The role of the dental nurse in general practice
Dental nurses are one of the most important groups within the dental team. They assist the dentist throughout the day and may act as advocates for the patient, as well as being an integral part of the dentist’s clinical regime. It would seem that the work of dental nurses is essential for a successful general practice. It seems somewhat curious that when asked about their employment as dental nurses these women admitted to experiencing dissatisfaction with work. Dissatisfaction was related to lack of control, being undervalued by the dentist and feeling stressed. However, what seemed to be central to the nurses’ perceptions was a feeling of being taken for granted. The above research findings help in understanding the dental nurses’ concerns about their work environment but do they provide reasons for their job dis- satisfaction? Specifically, what is it about being a dental nurse which leads to perceptions of low professional selfesteem, dissatisfaction and so forth? The pilot work presented here attempts to provide answers to these questions. It introduces and uses the qualitative research methodology of grounded theory to dis- cover possible reasons as to why dental nurses, essential dental health professionals, should experience feelings of job dissatisfaction and low professional self-esteem.