- Posted Wednesday April 10, 2013
It’s Friday lunchtime in the staffroom. The rep’s left a selection of goodies from M&S in exchange for 15 minutes with the doctors. The mood is relaxed and good humoured - there are enough cakes to go round twice. The conversation meanders through last night’s Embarrassing Bodies, whose turn it is to read the practice copy of Fifty Shades of Grey and whether or not the weather will finally warm up after such a long winter. Then Dr K tells a dirty joke – and immediately whirls round and points straight at me.
‘Don’t you dare put that in your latest book, Practice Manager! That’s an order!’
I’m currently half way through writing my second novel with my co-author Elaine Atkins (our pseudonym is Mirren Jones). Its working title is ‘Never Do Harm’ and it features two doctors – one a GP and the other a hospital consultant. They may adhere to the Hippocratic Oath in their professional lives but in private? Well, that’s a different story.
When our first novel ‘Eight of Cups’ was reviewed by Cambridge academic Dr Simon Jenner, he commented on the informationally rich language. In other words – we obviously knew what we talking about. That wasn't too difficult, as the book followed for forty years, the lives of six girls who met at University in the 1970s. We’d been there ourselves and had much to draw on.
We hope to provide a similarly rich contextual background to our latest book. I've been an auxiliary nurse, a health service researcher, a primary care facilitator and now a practice manager. Elaine has been a senior health service manager, an organisational consultant, and an academic. We've already published two academic books on Facilitation in primary care. So we've plenty of relevant experiences to inspire and inform our writing.
And they keep coming.
Mr J approached the reception desk, shaking his head. He’s just been in with Dr C for an emergency appointment.
‘You know what?’ he complained. ‘The only place you get any sympathy around here, is between sh** and syphilis in the dictionary!’
I've got a wee black book and Mr J’s in it now. Between chasing QOF points, writing up significant events, sweeping snow away from the entrance ramp and checking the fridge temperature in the kitchen, I’m collecting anecdotes about practice life. I've already written a chapter about a practice meeting – there aren't enough chairs to go round, one of the GP's is writing prescriptions, another makes an excuse that he just has to go out on a visit, and the key topic of conversation is what type of coffee everyone prefers. Does it sound familiar? I’d been there often before.
If you have any amusing stories to share, all anonymised of course, please reply to my blog. I’ll send a free signed copy of ‘Eight of Cups’ to the one which makes my colleagues in the staffroom laugh the most.
Here’s one for starters.
Mr D was examined by the Practice Nurse. He had a swollen testicle. ‘You’ll probably need to be referred to a consultant,’ she said. ‘Best if you make an appointment with the doctor to get the ball rolling.’
As someone said – you couldn't make it up.