What led you to get involved with the IDA?
I joined the IDA a few years into my career and I recognised that I needed to get continual professional development. I was working in the public sector and I didn’t want to deskill, so the IDA was providing education on general practice and specialist topics. Very quickly, I saw that the IDA gave me something else. It gave me networking and the opportunity to meet a lot of colleagues. I started very young in my career with the IDA and I’ve never looked back.
What form did that involvement take and what is it now?
I very quickly got involved in the political side of the IDA. I went onto the committee for the HSE, and from there I went onto the executive, that today would be called the board, and I represented the HSE on that. I was very influenced by some of the senior members of the IDA and the commitment that they had. I’ve been on various committees and I was president of the HSE group. Now I’m on three committees, the Quality and Patient Safety Committee, the CPD Committee and the International Affairs Committee, and I’m enjoying my role in all of those.
What has your involvement in the IDA meant to you?
It has allowed me to enjoy my profession more. It has provided me with education. It has provided me with lifelong friendships. It has given me a healthy respect for the fact that there are so many people committed to looking after their patients, committed to being excellent practitioners, whether in the public, private, specialist or hospital sectors. It has really enriched my professional career. It’s been of great value to me personally.
What has been the single biggest benefit of IDA membership for you?
I think the collegiality of the profession. Wherever dentists are in their career, the Association brings people together. The commitment of people together within the IDA has always been for the good of the patients, the good of the population, and the good of the profession.
When I was in the public sector, I was very interested in management and I spent 20 years as a Principal Dental Surgeon. And as manager of a very large service of salaried and contracted people, I had to be committed to regulation and to processes and standards. In the IDA other people had a commitment to those things as well and coming together in the Quality and Patient Safety Committee allowed me to bring skills I had learned in my employment. That Committee has produced so much guidance to the profession and I’m very proud of my input into the development of that guidance. I think the IDA is giving all the time to the members but it’s very important the members give back. I’ve always been committed to giving back because you get so much out of that.
How would you like to see the Association progress into the future?
My interest is regulation. When I finished working with the health service I set up my company Dental Compliance Ltd. Part of that is helping the profession to make regulation, guidance and governance simpler to implement. That is not something I am doing on my own; the IDA is also doing that through so many strands of its structures and processes. I’d like to see the IDA continue supporting members, make the regulation simple and continue to provide education. I’ve been very fortunate that the IDA gave me that. I like to be part of providing education to the members. That has changed in recent times through webinars, through online guidance, and the Journal has improved so much. The IDA is constantly giving back and we need our members to keep engaging with us. I would like to see more young members coming through.
How has Covid-19 affected the work you do in infection prevention and control, the advice you give dentists, and IDA CPD?
I would usually visit dental practices and then provide a written report for the practice owner, giving them guidance and a road map as to how they would navigate themselves through the regulation in a simple manner, making it simple and specific for them. Because of Covid, visiting the practices was not an option, so I moved my business online. And I now do Zoom calls with my clients. That’s working really well. The video calls are so much better than being on a telephone call.
The training I do with the IDA has gone online as well. I’ve done a few webinars. The IDA has moved its own meetings online and that’s so much more efficient as well, and has made it easier to have meetings and have more involvement.