National Volunteers Week 1-7 June


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Today starts a week celebrating all volunteers across the country.

This week is also aimed at raising awareness about the benefits of becoming a volunteer. As well as helping others, Volunteering as been shown to have a positive impact on the lives of those who are volunteering. I know how volunteering helped me in way that I would never have imagined. It made me feel good that I was helping someone out. It gave me back my confidence and I went on to learn new skills that I never knew I had.

We had moved due to my husband’s job. I went from working full-time and having a very active social life to living in the country with no job. It wasn’t for me, I felt isolated and extremely lonely.

I looked into volunteering and found a local Resource Centre that were looking for volunteers to help at their older people’s club once a month. I would help make tea, help with the bingo and arrange the monthly raffle. We would encourage the group to participate in some country dancing. The people who came to the group were all elderly and some very isolated. For some it was the only time they got out. We would also go on a year’s trip away which consisted of 2 nights away in a lovely hotel with lots of activities organised by the group. If it were not for volunteers this group would not have survived.

From that group I then started volunteering with a disability group. The people in this group were amazing, to be part of such a happy and proactive group was a privilege. We also had many trips out and had some great laughs. Being part of this group, I got to know the people, discovering their personalities and looking right past their disability. If it were not for volunteers this group would not have survived.

I then was asked to be a member of the Board of Directors, something that I would never have thought I would have done. How honoured I was to be asked. Every single member on the board was a volunteer and gave up their time for the monthly meetings.

I then trained to be a facilitator for the Rainbow group that took place at the Centre. This was for children that was going through a family separation or bereavement. This for me this was volunteering at its best. To work with these amazing children through such tough times made me feel very humble. I certainly learnt a lot from these little ones. I then went on to train to become a Coordination for the Rainbows Group where I would be responsible for the group facilitator and the children. If it were not for volunteers this group would not have survived.

I was then asked to volunteer on the HR sub group at the Centre. I also became a member on the volunteers committee and helped to produce a booklet for the older people in the area with all useful information.If it were not for volunteers this group would not have survived.

Throughout the years volunteering I was very privileged to have attended numerous training sessions, workshops and open days. I helped organise various fun days, Christmas Fayre and education sessions. I took first aid courses, I took courses that came with a certificate at the end and none of these ever cost me any money – just my time. From every course and workshop, I always learnt something that I not only used in my time as a volunteer, but often in my own personal life.

I met some amazing people and it made me realise that volunteering actually did something for me. It gave me a purpose, to get out, to meet people, and knowing that my volunteering actually meant a lot to people.

The good thing about volunteering is you can choose to volunteer in an area that you are really interested in. You can often choose your hours, give as little of as many as you like. You make friends, learn new skills and for the gesture of your time can often mean so very much to someone.

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Customer Service #LondonTransport


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My training often involves me travelling to London.

Growing up I lived on the outskirts of London and the underground was very much part of my life often travelling on my own at a young age. Fast forward a few decades and here I am once again using the underground as a way of getting to my destination.

I still find travelling on the tube kind of magical, I absolutely love people watching and amazed at the speed that the tube takes me to my destination, many times almost taking me to the door of where I need to go.

There are often many options of the routes that I can take and this gives me the option of travelling one way and back a completely different route.

When I am asked to host a training session it involves me having to do a lot of research before going. Planning my travel, choosing the best routes to take. Taking in account how many times I might have to change and go onto another line, to planning the distance from the tube to the organisation that I will be doing the training. Time management is vital for my job.

I love the fact that I can use my debit card on all the transport including buses, no worries about having to purchase different travel cards or standing in endless queues to purchase a train ticket. Having this system can often mean that I can alter my route at the last-minute (often to pop off and do a bit of retail therapy!)

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But what I have found every single time that I have travelled on the underground over the past couple of years is the brilliant customer service that the London Transport staff have shown. Every single time I have had a question be it for the best route to take or simply asking what platform I need to go to. Every single member of staff has always given me clear easy to follow instructions, every single member of staff have always been polite, friendly and always have had a smile on their face. Not only has their knowledge of the underground been incredible their local knowledge outside of their station is also exceptional.

