Roberta Demicoli
Navigate Up
Sign In

Roberta Demicoli

RDem2.jpg

What is your name and what is your
official designation within the Ministry for Health?
My name is Roberta Demicoli and I am an Allied Health Practitioner (Dental Hygienist).

Where do you work and what do your duties entail?
I am currently providing professional dental hygiene services at Mater Dei Hospital. As an operator and oral health educator in the dental team, I perform dental hygiene procedures in a clinical setting to treat, control and prevent oral diseases especially periodontal diseases in order to aid patients to attain and maintain optimum oral health. Such procedures include scaling and debridement of teeth, i.e., the removal of calculus deposits and extrinsic staining from tooth surfaces with or without local anesthesia, as well as the application of

prophylactic materials, and the topical applications of medicaments, solutions, varnishes, gels and fissure sealants to the teeth. As an oral health educator I provide the latest updated information with regards to oral health to individuals during clinical sessions and oncology ward visits, to groups in a hospital setting , namely to expectant mothers during ante-natal sessions, and to the wider community by organizing and participating in a School Oral Health Integration program.

How long have you been working with the Public Service?
I have been working in the public service for the past 32 years.

Are there any specific qualifications required for your post?
To be eligible to apply for the post of dental hygienist one must be in possession of a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Dental Hygiene from a recognized University, as well as being registered with the Council for the Professions Complementary to Medicine. For the past 6 years, the University of Malta has been offering a BSc course in Dental Hygiene which spans over 3 years having a total of 180 ECTS credits. This course aims to provide students with the theoretical and scientific foundations needed for the profession while presenting each student with professional supervision to become a skillful clinical practitioner.

What attracted you to take up your profession and to the health service?
Since I was a child, I always wanted to help people in the best way possible and as I grew older choosing a healthcare profession seemed to really fit well with my outlook on life. I must admit that back then I was not sure which healthcare profession  suited me most, but looking back I feel very proud and honored to have chosen Dental Hygiene, as my profession gives me the unique opportunity to positively impact the oral and overall health of every person I meet. Needless to say working within the health service brings with it a multitude of benefits and the prospect of career and professional progression is very appealing to me.

What motivates you most?
Working in a hospital setting can be rather daunting as it is hectic and filled with stressors, things which I may have personally overlooked when I made my career choice back in the day. But one has to draw on motivation and my strongest motivation in my line of work is that as a dental hygienist I know that every time I treat a patient or deliver an oral health educational talk to groups of people, I am making a positive impact on the world. I feel like I am making a difference by changing peoples’ attitudes and behavior towards their dental health, giving me the opportunity to help them achieve a better quality of life.

What about the teamwork between different professions/roles involved in relation to patient care?
The multidisciplinary approach used by the Dental Hygiene profession seeks to provide a comprehensive and holistic dental health care service to our patients, leading to consistent long- term results. Any medical profession may be involved in these multidisciplinary teams. A direct work relationship with dental consultants, dentists, dental nurses and dental assistants occurs on a daily basis, and occasionally we liaise with medical consultants and nurses especially within the Oncology and ENT departments, speech and occupational therapists within a geriatric setting, and also midwives during ante-natal talks. Each profession works jointly with other professionals, surpassing the traditional boundaries, in order to provide the best possible care and treatment to our patients.

Can you give us one challenge and one success story?
Challenge:
One of the most challenging aspects in pursuing a career in the healthcare sector is most definitely the management of patients with difficult and challenging behavior such as ADHD, autism, anxiety, depression and aggression. Dealing with these patients can be emotionally and mentally draining resulting in burnout and fatigue over the years. In my opinion the best way to avoid this is to acknowledge the role we play when interacting with such patient, we can either exacerbate or calm a situation. Consequently self-reflection and empathy will surely help us come a long way with our patients.


Success:
In all my years of experience I can safely say that every time I manage to positively impact a person’s health by inspiring an attitude and behavioral change towards their oral health is very much rewarding and a success in itself.

What advice would you give to young students considering taking up this profession?
I would definitely encourage students to pursue a career in dental hygiene. Poor oral hygiene can lead to serious health issues like cardiovascular disease, pregnancy complications, etc. As such, knowing that you can have a direct impact on someone’s health apart from making them feel better about themselves and live a healthier life is very rewarding.

What are the benefits of working with the public service?
Certainly, working within the public service brings numerous benefits. In my opinion the family-friendly measures offered to public service employees are a great way to help workers strike a balance between their professional and personal life. Job stability and flexibility together with a very competitive salary and attractive allowances are also important factors. Employees are given the opportunity to develop their skills and knowledge through Continuous Professional Development schemes. Moreover, multidisciplinary teamwork within the public service widens prospects for professional progression.