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By Ruth Harris Oct 2010
I joined Crown St a year ago to cover Dhudi’s
maternity leave having just completed a Theology
and Religious Studies degree in Bristol. Whilst
studying, I worked as a nurse assistant in various
wards at Bristol hospital and also as a volunteer in
the Rehabilitation hospital. GP work was however
new to me and although Jacqui and Gemma did well
to teach me the ropes, it was pretty daunting at first.
My experience with patients in a caring role did not
prepare me for such a busy and often challenging
administration environment and I quickly had to learn
a new range of alien medical language as well as
master the computer system. With the help of
Gemma and the other receptionists and a few
mistakes later, I was on my way.
Reception at Crown St is busy and no day is the
same. Although stressful at times with phones
constantly ringing and the queue of patients getting
longer, the flow of patients and speed of work means
the day is never boring or dull. As well as answering
all the phonecalls and speaking to everyone who
comes to the desk, we carry out new patient
registration healthchecks, issue routine prescriptions,
open the vast quantities of post, send faxes, chase
up results and letters from hospitals, chaperone
consultations and restock rooms. This variation can
sometimes be a welcome break from the hectic pace
of the front desk! Each of us also works as a “buddy”
to a particular dr in order to assist them with routine
administration tasks.
 People who come to the desk are all different; some
are anxious due to their illness, some uncertain about
how procedures work, some just pop in for a chat or
to get results, and some, I am sorry to say, make
completely unreasonable demands and are not
willing to listen to us so that we can help them. We
are often the ones who bear the brunt of patients’
worries and stresses as we have to tell them when a
doctor is running late or that a prescription is not
being issued. On the other hand, we get to see the
new mothers showing off their babies which is lovely.
We do our best to help our patients with their
requests and problems and it is rewarding when
patients go away happy with the service received and
when we are able to build a relationship with patients
that we see regularly.
I have really enjoyed my time at Crown St. I have
learnt so much and it has been brilliant to be part of
such an enthusiastic, supportive and efficient team. I
have a place to study medicine at Kings College
London starting end of September. I will be sad to
leave Crown St, but who knows, maybe I’ll be back in
the future to do my GP training.

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