A Week in the Life of a DCT: OMFS at Torbay Hospital with Emma Wotherspoon

So here is another entry for this year's DCT competition by Emma Wotherspoon...
Emma, DCT2 in OMFS at Torbay Hospital
Like many other young dentists, I have no idea where I’m heading with my career. I graduated in 2018 from Newcastle University and completed DFT and DCT1 in York. COVID-19 threw a spanner in the works for all of us, and really emphasised how important a work-life balance is to me. I was eager to explore a new part of the country and DCT2 provided a great opportunity for this. Luckily I got somewhere that offered exactly what I was hoping for!


Today I was carrying the bleep during the day time – occasionally this is needed and we’re all a team so any extra on-call is shared fairly! The morning is spent on the ward round, followed by emergency clinic with acute patients with fractures or abscesses. In the afternoon I had no on-call jobs, so assisted with surgical extractions and biopsies. You’re encouraged to be independent, but there is always a senior available if you need assistance. I handover to my colleague at 8pm who will be on-call from home overnight.


The Head and Neck Multidisciplinary team clinic runs on Tuesdays. This involves new cancer diagnoses, treatment planning and follow-ups. As a DCT it is valuable to see all parts of the patient journey and hear their experiences. We also often undertake pre-radiotherapy dental assessments which keeps your skills in dentistry fresh.


The start of 24 hours on-call with ward round and clinic. For the other DCTs, this is an admin and teaching day. We provide weekly medical student teaching which is a great experience, plus we have teaching at DCT level. Pre-COVID lock-down, there was an afternoon IV sedation session, but for now we’re using the time to complete projects.


I handover and attend the ward round. As I was well rested, I spent the morning on our outpatient department assisting skin cancer excisions, then went home.


This is my day off before working the weekend. I spent some time on the beach – never would have appreciated this so much in a pre-COVID world!


48 hours on-call begin. Handover at 8.30am and ward round. This weekend my 2nd and Consultant on-call were based in Derriford Hospital, Plymouth so we discussed the current inpatients via telephone and agreed a plan. There were referrals spread throughout the day for lacerations, abscesses and a dislocated jaw.


I reviewed our inpatient in the morning and had a few A&E referrals. The unfortunate ‘highlight’ was a child with severe dog bites to their face. The child coped incredibly well and the whole team acted quickly to ensure their pain was managed. This was repaired in theatre and thankfully had a great result. At times, it can feel daunting to know your senior support it based one hour away, but it’s a brilliant way to develop your own independence and ensure you gather all the information needed before calling for assistance.

I found moving down to Devon exciting, and cannot recommend it highly enough – purely for quality of life! The benefit of being non-resident is if there’s nothing happening, you can be at home (or the beach!). Every week is different, and hospital experience is valuable no matter where your career takes you, for both confidence and experience.


To ENTER YOUR SUBMISSION: email your submission via the contact page on the blog - DEADLINE February 28th 2021

Do you have any questions about DCT or the competition ? Let me know in the comments below. 

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