It was 35 years ago today and my life changed.

This day in 1981 was a Thursday. I had completed an SHO post at Withington and wanted a change from oral surgery after 32 months in 3 contrasting hospitals. Back in my parents’ home in Cambridgeshire I picked up the BDJ and rang the number of the closest practice that was advertising for an associate.

“Could I come for an interview the next day?” Looking smart in a three piece suit, I drove my green TR7 thirty miles up the A1 to Bretton in Peterborough for inspection. The practice was modern, the principals young and we seemed to get along OK. They took me for lunch at a local golf club and we agreed that I would start a week later. My meticulous cv stayed in my pocket, my referees were not troubled.

Whilst I was waiting to meet the partners I sat in the practice office with the practice manager, a stern lady called Muriel who had moved, with her family, to the expanding city from her native Belfast to escape the troubles. I was aware that several nurses came to the office, they were apparently “looking for pencils or pens” but in fact were casting their eyes over the new candidate. Only one of them spoke to me, her name was Susan Henderson. She was straightforward and looked me in the eye when she asked me sensible questions. At that time she was a trainee nurse with one of the partners and had a deserved reputation for taking no nonsense from dentists.

When I did start work there our paths crossed regularly, it was a bit of a shoe box with 7 surgeries on 3 levels in converted houses and flats, and there was a communal common room. We worked together particularly during the intense GA sessions and I found her to be easy to work with as she had a great work ethic, knew what her role was and did her best to be good at her job.

Two years later I moved to another practice and soon afterwards she left to train to be a dental hygienist at Guys Hospital, on completion of her training we again worked together. Eventually we acknowledged that our feelings for each other went beyond the purely professional and I persuaded her to join me in my new ventures in Gloucestershire.

We celebrate 24 years of marriage this year and stillĀ  work together productively.

I am so, so pleased that I went for that interview – thank you Susan.

Published by Alun Rees

Dental Business Coach. Analyst. Troubleshooter. Consultant. Writer. Presenter. Broadcaster.

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