Objectives: To investigate if women compared with men dentists experience deferential treatment from their female nurses, what workplace strategies women use to manage chair-side assistance and to examine if these were country related. Method: A convenience sample of 22 male and female dentists of different ages working in general dental practice in The Netherlands and Northern Ireland participated. The sample framework was determined by saturation of the concepts. All informants were interviewed in a clinical setting. The data was subjected to rigorous line by line coding in order to identify clusters of codes, themes and concepts. Results: Three themes were identified. These were: experiencing deferential nursing assistance; adopting 'friendly-like' working strategies and adopting business-like, hierarchical working strategies. Gender differences were shown for each of the themes. Women rather than men made friends with their nurses and attempted to reduce status inequalities. This led to workplace strategy inconsistencies. This suggested that it was not the type of strategy adopted but the inconsistency with which it was implemented that caused difficulties between younger women dentists and their nurses. Conclusions: Training dental students and young graduates how to interact appropriately in the clinical situation and to appreciate the nurses' work status will assist in improving working relationships.