COVID-19 diaries with Rachel Botrugno: Life as a FD during lock down

Another COVID-19 diary now with Rachel Botrugno, a foundation dentist based in Bristol

Rachel, a Foundation Dentist based in Bristol


It has been months now since I've picked up a dental drill. My feeling towards this is similar to when I finished on clinic in final year with months to wait before starting clinical dentistry in my foundation year. I didn't foresee this feeling returning during my FD year...

During this time, some things continue as they would have done... like sitting my SJT (completed in a test centre as my internet connection can't be trusted). Good luck to everyone awaiting to hear their fate regarding DCT posts. 

I've been going into my practice to assist with telephone triaging our patients. This is difficult to compare to the volumes of experience we were gaining at the start of the year, but I feel this has helped me in some areas of my dentistry. I feel my ability to take a succinct history from a patient has greatly improved, as well as effectively communicating to patients that antibiotics are not indicated for their pulpitis. Another skill is familiarisation of interactions and contraindications of analgesics and antibiotics, particularly ibuprofen. On those busy Monday mornings my time management and communication with the rest of the team also grew.

A fellow FD and I also created a dental prevention video. This was aimed at benefiting adults and children around Bristol associated with a local social enterprise known 'Jumpsuit', some of whom we worked with during our community project. This was great fun to produce and involved videos on how to use a manual vs. electric toothbrush as well as how to use disclosing tablets, all done from the comfort of our own homes.

Fortunately, our TPD has been very proactive in booking speakers and maintaining regular communication with our scheme via our 'Zoom study days', the highlight of these is catching up with the rest of the scheme, often sharing our baking successes.

During lock down, I have spent more time doing yoga. I have been using an app called 'Yoga l Down Dog', which has a free trial period available. I'd recommend for any keen yogis out there but also for anyone who wants to start, I highly recommend it!

Like many, I have been reflecting on how fortunate I am compared to others, in terms of my good health and my continued income. I have tried to consider how I could help other members of the community, now and into the future. I've helped in small ways by providing leftover samples of toothpaste from our FD community project to a local community hub. I have also signed up to 'Reenage' which is a charity that gets volunteers in touch for phone calls with lonely and isolated older people in the community. I have really enjoyed speaking to the patients over the phone in practice and for some it has really come across how they enjoy a chat as well as receiving management for the dental problem.

Good luck to any of the FDs returning to practice over the next few weeks. Stay safe!


Do you want to write a COVID-19 diary? Please get in touch! Whether you're a dental student, foundation dentist, dental core trainee, associate, dental nurse, therapist I WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!



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