When Nelson Bayer graduates this year with a Bachelor of Dentistry and Oral Health, it will be the culmination of a hard fought and long path to success.

After years of determination to succeed in his chosen field, Nelson says he never wavered from his dream which began when he was just eight.

“My dentist at the time was a real legend and I remember thinking how it must be amazing to work on people’s teeth and restore confidence in people when they didn’t feel good about their mouth!

“I decided there and then that was what I wanted to do with my life and so I got as much work experience as I could through my school.”

But the Gold Coast student’s career path was not as straightforward as he had hoped.

“Unfortunately my grades were not good enough to get into dentistry so I got into the Bachelor of Dental Technology instead, which then led into the Bachelor of Oral Health Therapy.”

Still thwarted in his chosen career

Nelson graduated from the program in 2011, but was still thwarted in his chosen career when he realised that his GPA was not up to scratch in order to undertake the Bachelor of Dentistry and Oral Health.

Undaunted, he began work as an oral health therapist, undertaking basic fillings, extractions and hygiene work with young people. In addition, he undertook a year of a Bachelor of Business Studies in order to improve his GPA, which he was successful in doing.

“The great thing about this period of my life, was that as well as gaining valuable work experience in basic dentistry, I was also gaining some great business experience which will definitely hold me in good stead for any potential future business I may own,” he says.

Looking back on his career path, Nelson does not have any regrets.

“Apart from telling my eight year old self that I should have worked a lot harder, I am really excited about where I am now. I stuck with it all the way and never lost sight of what I love about dentistry which is that it is a fantastic integration of science and people.

“I love the technology and having the ability to heal people’s oral health, as well as the artistic flair that is needed to make and fit a truly perfect filling.

“Griffith has also been really good to me in terms of the high standard of clinical education; I have had some great mentors during my time here.”

Nelson has started his own clinic, Valley Dental.