Meet Julie Papaxanthou, Operations Manager, Dental Clinic at Monash Health.

What is your role at Monash Health and what does it entail?

As an Operations Manager I ensure the smooth and efficient operation of the dental clinics whilse ensuring that we meet the expectations of our patients and staff. My role entails a lot of multitasking, planning, organising, staffing, directing and motivating others. I work closely with my team to ensure that we are proactive in meeting the demands of the service while ensuring that we are patient centred and provide our patients with an exceptional quality of care. One of my biggest roles is being a mentor to my team when they need guidance in managing their own teams and daily operations.

What has your journey been like at Monash Health?

I joined Monash Health in 2001 as a Dental Assistant and undertook various administrative tasks including rostering. I took a break to do one of the hardest and most rewarding jobs; motherhood. I returned to Monash Health in 2011, initially as Private Practice Manager of the Monash Private Dental Clinic. I was given the opportunity to complete a Diploma of Business and Certificate IV in Health Administration in 2015, and in 2016 I became the Operations Manager of the Dental Clinic.

I’ve had exposure to all aspects of dental operations and have been fortunate to participate in numerous learning opportunities that have led to managing various work projects. My journey has been a rollercoaster but I enjoy the challenges and am proud of what I have achieved alongside the amazing team that I work with.

What are your biggest achievements since working at Monash Health?

One of my biggest achievements was having a Zero Wait list. We were able to utilise additional funding to remove all patients from our wait list and have partnered with private providers in local areas to assist with treating our patients. Although short lived, it was very rewarding to see that all the effort I put into achieving this enabled our patients to receive the best care. Managing the wait lists is difficult, however I embrace any opportunities for additional funding.

I was instrumental in the implementation of World Oral Health Day when we commenced participating in this event in 2015. Developing the tools and implementation of this event although daunting at the time was a great achievement. This is the fifth year we are celebrating World Oral Health Day and it is great to see that an idea that was had in the office has become a permanent program in the dental department.

Being awarded Dental Clinic of the Year in 2017 was definitely a highlight. It further reinforced what an amazing team we are and motivates you to continue to innovatively direct our service to ensure that access is available to people in the community that really need it.

Implementing the Dental Laboratory at our Thomas Street site is something that I have been involved in from the planning stage all the way through integrating the laboratory into our dental service. The lab has allowed us to produce denture work in house instead of being sent to an external lab. This has been extremely valuable to our patients as they are receiving exceptional quality dentures.

What project or initiative is your team currently working on?

We are preparing to celebrate World Oral Health Day. It is celebrated every year on 20 March to promote worldwide awareness of the issues around oral health and the importance of looking after oral hygiene to everyone old and young. We use this day to work closely with the community to increase their knowledge of their own dental health.

This year we will use this opportunity to test our new model of care in addressing denture demand. We will also hold screenings at Monash Health Pregnancy Clinics and will be attending English schools to educate and screen newly arrived migrant children. The dental waiting rooms will be a host to information booths to educate patients regarding their oral health.

What is the most rewarding part of your role?

Being part of this team is important to me. I enjoy coaching and developing my staff and feel rewarded when they achieve success. When we receive patient compliments it makes us feel valued.  When our service receives awards and international recognition, I feel proud to be part of the service. As an Operations Manager I have the opportunity to resolve a lot of issues for other people before the situation worsens. In my role I get to implement a lot of new ideas and make them a reality.  I use my position to advocate for our services internally at Monash Health and externally at different forums.

If you weren’t working in your current role what would you be doing?

A lawyer or maybe a psychologist. I would want to help families and others less fortunate. The secret to happiness is helping others.

What is something that your team doesn’t know about you?

I am an open book. So there isn’t anything that my team doesn’t know about me. I am not fond of dogs but have not shared this as I know there are a lot of dog lovers!