Kate: You are a born and bred local. Tell us about your connection to the Coffs Coast …
Like a lot of Coffs Coast kids, I grew up knowing this place was great, but I think sometimes it’s not until you go away that you realise how good it really is. In my case, I have had five generations who have lived in the region, and that gives me a real sense of connection.
I am a big family person, and I am lucky to have my grandmothers and a lot of family still here. My family and friends are quite passionate about the region and what it has to offer, and I think it has well and truly rubbed off on us. I don’t think a week goes by that I don’t pinch myself about how lucky we are to be able to live here. Not everyone has that opportunity, or wants to live where they grew up, but I just can’t imagine wanting to be anywhere else. Lucky for me, my husband (Dr Sam Rosehill) feels exactly the same.
Sam: It’s always nice to interview new business owners. Tell us what inspired you to embark on your new business venture, Ethical Dental?
It’s normal for people as they grow and progress in their careers to develop a deep understanding of their professional values, and of what makes you excited to jump out of bed in the morning. It can be hard to fit into a mould you don’t create for yourself, so building a place where Kate and I can practice what we preach was essential. I’m sure just about everyone who has been on the journey of business ownership understands the inspiration that comes from being in control of your own destiny. We’re excited to embark on our journey with Ethical Dental.
Kate: What are you and Sam hoping to achieve with Ethical Dental, and what can patients come to expect from you?
It’s a bit of a funny name, “Ethical Dental”, but when we sat down and thought about what we care about in our profession and what we want to constantly strive for, this is it. Sam and I came equal first in Ethics at university, so it’s a bit of a nod to our past and what we share, but it’s also a grounding concept that we wanted to keep at the centre of everything we do. Whether it be to improve the environmental sustainability of our industry, or to work out ways to better explain things to patients to personalise their care. It’s just about keeping this core principle in mind in an increasingly corporatised world.
This is the strong legacy that the prior owners of the clinic, Dr John and Theresa Nevell have set. They were my family dentists growing up here, and I continue to look up to the way they treat their patients with such care and concern. That’s what patients can expect of us and what we expect of each other.
Sam: Technology must play a super important role in your business. What trends are you seeing in the dental industry?
It’s common to hear our patients say, “dentistry sure has changed!” – and there is no doubt that is true. Improvements in diagnostics, painless anaesthesia, digital treatment planning, 3D modelling of orthodontic and cosmetic outcomes, and even the common use of 3D printing isn’t just theoretically possible, it’s a reality in Coffs Harbour.
But while technology can help us provide efficient and quality service, nothing can replace good old-fashioned service.
Sam and Kate: You both have a real passion for dentistry and are involved in a range of projects outside of your workplace. Can you share some of these with us?
We’re a little bit hyperactive, so we tend to always be keeping busy with dental projects. This started with the Dental Graduate Handbook we wrote together, which is now provided to each graduating dentist in Australia each year. We do some podcasting together for the National Dental Association, but we also enjoy some individual projects.
Sam: I think a big part of the future of the surgical sciences, including dentistry, is in 3D printing and digital simulation technologies, so I love tinkering with these in the workshop and presenting on these sorts of topics.
Kate: I have been fortunate to spend a day each week focusing on digital dental education for colleagues through my role with the Australian Dental Association. The best part of this has been having an insight into cutting edge research and meeting some very inspiring people. I am excited about some more local Allied Health projects in the coming year.
Kate: You also have a practice in Dorrigo; tell us how this came about?
We work one day each, per fortnight in Dorrigo. My mum’s side of the family originate from there and it has always been a pretty special place for me, with a lot of family Christmas trips spent there.
The Dorrigo community had a new medical centre built recently offering a range of services, but the town didn’t have a regular dentist. Some of the Dorrigo residents find it hard to get to Coffs due to their health or transport challenges, so they have been really supportive of having a dentist visiting up there regularly. It is also fantastic for us to be working with the doctors in the centre in a true interdisciplinary sense. This sort of team approach is likely to be the future of health, especially in smaller communities, and we’re pleased to be a part of the dedicated team there.
Sam/Kate: What motivates you about small business ownership?
The idea of a business culture might seem a bit airy fairy to some, but we’re quite motivated by creating a culture that emphasises the positive contribution we can make to our community as healthcare providers. We also really value the chance to shape our surroundings, systems and work life in our ideal way.
Sam/Kate: What does work life balance look like for you both?
Hmmm, it’s a little skewed at this stage! There is no doubt that it takes solid commitment to be able to go down this road, particularly in the early times when getting the systems working right. However, one of the main attractions to the clinic was the fantastic balance our predecessors Dr John and Theresa Nevell have been able to strike with their dental work, outside passions and family life. The first step for us has been spending some time in the garden getting the vegie patch cranking and the next is getting back into playing music … Watch this space!
Thanks Sam and Kate.