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Constructive Cynicism for Practice Managers

When I started as a practice manager and walked into my first local practice managers group almost five years ago, I received a lot of sympathetic looks and comments. Why? Because I was a positive, non-cynical, enthusiastic manager.

I’d ask questions like… can you give me the telephone number for an available locum? Or… does the new QOF data come out before April each year? When they all stopped laughing, rolling their eyes and sympathising with me, they’d carry on with the meeting and I’d be left more than a little confused.

Five years on, I’m not confused anymore. Every day can be a frustration. Practice managers are actually a mixture of professions – they’re managers, counsellors, accountants, peacemakers, mechanics (yes I have done this!), welfare advisors and verbal punch bags. Because of this we tend to moan - a lot. I try very hard to minimise my whinging, but it’s inevitably grown over the years.

However, what I also try to do is bring some positivity into my job. During our practice manager circulation of moaning and complaining, I send a funny picture or quote to try to cheer up the growing frustrations… and it works. Humour and positivity help. It isn’t all doom and gloom - practice management can be a place of optimism too!

Here are my top five reasons to be cheerful at work:

  1. We receive lots and lots and lots of biscuits, coffee, cakes and cards. Compliments far outweigh the complaints. Something to remember!
  2. Our job is varied, it’s interesting, and it’s never dull. Yes it’s onerous at times but it’s also worthwhile and motivating.
  3. We save lives. GPs, nurses, health care workers - practice staff save lives. It’ll never make the headlines but we do. Every day.
  4. Staff support – in every place there’ll be one person who would like to stick your hand in a shredder, but for the most part practice staff are supportive, amazing and loyal.
  5. No weekend work – as yet!!

One final thought. This week I rang a patient to let her know she could stay on our list. She didn’t speak for a moment and then she cried. You’ve made my day, she said. You’ve made my day.

So the next time you’re staring in disbelief at an email that’s just landed telling you there’s yet another policy that must be implemented by 5pm yesterday, take a minute and remember – general practice is a proud place to be sitting, most of the time.

 

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Comments

Jess Yaxley Jess Yaxley 13/07/2016

This was me, a year ago last April when I started as a Practice Manager! You have summed up the role exactly.

Jess Yaxley 13/07/2016

This was me, a year ago last April when I started as a Practice Manager! You have summed up the role exactly.


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