Welcome to the Pound House Surgery Staff Blog! Once a month or so a new contribution from a member of staff will be featured. For our first posts, doctors, nurses, secretaries, receptionists, and admin staff alike have been encouraged to write a Day In The Life story.
We hope that we will also be able to add a patient blog, allowing patients to submit their own stories - maybe about their health journey, a reminiscence about the surgery's history, or their experiences as a carer.
We will be putting all of the stories in a binder in reception at both sites so that people without internet access can follow the stories as well.
By Helen Radcliffe
I try to arrive 30 minutes early so I can to grab a coffee say my hello’s to the receptionists and the GPs and check my messages.
We have various ways of communicating: our computer systems, email, practice notes (messages through our clinical system), instant messages, and of course the telephone. While sipping my coffee go through the messages looking for the ones that need urgent attention and dealing with them during this time. Today I had two calls before 8.30, one was a patient who was not coping with his diabetic tablets and needed advice on how to reduce the side effects and another from a gentleman who needed an urgent dressing change and we have no free appointments so I had to squeeze him in.
My first patient arrives at 8.30 and then the morning is full with a whole variety of things. As a practice Nurse we wear many hats and the morning is always unpredictable, from Diabetic reviews to rashes and fungal skin infections, contraception advice to leg ulcer dressings, blood tests and swabs. The day is NEVER dull!
At the end of my morning I have a few minor illness slots for conditions such as tonsillitis, ear infections, rashes etc. This can save a patient waiting for a later time in the day to see a GP.
I usually grab my lunch and eat at my desk, telephoning a few patients who need advice, and checking results for the diabetic patients as I am the nurse lead in diabetes.
I also check the emergency drugs and the defibrillator and fridge temperatures daily. The vaccine and dressing stock get used so quickly an order for more is placed most weeks and this takes up considerable time.
On Mondays the nurses and Health care assistant try to meet to discuss any issues that may have come up that week, today we discussed Hepatitis B vaccination for travellers. Backpackers visiting various countries can be a really complex consultation and we find two heads are often better than one to check the regime of vaccines needed. It’s good for the team to keep in touch and I think we all value this time.
The afternoon starts again about 2pm, Monday afternoon’s I see mainly diabetic patients for review. This can take 20-30 minutes with each patient checking blood results, blood pressures and weight, discussing lifestyle and diet issues, checking feet for circulation, and adjusting oral medication or insulin.
I have worked as a Practice Nurse now for 18 years!! Before that I was a midwife in London, leaving when I had my children Harry and Olivia who are now teenagers flying the nest. I’m considering a course in Acupuncture, as alternative medicine has always interested me, I may be trying it out on willing guinea pigs soon!
By Jane Dersley
My working day starts at around 7.40am with appointments from 8am. It is a very cold morning and I am aware that my hands are really very cold so I make a hot cup of coffee to get warmed up. My colleague who is a HCA has already arrived and we chat as we set up tubes and other equipment for the morning ahead.
My first patient is pleased to be seen at 8am on the dot and is eager to get going to work. I quickly take the blood samples and complete the paperwork with a small amount of chat about the weather. At 8.08am I see the next person who has been patiently waiting and again is happy to be seen quickly and get going. At 8.15 I see someone who is nervous, scared of needles and needs to lie down as she tends to faint during blood tests. This is relatively common and I reassure her that it will be fine, which it is. I then gulp down another cuppa thanks to the lovely receptionist who has made me one.
Next I see someone who is caring for a parent and finding things hard. I listen as he recounts the last 24 hours and the demands on him that have been made. I try to take his mind off the fact that he is scared of needles as best I can.
With the next patient we discuss making smoothies and the foods we love. After that I talk about Zumba and what it’s like being retired whilst taking blood from the lady. Then it’s another business-like, quick blood test followed by someone who is late because she went to the wrong Surgery. This is a common mistake and I fit her in regardless. She tells me as much of her life story as you can fit in 5 minutes or so! The next person is a pregnant lady we talk about the trials and tribulations of being a working mum. As she leaves she thanks me for making the blood test pleasant which is nice to hear.
I see a lady next who has a very swollen hand and after her blood test I enquire about a possible appointment with a GP to have a look at the swelling. Luckily, there is space this morning with the duty doctor and she is able to sit and wait in the surgery to see her.
