Miss Lynne Millsopp

I am the Senior Welfare Advisor, a Senior Lecturer in Oral Surgery and I am Course Co-Ordinator for the Dental Nurse Sedation course. I am also Component Lead for the Personal Development and Wellbeing component on our Centennial Curriculum with my colleague, Dr M Jellicoe.

Where did you study your undergraduate degree?
I studied at the University of Dundee.

What was your first job after graduating?
I did my Vocational Training (Dental Foundation Training) in Peebles, which is a small town in the Borders of Scotland.

Briefly describe your career progression from that first job to your current role.
After completing VT ( and realising GDS was most definitely NOT for me) I went back to Northern Ireland to work in Maxillofacial Surgery (Altnagelvin Hospital in Derry) and then took a job at Belfast Dental School where I did a mixture of Max Fax, Restorative and Paediatric Dentistry.

I then decided to do a bit of travelling, so worked for just under 2 years in Australia as a general dentist in the public dental service - mostly based in dental clinics in hospitals. I worked at Mackay Base Hospital (Mackay is a medium sized town in North Queensland), Ballarat Dental Clinic (Ballarat is a lovely, quite historical town in mid- Victoria) and then in a clinic in Nhulunbuy, NT (a mining town in the Northern Territory). My time in Australia gave me increased confidence in my decision making, as well as in patient management. However, Australia was too far from home, so I came back to the UK and did a 9 month post as a MaxFax SHO in Perth/Dundee (Scotland) before taking up my post as a Lecturer in Oral Surgery at the University of Liverpool in 2001. I have been here ever since!

What do you find most rewarding about working in dentistry?
For me, as an oral surgeon, being able to help both patients and students have positive experiences of oral surgery is what I enjoy most. Taking a nervous patient (or student) and helping them to cope with treatment is really rewarding - having a patient tell me “that wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be” or having a student say “that was great! I loved doing that extraction” makes my day! I am also really interested in helping students deal with the stresses and strains of not only studies, but also life as a healthcare professional.

What aspects of dentistry do you find most interesting?
Developing resilient practitioners, using different teaching styles to help students get to grips with knowledge and skills, helping students make the links between different aspects of a patient history/examination so they can find the diagnosis, helping anxious patients cope with treatment.

What are the three most important qualities to have in dentistry?
Self-reflection/effective goal setting skills; resilience; kindness - to yourself, your colleagues and your patients.

Oh, and if I can squeeze a fourth quality - it would be effective communication - being able to talk to anyone, but also being able to listen effectively. When we listen, we can then help patients to manage their expectations about the treatment we can provide for them effectively.

Where do you think dentistry will be in 10 years?
It depends on whether you are talking about public dentistry or private! I suspect those who can afford to seek private treatment will be thriving. Public dentistry has been underfunded for so long, that I fear patients will be left behind. I hope I am wrong.

What advice would you give to students applying for dentistry.
Dentistry is incredibly rewarding, but like anything with great rewards, it makes great demands on us as healthcare professionals.

You should be really really sure that this is what you want to do - explore your dreams and values, and make sure they align with those of the profession. 

Learn to have a growth mindset - be open to feedback on your skills and knowledge, and have the resilience to be able to learn from that feedback because it can be hard to be told you haven't done something well!

Oh, and don't forget what you enjoy! Dentistry is hard work - so you need to have enjoyable hobbies to fall back on so you can relax!

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