- Posted Wednesday April 5, 2017
In February we spoke to Charan Sarai about her work with First Practice Management, proudest moments as a trainer and plans for the future. This month we’ve had a chat with Helen Murray, Account Manager, to learn more about her past life as a practice manager and working at FPM.
What was your background before working at FPM Group?
I have worked in several roles in primary and secondary care since 1996, although my passion is general practice. Having worked in admin and then progressing to acting practice manager, I gained a real understanding of the pressures that primary care services face. Before FPM I worked as an Account Manager for EMIS across North East England, Yorkshire and Scotland.
What made you want to work for FPM?
Having been a practice manager with initially very little experience, I found FPM an invaluable resource to increase my knowledge and support my learning. I wanted to promote this to other practice managers - that there is help out there to support them with their day-to-day challenges, they are not alone.
What are some of the biggest impacts you can think of where FPM products or services have changed a practice for the better?
I actually have personal experience of this. In my previous role as acting practice manager, with limited experience and really having just worked my way up (also known as ‘being thrown in at the deep end’), the practice was due a ‘QOF visit’. At that point, I had no idea really what a policy was, or why one was even required! It was then that I discovered the practice didn’t really have any policies anyway and where they did, some of them were certainly were not being followed as they should have been.
I was lucky enough to be supported by other local managers and they advised me to subscribe to FPM. What a difference it made to me and how I worked in the practice. Not only could I access and adapt the policies, it gave me a great understanding of other areas that I didn’t know that I didn’t know! The practice passed the QOF visit with flying colours and we were awarded Team of the Year by the PCT for totally transforming the previously quite poor patient services and really giving the practice a second chance.
How do you think your experience as a former practice manager helps you work with practices to find the best service for them?
I think it gives reassurance that I understand what managers go through and can empathise that their job is not an easy one - the phrase ‘Jack of all trades’ comes to mind; it is an extremely diverse role. It helps me have conversations around certain topics and areas and helps me identify where support may be required, I can then advise accordingly on our products, although all of our products can help any practice, where they may struggle in certain areas or excel in all… that’s what we do best.
How have you seen general practice change since you first started at FPM?
I think there are always a lot of new initiatives that practices have to keep up to speed with and sometimes that can be exceptionally challenging when trying to also ‘do the day job’. Sometimes it may seem that you are only just getting used to doing something and then another change comes along. However change is never a bad thing and is how we progress; in medicine, practice management and generally in life. We need to embrace it, that’s what FPM is here for - to ensure that practices have one place to find all the information they need to support them through any changes.
What’s been your proudest moment as a salesperson for FPM so far?
Definitely my proudest moment is being part of the team to win the GP Awards’ Education Provider of the Year 2016. I feel that Thornfields has grown significantly over the last few years and as a salesperson, yes I have been a part of that, but it’s really great that Thornfields has a fantastic reputation as a primary care-focused training provider and we have a great team of trainers across the UK.
Finally, what are your plans for the future, personal and with the FPM Group?
I hope to continue working as part of the Sales and wider FPM team. There are many exciting things to come in terms of even more new associate Thornfields trainers, newly developed workshops and some really exciting new stuff coming to FPM members. My plans include working closely with CCGs and federations, as well as practice managers; to advise on our products and match them closely with their needs. My personal goals are to be happy, stay positive and be mindful…
Find out more about award-winning primary care trainers Thornfields’ range of courses to see how they could benefit your practice. Plus, don’t forget to take a look at the new time-saving features that are coming soon for all FPM members!