Portadown girl Gemma who works in Lurgan surgery is all smiles after scooping top dental award at Dublin's Croke Park

A young dental nurse from Portadown has scooped a top award in the Irish Dentistry Awards.

Gemma Forsythe, a mother of one, won the Best Team Member at the recent awards ceremony in Dublin’s Croke Park.

Now in its ninth year, the ceremony has fully established itself as a prestigious occasion. It recognises and rewards clinical excellence throughout Ireland.

A former pupil of Edenderry Primary School, Killicomaine Junior High and Craigavon Senior High, Gemma studied the NEBDN National Diploma in Dental Nursing at Southern Regional College (Portadown).

Gemma works in Magee Dental Care in Lurgan and, as well as being a dental nurse, she is a qualified Oral Health Educator.

This allows her to visit schools and other facilities to teach others the importance of a maintaining a healthy mouth. She is also Infection Prevention Control Lead at the practice.

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Portadown girl Gemma Forsythe, who works at Magee Dental Care in Lurgan, has scooped a top dental award at plush ceremony in Dublin's Croke Park.

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Gemma said: “Dentistry is a profession I kind of ‘fell into’. I knew that I wanted to be in a career which allows me to care for others and when a job was advertised for a Student Dental Nurse came up, I took it and have loved it ever since.

“I have been dental nursing since December 2017, qualifying as a dental nurse in January 2020.

“I find dental nursing very rewarding as you get to support patients through something that can be a scary experience for some. No two days are the same and you also get to meet a wide range of people from different backgrounds.”

The awards recognise those who are passionate about the dental profession, those who have outstanding achievements within their field and those who go above and beyond the regular duty of their role.

Gemma said, “I was ecstatic to accept this award at the prestigious ceremony which I attended with the Magee Dental Care team, and it means so much to me to have even been shortlisted, never mind win the award.

“I currently have my own monthly column within Dentistry Online called Nursing Matters - about all things dental nursing, so I would hope the success of this would continue.

“I also have recently started public speaking at dentistry shows which I thoroughly enjoy so I would love to do more of that,” said the young dental nurse.

“I recently presented at the North of England Dentistry Show in Manchester and the Irish Dentistry Show in Dublin on ways we can better support our additional care needs patients in general practice.

“I would hope that I could inspire others to take up dental nursing as a career and I would love to eventually teach dental nursing in the future,” said Gemma.

Gemma recently wrote an article entitled Nursing Matters – how to support patients living with Alzheimer’s sharing how to support patients living with Alzheimer’s and everything you need to consider ahead of their appointment. As September is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, Gemma felt it important to focus on how patients with Alzheimer’s and other dementias can best be supported.