Since the age of nine, Neil Mitchell knew he wanted to be a dentist. In 1995, he graduated from Newcastle Dental School. After having three practices and two dental laboratories in Britain, he and his family relocated to Dubai to seek new opportunities. Now working as a clinical manager of Drs Nicolas & Asp’s new Al Manzil practice in Downtown Dubai, the general dental practitioner, 41, is dedicated to delivering high standards of care.
With the children on school holidays, I wake up a little later than my usual 5.30am start. The luxury of that extra time cannot be understated. My working day can vary a lot depending on my schedule. But whatever that is, I like to get up early and take Billson, our beagle, out for his morning walk.
I head for the relatively short trip from home in Mirdif to work. Unlike in Britain where I worked a pretty standard week, in Dubai I have a flexible schedule. I work as much as I did in Britain but the hours are spread differently. As a result, I feel like I have much more time with the family. This creates a good work-life balance.
I arrive at the clinic and have a brief meeting with Elie, the practice manager. Elie oversees the daily running of non-clinical matters and manages the reception desk. As the clinic is new and growing, we are still ironing out the odd problem here and there, fine tuning them and ensuring the IT systems we use are running smoothly.
8am - 1pm
Today my clinical session is in the morning. They can vary a lot. I do some morning sessions, as well as afternoon and evening clinics. Some days I am in the clinic for the whole day until 8pm. This provides me flexibility regarding appointment times for patients. I believe in patient-centred care. I listen to what patients want and try to meet their expectations or even exceed them. I always want a patient to be fully involved in his or her care and insist that there are no silly questions. I manage everything – from a patient who just wants a cleaning, to complex crown and bridge work, or smile design. At Nicolas & Asp, I have a great team of specialists whom I can call on to help deliver the very best care to my patients.
I arrive at the football centre in Al Quoz to meet Joss, my middle child, who is at a summer camp at “It’s Just Football”. During this time I can also catch up with emails and telephone calls, and deal with any business I need to – all thanks to modern smartphones. I don’t know where I would be without mine. They can be a curse as well as a blessing. Louise, my wife, would happily bury mine at times, I’m sure – especially when I am tweeting about football when I really should be doing something else.
Joss and I head back to Mirdif for our family meal. We love to eat as a family. It gives Louise and I time to catch up and chat, time to interact with the children – Robyn, Joss, and India – and time together as a family. This is something that I think does get lost a little in Britain at times.
In the evenings, we like to try and do something together as a family, be that watching a movie, going out for a meal or popping out to a mall. Sometimes we go to Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club, to Al Mamzar Beach, Mushrif Park or even just a walk to the local park to let the kids run wild for an hour.
A little later than usual, everyone else is settled in bed and I can start to wind my day down the way it began by taking Billson out again. By the time I am home, I am usually properly relaxed and can take advantage of having the television to myself for a little while. Every day I count my blessings with my beautiful family, and I’m delighted we accepted the opportunity Dr Nicolas gave us in coming to Dubai. Every day it feels more like home.