The next four blood tests are taken quickly, one after the other, and I then see someone who isn’t feeling very well but manages to get through the blood test. I try my best to cheer her up with some chit chat. I win my next patient over by taking her blood quickly and without too much discomfort to her relief as she hates needles. She shows me a photograph of her grandchildren with pride before she leaves.
I take the blood pressure of the next person and it is high so I advise them accordingly.
Then I see someone who begins to feel faint during the blood test. My colleague and I help her to lie down until she recovers and she takes her blood for me, as I haven’t managed to get any on two attempts. After a few minutes she feels betters and leaves.
There is just time for two more blood tests. During the last one I hear the familiar words, “Whilst I am here, can you just have a look at this…” and I have to advise that I am not a nurse but a Phlebotomist. We agree that it is a funny word. But that is what I am and I enjoy my job and the people I meet very much.
By Dr Emma Southworth
I arrive at work at 8:00am, and say a cheery hello to whoever I see on my way to my room, partly because I work with lovely people and am happy to see them, partly because it is also on our “behaviour charter” to greet one another nicely! I tend to pop my head into reception as I pass and sign any scripts that are hanging around hoping to leave us. I then sit down at my computer and open the multitude of programmes which hold various chores, and try to whizz through as many as possible before seeing my first patient, at this time in the morning my brain works at a good, efficient speed. The chores consist of maybe 20 – 30 blood results to check, report and act on where necessary; hospital letters need reading, new diagnoses highlighting for the admin staff, new medications changing on the notes, and any little hidden jobs from the hospital staff spotted in the type; then we have internal patient tasks - jobs specific to the patient that are sent to us from other staff which need acting on and replying to.
My first patient arrives at 8:30 and the day kicks off. In the morning I see a young man with an inflammatory bowel flare who needs steroids, a long term smoker who has developed a dreadful wheezy chesty cough and can hardly get her breath, and then a patient with chest pain. Our fantastic health care assistant springs into action and does an ECG for me in minutes, in between her own patients, we decide he can wait for an exercise test within 2 weeks and chat about when it would be appropriate to call 999 in the meantime. I see a sprinkling of children with sore tummies, mystery rashes and persistent coughs. I have some phone calls throughout the morning, patients asking about abnormal results, urgent medication requests; a call from social services about one of our patients and some concerns they have. I spend the morning seeing 18 patients plus the phone calls in between and have admin slots to look through more results, chat to the registrar or colleagues about interesting or tricky cases, and sign another consignment of scripts. I finish morning surgery around 1pm on a good day and then do a bit of running about dropping forms (x-ray requests, two week wait referral forms, physiotherapy referrals etc..) to our super-efficient secretaries, calling patients who need a telephone review, and without fail… signing more scripts!
I head off to do my visits around 2pm and visit an older man with a painful hip and cough, after admiring his beautiful garden and feeling a bit inadequate about my own, I drive to the next visit, past Odds Farm and lovely countryside views making my job feel that bit nicer! My next patient is very unwell with a terminal illness, we have a chat, check they have all the medication they currently need, and see how they are generally managing, his wife is nursing him with support from the community Macmillan nurse team and they are at the moment coping incredibly. I pop back to work via the new Bourne End Marks & Spencer/petrol station for a sandwich on the run… so appreciate this new arrival. Before afternoon surgery starts the doctors and practice manager meet to discuss new guidelines about managing high cholesterols, check our outgoing referrals to the hospital, discuss any urgent staff issues, and discuss any meetings we have attended.
Back to my room with a view, and more blood results, x-ray results, hospital letters. The brain is still functioning at an acceptable speed….oh just remembered not drunk anything today yet…quick swig from my water bottle and open my afternoon surgery screen. I am duty doctor this afternoon, so have urgent on the day appointments, and then an urgent visit comes in which I slot between patients mid-afternoon. A visit to another terminally ill patient, extremely stoical despite being rather uncomfortable, we make a plan and I head back to surgery. Another few patients, so many different conditions, severe eczema, a sore knee, more rashes, acid reflux and a very depressed man who I arrange to see again very soon, he will need a lot of time over the next few weeks, and I am finally finished at 6:15pm. I start my extended hours at 6:30, so swallow a banana and remember again to drink. I take another 50mls and then see my final 3 patients of the day!
I have a few referrals to dictate, more hospital letters to check (they just keep rolling in!) and a few cheeky end of the day blood results…brain now processing rather slower than this morning so I decide to call it a day and see if I can possibly get home to put at least one little boy to bed – did it! Home by 8pm. A good day at the office!