Hard to believe that only about 15 years ago I could just about turn on a computer. Honestly. I worked as a GP receptionist (and no I wasn’t one of those dragons!!).
Back then – and remember I am talking just 15 years ago – we still did everything by books
and paper and pen (no not chalk!!). Appointments were done in a big book and all the referral letters to hospitals etc were done on a typewriter (remember
those things?). The appointment book did have plenty of advantages then as
you could easily “fit” someone in – you pencilled them in between
another two patients – computers won’t let you do that. “The computer says
I cannot begin to think how we could go back to that way of working now. I
enjoyed the work and worked my way to Reception Supervisor and then left for
another Practice who offered me a whole new career. I went from a Practice
where I was in charge of about 6 receptionists and 11,000 patients to a
Practice where I was in charge of over 55 staff and 30,000 patients. And all I
could do was just about turn a computer on!!! Ekkkk.
How naive was I. So in the matter of days I went for working in a Reception area
with other Receptionists to a Practice where I had my own office and secretary.
How on earth did I do it!!!
One thing for sure – my manager might not always have been the best – the most supportive and at times a bully. But she gave me a chance and for that I will always be grateful to her for.
Working with everyone was fine – but the computer – well I really didn’t know what I
was doing. Just as well in the early days I wasn’t too busy due to it being a
new post. But I keep going building up trust and a good relationship with everyone.
Bit by bit I learnt my way around the computer – even how to turn it on!!!
I remember on one occasion trying to send an e-mail to someone and was putting the website address instead of the email address!!! I still cringe at the thought of it when I had to ask someone why it wasn’t sending my message. It was months before I knew that you could cut and paste – and didn’t even realise that there was a backward arrow. I often would re type something because I didn’t know that these facilities were there. I
really don’t know how I managed to wag my way through the first few months.
But I got there – in the end. The job went from strength to strength and begun to use the computer more and more. I still to this day think that the reason why I built up a good relationship with the team was due to the fact it was easier for me to pop along and talk to them rather than trying to send a e-mail. And from that day to this I would always do it
that way. It’s the only way you get to know your team.
I had never had any proper training on “managing” staff – but I do feel that my
experiences being a Receptionist was the best training I could have had. I
employed many receptionists over the years some were return to work mums – some
were not very good on the computer – and some like me couldn’t even use a
computer – but I gave them a chance and some of them turned out to be the best
receptionists the Practice had ever had.
Like me – some people need to be given that chance to shine. It’s amazing what
training can do. That is something that I am very passionate about – is good
training. Everyone deserves to be trained properly. Well trained staff are
I was fortunate to go on many training courses and in turn was able to bring
these back and share with the rest of the team. The best course that I ever attended was a
Basic Counselling Course. That course taught me a lot about people and life
itself. The main ingredient is having “Listening Skills”.
We then progressed to getting a computer at home! Wow!! I remember trying to book
a holiday on it and had to give up as I really didn’t understand the website.
Stuck it out and struggled through.
Then I heard a lot about this site called “Friends Reunited” – think it cost 7.00
for a year’s subscription. Again struggled through and got in touch with a few
old school friends and a couple of work colleagues that I worked with some 20
years ago……………………..that got me started it gave me the bug.
I now use on different social networking sites to keep in touch with
those special friends that don’t use the other applications. I just love the freedom that they all bring and have meet many lovely people some that I have never met or spoken to but have come into my life as new friends.
My Career went on from strength to strength and I loved a challenge – perhaps a
patient that might want to complain – recruiting that “right person” or dealing
with unhappy staff – but for me I got a buzz out of turning a negative
situation around into a positive one – and all it took was to listen to what
the other person was saying. I Can’t say I always got it right – but I always
gave it my best shot.
Then we decided to move away – try something new – a new adventure. I went from
having a great job, a great career and earning a good wage to be unemployed.
The recession had hit – and there was nothing out there for me.
Som I picked myself up and have come down the ladder and am now standing at the bottom waiting on the opportunity for me to climb onto that first step again.
Yes, I am older, but wiser and have gained so much knowledge and experience along
the way – I am only too pleased that I was given that opportunity back 15 years
I hope you have enjoyed my blog and will bring you some more stories some funny and some sad from Beyond The Reception Desk.