We’re seeing & hearing it’s tough out there at the moment… 
It’s all getting back to ‘normal’…is it??? 
A lot of patients expecting that they can now go ‘back to how it used to be, get what they want, when they want… 
How many times recently have you heard someone say – 'You're just a receptionist' 
Add to this the common phrase of ‘It will be your fault if I Die’… And it can feel pretty rubbish! Those rubbish comments can sit with you throughout the day, weighing on your mind. 
 
 
 
As humans our minds are tilted to noticing the negatives, looking out for them so that we can avoid harm or hurt, but there is a fundamental fault with noticing negatives… 
 
The more we focus on the negatives around us, the more negatives we see – bringing us down, then we find we are ‘Stuck in the Negatives’ 
 
You know how it goes… THAT patient rings up and gives you grief again about not being able to get through EVER, you then ask your questions, and they have a go at you for being nosey…’I’m not telling you, you’re just a receptionist…’ 
 
You come off the phone, turn to your colleague and rant at them about THAT patient giving you grief…maybe they join in the rant and agree with you about THAT patient & they do it EVERY time…. 
 
Soon you’re both in a negative loop…noticing and remembering all the horrible things people say & do to you. 
 
Another one of those patients rings up….sigh…here we go again! 
 
So, if our minds are wired that way, what can we do? 
 
Well actually there is something we can do – it takes practice & effort…but anything that is worthwhile usually does! 
 
Instead of noticing & focussing on the negatives, we have to force ourselves to focus on the positives - I know it sounds obvious but give it a go… 
 
Instead of taking on the negative stuff that people say, take on the positive stuff that you see & hear every day. 
At the end of a day or shift, ask yourself –  
 
What happened today that was good? 
Was there a patient that you helped, and they said, ‘Thank you’? 
Did a colleague do something brilliant that cheered you up or made your day? 
Notice it -think about it & remember how it made you feel 
 
The more we can consciously train our minds every day to spot the positives then the easier it gets, and if we practice it enough then guess what….we will get ‘Stuck in the Positives’ - and that’s got to be better right? 
 
So, take a moment right now to focus on the good stuff that you do every day - Have you ever taken a moment to stand back and think about all the brilliant & great things you do? 
To do your role you need to be a: 
 
Listener 
Counsellor 
Mediator 
Empathiser 
Decision-Maker 
Great Communicator 
Problem Solver 
An Investigator 
Team Player 
Coordinator 
Quick-Thinker 
 
You also need knowledge about a million different tasks and processes. Wow that’s pretty impressive…don’t ever underestimate your role - there is no way you are “just” a receptionist! 
 
 
What you do is amazing and reminding yourself & others of the great stuff you do every day builds for a positive & supportive team. Give yourself a pat on the back – what you do everyday puts you at the Heart of the Surgery! 
Your role has evolved, but some patients don’t really get that it has changed yet and still hang on to the old stereotype of GP Receptionist.  
You can help to change this perception and help patients realise that you are on their side, that you are working to help them and that your role is so much more. 
 
How? 
 
Never refer to yourself and ‘just a receptionist’ – give off the belief & confidence that you are the right people to provide excellent patient experiences. 
Develop communications for your patients that share the role you do and the benefits to them of you doing your role well. 
Stay consistent and confident – after all, you know what you are doing! 
Is there an opportunity to consider changing your role names – moving away from the perceptions of GP receptionist and try out ‘Patient Coordinator’ or Patient Liaison’ or Patient Navigators’ instead. 
 
Remember – you are the heart of the surgery  
 
Here is a 10 minute TED Talk from Alison Ledgerwood that brings this to life and shares some science behind it: 
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