​Your role as a dental nurse requires you to have an eye for detail and a sixth sense for the nuances of people’s moods – colleagues as well as patients.

In any dental healthcare setting, your professional antennae are forever switched on – picking up on anything from patient satisfaction and possible safeguarding concerns to the need to re-order stock or service clinical equipment. The ability to multi-task is a big advantage in this profession, with the minutiae of dentistry dominating the dental nurse’s day.

Additionally, hours can be long, patient interactions challenging and the extracurricular expectations of ECPD learning, with a focus on a personal development plan that stretches your abilities and builds on your skillset, a tough call.

So, when you get a chance to switch off and shed a little work-related stress, it can be a delight. However, it is often when our guard is down that mistakes are made – and the 'easy options' have appeal.

It is therefore important to stay tuned in to anything relating to your role, even long after you've left the workplace.

For example, how much do you understand the expectations upon you to have the correct indemnity in place and what this should cover?

All dental registrants, including dental nurses, have equal professional responsibilities. They must make appropriate indemnity or insurance arrangements. Those arrangements are the responsibility of the individual dental nurse and are required to not only protect patients but also themselves and their professional position.GDC guidance Standards for the Dental Team, para 1.8, states: ‘You must have appropriate arrangements in place for patients to seek compensation if they suffer harm.’

The GDC guidance on indemnity and insurance also confirms the legal requirement for all registrants to have this in place and that proof of it is required upon their initial registration with the GDC and at each annual registration renewal.

However, the GDC does not require a registered dental nurse to have her/his own individual indemnity or insurance policy, and states that it could be provided by an employer, if the minimum standard, in order to provide a patient with compensation when required is met.

In the March issue, Fiona Ellwood, patron of the Society of Dental Nurses (SBDN) considers the thorny issue of indemnity and insurance policies and urges dental nurses to look closer before handing over their hard-earned cash.

As she comments: ‘Doing what you have always done, or following the crowd, may be a big mistake. The company and policy may not be right for you on so many fronts so please take the time to read the small print.’

The Society of British Dental Nurses Society encourages registrants to have their own policy, whether the employer provides it or not – but you can read her thoughts on this in the article. As she notes: ‘Professional indemnity/insurance is about the patient and not you, so the extra pound in the pocket could be costly.’