going to be with me in some sort of capacity. It may not necessarily be working in practice if [01:31:10] I, you know, somehow just make something and become a billionaire. You know, I [01:31:15] may be giving practical skills or, you know, be working entirely as [01:31:20] a charitable dentist and not charging for what I do entirely. But it’s a very unique skill, and there’s [01:31:25] not a lot of people in the world who can practically do what we do, you know? So as much as I can earn money and give it, [01:31:30] there’s also a lot of benefit to actually just practically doing the dentistry for people who don’t have access to it. [01:31:35]

Speaker3: So you should definitely follow up the charity whichever direction you go in.

Speaker4: Yeah, I [01:31:40] definitely will. Yeah.

Speaker3: Whichever direction you go in and whether that’s, you know, it’s completely [01:31:45] under your auspice, whether it’s within another, you know, at the end of the day, there’s a vanity [01:31:50] kind of metric in it as well, right. That says.

Speaker4: This.

Speaker3: Is my charity, but [01:31:55] you know which direction you go. You definitely should do something with it. And, [01:32:00] you know, listen, I’m fully up for helping out with that as well. If oh, that’d be great.

Speaker1: The more support, the better.

Speaker4: Yeah. [01:32:05]

Speaker3: Any any way I can. So Don so going forward.

Speaker1: Yeah. [01:32:10] So charity definitely um, hopefully becoming the restorative [01:32:15] dentist that I want. So focusing on lens orthodontics and restorative [01:32:20] dentistry. So that would be my future I don’t I like I said, I don’t see myself owning a practice, [01:32:25] but I would like to work in a space where I’m completely. Free to really focus [01:32:30] on those areas. And in terms of, yeah, I’m going to stay [01:32:35] in Bristol. I’ve done a tour of the country, so I’ve, I feel at home here. So this.

Speaker4: Lovely.

Speaker3: Lovely, [01:32:40] lovely town isn’t it. It’s one of my favourites.

Speaker4: It’s so family.

Speaker1: Orientated. It’s a really [01:32:45] comfortable. So it’s really nice place to raise my children. And yeah, I’m also interested [01:32:50] in business generally. Like I said my husband does property investing so I will be doing some with him as well. [01:32:55] And yeah, looking into properties and that end of things as well. So that’s that’s what I see myself [01:33:00] in the future.

Speaker3: I know it’s a it’s a little while away, but would you want your kids to be dentists?

Speaker1: To [01:33:05] be honest, I don’t mind. Um, I know a lot of people say, oh, don’t do it. You know, it’s stressful, [01:33:10] it’s all this. But I’m very much pro follow your passions, and if they have an interest in [01:33:15] it, then I would support them in it.

Speaker4: Yeah, but.

Speaker3: You know, the way the way this sort of thing turns out is. That’s a lovely [01:33:20] answer. But the way, the way it works out is your kid doesn’t have passion for any job. [01:33:25]

Speaker4: Yeah, yeah, this is true. That’s how it looks. Would I.

Speaker1: Direct them to do.

Speaker3: It? Yeah. [01:33:30] Your kid’s got a passion for PlayStation, let’s say. All right. Okay. Um.

Speaker4: I [01:33:35] think I.

Speaker1: Would, I think I would want my kids to be dentists, because in the end, as much [01:33:40] as we have many challenges and there is a lot, there are a lot [01:33:45] of jobs where you’re unfairly remunerated for the work that you do. But I think, again, [01:33:50] compared to a lot of the world, we do. Okay. You know, so we work [01:33:55] hard and we get we get a living wage, you know.

Speaker4: So living wage, that [01:34:00] is the truth.

Speaker1: If you want to look at the basics of it, we can we can live, you know.

Speaker4: Yeah. [01:34:05]

Speaker1: So obviously there’s people who have higher aspirations than living. But you know, [01:34:10] compared to a lot of jobs out there that work just as hard as us, we we live we do. Okay. So [01:34:15] I would I would definitely encourage my children to be dentists. It’s not the only thing in the world you [01:34:20] can do, but I don’t think essentially it’s a bad career.

Speaker3: Yeah, you’re right about you know, I’ve [01:34:25] got I come across a lot of dentists, don’t I? And, um, sometimes you get a guy who’s, [01:34:30] you know, he’s a principal somewhere. He’s earning, I don’t know, 300 grand a year. [01:34:35] And, um, he says, you know, I’m getting a bit bored of dentistry. I [01:34:40] say, so what is it you want to do instead? And he’ll say something like, I’ve always [01:34:45] fancied myself as quite good at marketing. And they’ll he’ll ask me about marketing [01:34:50] because we do marketing as well, right? Yeah. It’s a big part of our. And I was always [01:34:55] having this funny thing I say to you that, you know, the guy who’s earning £300,000 in marketing [01:35:00] is head of marketing for Procter and Gamble. So a world [01:35:05] famous marketeer.