I am useless at following maps and often when you come out of the underground there are several exits from the station which can at times be very confusing. I have often asked a member of staff for directions to a certain point, or even a Road by name and every single one of them has always given me good clear instructions. This has made my journey so very stress free.

Thank you London Transport your staff are a credit to an amazing service that you give to us all, and they can often make what could be a stressful journey a lot easier just by being the kind helpful people that they are.

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Does your Receptionist recognise signs of Sepsis. A Patients Story #Bournemouth Hospital


There has been a lot of publicity recently regarding Sepsis. This is aimed at raising awareness and those that work in the GP surgeries and Hospitals will know on too well that this will create fear amongst some patients and therefore will be more than likely phoning the Surgery/Hospital for advice.

We are being told Sepis should be treated urgently as we would a heart attack.

For all Receptionists, Secretaries and Administrators who could be faced with a query regarding this are you fully competent to deal with it? Would you be confident in dealing with a call that could be Sepsis? I must confess I am not sure I would be able to identify this emergency a few weeks ago, but I feel a lot more confident now that I have read up on it.

You probably have procedures and policies in place for dealing with a heart attack. Have you a procedure or policies in place to deal with sepsis? Perhaps at your next team meeting you could put this on your agenda or speak to your Reception Manager or Practice Manager about having one written up.

The most important thing is that you know the facts about Sepis and what is expected from you as a Receptionist if you take such a call. Don’t be one of those surgeries/hospitals that could be highlighted as missing something that might be so obvious to someone who knows what Sepsis is.

Many doctors view Sepsis as a three-stage syndrome, starting with Sepsis and progressing through severe Sepsis to septic shock. The goal is to treat Sepis during its early stage, before it becomes more dangerous.

Sepsis usually comes with a probable or confirmed infection and includes several symptoms. These perhaps can be discussed with a Doctor and the Receptionists and a guide of what questions to ask the patient.

Septis has to be treated quickly as the patient can go downhill very quickly

A chart that I found very useful to help identify some of the symptoms:sepsisqa-2015-big

A very interesting clip from the Royal Bournemouth Hospital highlighted a patients experience and how his Sepsis was nearly missed. They are keen to spread awareness. Well done Bournemouth Hospital for sharing this short film.

Published on July 13 2016. 

Sepsis is a medical emergency, here at RBCH we are keen to spread  awarness and listen to patients experiences to improve care. 

 

Do you thank the whole Team?


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I attended a team meeting yesterday and someone was giving feedback about a very successful group that she was part of. She highlighted how well previous group sessions had gone and how the current group was going from strength to strength.

She spoke of the great work that the Team are doing and the results that the social workers and the facilitators are achieving. The team is making the group interesting and she said how well the childcare workers were doing running a crèche enabling the parents to take part in the group. She spoke about the various outside agencies who had also had an input into the course and she also mentioned the volunteers who make big difference to the smooth running of the group and she showed her appreciation to the caretaker for all his hard work over the 6-week course.

She showed her thanks and appreciation to everyone within the team. It was both lovely to hear and so important. She thanked everyone single person that make it possible to have such a successfully run course. Thanking the caretaker was a credit to her, she showed that she appreciated every single person within the team, how many people would remember to thank the caretaker, or even the cleaners.

On this course the caretaker is very much part of the team. The course is carried out early evenings. He is the person that ensures that the building is open for everyone arriving, and the last to leave ensuring the building is safe before locking up. He is the one that ensures that the car park is lit up and safe and he is the one that ensures that everyone comes into a nicely well-lighted warm building and often goes out of his way to help others. His job description is endless.

We often look at the frontline staff and see them as the “team” but the team goes much deeper than what we actually see.

Think of a favourite film or television programme. Who stands out to you the most? More than likely the actors and actresses, perhaps the extra’s if they have cause to stick in your mind. It’s the people that we see that we think makes the film, the programme or the “Team” but watch the credits at the end, there are so many people involved in the making of them and without them there wouldn’t be a film or programme, the people in the credits are the ones that prop up the leaders, the actors, the people that we see as “The Team”

So next time you are in a meeting and like to thank your team for doing a good job please remember to thank the whole team and thank everyone who has been involved.

