Dr Mairéad Browne is a GDP in Cork City, and current President of the Munster Branch.
What led you to first get involved in the IDA?
I joined the year after I qualified. I was completing vocational training in Ireland and membership was complimentary for the first year after graduating. Initially, I only attended a handful of lectures and meetings. As a newly qualified graduate, the biggest barrier I found to attending lectures and meetings was that feeling that I didn’t really know anyone. However, the Munster Branch evening lectures are great because there’s a big emphasis on the social aspect, so I could keep up to date with CPD and catch up with friends as well.
What form did that involvement take and how did it develop?
I started attending more lectures and meetings, and got to know everybody at the Branch. Then Dr Maire Brennan, who was President at the time, nominated me for the Branch Committee. This year I was nominated to be Munster Branch President and Munster Representative on Council of the IDA. It’s a lot of work: chairing meetings and organising the evening lectures, as well as our Annual Scientific Meeting. It’s quite time consuming but I had a very experienced, supportive and hardworking committee behind me and I found it very rewarding. I had no idea of the time and effort that goes into organising any event, so my tenure as President has given me a much greater appreciation for anybody who does get involved and the workload they commit to.
What has your involvement in the IDA meant to you?
Overall as an experience it’s been very rewarding personally and professionally, and I feel that I’m a much more confident practitioner and a better dentist. I’ve learned how to delegate and how to organise. My confidence has improved and it’s spilled over into my practice, helping me to balance working among several different practices, with different teams.
What has been the single biggest benefit of IDA membership for you?
The biggest benefit for me has been support, both professionally and personally. Being in practice is very isolating, but I found that going to the lectures is a great way to learn, and to meet with your peers – to ask questions, raise issues, gain support and realise that you’re not on your own.
How would you like to see the Association progress into the future?
I think as an association we have to encourage more members to get involved at committee level in branches and really encourage branches to be more active. I feel passionately that every single member of the Association should serve on a committee over the course of their membership. Our profession is going through a lot of changes and it’s really important that we’re unified. I tell friends of mine – people who are coming back from the UK – to join the Association. There’s no point sitting on the fringes complaining if you have a grievance or an issue – that’s what the Association is there for. It’s our Association and we’re the members so you have to get involved.
Even if you can’t commit to committee membership, come to the branch meetings and lectures. The organisation advocates on behalf of its members so it’s so important that from the ground level up we’re active.
Every individual member has a responsibility to get involved and to use the IDA to its full potential.
When not in practice, or attending IDA events, Mairéad plays piano and violin. In fact, she plays violin in the City of Cork Symphony Orchestra, and in recent years that has meant playing with the likes of Katherine Jenkins, Il Divo and Jose Carreras. She also plays tag rugby in the summer, so it’s a busy life, but Mairéad wouldn’t have it any other way.