Australasian Dental Practice

Monday, 22 July, 2024

01 Sep 2004 | Australasian Dental Practice

news > Spectrum > Page 48

Teamwork towards India

By Dr Jim Poyner

Since my return from the Australian-Tibetan Dental Project in October 2002, several people said that they would love to join a team with me if I was ever going again. My wife Jill is a dentist in our practice and she was very keen to come after hearing my tall tales (but true).

Kelly Hogan, one of our dental assistants, and our hygienist Tracy Stuart also put their hands up to be counted, so we pretty much had a full team from our own practice!

Tracy said she had often thought of volunteering for an overseas aid project and would be happy to participate as a chairside assistant. Fortunately, she has over 15 years experience as a hygienist working both for the army and also in private practice.

Kelly started working chairside for us straight from school. She has recently taken on the role of receptionist/office manager and her enthusiasm and experience will be a great asset to the team.

The cost of participating in the project is borne personally by each participant. A fair estimate would be about $3,000 per person and that includes all travel, accommodation and food, so we decided to do some in house fundraising.

The team decided that the four of us would work some Saturdays, a time that we are not normally open. None of us are paid for that time and all the fees generated go towards the cost of the India trip.

It has been a great team bonding exercise (maybe we should sell the idea to NSW Rugby League!). We all have to chip in and help as there are fewer staff than we would normally have during the week. When we tell the patients what we are doing, they are quite excited and some even ask if they can come again on a Saturday especially so that they can feel as if they have contributed to the project. I have some photos and a newspaper report of my last trip to work with the Tibetan refugees displayed on the waiting room notice board. It gives the patients a clear impression that we are not just "takers", and it educates them to the efforts that many dentists put into the wider community.

Our physical part in India takes place over the first three weeks of October. So far, we have got a lot of fun out of it and a really positive buzz in the practice. It is going to be a heap of fun romping around the Himalayan foothills as a practice team and we know that we can complete the work there efficiently and happily.

I would commend to any practice the concept of introducing a team "charity" project. We have certainly found our way of raising the money to be both fun and team building.

After I returned from my last trip to India, I wrote the following words, which I am confident that we will all be happy to rewrite again:

"Finally, I had a great time, have some great photos, learnt a lot about dentistry, the local culture and working as a team. I feel privileged to have been accepted as a member of the team, and feel that it is a worthwhile project which is doing good in the Tibetan community."

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