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  • Anonymous
    Anonymous

    What should a practice manager do to train up their receptionists properly?

    Excerpt of a conversation with the practice manager of a medical centre. Manager: “I don’t know what to do with my receptionists. How can I encourage them to be more proactive?” Marica : “What kind of tasks have you been setting...
  • When you have to let go

    It feels as though every few months there’s another harrowing court case involving cessation of life-prolonging care in a young child. Reporting of these tragic episodes has settled into a predictable format: the photos of the baby, seemingly...
  • Saving lives unnoticed

    Gratitude is a wonderful thing, but in medicine it’s often weirdly disproportionate to the service rendered. As a junior doctor in neonates, I had to attend dozens of deliveries: every instrumental, every slightly premature birth, every faintly...
  • The bomb I threw

    Going into the relatives’ room I felt a strong sense of déjà vu. Those present were sitting in the same places that I thought I remembered and looked strangely familiar. I started as usual by introducing myself and asking what...
  • The reassuring role of the consultant

    My experience as a patient, dealing with a difficult diagnosis and treatment, played a significant role in my outcome. And recently I’ve been reflecting on how the role of the consultant was crucial and sometimes something that we may as patients...
  • Every minute spent ticking boxes is time away from my patients

    If there is one phrase in the description of a new intervention, initiative or ‘tool’ that makes my heart sink, it is ‘can be completed in only X minutes’. Do the people who come up with this stuff ever stop to picture how it will...
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous

    10 Things We’ve Learned in 10 Years of Digital Health

    My parents are doctors so helping others was ingrained into me from an early age. Having studied programming at Tokyo University of Technology with the goal of learning how to develop software for healthcare, I didn’t want to end up creating yet...
  • She’s not a ‘lump’

    Dr Smith, the intensive care consultant, has a running not-quite-joke that my specialty admits the ‘worst’ patients – difficult, complex ones who often fail to make satisfying recoveries. My team has several patients in the intensive...
  • Google is not our enemy

    ‘I shouldn’t have done it, doctor,’ says Ms Robinson. ‘But I just couldn’t help myself. I know you aren’t meant to.’ She has that same guilty half-smile that patients have when admitting to drinking 70 units...
  • Generalists - the clue is in the title

    The acute general team juniors are having a training morning. A lot of the sessions are interesting, plus there’s free tea and biscuits and a change of routine, so on the whole everyone’s happy. But as the day goes on, one thing starts, ever...
  • Step away from that email… 12 ways to keep work out of your home life

    It was Friday afternoon, I was not at work and I was in serious trouble! No, I wasn’t skiving – quite the opposite. I work a half-day on Fridays so I had collected one child from nursery and one from school and now I was frantically typing...
  • X-ray findings: Fear and acute nostalgia

    It had been 57 years since I last looked at a chest X-ray with any serious intent of providing a diagnostic comment. And this time, the X-ray was mine. As the radiographer passed it to me, my mind went back to a sea of white coats. It was Dublin, 1961...
  • When covering your back has consequences

    I am an F1 staring at an ECG. It looks like it is probably ‘OK’. I mean, sure there is some left bundle branch block and maybe evidence of left ventricular hypertrophy, but nothing that wasn’t there before. I hold the last ECG that I...
  • Imagine the constant sound of footsteps behind you

    ‘It sounds like footsteps.’ That’s how one child described the noise in his ears to me, which were particularly scary at night. While many children experience noises in their ear, aka tinnitus, most children don’t volunteer...
  • There but for the grace…

    I stare at the patient, gripped by a cold sweat and a fear that I’m too late. Why on earth didn’t I do the visits as soon as I’d finished evening surgery? What madness made me think it was a great idea to just quickly do the urgent prescriptions...
  • Singing for their lives

    I have left work on time, and although the morning started with me falling flat on my back on the icy pavement, things had improved. The last thing I did that evening was watch the navy-tinged lips and cheeks lips of a woman turn pink beneath the plastic...
  • Dead, alive or both?

    Do you know what your patients are thinking? Sometimes when I see a GP, I find that they know what I would like to say, before I have said it. Which is not at all surprising when you consider how many consultations a GP might oversee. They have that...
  • Enhancing patient care through doctors well being

    In 2014 we received the Joan Dawkins Award for research into doctors’ Health and Wellbeing. We are a team of four and our successful bid was prompted by our combined experience and interest in mentoring and its unanticipated effects – those...
  • A stressful day

    Everyone says to me that too much stress is not good for you but what I can do if the service needs me? I started work today at 8:55am, seeing patients in a medical outpatient clinic. This clinic is supposed to follow up patients after their discharge...
  • Safe in our hands?

    ‘We've got quite a crosswind this morning. Those of you familiar with this airport will know, the runway is on stilts.’ A cliff edge had clearly gotten in the way of this island's runway construction, but undaunted they persevered...
  • (Un)welcome to your new job

    I turned up for my first day of a new job at 6.50am, I wanted to leave lots of time for getting lost and parking. I spent the journey juggling thoughts of ‘I hope they’re nice’ and wonderings of whether three months was enough time to...
  • All I did was smile at my patient…

    A smile costs nothing. Or so they say. Tell that to the patient to whom I flashed a cheery grin when I saw him in the street the other day. It was only for a moment. I saw his face, our eyes met and I suppose I must have smiled through instinct. His...
  • In praise of my pen

    I am a fan of writing things down. I guess this won’t have come as shock to you but perhaps, because I am young and of the ‘next generation’ of NHS consultants, one might think I ought to be putting out bunting to celebrate our apparent...
  • It’s never ‘selfish’ to accept the care you need

    The patient was 95 years old and in resus on a trolley. You’re picturing a frail older man, one with hollow cheeks and skin like paper. If that’s not the image you had in your head, it is the image I had in mine. I poked my head around...
  • What did this CPR achieve?

    Break his sternum. Break some ribs; crack beneath your hands. Push, push, push; one hundred times a minute please. ‘Good compressions’ calls the computerized voice from the defibrillator. Don’t stop, now feel for a pulse; you’ve...