It's not very common for someone to stay at the same workplace for over 50 years, but our very own Lumino Temuka practice manager has just celebrated 52 years at the practice!
Sally Woodhead was only 16 years old when she decided to join the practice as a dental assistant for Dr G B Hill Dentist in Temuka’s King St in 1970. Now practice manager, the 68-year-old left Temuka High School a little sooner than she had planned to take up the position.
“I had been thinking of becoming a nurse but the position became available and I thought it would also be a good career choice, so left school at 16 and a-half to take up the position”.
Sally said she was thrown into the deep end, at a young age, working as both receptionist and dental assistant and running two surgeries for a very busy dentist, Dr Gordon Hill.
The practice later expanded, taking on associate dentists, a hygienist and several dental assistants after the creation of a new building in 1977. The practice was then sold to Dr Joe van Jaarsveld who sold it to Lumino in 2009.
It's fair to say Sally has witnessed quite a lot of change at the central Temuka practice in her 52 years there.
“When I started I wore a short white smock and had pigtails and we used to stand up to operate. I used to mix the amalgam filling material by hand in a mortar and pestle.”
Sally has enjoyed getting to meet so many great people during her time at the practice and says a lot of the patients have become long-time friends.
“We live in a world where things change so frequently and some of the patients tell me that they are happy to see a familiar face when they come in, but I guess that has to end at some point,” she said.
“Retirement is not quite on the horizon yet. I have to be honest It does not seem like over 50 years. Time flies when you are enjoying what you do.”
“I love who I work with and love who I live within our surrounding community, so it has been an honour to serve them over these years,” she said.