Home to picturesque beaches and stunning scenery, we were lucky enough to venture north to the Sunshine Coast and catch up with Maven Dental Buderim's superstar hygienist, Kirsten Middleton. Coming up on 15 years with the practice, Kirsten's energy and passion for patient care is infectious. Whilst the humble hygienist insists she doesn't like the spotlight, we got Kirsten 'In the Chair' to chat about being recognised for all her effort and why she loves being a hygienist.
What inspired you to become a hygienist?
I’ve always had a keen interest in dental from a young age. I worked for my own family dentist as a holiday job when I was at high school which sparked an interest. My mum worked at the University of Otago Dental School for about 25 years so I guess dental was in the family. After 4 years overseas living in London then France I returned to New Zealand where I completed my studies and continued my love of dentistry to this day!
What gets you excited to come to Maven Dental Buderim every day?
I find in my job that every day can be just a little bit different and I love that! I love that I can come to work and enjoy what I do. Different challenges, obstacles, successes and most of all we have a great team that creates a real family environment so we all look after and support each other. In turn these great people around me make me who I am. The day I started at the practice (14+ years ago now) I said the day I feel that I do not love what I am doing will be the day I leave so at this stage they may have to wheel me out!
You recently received a ‘You are a Maven’ award; how does it feel to be recognised for all you’re hard work at Maven Dental Buderim?
To be honest when the lovely Sarah rang with the news my first instinct was “Oh no what have I done!” So I was very surprised, and I guess a little bit stunned as I listened to the amazing words being spoken that my lovely practice manager had instigated.
I love what I do, and my reward is that I have made a difference to someone’s dental experience but really thrilled this gets recognised. I am only as a good a clinician as my team around me and they all deserve a reward.
How important is preventative dentistry and how do you help your patients understand the importance of prevention?
Prevention is such a big part of what we do, and a lot of patients do not always connect their overall health with their dental health and how important it is. It’s nice to be a bit more proactive and create a bit more of a unique experience. Most patients love the idea when you check their blood pressure or really talk to them about general health and connections with what’s going on in their mouth.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Best advice I was given - “To treat everyone as you would like to be treated”.
Not everyone is the same so we must remember in order to create an experience that the patients will want to tell their friends we must target their own specific needs and wants, we must listen!
We hear you love to cook, what’s your signature dish?
I have two young children and a husband that works away so cooking is my time to relax. I love to cook a good curry or something nice and fresh in our beautiful climate here on the Sunny Coast. Lots of garlic and chilli and experimenting with flavours.
What do you get up to away from Maven Dental Buderim?
With having a young family we are out and about at activities, but the last few years we have got up to Palm Cove (North of Cairns) for our family holiday. This is the one time of the year I stop, relax, and really enjoy a glass of Rose’ or two. The kids swim and we walk, might even read a book and just enjoy being together. Great place!
And last but not least, what makes you smile?
Funny you should ask me that, I asked the girls at work what makes me smile and their answer was “when you have a really nervous patient and you have got them through an appointment you always come out smiling and say I was a really good hygienist today and I made a difference.”
A love a good dress up! Like our recent 80’s theme for Dental Health Week. I am sure half of the patients didn’t recognise me but it got a good laugh, life can be a bit too serious sometimes.
Number one thing to smile about is my parents and family in New Zealand, my husband Darren, and of course my kids Ella and Jack. They have shaped the person I am as an adult and I am lucky and thankful to have them!
We are lucky that we are healthy and well, when you look around and see day to day struggles that people are faced with you have got to be thankful.
Are you due for a check-up and clean? Get in touch with Kirsten and the team at Maven Dental Buderim today!