This week 'In the Chair' we caught up with Maven Dental Lismore's adventurous hygienist, Wendy Steadman Jones. From growing up in Northern Wales to the gorgeous coastal town of Lennox Head, Wendy steps us through her career in the industry and what gets her excited about coming to work every morning.
You’ve lived in the Northern Rivers a number of years now, how are you finding the region?
My husband & I have made this area our home. It’s the jewel in Australia’s crown. The climate is perfect! A total contrast to the conditions experienced during my upbringing in mountainous North Wales. Byron Bay, Australia’s most easterly point is a nearby gem. It boasts a richness in cultural & musical festivals & I recently had a great experience as a volunteer at the Byron Writers festival. Amongst other bonuses of living in this region is its wealth of wild life, both on land & in the Pacific Ocean. I simply soak it all up.
From training at the Royal Air Force Halton (UK) to Maven Dental Lismore, where else has your career taken you?
To me, my career has been as spectacular & varied as the Sydney Harbour bridge, New Years Eve firework display. 13 years in the RAF awarded those who worked hard & played hard as well. I will spare you the details of ‘Bull night’ toilet cleaning exploits & group shenanigans.
Fate ordained that my first posting was with a dentist who fortunately for me was the President of the station Scuba diving club. Intense dive training ensued on my behalf & within 4 months I was on a dive expedition in Cyprus.
Many work memories flood my mind; Christmas gifts were exciting when I worked in a hospital environment with an Oral Surgeon. He just happened to be the brother of a famous fashion designer.
In another position I worked alongside a Periodontist. This whet my appetite for further study which resulted in my appointment as a Tutor Hygienist at the Institute of Dental Health & Training.
Moving on to civvi [civilian] street, I worked for the Scottish Highland Dental Health Board. What a contrast to military life! Clinically & work variety. I was based in the stunningly beautiful North of Scotland. I drove my mobile dental clinic besides Loch Ness (often after having used my credit card to de-ice the windscreen). At my destinations I provided treatment & dental health education in remote rural schools, aged care & mental health facilities. I often felt like a tourist as I soaked up the beauty of each community & journey.
Eventually, my travels landed me in Australia. Here, I have been employed in Private practice; Armidale the NSW university town, Inverell ‘the Sapphire city’ & now Lennox Head a water sports paradise.
What gets you excited about coming to work?
I love that I have been privileged to work in a such a rewarding profession. Including, volunteering in numerous dental promotion events, Dental Health Week & humanitarian dental projects in Nepal, Vietnam & next year Morocco.
Not everybody loves going to the dentist, how do you and the team at Maven Dental Lismore help patients feel comfortable when visiting?
A welcoming smile breaks all language & communication barriers. Plus, I aim to provide an exceptional experience during my hygiene session. To do this I employ a tip I was given...use my two ears & one mouth in those ratio’s.
You have over 35 years of experience in the industry, how has it changed and has anything stayed the same?
There has been innovation in the dental industry during the past few decades. So it’s rather like comparing the model T Ford with a Lamborghini. However, what hasn’t changed is that patients still need to be reassured and provided with gentle personalised treatment.
Do you have a motto you live by?
Hanging in a prominent place in my home is a framed Mark Twain quote. It can be said to influence many of my decisions...
“20 years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. EXPLORE, DREAM, DISCOVER!
What do you get up to away from the practice?
Family & friends are enormously important to me.
I’m a self-confessed outdoor sports junkie! It’s also my social network. This month I will be Outrigger racing in the Cook Islands & Aitutaki. Sitting in my usual position as “stroke”. Snow skiing, running, road & mountain bike riding keep me out of mischief. Pilates & Yoga keep the body maintenance up. Then there’s nutrition!
Plus I’m a Native Bee keeper & try to employ many Permaculture gardening principles.
Schedule your next clean and hygene appointement with Wendy and the team at Maven Dental Lismore