Inspirational Jane from Ballynahinch is all smiles after winning young dentist of the year title
A SUPER-fit lifeboat volunteer from Ballynahinch has been named Scotland’s young dentist of the year. Jane Patterson picked up the accolade just weeks before her 30th birthday after judges recognised her outstanding credentials, especially with children and nervous patients.
Since graduating in 2012 she has worked at the Clyde Munro Torwood practice in Inverness. She was honoured at the glittering Scottish Dental Awards held in Glasgow.
Delighted Jane said: “I couldn’t believe it when my name was read out. There’s a team of around 20 of us at the practice and they are all brilliant.”
While Jane collected the Young Clinician of The Year award, one of the most sought-after accolades in Scottish dentistry, her practice was also shortlisted for the dental team of the year award, narrowly missing out on the night.
Clyde Munro operates an expanding network of family dentists across Scotland, with each practice devoted to providing the best dental care, while reflecting the needs and character of its community. It acquired the Inverness practice in September 2018.
As well as working full time, Jane is also studying towards a diploma – and a later a master’s degree – in restorative dentistry. She also finds time to volunteer on the RNLI’s Kessock Lifeboat, an Atlantic 85 class boat. She is part of a 16-strong volunteer crew, supported by 10 onshore volunteers.
She added: “Clyde Munro has also been brilliant supporting me to be part of the lifeboat crew, making sure I have the time I need for all of our training or whenever we are called out for an incident.
“I grew up in a coastal community where we knew every member of the lifeboat crew and they were each seen as heroes. So, I feel privileged to be part of the Kessock crew and part of something that is so important in the local community.”
A major part of Jane’s success is her ability to reassure young children and other nervous patients. She says that half are affected by previous poor experiences elsewhere, while the other 50% simply have an irrational fear.
She said: “With kids I want to do anything I can to put them at ease so that in the future they will always see visiting the dentist as a positive experience. I will do whatever it takes, even if that means having a tea party on the floor to persuade a child to hop into the seat. And I’ve lost count of the number of treatments I’ve performed on teddies.”
Elsewhere, Jane has also become the go-to dentist in the Highlands for working with autistic children, after her name was shared repeatedly across Facebook groups set up by parents of children on the autism spectrum.
Having grown up in Ballynahinch, County Down, Northern Ireland, she says that her love of the Irish “craic”, has also helped her build a powerful rapport with patients, by chatting about their families, hobbies, interests and personal lives.
She added: “One of my best successes was a young bride-to-be who’d damaged her teeth in a car accident. She was already nervous about getting in the chair and the fact her big day was coming up made it even worse. It was round the time I was planning my own wedding, so I knew exactly how important wedding photos would be.
“It was challenging because she was so nervous. But we overcame that and also got a brilliant result on her teeth with a combination of really nice white fillings, a couple of crowns and a wee bit of Invisalign braces, to do a bit of straightening.
“Not only did she look absolutely beautiful for her wedding, but six months later she was back for her next check-up, hopped into the chair and was totally relaxed. That was so rewarding to see.”
Jane met her own husband, Martin Hier from Fortrose in the Black Isle, while undergoing punishing training at a Crossfit gym in Inverness. The couple both regularly compete in triathlons and Iron Man events.
Jane paid tribute to her employer for enabling her to win the award and said: “It has been wonderful working with Clyde Munro. I can’t thank the senior team enough for all the time and resources they have put into the practice since the takeover, allowing us to continue to provide the highest standards of patient care.”
Clyde Munro’s success at Torwood underlines its ambition in getting its teeth into an exciting business model and to add 16 new practices to its portfolio by August 2018, bringing the total to 37. The company’s goal is to be Scotland’s ‘local dentist’ and it has signalled its intention to continue acquiring more practices.