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News

‘Old Gold’ Graduate Story: Whitney Lee (2014)

Whitney Lee (2014) finished school with her heart set on the dental industry. After completing a Human Biology course at the University of Adelaide, she went on to undergraduate study in a Bachelor of Oral Health, and more recently completed her postgraduate Certificate in Oral Health Science.

Now, Whitney works as an Extended Care Oral Health Therapist at SA Dental.

“I am dually qualified as a dental hygienist and a dental therapist with no age restrictions to my scope,” explains Whitney.

She shares “every day is different, and that’s why I love my job. It varies from; general dental check-ups, to preventive services, to scale and cleans to emergency extractions for the paediatric population. I do fillings, child stainless steel crowns and most importantly, educate wherever I can. I not only educate my patients, and their parents but also have found myself as a clinical tutor/educator for The University of Adelaide, teaching in the Bachelor of Oral Health and The Bachelor of Dental Surgery paediatric programs.”

After she completed her undergraduate degree, Whitney worked in a contracted role until she was offered a permanent government position in Wallaroo on the Yorke Peninsula, which began in January 2020.

“I packed my life up and moved to help those in a small rural town. 2020 was the year my partner and I were meant to travel the world.  Due to COVID, I was stuck in what I soon found to be my favourite place on earth. The year didn’t go as planned, but I felt a sense of belonging in a beautiful place surrounded by those who had no problem introducing me to the country’s ways of life,” she explains.

Whitney eventually moved back to Adelaide and since then has built a house, become an aunty and has continued to enjoy spending her free time with her friends and family.

“After working in a small rural community, my passion has since become working towards reducing rural health inequalities. I now work in both Wallaroo and Port Augusta as a visiting clinician to assist wherever I can, and for those who truly need it,” she says.

Whitney shares how she was interested in the arts in high school, especially in her senior years.

“Ironically, I never would’ve imagined landing into a healthcare role. However, I look back now and see, dentistry is the perfect combination of both, the arts, science, and lots of talking (I’m sure my teachers remember this being a strength of mine).”

“Nazareth facilitated my exploration of university courses through career counselling, where I found a course which sparked my interest and allowed me to excitedly enter the next phase of life.”

Whitney quotes Nazareth staff always saying to her, “don’t let your ATAR define you” which she believes couldn’t be truer.

The advice that she would give the current Nazareth students is:“if you have a passion, work hard, seek advice, and don’t stop until you achieve your dream. It may take time, but perseverance builds character, and I believe a kind character can achieve great things. Surround yourself with a good network and have fun along the way, don’t take things too seriously, if you don’t laugh, you’ll cry.”

What’s next for Whitney is to continue developing her career in the dental field and continue in either clinical education or further her career by studying and completing the Bachelor of Dental Surgery.

“For now, I’ll keep helping those in both metro and rural locations and hopefully plan an overseas holiday for next year.”

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