Debra Russell headshot

Debra Russell

Dental Receptionist and SIB Rep

As a receptionist I work as part of the clinical team to ensure our patients are well looked after when they contact and visit us. I am passionate about making a difference to the patients we see and support on a daily basis and like to consider myself as the face of Smile Together in Truro. I’m approachable and friendly and love interacting with people. As each patient arrives, I ensure that all the relevant paperwork has been completed, either a payment is taken or an exemption noted on their patient record, and if a medical form is required this is also completed.

The most fun aspect of my role is working with the team at Truro Health Park as well as my extended work colleagues who are all part of Smile Together right across the county. It’s a great, mutually supportive team and I love working with them all. This is one of the reasons I was inspired to stand as an elected representative.

The biggest challenge in my role is that occasionally, and it doesn’t happen very often, we have patients who are a little upset at having had to wait for their appointments. They don’t understand how busy our service is so it’s a matter of reassuring them, providing as much information as I can to signpost them onwards, and be as helpful as possible. This generally ends with smiles all round!

I’ve been lucky enough to have enjoyed a variety of roles in my working career. On leaving school I trained as a Chef at Cornwall College and after two years of working and training in the kitchen (including cooking for Prince Charles when he made a visit to the College!) I decided I’d prefer a front facing role and continued to train as a Hotel Receptionist, also at the college. On completing my training and having been lucky enough to do a work placement with Haven Holidays, I worked in their Head Office in Truro, but when they relocated to Orpington in Kent I remained in Cornwall.

My next challenge was as a Receptionist working for a Film Producer who was funding the film ‘When the Whales Came’, filmed on the Isles of Scilly. Once the film was completed, I moved onto something completely different and joined Allied Carpets, working my way up from Receptionist to Assistant Manager. Then yet another complete change to working in a Children’s Centre, initially as a Receptionist and subsequently in Social Care as a Family Support Worker.

I really enjoy front-facing roles and prior to joining Smile Together, I was Reception Manager at the 4* Alverton Hotel – phew what a journey!

I find the work environment at Smile Together truly inspirational. As a company we’re proactive about improving peoples’ lives – from tackling preventable tooth decay with our Smarter Smiles project and visiting fishermen at the harbourside to helping patients who don’t access regular dental care. To anyone considering working for Smile Together I’d say ‘do it’ – I feel valued and really enjoy my work.

Living in Cornwall is a blessing and outside of work I love to go on coastal walks and day trips to our lovely attractions. I also appreciate spending time with family, just relaxing and enjoying each other’s company.

Fun facts

Cats or dogs?

Surfing or sunbathing?

Manual or electric toothbrush?

Cornish cider or gin?

Mini or VW Campervan?

Peace and quiet or loud and lively?

Flossing or interdental brushing?

Full on roast or salad?

Football or rugby?

Rock or classical?

Under cover or outside in the elements?




Gin (ideally gin tasting at the Cider Farm)!

VW Campervan

Peace and quiet

Interdental brushing

Full on roast

Rugby (can’t possible say anything else as my partner is South African)!


Under cover

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