There is a good reason why GP Receptionist’s are so “grumpy”

I was surfing the net the other night and came across a heading, which was written in January 2012.

There is a good reason why GP Receptionist’s are so grumpy” (I am still not sure that grumpy is the right word to use)

I was interested to read on and clicked onto the link.

The article was by Dr Jenna Ward who is (was) a Senior Lecturer in organisational studies at York University and was interviewed by Kate Wighton.

Dr Jenna Ward and her colleague Dr Robert McMurray from Durham University were embedded with surgery receptionists over a three-year period. They observed 30 receptionists at work in 3 surgeries.

AT LAST – someone who actually seen and understood the enormous pressure that a GP Receptionists can be under.

She talks about emotional exhaustion (yes they certainly do) and the job being emotionally demanding – quite right.

She wrote that there is a stereotype of GP Receptionists as dragons behind a desk – unsmiling individuals with a curt manner and an apparent determination to be anything but helpful. But in fact, their detached manner is not intended to intimidate or belittle patients, it’s actually a form of protection, to help them avoid emotional burn-out.

Although I have to say the surgeries that I have worked in as a Receptionists and as a Manager I really felt that our Receptionists were far from dragons, but I feel that having good training helped us in dealing with the situations that Dr Ward spoke about.

At any one time she witnessed a receptionist dealing with 6 people. The first, an elderly woman tearfully registering the death of her husband. Next, a smiling mum, there in surgery for her baby’s check up. Meanwhile the telephone is constantly ringing with people who are unwell.

She writes about the difficulties the Receptionists faces trying to keep neutral in all of these cases and of course another challenge they face is being caught between the patients and the doctors.

She talks about patients shouting, and violence and calls of help from a disturbed patient.

She goes on to say that there is little appreciation of the emotional strain placed on GP Receptionists and the fact that they receive little training in handling a lot of these situations.

All Receptionists are at risk in the fact that any mistake could result in serious health implications for the patient.

There is a misconception that Receptionists do nothing more than answer the telephone and type data into the computer.

There research found that the role of a GP Receptionist requires a high degree of emotional awareness and maturity.

They also found in their research that Receptionists REALLY do care.

Managers: if there is one thing that you can do to support your staff is giving them the appropriate training in dealing with these situations. Make them feel appreciated.

Here is a link to the article


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