The life of a practice manager in a doctor’s surgery isn’t a stress-free or predictable job by any stretch of the imagination. You’re not only leading an admin team that’s normally made up of several job-shares, but co-ordinating a wider network of GPs, locums and nurses – often a different roll call every day of the week. Supporting them in supporting their patients is key, and you’re the often unsung hero of the busy GP’s surgery, orchestrating everything from the stationery orders to office cleaning contracts to staff training programmes behind the scenes.
We’ve already blogged about the ‘emotional burnout’ faced by surgery receptionists up and down the country as they sit on the waiting room frontline with its kaleidoscope of emotions, but in terms of staff support structures, the buck will often stop with you. So who supports the supporter?
Cultivating a caring team by setting an example will help you get back the support you need from your team when you need it most – but you have to look after yourself, too. In a workplace as frenetic and emotionally-demanding as a doctor’s surgery, simple things like remembering to eat the right things at the right time will make a difference to your energy and stress levels, ensuring that your life outside work isn’t purely chalked up to recovery time. Here are a few simple work-life balance theories to try and live by.
Mindfulness meditation is big news amongst all sorts of people these days, especially those in hectic jobs and those struggling to ‘quieten’ chattering minds that feel like they’re stuck in overdrive. Sound familiar? There are several apps available now offering free guided meditations that help listeners cultivate a sense of non-judgemental kindness towards themselves and, without sounding too clichéd, find inner peace.
It’s all too easy to let good habits slide when you’re up against it, but a busy working day fuelled by half a Mars bar and seven coffees won’t do you any favours. To support your team effectively you need the right fuel in your tank, and to top it up regularly. Stay hydrated and try to get a proper breakfast down you in the mornings – preferably something with complex carbs to keep your energy constant – then make sure you take the time to eat your lunch properly, preferably without interruptions!
Draw yourself some tangible boundaries if you’re one for taking your work (and worries) home with you, and make sure other people know what these boundaries are so you’re not only accountable but supported in sticking with them. Write them down, too. Whether it’s removing the work email app from your mobile or just making sure you’re home by a certain time every day, you need to create this space for yourself in order to reclaim your life outside work as yours.