Roslynne O’Connor relocated to the beautiful Isle of Skye to work as a practice manager; she describes her typical day
I am not a morning person – but it is easier on bright sunny days of which we have had a good number this year. The day begins by letting the dogs out and opening the chicken coop, and by the time I have got to the door of the goat shed the dogs and chickens are usually there to meet me. After feeding and milking the goats at about 7am it’s time to get them into the fields, unless of course it’s raining because they don’t like to get wet.
After a quick shower, cup of tea and a change into my uniform it’s off to work at the medical centre, which is only about four miles away in the main town of Portree; and since it is the school holidays I don’t have the ritual of chasing my teenagers out of the door in time for school.
Portree is a rural practice on the Isle of Skye covering the whole north east of the island. In addition to the main practice in Portree there are three rural surgery days each week and the eight GP partners are also responsible for the community hospital and A&E unit, which is next door to us. Our list is about 5,500 patients although this increases significantly in the summer months. As a teaching practice for GP registrars, we also have medical students from Dundee University and Imperial College, London.
After checking my emails, I look at the things on my to-do list that I didn’t do yesterday and note down things I want to do today. There are tasks that need to be done routinely, like paying salaries, Inland Revenue and housekeeping on the IT systems – these are scheduled with a deadline; however a great deal of my work is project work or reacting to situations and I’m therefore flexible.
I like to check in with the staff every day, and after that it’s time for a coffee and an update with my deputy. She is doing the Practice Manager Vocational Training Scheme (PMVTS) this year and as one of the mentors of the scheme, I am her trainer so we have a mini tutorial each morning, this can cover any aspect of practice and business management.
As my room is en-route to the staff room most of the doctors and nurses will pop in sometimes just to say hi, but usually it’s because they want something or want me to know about something; much of my work is reactive in this respect. Just now it was the midwife who needed a new login and before that the Imperial College student wanted to swap something on his rota.
After another tea and a slice of toast during tea break, I start on a patient list that has just arrived; there’s a patient safety issue so letters go out to highlighted patients advising them that their statin medication is being changed because of an MHRA notice about statin and calcium channel blockers interactions.
Next is a bit of QOF work; checking patient lists and usually fixing coding issues – free texting BP readings into consultations should be outlawed.
Before afternoon surgeries I get the chance to do the monthly health and safety walk round. I also do the maternity locum forms and send them off to the primary care manager for reimbursement, which reminds me I have to do a risk assessment for the GP returning from maternity leave – something else added to my to-do list.
I am putting in a new process for updating anticipatory care planning and working with our secretary who has agreed to be the lead on this and another administrator (who covers the nursing homes). They will review and agree on the next steps and work with the GPs to get them updated. Just as I am about to do some banking my deputy lets me know that the new machine that will allow us to do in-house warfarin dosing has arrived, so that needs to be set up and the software downloaded. A quick email out to the Practice Manager Network asking if anyone already uses this machine and has a protocol that I can tweak, saves me some time.
I usually leave the practice about 6pm, wondering what I have done with my day as there seems to be just as much on my to-do list. I pick up shopping from the Co-op; get home and make dinner and catch up with the family; feed the dogs and milk the goats again (although my husband has some of this in hand if he’s in before me).
As I have roles outside the practice – I’m the regional co-ordinator for the Practice Manager Network and the Scottish National User Group; a member of SCIMP and NVUG; and a PMVTS trainer, part of my evening is usually spent doing that work or just catching up on reading. It’s then time to put the animals to bed, watch some telly, and have a walk – unless it’s winter when it gets dark about 4pm and I hibernate until spring comes round again.