“I’ve worked in General Practice for 20 years and recently took on a second practice,” explains Wendy Page, a Practice Manager for the Sunderland CCG with almost 30 years experience in the NHS. “In our ever-changing NHS world, we’re looking at how these two practices can combine resources and work more collaboratively.”
Against this background of change, Wendy applied for the NHS North East Leadership Academy’s Practice Manager Programme to update her skills and re-discover her confidence. Having missed the opportunity to participate in an earlier cohort because it filled up so quickly, she reapplied because colleagues who had already completed the programme said it was so beneficial. To prepare, she spoke to the senior partners in both her practices to get their support before going along and finding out for herself what it was all about.
Having completed the programme Wendy recommends that other Practice Managers give it a go. “It’s an excellent networking opportunity, and I didn’t feel out of place at all because everyone in the group face the same daily pressures and are supportive,” she explains. “The trainers are knowledgeable and personable, and present the course in such a way that it keeps your attention and interest. All of the topics are relevant and draw on our personal experiences, problems and issues. I’m quite a shy person but felt so comfortable that I contributed more to this training than I have previously on any other.”
Wendy is already applying some of the things she has learned to her day job. “As you go through the course, learning about yourself and others, you begin to change the way you look at things and start to put things into perspective,” she says. “I’m taking a step back and a deep breath, and trying to think about what I’ve learned on the course before deciding how to handle issues and taking things less personally, it’s not always ‘my fault’ if something doesn’t go as it should.”
It can be difficult to juggle learning with the demands of work because the programme is held over four days, and Wendy admits, “I almost cancelled due to the pressures at work but decided against it because I really didn’t want to miss anything. I reminded myself that the issues that were swaying my judgement weren’t that much of an emergency and would still be there in the morning.”
Wendy says that working more collaboratively and combining the resources of her two practices has been a challenge however one of the most valuable things Wendy learned on the programme is to avoid self-doubt and have confidence that she does her job to the best of her ability. She is now keen to continue improving her skills and knowledge and would like to advance to the next level of the Practice Manager programme.
Learn more about the Practice Manager Programme here.