Having read these blogs, it would be expected of all to have a good idea of not only about GP surgery management but also management principles in a small company or even in a large corporate world.
Any new comer, not necessarily a fresh school leaver or graduate, even experienced people in senior management, who might not have had GP surgery experience, should find the book immensely useful. It introduces the topics in a simple way and lists the areas to know, even before hand, which would be useful at the interview.
Training in surgeries and in PCT are given for new and existing staff but please do not depend on these alone for your personal development. Surgeries are very busy and training may not be structured; training is mostly by standing ‘next to Nelly’ now called ‘shadowing’. For experienced people this type of ‘shadowing’ may still be very useful. For a new person, with little or no experience, the training had to be interactive with a trainer, who is able to listen and answer the many queries the new staff may have.
One must always remember that internal motivation is crucial and more effective than external e.g. like having a mentor. One has to read and train oneself, if one wants to better oneself in a job; and being ambitious has to be matched by putting in a lot of effort.
Do not rely on external training alone – sometimes they may not be available or those training might not be given in time, when the staffs need it most. So always read this FREE book and use the references to find details and make copious notes. There are no substitutes for self-help and self-motivation.
As a non-clinical staff, do not ever get involved in areas other than learning and observing. Never take sides or be critical or judgmental or ridicule colleagues or clinical staff or patients.
Patients are the main source of surgery income and never forget that one’s salary depends on it. Just learn and do the job and strive to do it well.
Never get involved with whistle blowing as the route is too horrendous and one is bound to lose in the end. If one does not like the environment, then plan to leave but always find an escape route first and not resign to show off to others that one is very principled. Do not forget that graveyards are full of ‘principled’ people.
Good behaviour is the only saviour in retaining and growing in the job.
Remember always that ‘Talent is knowledge, Tact is skill; Talent knows what to do but Tact knows how to do it’. Knowledge and talent alone is not enough for survival; ability to have the tact and skill to deal with people without antagonising is a very great asset.
Also, be aware that ‘ it is the Attitude and not the Aptitude that determines one’s Altitude‘. It is not the number of times you fall down but if the times you get up is one more than the times you fall down, then you have the right attitude to survive.
GP surgeries are wonderful places to work for and PCTs and others are there to help. No kudos for PCTs to punish or discredit a surgery as they get discredited too! PCTs have a crucial role to play and always respect and appreciate their roles. Criticising is easy but appreciating requires a lot of understanding and skill.
Whatever level you join and whichever place you decide to work, always have the right attitude. Never be ‘an accumulator of bad memories’ but be positive and keep smiling even when facing adversity.
Wherever you intend starting work, always imagine this objective – as it is going to be the same, as working in a surgery:
- An A4 3inch thick good folder (not box file)
- 10 coloured separator sheets (for the 10 sections in the sidebar).
- 1 to 31 separator sheets (for the 31 sections).
- How to write in simple English – most sentences should have no more than 20 words, typically 15 as maximum.
- A simple book of synonyms and antonyms.
Print out each section in the blogs and put it in the folder.
Replace my CV with your current CV. Always update your CV every 6 months.
As one gains experience in the surgery, one should make notes and either adds, amends or removes the original ones in various sections, so that the details are always current.
When making notes, avoid jargons or long words and sentences. Medical terms are unavoidable but in brackets put it in words that a non-clinical person would understand.
Notice and study patients and others coming to the surgery and any experience gained in interacting with them, please note it down. Do not mention names, race or colour or any judgmental attributes but note it as an experience with, say, case 1 or 2.
Read a lot of books especially on Psychology, particularly, Social Psychology and Communications; working in a surgery is working for a ‘people industry’ and both types of books would be most useful.
Over 1-2 year period one would have enough details to write their own ‘blogs’ or ‘book’.
You are your own motivator. Doing the job creditably is very good but always look beyond. You do not have to wait till a ripe old age, like me, to publish blogs.
All of you when joining a GP surgery should be aware it is a healthcare industry. Surgeries will have limited facilities and there will be a lot of restraints on staff and facilities.
Caretaker for the surgery may only come for 2 hours in the morning to open the surgery and 2 hours in the evening for closing. Cleaners would be coming for 4 hours max during lunch break so that the GPs and Nurses consultation rooms would be free for cleaning.
People come to the surgery mostly because they are unwell and may not be in the best of their temperaments. Children may run around eating food and sometimes may cause damage to sofas, mark the walls etc. But the testing times come when they empty their bladders or ‘throw up’.
Faced with these, cleaning of these becomes imminent due to people moving around and health & safety issues. It is totally dependent on the receptionists and the PMgr to deal with the issue.
PMgr has to take his jacket off, roll up the sleeves, put on a dirty overall, with a pan and brush and mop and bucket, the key tools to have, should deal with those issues.
Do not regard any job in the surgery as menial or below one’s dignity and staff must treat surgery as a ‘home’ within a special workplace. At times, attention to WCs may also be needed. PMgr may be admin head but he is also the ‘caretaker’ for the surgery and should fix the problems immediately.