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© 2011-2017 Reception Training all rights reserved

What does it take to become a good Team Player


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A good team player has the ability to work together with others working towards a common vision and the ability to direct individual accomplishments towards organisational objectives.

 

  1. Reliable.

A good team player is constantly reliable day in and day out, not just some of the time. They will strive to get the job done; they will have a good all round understanding of their role and will provide a consistent quality of work. A good team player will have great commitment and will develop a good honest working relationship with the members in their team as well as good communication with others within the organisation.

 

 

  1. Honest and Trustworthy.

Great team players communicate their ideas honestly and clearly and respect the views and opinions of others in the team. Clear, effective communication done constructively and respectfully is the key to getting heard. A good team player will be valued within the team.

 

 

  1. Meets Deadlines.

While getting the work done and doing their share a good team player will know that taking risks, stepping outside their comfort zones, and coming up with creative ideas is what it will take to get ahead. Taking on more responsibilities and extra initiative sets them apart from others on the team. Ensures that the team meets deadlines set by the organisation.

 

 

  1. Adapts quickly.

Good team players sideline and see change, adapt to changing situations and often drive positive change themselves and will strive to encourage change with fellow team members.

 

 

  1. Appreciates other’s work styles.

A good team player takes the time to make positive relationships with other team members a priority and display a genuine passion and commitment toward their team. They come to work with the commitment of giving it 110% and often will expect others on the team to do the same. A good team player will work well with others strengths and support those that have weaknesses. They will value other team members and their experience.

 

  1. Works well within the team.

To be a good team player, you don’t have to be extroverted or indulge in self-promotion. A good team player will be an active participant and do more than their job title states. Put the team’s objectives above theirs and take the initiative to get things done without waiting to be asked. A good team player will always be valued within the team. In return they will build positive perception, gain more visibility, and develop influential connections to get ahead in their career.

 

and remember…………..

Always treat someone in the way you would want to be treated. 

 

© 2011-2017 Reception Training all rights reserved

Communicating with your Receptionists #Managers


Being a doctors receptionist is no easy task, and certainly not the job some people seem to think it is, some think it’s sitting at the desk booking patients in to see the doctor and handing out prescriptions, oh no it’s so much more and more again. Being a doctors receptionist is a bit like marmite, you either “love it or hate it”. The receptionist that ‘loves’ his/her job will be loyal, hard-working and very proactive. They are the ones that can see problems ahead, make the best suggestions and really want the best for the practice. They are the ambassadors of your practice.

It saddens me when at some of my training sessions I hear that they sometimes do not feel appreciated and they don’t feel part of the team. They often blame Management for lack of communication who are occasionally not caring and unapproachable. This might not be true, but it’s how they feel. Lack of training is also another complaint that I hear of often. Many Receptionists feel that they could do so much more in their role, if only they had the appropriate training. This is where I step in and defend the managers! I know how hard the role of a manager can be, often being piggy in the middle; the Partners shouting on one side and the Staff on the other. There are budgets to follow and targets to hit, whilst trying to stay loyal to both sides. Being a manager can often be a very lonely job. Who is there for the Manager when it gets tough?

My role of manager soon taught me that communication is key. In communicating with the receptionists I came to learn, first hand, what the problems in reception were, before it got too late and became a bigger problem than it already was. Receptionists need to know what is going on, if they don’t they often jump to the wrong conclusion. They will often gossip between themselves and make up their own minds, which can often cause bad feeling within the team. Having a team with a low morale is often extremely hard to turn around.

What is the best way to communicate with your receptionists? Hold Regular staff meetings; weekly, twice monthly or monthly.

