Nash Padayachee

What was your dream career when you were younger?

Working in mission control at NASA.


What subjects did you study at school?

I studied English, Maths, Music, Chemistry, Physics and Biology.


Who or what has been your biggest inspiration?

I have always wanted to help people which made me go down a medical route, I did work experience at a doctors and a dentists and my dentist was a brilliant man who loved his job and took care in everything that he did. I loved the fact that dentistry could be an art and a science!


How have the subjects you studied at school helped you in your career?

The early stages of dental school are all about how physiology (how the body works) anatomy and pharmacology (how medicines work) so biology and chemistry are very important to help you though these subjects. I did Latin when I was at school for my standard grades. A lot of medical terminology are derived from Latin and Greek so having basic understanding of this also helped me though dental school.


Please briefly describe your STEM journey since leaving school.

Since leaving school, I didn’t take a gap year and went straight to university in Glasgow. There I spent 5 years in university studying dentistry. The course was a mixture of lectures and a lot of practical to give you the experience of treating realistic models and real patients whilst being supervised. I learnt a lot of different skills- communication, professionalism, ethics, doing things in a methodical manner.

After university I left to work in a dental practice, being responsible for my own patients. I also then worked in the dental hospital in Glasgow and in the community, working with patients who had enhanced needs and required more specialised care. One of the hardest jobs was working as a junior in a hospital doing Oral and Maxillofacial surgery, treating cancers and trauma and infections.The most difficult thing about that job was the long hours, working nights, and juggling lots of jobs at the same time


What skills do you utilise most in your career? 

Manual dexterity is probably the most obvious as having to do fillings on teeth needs a good amount of precision. Most importantly I think is communication. Being able to discuss with patients what treatment is needed and educate them on keeping their mouth healthy is incredibly important.


What advice would you give to any young people considering a STEM career? 

STEM careers are unique and incredibly rewarding. There is such a varied career pathway in route that you take so try to get as much exposure to certain jobs as early as possible. Whether it is interning/ shadowing or volunteering, this allows you to see what a job is really like.