First Practice Management
- Posted Wednesday February 6, 2019
We are now a full month into 2019 and for those of you who are still keeping up with your New Year’s resolutions, I salute you!
However, a resolution doesn’t have to be a sacrifice - you could aim to learn something new or fine-tune your existing professional expertise. With that in mind, here are some key professional skills that are going to be big in primary care for 2019 and beyond.
With things in primary care set to become more intense as we get to grips with the objectives laid out in the new NHS Long-Term Plan, personal resilience will become more important than ever. As we all know, the ability to deal with difficulties and recover quickly is a vital skill in general practice.
This is a subject we’ve already spoken about in great detail, and it’s an important part of NHS England’s 10 High Impact Actions.
In an earlier article we provided five resilience boosting tips, focusing on when to take a breather and taking time to appreciate the things we do well. When we share and celebrate our successes it elevates everyone, improves morale and builds a reserve of positivity that the whole team can revisit.
This topic caught a lot more of the limelight last year with the introduction of those four lovely letters – GDPR. Again we wrote A LOT about this, including producing an essential guide to GDPR in the form of a short five-minute video. We got to grips with GDPR last year, now we have to make sure we stay compliant - never the most fun activity, but one that is absolutely crucial.
In effect, compliance starts at home. You should always be protective of your own personal and sensitive information and look out for any threats to your security.
It’s exactly the same in the workplace – while the information being dealt with might not be ours, it’s just as much our responsibility. Furthermore, if a patient is the victim of a data breach, the question of who is responsible, and therefore liable, is not necessarily cut and dry - depending on the context, you could be held accountable. Compliance has always been a key trend and will continue to be so into 2019 and beyond.
The big question here is, what make a great team? There’s no single formula or one-size-fits-all approach; it depends on your management style, team size and communication skills, plus ensuring the whole team understand - and are working towards - the goals of your practice.
There are outside forces to address as well though – working with fewer resources, the need to add to the skill mix with new positions, or perhaps working in new models of care.
It’s all about finding out what works for your practice and having the knowledge and understanding to put your plans into action. A strong team is essential to run a busy and successful practice, helping to keep things together when times are hard.
The classics never go out of style, even though we are sometimes guilty of overlooking them. Communication is a factor that is applicable to so many areas - communication with staff, communication with patients, communication with partners…
Don’t neglect the need for communication with yourself, either - you can’t pour from an empty cup. If you are ever feeling overworked, always make sure you speak up.
Whether it’s promoting quality within your practice or improving relationships between staff and patients, there’s always a good reason to improve your communication skills. For 2019, make it your aim to look at the different strands of communication - and never forget to maintain those high levels.
Why is this one always the CV ‘go-to’? Well, it’s not until you encounter disorganisation that you realise its true significance and importance. However tough it may seem, we can all work towards getting things done as efficiently and effectively as possible.
Lean working is a great example of this. It’s basically about doing the right things, at the right place, at the right time – all the while minimising wasted effort and remaining open to change.
Good organisational skills are the crux of a good GP practice and they are learnable skills. If you have a member of staff who is struggling, there are many techniques you can introduce them to that can instil strong organisational skills or time management.
If you want to address one of the trends mentioned above or even just fine-tune your existing skills, check out the Thornfields Course List. Thornfields is an award-winning training provider offering relevant, interactive primary care training courses to GP practice managers and staff.