Speaker4: Yeah.

Speaker3: He’s not a practice owner in Rochdale or wherever [01:35:10] this guy was. Yeah.

Speaker4: You know we do concept.

Speaker3: Yeah. We earn well [01:35:15] for what we do. Um, that said, it’s hard work.

Speaker4: It’s a lot of [01:35:20] hard work. Yeah, I think.

Speaker3: I think two and a half days might be the perfect number of days for dentistry, although [01:35:25] I’m generally against half days insomuch as I feel like, you know, you’ve still got to [01:35:30] go in that day. I know.

Speaker4: You’re there. I know it’s not.

Speaker1: My choice again. Not my practice.

Speaker4: Yeah, [01:35:35] I guess.

Speaker3: Half days, but I’ve I’ve done it all. I’ve done five days. I haven’t done six. I’ve [01:35:40] done five days a week for three, two, one and um, definitely three and two [01:35:45] are the right number three, three. If you want to feel like you’re doing a real, you [01:35:50] know, it’s your full on job and then, you know, your two days of property investment if you want, or kids or whatever it [01:35:55] is, that’s the other side thing or two days a week. If dentistry is kind of the side thing [01:36:00] and actually you’re pushing something else, whether it could be charity or kids or whatever, but 2 or 3 [01:36:05] really is right. One definitely isn’t right. I’ve done one day a week. It’s just no, no, no [01:36:10] balance, no, no cadence.

Speaker4: Yeah. I wanted to be hard.

Speaker1: To have continuity.

Speaker4: With one.

Speaker3: You just [01:36:15] don’t care. You know? You don’t care when things go wrong. Yeah. Because you’re just not there very much.

Speaker4: Yeah. [01:36:20]

Speaker3: Let’s get on to our final questions. Fantasy [01:36:25] dinner party. Three guests, [01:36:30] dead or alive, who would you have?

Speaker1: Number one, I would [01:36:35] most definitely have Michelle Obama.

Speaker3: Are you like a bit of Michelle Obama? [01:36:40]

Speaker4: I love a bit Michelle Obama.

Speaker1: Um, I love a bit of her. I loved her books. [01:36:45] I read both her books and, um, becoming and The Light We Carry and becoming particularly was really [01:36:50] poignant for me. And there’s one quote in there that she said something along the lines of, we have to [01:36:55] go out there and identify ourselves. Oh, no. Um, yeah. Give ourselves [01:37:00] an identity before the world gives us an identity. And that really spoke to me [01:37:05] in terms of there’s so many pressures in the world and so many things in the life that give you labels. And, [01:37:10] you know, her whole book, becoming was about how she went out and forged the path that was specific to her. [01:37:15] And she obviously had a very unique role being the first African American first lady. And it was really [01:37:20] tough position to be in where you’ve got all these expectations and this long history that you [01:37:25] need to follow up with. And I think she did it brilliantly and forged a path that was completely unique to [01:37:30] her, and she didn’t look to anybody else on what she should be doing or should be thinking. But she forged her own path and she forged [01:37:35] her own identity. And that’s really poignant to me. So I’m trying to forge my own identity.

Speaker4: Nice. [01:37:40] Yeah.

Speaker1: Guest Nelson Mandela.

Speaker4: Nice. [01:37:45]

Speaker1: My dad actually met Nelson Mandela as a running joke in my family, because he’s got this big picture of him sitting [01:37:50] next to Nelson Mandela, and he sends it to each of us.

Speaker4: To frame.

Speaker1: Up [01:37:55] in our house. And one of the family friend got married at our house, and he had the picture [01:38:00] at the altar next to the wedding.

Speaker4: That’s my dad.

Speaker1: And [01:38:05] so, yeah, Nelson Mandela, just because I think what he managed [01:38:10] to achieve with the Truth and Reconciliation Committee is just amazing. And [01:38:15] I just, I can’t imagine how someone having that capacity to forgive after [01:38:20] all the suffering that he went through. And I think just the opportunity to talk [01:38:25] to him and just to hear his heart, his soul, his thinking, his mind, just what [01:38:30] brought him to that point, I just think would be fascinating because that’s just and I just I don’t know if I [01:38:35] would be able to forgive after what he went through, basically.

Speaker3: Yeah. He comes up a lot in [01:38:40] these in this question. Yeah, understandably. Understandably. And [01:38:45] he’s the third.

Speaker1: Number three would actually be Angelina Jolie.

Speaker4: You what? [01:38:50]

Speaker3: Okay.

Speaker4: Come on I know, I know.

Speaker1: Everyone I tell you, my husband and he was like, what? Basically [01:38:55] he.

Speaker4: Yeah.

Speaker1: I’ve always I’ve always adored Angelina Jolie [01:39:00] just because she is actually one of the UN’s biggest philanthropists.