  • Ask the staff to contribute to the agenda, make the meetings their meetings.
  • Make the meetings interesting! If they are interesting the staff will actually want to come, they will contribute and as a result they will be a success.
  • Rotate the meetings on different days and times to enable part-time staff to attend at least every other meeting.
  • It’s your chance as a manager to give the facts, to tell them as a team what is happening within the practice; it’s a great way to avoid rumours and discontent.
  • Take minutes for future reference and make copies available for those that were unable to attend. Make a copy for the partners too.
  • Ask a Partner to attend a couple of meetings a year, this shows support, and in my experience, always goes down very well with the receptionists. It also gives the Partners an insight in what is happening in reception and how hard their roles can often be.
  • Use the meeting to discuss any issues that have occurred and ask the team how they feel it could have been dealt with, often they will come up with the solution. This will help in the future as they will then start to solve problems themselves, rather than running to you every time, expecting you as the manager to have the answer. Meetings can often make the team more proactive.

Another complaint is lack of communication. Often, many of the staff will be told something but others don’t hear about it. This can lead to confusion and often anger, which can result in jobs not being done properly, as some staff have not been informed. A lot of the time this happens to staff who are on holiday or that work part-time. Memos or emails sent to every member of the team seems to work well. Having a receptionist message book works extremely well. Receptionists can leave messages that everyone can read before they begin their shift.

Communicating with your team will often highlight concerns, and often they will share good ideas,  after all they are the “experts” in their field and will often offer very productive ideas. Many of my training issues, ideas and changes came from my experiences of “walking in their shoes”

Another way of communicating with your staff is to simply show your support. Go and see what they are doing and praise them regularly. Most importantly, always remember how difficult your job as a manager would be if the receptionists did not do their job well.

 

© 2011-2017 Reception Training all rights reserved

The Threatened Receptionist


Working in general practice as a Receptionist, Supervisor and a Manager nothing ever surprises me anymore, and just when you think you have seen it all something else comes along to add to the endless stories that working in a surgery brings.

The highs and lows the funny and the sad you never get two days exactly the same.

This story was a new one to me, one that I haven’t come across.

I was chatting to a friend yesterday to works in a GP Surgery. She told me that there had been an incident in their admin office. Whilst she was talking to a patient she could hear raised voices at the end of the office. When my friend had finished her call she turned her attention to the receptionist who was obviously very upset by the call.

She presumed that the caller has been an “unhappy patient” – she was wrong.

The caller phoned the Surgery and asked for the receptionist by her first and surname. The caller was put through to her and she was not expecting what came next.

The receptionist explained the nature of the call and how it involved Facebook.

A couple of days previous the Receptionist had been on Facebook. She came across a random post that one of her friends had shared. She didn’t know the person but she left a comment, which she didn’t think was upsetting or rude but obviously the person that had posted the comment felt very strongly about the comment she had left and was not happy.

The person traced the Receptionist to her place of work. How? She had it on her Facebook Profile where she worked and that she was a Receptionist.

The Receptionist was worried, as the caller had her name, knew where she worked, and of course could easily be identified due to the fact that all the staff wears name badges, with their first and surname on and she had no idea what this caller looked like – it could be anyone that walked in through the Surgery doors.

The caller told her that she was going to come along to the surgery and give her a black eye. The Receptionist was obviously worried and upset as the caller sounded angry and threatening.

She worried that the caller might wait for her outside of the surgery and follow her home.

As a Manager how would you react to this? Would you see it as a problem you would have to sort out, or seeing it started outside of work would you not want to get involved?

We then have to question should staff be putting information on their Facebook to where they work and what they do? Have you a right as a manager to say staff cannot do this? Perhaps not, but it is something that could be discuss at a team meeting, to make people aware of the consequences when they do put where they work.

A similar story to this happened when I first starting working as a Receptionist and one of my colleagues had an unusual surname, a patient that used visit the surgery on a regular basis took a liking to her. He asked out on a date a couple of times and each time she gently let him down.

The patient had mental health problems; because he knew her name he was able to get her address and number out of the telephone directory (this was before internet times). He then started stalking her, telephoning her at all hours of the day and night. The incident involved the police, many sleepless nights, which resulted in her moving out of her flat for a while. It was sorted, she changed her telephone to ex directory and everything calmed down.

At the time this incident affected the whole team. Name badges were questioned.

As a manager I always kept this story in my mind, and would only ever have first names on name badges for Receptionists who deal with the general public.

Does your staff give their full names whilst working?

Are first names sufficient on name badges for Receptionists? I think so.

 

© 2011-2017 Reception Training all rights reserved