Roles: Dentist / practice owner with husband Ray / business manager
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Dr Dunne and her partner have a busy, profitable and lovely practice with very healthy and growing patient numbers, delivering comprehensive dental care with the assistance of a great team.
Dr Dunne works no more than 4 days per week, takes regular time out for holidays and courses and is looking forward to new business developments in the future. However, life in Dentistry has changed a great deal over Sarah Jane’s 20 years since she qualified in 1998:
Dr Dunne qualified from the Dublin Dental School in Trinity College Dublin. Having not been one of Trinity’s most impressive dental students she surprised the entire class, including herself by graduating with first class honours in all subjects.
After graduation she worked in the UK providing NHS and private dentistry in Camden and later in Putney. The three years in London were hugely beneficial in gaining experience, learning to work quickly and efficiently and realising the importance of excellent communication in being a good dentist. It also gave her a very strong indicator for what I did and did not want in the next stage of my dental career.
In 2001 Dr Dunne returned to Dublin with her partner, and a new baby and purchased an existing Private Practice in Dundrum Village in South County Dublin from a lovely retiring dentist, whose patients adored him.
He had kindly primed all of his lovely patients with the knowledge that ‘two whizz kids were taking over, just back from London’. They had a wonderful introduction to the practice and built the practice up from a single fulltime dentist, to two fulltime dentists and a hygienist within the first 2 years.
From there they added their lovely and long term associate Paul O’Donnell who remains with them today.
In about 2012, Dr Dunne faced a couple of large challenges – first a worsening back problem which was really interfering with her ability to deliver clinical dentistry, secondly a growing practice where there were increasing needs for financial control, a business manager, increasing compliance pressures, a marketing requirement and increasing time necessity for staff training and systems development.
Dr Dunne was hugely influenced by two sources – Michael Gerber’s business classic The E-myth, and the writings of Canadian dentist and dental coach Dr. Dave Robertson. Both writers extolled the virtues of clarity of vision for your business, and the importance of systems in developing a business that is reliable, profitable and that can work without you doing all of the day to day work.
This was a turning point for Dr Dunne and almost immediately she had a very clear vision for their practice and its development.
Having weighed up all of the pros and cons they decided on a fairly drastic restructure of the practice where Dr Dunne stepped into a completely non-clinical role focusing on the areas above, along with an extension and redevelopment of the practice to allow more treatment rooms for associate dentists and specialists.
Over the last 5 years they have developed the practice systems and team so that they can now happily take holidays and never have the phone ring or an email ping!