Bringing smiles to Gympie for 50 years

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Rodney Laycock, at work at Gympie Hospital as a Dental Technician

Gympie local and Senior Dental Technician, Rod Laycock, will farewell the Gympie Oral Health team in June after 50 years of service to Queensland Health.

Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service Chief Operating Officer Joanne Shaw congratulated Rod on his 50 years of service.

“Fifty years is an incredible achievement; I’m sure Rod has witnessed great advancements in dentistry since he started out in 1972,” she said.

Mr Laycock, who has born and schooled in Gympie, said he puts is long career down to good timing.

“The apprenticeship was advertised in the local paper soon after I finished school; it came up at the perfect time for me and I was lucky enough to be selected. 

Mr Laycock has seen much change in his job which involves making and repairing dentures and other dental devices.

“I was trained here on the job at Gympie Hospital by Mike Ganly and the theory work was done by correspondence through South Bank TAFE.

“They’d send about 30 workbooks each year and you’d have to do a written theory at the end of each paper and post the books back.”

After completing his Diploma in Dental Technology, Mr Laycock left Gympie to work in Mundubbera for a year and then Redcliffe for nearly ten years.

“In Gympie, there was only provision for one technician and an apprentice, so I had to leave,” he said.

Mr Laycock returned to Gympie in 1987 as Dental Technician and was appointed Senior Dental Technician the follow year.

“I was born in this hospital and my family has a long history here; my mother worked in Maternity and then started the Pathology Department as a collecting station in 1971 where my wife Sherryl also worked for 20 years. 

“Gympie is a small community, so I know a lot of the patients and it’s great to be able to help them.

“The best advice I was given by Mike Ganly was don’t drop your standards for anyone, don’t take short cuts and if it’s not good enough, do it again.

Mr Laycock said advancements in workplace health and safety with dust and fume extraction and infection control have been important for dental technicians.

“There was nothing like that in my first 20 years, but at the same time there was no air conditioning either, you’d work with open windows and had natural ventilation.

“Things like dental impressions being decontaminated before it comes to the lab—there was nothing like that.

Mr Laycock said materials have changed too.

“My 50 years have been working with acrylics which are easy to work with and a great improvement on the rubberised material called Vulcanite.

“I’m retiring before they have perfected digital dentures with 3D and milling so once again my timing has been perfect; I wouldn’t like to get involved with that at this age.

Looking back on his career, Mr Laycock said, “I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else, and if I had my time over again, I wouldn’t change anything.”

Mr Laycock said he is looking forward to retirement at home in Rainbow Beach.

“I have made some lifetime friends through work who I intend to keep in touch with.

“You know when it’s time to retire; now it’s time to go fishing, indulge my passion for cooking and of course making my Home Brew.”