Speaker3: Oh I see, yeah.

Speaker4: Okay. [01:39:05]

Speaker1: She’s a massive giver. She’s a massive, massive philanthropist. And [01:39:10] I have this weird obsession with adoption. And I’ve always thought adoption is just the most beautiful thing in the world. [01:39:15] And obviously she’s adopted loads of kids from around the world. And I just think actually, if I was a wealthy [01:39:20] person and that’s how I would want to do life like her in terms of her philanthropy, [01:39:25] you know, she gives away a huge portion of her income. She’s been a UN ambassador for a [01:39:30] long time. And yeah, she really uses her fame to highlight global causes [01:39:35] and and highlight the plight of refugees. And yeah, she’s. Yeah, she she just. And [01:39:40] what I love about adoption is it’s one it’s like the long it’s the, um, permanency [01:39:45] of it. You know, it’s one thing to give to a cause and keep it distant, but it’s another thing to take an orphan [01:39:50] and bring them into your home and make them your child.

Speaker4: Mm.

Speaker1: You know, and I think that’s that [01:39:55] is a different level of intimacy and compassion and love that I [01:40:00] just really admire. Basically. Yeah.

Speaker3: Me too. Me too. Beautiful.

Speaker4: It’s [01:40:05] my turn.

Speaker3: It’s beautiful. The final. [01:40:10] Final question. Difficult for someone so young. But it’s a deathbed question. [01:40:15]

Speaker4: Yeah.

Speaker3: On your deathbed, surrounded by your loved ones, children. Grandchildren. Who are you? [01:40:20] Anyone who means something to you. What are three pieces of advice [01:40:25] that you would leave for them and for the world?

Speaker1: So the first one [01:40:30] would actually be a quote. The quote from Michelle Obama, which is kind of like forge your own identity [01:40:35] before the world forces one on you. And I think that’s, again, with the [01:40:40] so much pressure in the world, it’s so easy to lose our way. And this is something that I’m constantly having to do to remind [01:40:45] myself of who I am and not get influenced by what everyone else is doing, really. [01:40:50] And I think it’s only by doing that that we really find our true fulfilment [01:40:55] and contentment. Because as long as we’re comparing ourselves to other people and trying to, you know, [01:41:00] keep up with the Joneses, then we’re just running on a hamster wheel, going endlessly. [01:41:05] So yeah, the first would definitely be to forge your identity and tell the world who you are before the world tries [01:41:10] to put you a label on you, put you in a box, and there’s lots of kind of cultural and racial and things [01:41:15] like that that come into that as well, and that I’m definitely trying to instil with my children, because obviously being a minority, you get [01:41:20] put in boxes and things like that. So for me, it’s even more poignant that I teach my children [01:41:25] to be like, you need to know who you are and you need to tell the world who you are before the world tries to tell you. [01:41:30]

Speaker3: Do you think that whole Black Lives Matter thing.

Speaker4: Was.

Speaker3: Big when it was? [01:41:35] What was your. What’s your. I asked you this question, right? The your [01:41:40] experience of being a black woman in dentistry.

Speaker1: I think there’s different [01:41:45] challenges, and I don’t think I would say that. I think that everyone has their challenges and I don’t [01:41:50] think you can compare them. I don’t, for example, like dentistry was [01:41:55] previously predominantly male, but now it’s predominantly female. Yeah. You know, so, um, [01:42:00] there’s a swings around about women still get paid less. So in [01:42:05] that sense you can say across. Is that.

Speaker4: True? Is that true that.

Speaker1: Yeah, [01:42:10] that is true. That’s why you still have women. International Women’s Day because we still earn a little bit less than men.

Speaker3: If [01:42:15] that was the case, why doesn’t everyone just hire women?

Speaker1: Who knows? Um, I don’t know, [01:42:20] I don’t know, I don’t know the details of it, but statistically across, um, across [01:42:25] jobs and what they are reporting for income for similar jobs, similar qualifications, [01:42:30] women will still be paid slightly less.

Speaker3: Do you know what I mean? Though? I’ve got 44 employees. [01:42:35] Why aren’t they all women? If that’s the case, if I can learn my costs.

Speaker4: I will do it. I know that [01:42:40] it would be obvious. And you get caught out.

Speaker1: There. Doing it slyly, [01:42:45] that’s why.

Speaker4: Okay. Um.

Speaker1: So. Yeah, [01:42:50] I don’t think it’s. Yeah. I think we have different challenges, different expectations. So I think [01:42:55] it’s hard to be a person basically. So, um, I wouldn’t pit one against [01:43:00] the other, but maybe that’s just, you know, you you answer from your experiences in life. Yeah. And. Yeah. [01:43:05] And these are my experiences in life and I, I see the challenges that men have and I and I’m, I’m [01:43:10] okay with my challenges. Basically there’s some that men have that I don’t think I’d want.