There are several issues that all non-clinical staff should be aware of. GP surgery is purely a clinical environment and importance would always be given to people with clinical qualifications. Non-clinical staffs are there just to help the clinical staff. That focus should never be lost. Despite all the HR rules, procedures and practices, when non-clinical staffs have a serious issue with a clinical staff, he or she is the one, who is bound to lose.
Never try to go on a moral crusade while working in a GP surgery. One is there to learn the procedures and help the GPs, Nurses, HCAs and other clinical staff. It is not a place to wage wars with GPs and raise issues pertaining to ‘whistleblowing’. It would always be a losing battle.
Also, it is not a place for ‘fashion attire’ or ‘heavy make-ups’ or ‘nail decorations’. Proper dress code, simple manners and the main decoration needed is ‘a pleasant smile’ when dealing with the patients.
All religions in the world preach the same things – leading a righteous life following simple principles. The head, be it a single person or multitude of people, have all decreed in very simple terms ‘what to do and what not to do’.
Just like the Ten Commandments, the language is simple – ‘Thou shall not steal’ – nothing could be a simpler expression than that. All religious leaders have used simple understandable and unambiguous terms. There were no hidden meanings, no innuendoes, and no need for elaborate explanations of what they have said to all of us to follow.
All the leaders of various religions have given exemptions / amnesty to the following people, from not required to follow the strict religious codes of behaviour.
All children and young people;
All old people;
All pregnant women;
All sick people; and
All those who, attend and take care of the sick people or pregnant women, old people, children and young people.
I remember being taught when I was 10 years old, in Calcutta, India, a wonderful poem:
Abou Ben Adam
by Leigh Hunt
Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase!)
Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,
And saw, within the moonlight in his room,
Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom,
An angel writing in a book of gold:—
Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold,
And to the presence in the room he said,
“What writest thou?”—The vision raised its head,
And with a look made of all sweet accord,
Answered, “The names of those who love the Lord.”
“And is mine one?” said Abou. “Nay, not so,”
Replied the angel. Abou spoke more low,
But cheerly still; and said, “I pray thee, then,
Write me as one that loves his fellow men.”
The angel wrote, and vanished. The next night
It came again with a great wakening light,
And showed the names whom love of God had blest,
And lo! Ben Adhem’s name led all the rest.
There may be times when service to the community would be placed at a higher level than following the religious strictures to the detriment of overlooking serving the community.
The above should apply to all those who work in GP surgeries, in Hospitals, in Out-patients centre and various healthcare clinics.
I do remember our tutor for training in an Insurance industry telling all of us a story on the last day before we all left, fortified with all the knowledge he imparted to us on how to succeed (I never made it in that industry!).
It was about a ‘bird in the hand‘ different to the conventional one.
A very famous and reputed sage was in his cabin on top of a hill and vast numbers of people were queuing to see and talk to him. Usually it took about 4 hours or so of queuing to be in front of him. The sage always had his eyes closed all the time even while talking to others.
Two boys were seeing this crowd every day for some days. One was a perpetual doubter and a troublemaker (let us call him ‘John’). His friend, Jack, was like most of us – afraid to go against his close friend John.
John said the sage was a phony and he would prove it in no time. Jack said, yes you may be right; however, all these people couldn’t be wrong to assume the sage was real and famous. John said people were like sheep and follow each other and large crowds do not prove anything. Jack said that you might be right but he was not happy.
John caught a small bird, given birth to a few minutes before, in a nest from the branch of a tree and he held it in his palm covering his fingers but not crushing the bird. Jack said ‘what are you doing?’ John said; let us see the sage and I will ask him whether he could guess what I had in my right hand? Jack said ‘What if he says it was a bird’. John said might be the sage might have his eyes deceptively open, without us noticing. But I will ask him whether the bird was alive or dead? Jack said what would you do? John said very simple – if he says it is dead, I would open my fingers and show the live bird. If he says it is alive, I will tighten my fingers and crush it to death and show him. Jack said that it may be clever but fooling him is not what he liked and was very apprehensive.
Still they waited in the queue and John was in front of the sage who had his eyes closed and asked ‘what would you like young man?’
John asked whether the sage could say what he had in his right hand.
Sage replied with closed eyes, ‘it must be a young bird given birth to 4-5 hours ago‘.
Jack was stunned and looked at John who was thinking of his glory to come.
John asked ‘whether the bird was alive or dead‘?
The sage then opened his eyes and said ‘young man the bird is in your hand. It is all up to you; you can make it live or crush it to death. I can do nothing about it’.
Our tutor then said – our career and success is all entirely dependent on us and not on the tutor. We all have the bird in our hands – at various stages in our lives – studies, exams, jobs, marriage etc. it is all up to us to demonstrate and succeed.
I feel like that tutor, all your careers depend on you as individuals, not on others. I hope you make a thumping success of your careers with these blogs beside you!
I do not expect these blogs to be like ‘ next to sliced bread‘ for a career in this industry but if it helps even 10 people I would consider my effort, over the last few years to produce