There’s one thing I forgot to do before becoming a practice manager. It was rather remiss of me. Naive even.
I did remember to come into the job with HR experience, project management and governance knowledge. I even brushed up with a health and safety course, some safeguarding training and CPR.
What I forgot to complete before becoming a practice manager was the four-year, professional, person-centred counselling qualification which is an absolute necessity and perhaps would have enabled me to deal with some of the following problems with more ease and less of an inclination to put my hand in the paper shredder at the end of each day.
Maybe I’d have dealt better with the healthcare assistant who cried for 40 minutes because her new bathroom was a slightly different shade of ivory than she’d expected. “It’s just a bathroom; there are more important things…” didn’t seem to console her.
Perhaps I’d have demonstrated more empathy towards the GP who was still feeling ‘down’ having fallen off a dining chair while singing ‘Who Wants to Live Forever’ at the Christmas do. “Get over it” didn’t seem to help much.
When the secretary wept because she’d discovered her booking to go and see ‘Take That’ had actually been for ‘Take Fat’ (an overweight tribute act who couldn’t sing), if I’d have been a counsellor perhaps she wouldn’t have stormed off to the toilet when I suggested that at least she may have more chance of dating one of those guys.
During an appraisal with the practice nurse, maybe if I’d had more knowledge of counselling theory, I wouldn’t have laughed until black mascara drops blotted her PDR form when she stated that the place she hoped to be in five years’ time was… being a winner of ‘Love Island’.
When a patient complained because, in their opinion, the automated door opened too slowly, making it a “death trap”, perhaps if I’d had some training, I might have said something rather different to, “Then I suggest you don’t come through it again – that should solve both of our problems.”
It could also have helped with Mary’s marriage, Darren’s problematic dog, Dr Ribbon’s teenager, Penny’s anxious mum, Sarah’s grumpy grandad, Nurse Ellie’s body odour issue, and Dr Norris’s pension pot woes. Scrap that last one – no amount of counselling would have given me enough sympathy for that.
So, thinking of practice management? Get yourself a counselling qualification first. You’re going to need it!
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