Speaker3: So forge [01:43:15] a path for yourself before the world does. What’s the second piece of advice?

Speaker1: Second piece of advice is [01:43:20] see as much as the world as you can. So a lot of the prejudice in the world [01:43:25] come from people living small minded lives and only seeing things from their perspective [01:43:30] and only having experiences of people similar to them. And I think the world [01:43:35] would be a much better place if more people spent time interacting with people that were different to them, [01:43:40] and the further afield, the better, in my opinion. The more interactions you have [01:43:45] with cultures, with peoples, with things like that, it’s so enriching and [01:43:50] will completely change your perspective on your life and, you know, have huge [01:43:55] impact on your own mental health and wellbeing and view [01:44:00] on life and just happiness generally. But as well as being able to [01:44:05] see the value of humans who are different to you and see the [01:44:10] value of their homes and their cultures and and see things from a completely different perspective, the world would be [01:44:15] just a better place. So I would definitely say travel as much as possible and interact with as [01:44:20] many different people as possible.

Speaker3: And I’d add to that, I’d say travel as much as possible, as young as possible. [01:44:25]

Speaker1: Oh, definitely, because travelling with children is just not the same.

Speaker4: There’s that, [01:44:30] there’s that.

Speaker3: But you know, it’s you get to a certain age where you just want, uh, you just want to go to a good [01:44:35] hotel and. Yeah, whereas when you’re young, you haven’t made your mind up about stuff. No. You [01:44:40] know.

Speaker1: Yeah. You would not catch me in a hostel now. I just couldn’t do it.

Speaker4: Right. Exactly.

Speaker3: What’s [01:44:45] the third piece?

Speaker1: Um, the third thing is don’t let fears [01:44:50] hold you back, because there’s, again, with this whole thing of you have greatness in you. [01:44:55] But a lot of us, we are the biggest roadblock in our own lives. And [01:45:00] I talk more from my own experience. So in the past I had this I had loads of fears and [01:45:05] I just there’s lots of things even like, particularly with my charity, that when I started it, I had loads of opportunities [01:45:10] and I said no to a lot of them, just out of fear, which I’m just so sad about [01:45:15] now. Like as soon as I started it, I got, I had BBC Africa requested to interview me. [01:45:20] I was invited to be a panel on Africa Global Health Summit and I just thought, who [01:45:25] am I? Why are they inviting me all to all these places? Or why would anyone want me there? And I just said no to all these things [01:45:30] that would have.

Speaker4: Been.

Speaker1: I know I now I look back on it, I was like, how much more [01:45:35] could I have done with the platform that I could have had, you know? And it was just pure [01:45:40] fear and I felt like I had nothing to say. And actually it wasn’t [01:45:45] about me. And that’s the thing, you know, fear tells you a lie. And I just lied [01:45:50] to myself, essentially. So that’s the biggest thing. Now I say yes to everything.

Speaker3: I [01:45:55] think it goes full circle as well, you know? Then then the skill becomes learning [01:46:00] to say no to stuff after that.

Speaker4: Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. [01:46:05]

Speaker1: Fear hold you back.

Speaker3: It’s been so amazing to have you on. It’s so, so [01:46:10] positive. It’s it’s been.

Speaker4: You.

Speaker3: It’s been a wonderful, um, conversation. We’ve gone for [01:46:15] an hour and 50 minutes. Oh, wow. Can you believe that? It’s gone crazy. Um, [01:46:20] thanks so much for for doing this. And, uh, hopefully I’ll catch up with you in [01:46:25] a couple of years time when the charities are.

Speaker4: Yeah. Massive. Send you the link.

Speaker1: In the meantime. [01:46:30]

Speaker3: Actually, we’re gonna have to wait for the nine month old to put her socks on.

Speaker4: I know this. [01:46:35]

Speaker3: Charity can get this.

Speaker4: Potential anywhere. Yeah.

Speaker3: No. [01:46:40] Thanks a lot for doing this. It’s been really lovely time.

Speaker1: It’s been great talking to [01:46:45] you.

Speaker2: This is Dental Leaders, the [01:46:50] podcast where you get to go one on one with emerging leaders in dentistry. [01:46:55] Your hosts. Payman Langroudi [01:47:00] and Prav Solanki.

Speaker5: Thanks for listening, guys. If you got [01:47:05] this far, you must have listened to the whole thing. And just a huge thank you both from me and pay [01:47:10] for actually sticking through and listening to what we’ve had to say and what our guest has had to say, because [01:47:15] I’m assuming you got some value out of it.

Speaker3: If you did get some value out of it, think about subscribing. [01:47:20] And if you would share this with a friend who you think might get some value out [01:47:25] of it too. Thank you so so, so much for listening. Thanks.

Speaker5: And don’t forget our six star rating.

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