Feature Friday: Dr Mark O'Hara BDS (Lond), MJDF RCS (Eng), FHEA MClinDent (Prosthodontics) PG Cert (Clin Educ)
Managing Partner & Clinical Lead Dental Surgeon (and best Principal Dentist)
I am very excited to introduce Dr Mark O’Hara as Diamond Dental Staff’s 2019 Recognition Awards winner in our category for ‘Best Principal Dentist’
I first met Dr O’Hara very briefly and in passing while I was a Trainee Dental Nurse at King's College Hospital. Our paths crossed many years later, when I moved to Brighton to manage a practice in West Sussex and we bumped into each other at a regional CPD event as well as at the NEBDN exams as we are both Examiners.
It has been so nice keeping in touch over the years, especially when launching Diamond Dental Staff in February 2018, as I had the opportunity to work with Dr O’Hara and his team when providing locum, training and recruitment services for The Causeway & Blackhorse Way Dental Practices. With that, it was great to receive a nomination to consider Mark for this category, as I have seen first hand how passionate he is towards his practice, patients, and team.
A very well deserved win, and here’s why…
Dr O’Hara qualified in 2009 from The Guy’s, King’s and St Thomas’s Dental Institute in London which has just this week been ranked as the Number 1 Dental University in the world by the QS World University Rankings. This achievement emphasises and celebrates the faculty’s passion in delivering an inclusive educational syllabus that is executed by world class and diverse tutors, of which, Dr O’Hara is one of them!
During Dr O’Hara’s training, he was awarded with the Maurice Wohl General Dental Practice prize for clinical excellence in general practice care. Having completed his postgraduate training year at the Causeway Dental Practice he remained at the practice and had completed his membership of the Faculty of General Dental Practice in 2011.
In 2013 Mark was awarded the title of ‘Young Dentist of the Year’ for the South East Region in recognition of his commitment to high standards and the profession. He was shortlisted and made a finalist the following year for the same award.
Mark has furthered his postgraduate training by undertaking the prestigious double masters degree (MClinDent) in Prosthodontic Dentistry at King’s College London, as well as undertaking a course in Implant placement.
Outside of the practice Mark is a clinical teacher and examiner at the Guy’s, King’s and St Thomas’s Dental Institute in London, teaching undergraduate dental students in the field Primary Dental Care. He is also an elected member on the executive board of the West Sussex Local Dental Committee.
It is clear why Dr O’Hara is such a massive inspiration to many generations of dental students that he teaches, as well as his team, colleagues and of course, the Diamond Dental Staff Community and dental world as a whole.
Here’s a little bit more about Dr O’Hara in his own words…
1) What made you start a career in Dentistry?
When I was younger I was always very interested in science and design technology. It was suggested to me by my teachers that I might like to consider a career in dentistry and after some work experience as well as speaking to family friends I agreed it looked like the job for me. I think I blindly followed the advice the adults gave me, I mean who really knows at 16 what they want to do for the rest of their life! It wasn’t until the 2nd year of university when I started to see patients that I realised I really did enjoy this career pathway though and I have never looked back since, well most days anyway.
2) What inspires you to continue to up-skill as a clinician?
I’ve always had a passion for learning and teaching, I think it's something that’s rubbed off on me from an early age. I love to learn more and push myself, especially if someone says I can't. It has led me to become a senior teacher at King's College London and I have undertaken a number of post graduate masters and diplomas along the way. I think it's important to keep developing yourself as we work in a fast evolving industry and its important to adapt and change to keep on top of your game and offering the best to our patients. The day we think we know it all, is the day we need to retire.
3) Who has been a positive influence or personal inspiration in your career?
I don’t think there has ever been one individual alone. I have been fortunate to be surrounded by so many amazing people and opportunities that have always driven me to do better and keep going, even when things get tough and you want to quit dentistry. At the moment I see a lot of my peers from my year moving on to the next level of their career and starting to be known as the go to for courses and that’s so amazing to see and helps me think right, what’s next for me and my team to shine. I have also taken a lot of inspiration from those outside of dentistry, not only my parents work ethics but also those instilled to me by my time working in John Lewis and learning about business management. I love to read books such as those by Richard Branson as well as the dragons den stars, to see how they learnt and evolved in their careers with many transferable skills to our own industry.
4) What are your 3 top tips to other Principal Dentists on Management or Leadership?
- Quality comes first
Hire the best, don’t settle for 2nd best and train your team in the standards you want, leading by example
- Listen to your team
They work the front line, they have the answers most of the time. (Even when you don’t like what they say)
- Have fun but keep it professional
The workplace has to be a great place to work, it's stressful enough as it is in dentistry and we don’t stay for the money! If your team are happy it reflects in their work and in their patient care.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank Dr O’Hara for sharing the above answers with Diamond Dental Staff and hope that this offers some inspiration and motivation to continue to develop and up-skill in your careers.
Diamond Dental Staff LTD