A dental nurse from Truro is in the running to be named ‘Dental Nurse of the Year’ at a national awards ceremony in Birmingham next month. Heidi Wyatt of Smile Together, who has cared for an estimated 89,000 patients across Cornwall, has been included in the category shortlist at the prestigious Dental Awards 2017.
Heidi, who works at Truro Health Park in the company’s West Country Dental Care service, entered the profession as a 17 year old on a Youth Training Scheme to help people overcome their fear of visiting the dentist.
The Dental Awards judges recognised her dedication over a 27 year career which has seen her meet their entry criteria of: Positive feedback on balancing patient demands with clinical care; dedication to self-training above statutory requirements; wider commitment to the profession.
Heidi has continually made considerable contributions to the profession including playing a lead role in establishing the need for oral health classes for Cornwall. Last year, Smile Together supported over 900 local children at tooth brushing clubs across the county.
Her work on that project fed into a major new ‘Brighter Smiles’ campaign launched by Smile Together last month to tackle avoidable tooth decay in children – a serious public health issue that costs the NHS in England over £130m a year.
In addition to her clinical work, Heidi was elected by her 80 plus colleagues to Smile Together’s Staff Council which see her play a pivotal communication role in the staff-owned company which operates out of 13 centres across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
Upon hearing the news, Heidi said: “I am totally flattered to be on the shortlist for basically being committed to a job I love. That job is to make people feel they are not rushed, regardless of how busy we are, and every appointment is of the utmost importance. I wouldn’t be on the shortlist without the care and dedication of the people I’ve had the pleasure of working with, so I am delighted that our teamwork has been recognised.”
Paul Critchley, Managing Director, Smile Together commented: “We are all very proud to see Heidi’s commitment and professionalism capture the attention of such a prestigious body. As a caring nurse, prominent oral health campaigner, and a respected member of our team, she thoroughly deserves to be placed amongst the top dental nurses in the country.”
The winner will be announced on Friday 12 May at a glittering ceremony at the NEC Hilton Metropole in Birmingham.