Vivian Frimpong, KCH Dental Nurse and Founder of Oral Africa Care
Following on from Diamond Dental Staff's 2019 Recognition Awards, it is an honour to feature our winner for our 'Best Dental Nurse' category! We first met Vivian as a Newly Qualified Dental Nurse when visiting Kings College Hospital to share our experience and advice on the transition from a hospital setting to a practice setting. We had received some great feedback from Vivian's tutors, who had shared with us what Vivian's passion and focus was outside of her dental nurse training which had immediately gained our respect and admiration.
In our initial conversation with Vivian, her modesty had held her back from sharing with us what projects she was working on, as she did not want to be the centre of attention and draw any attention away from her class mates during our visit.
Vivian is the Founder of Oral Africa Care, a charity that Vivian has successfully led to raise funds and donations to enable her to provide Oral Health Education and cleaning aids to rural villages in Africa.
It's worth noting that Vivian founded 'Oral Africa Care' in November 2017, whilst still training as a Dental Nurse, working full time and raising a family. (An absolute superstar!) We were delighted to have received an anonymous nomination for Vivian to be considered for our 'Best Dental Nurse' category and we are proud to feature her as a winner of Diamond Dental Staff's first ever, 2019 Recognition Awards.
We would like to thank Vivian for taking the time to answer our questions and for allowing Diamond Dental Staff to share her journey with our followers and community members.
What Made you want to become a Dental Nurse?
I became a Dental Nurse as I have always had a passion in Dentistry. I had been working in the NHS service for nearly 15 years and I knew that I wanted to progress towards some form of Nursing but I wasn’t keen on becoming a General Nurse. My daughter had been a patient of the Dental department at Kings College Hospital for many years, and I knew then I wanted to apply for the Trainee Dental Nursing course. After giving birth to my youngest child, I thought it was the right time and right decision to make. I enjoyed the Dental Nursing training and had confirmed my passion in dentistry.
What made you decide to start your own charity? Where did you start, what challenges did you face and how did you overcome them?
Charity is something I have been doing for years without noticing it that I enjoyed giving back. I would always go to local charity shops to donate clothes and give donations for Cancer research. Whilst completing my dental nurse training, I thought I need to give back to Africa with this new skill I was developing combined with my passion in promoting Oral Health Education.
I woke up early hours of the morning and on 15th November 2017, I had said to myself "I have to visit schools and orphanages in Africa and teach them the correct way of brushing their teeth" and provide education leaflets, toothbrushes etc. I started in Ghana as it is my parents birth country and 'Oral Africa Care' has grown from there.
I faced challenges on different radio stations when people had questioned why I would bring toothpaste containing fluoride (which is seen as poison to some parts of Africa). I had to educate on the benefits that fluoride has on oral health and introduce it slowly, whilst being sensitive to their beliefs. I started buying toothpaste in Africa to prevent any confusion or conflict.
What are your plans for 2020?
My only plan is to start my Oral Health Education course in May 2020 and complete it successfully.
What are your top 3 tips to those wanting to start a career in Dentistry?
1) Always to Focus
2) Make sure communication skills are used with people.
3) Complete some volunteering work at your local Dentist Practice for skills and experience.
If you would like to follow Vivian and keep up to date with her progress with Oral Africa Care as well as follow her on her Dental Career, you can find out more information on the charity by following her facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/pg/oralaffricacare
Please join us in congratulating Vivian for winning our 'Best Dental Nurse' Category. We wish her all the best of luck with her Oral Health Education Certificate and will look forward to celebrating future achievements with her.
Written by Emma Anastasi
Dental Nurse & Managing Director of Diamond Dental Staff