BADN to promote Menopause Policy at Dentistry Show London
Among the speakers for the upcoming Dentistry Show London will be Jacqui Elsden, President of the British Association of Dental Nurses (BADN).
The BADN has had a memorable year, launching its well-received Menopause Policy in March. The Policy outlines the challenges faced by menopausal women in the workplace and ways in which employers can support them, and has gained support from various professional organisations already.
“As an Association, we knew we needed to put something together and develop a resource that would make it easier for practices. The dental nurse workforce is still predominantly female; previous generations didn’t generally discuss their experiences with menopause, not with their family and certainly not at work.
“That’s why the BADN created an advice sheet and a specimen Policy that can be taken to meetings, to raise menopause as a topic. In hospital settings, there are more guidelines in place, such as the NHS core values, but in private and NHS high-street dental practices, there isn’t always something like that. If the team is small, there could be problems if someone feels unable to come in, but is worried about the added pressure this will put on their colleagues, for example. From a personal point of view, I know what it’s like to try to function at work after endless sleepless nights, or to completely lose my thread when I’m talking. That’s why it is so crucial to highlight the issues around menopause, to help everyone understand the impact it can have on physical and emotional wellbeing.”
Commenting on her session at Dentistry Show London, Jacqui adds:
“In my presentation, I will cover the problem we have with recruitment and retention, and how by offering menopause support, practices may be able to keep their team together. For women who are struggling, and don’t think they are being heard, they could be thinking that at this stage in their lives, they don’t need the stress that comes with staying in their current role. Dealing with the symptoms of menopause, in combination with other issues around pay and conditions, it is not surprising that people have walked and left the industry. During Covid, when we were wearing enhanced PPE chairside, the BADN took so many calls from our members who were so hot they felt simply unable to cope. Another point is how people from different cultures can find it even harder to talk about menopause. There are so many things to think about here, which is why practices must be aware of this topic.
“I’ll be looking at how ignoring the issue, and brushing it under the carpet, could be catastrophic for employers, particularly if someone ends up dismissed for poor performance and doesn’t feel the impact of the menopause had been investigated properly. This is a significant mental health issue of course – during the menopause, women are often depressed and suffer mood swings; not feeling supported at work will make them feel even more undermined as a person. I’ll also talk about how workplaces could find solutions to adapt – offering split shifts, for example.
“There is a duty to educate everyone, including younger people, about the menopause, so that no one has to suffer at work. At the BADN stand, there will be copies of our sample policy available to take away, which will complement the presentation.
“Dentistry Show London 2022 is definitely worth attending, with many opportunities for dental nurses to gain valuable CPD, information on the latest products and equipment and to network with colleagues and of course the BADN. Make sure you come by our stand and say hello!”