October 15, 2019

This month’s Crowning Careers spotlight is on Debra Worthington, who shares her journey from Dental Nurse to Maxillofacial Unit Manager.

On leaving school I fell into dental nursing. I had always thought I would pursue a career in general nursing, and it wasn’t until a friend’s father who was a local dentist told me he was looking for a nurse that my journey began. I continued to work in a general dental practice for a further six years, during which I sat the NEBDN national certificate, qualifying in 1983.

Whilst fully enjoining my work I began to want to broaden my horizons and learn new skills. In November 1992 I secured a role in my local hospital in the Orthodontic Department – this is where my passion for orthodontics began. I went on to work at two further hospital trusts each time gaining more experience, not only in orthodontics but in oral surgery and restorative dentistry. I also gained Post-Registration qualifications in Oral Health, Radiography, Conscious Sedation and Radiography.

In 2001 I moved to another Trust, while this was further from home I knew I wanted to develop further and moving into this role was the only way I would achieve this. The role enabled me to develop leadership and management skills. I studied for and gained qualifications awarded by the Institute of Leadership and Management. I stayed in this role for nine years, but I still wanted to progress further and started to look for further opportunities.

The opportunity did come up and in January 2010, I started at Salford Royal Hospital which is where I’m still based now. As the Maxillofacial Unit Manager I am autonomously responsible for the professional leadership and management of a team of community dental nurses, maxillofacial and orthodontic nurses, orthodontic therapists and dental therapists. The specialities which fall into my remit are orthodontics, oral and maxillofacial surgery, special care and paediatric dentistry.

I am accountable for the overall clinical and operational day to day delivery of clinical standards of care and management of the dental care professional workforce; I endeavour to deliver a high-quality patient centred service which meets patient’s needs.

I am actively involved in clinical governance, risk management, and I’m the Radiation Protection Supervisor. I have gained a teaching qualification and successfully completed the NHS Senior Leadership Programme.

I have thoroughly enjoined every minute of my career. It has not been easy juggling a family, working and studying; but if you set yourself personal goals, then with support and guidance, you will achieve them.

Some interesting facts about me and things I’ve been pleased to be a part of are:
• My role on the Committee of the Orthodontic National Group (ONG) where I served as Chair for nine years. I am currently two years into a three-year tenure as President. This consists of working at a national level with senior members of the British Orthodontic Society. I attend meetings with the General Dental Council (GDC), and I was invited to meet the GDC when they were reviewing the Scope of Practice in 2013.
• I am a current member of the Dental Care Professionals Advisory Board at the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh.
• I have worked with The Centre for Workforce Intelligence, who has been commissioned to report on the future duties of dental care professionals and dental student intake numbers.
• I worked with NHS England on a scoping document – looking at medicines prescribing for DCP’s.

Like to know more? Debra will be at our Spring Conference 7 March 2020 discussing details on the ‘Mouthcare Matters’ programme. Click here to book your place.

Debra Worthington

Written by
Jade Monori