Day in the life: Dr Jenny Stephenson, GP and university fellow
A fellow at Sheffield Hallam, and a GP in the area, describes a typical day between two roles
Name: Dr Jenny Stephenson
Role: Senior partner of a five-partner practice in Sheffield since 1985, and visiting fellow of Sheffield Hallam University since 2010. Also member of local LMC and CCG long-term conditions and clinical reference groups, and the board for reorganising community nursing
Location: Walkley and Stannington medical centres, and Sheffield Hallam, Sheffield
Hours worked per week: Usually 50-60 but sometimes more
Best things about my job: As a GP I am trained for, and enjoy most, my patient contact time; in my work as a fellow I enjoy meeting people who share my objectives of training NHS staff and bring a fresh perspective to my work. I consider myself fortunate as my working life has so much variety – I am never bored.
Worst thing about my job: Feeling controlled by the computer in my clinical role.
I spring out of bed to a hot shower and a bowl of porridge then, at 7.30am, drive to our branch surgery through beautiful countryside and chomping cows – a time for reflection.
I settle down to sign repeat prescriptions and complete electronic tasks, ready for the day to begin. Preparation is key to a smooth-running day, hopefully. Morning surgery begins at 8.30am.
After surgery, I often speak with our community nurses about referrals or the new long-term conditions template - both concerns which I will be able to address through my CCG contacts. Any training needs I can help to supply through my university contacts.
Usually I do between three and five visits a day then have a ‘working lunch’ while dealing with the PathLinks – an email system of laboratory results. Triaging my work is so important. My fellowship work is mainly done by emails during any grabbed opportunities in the daytime, but mainly in the evenings when I am peacefully away from work interruptions and I have time to reflect a little. Our meetings are any mornings or afternoons when I have free time, when we need to meet up.
Lunch is also usually a good time to do some of my work for Sheffield Hallam. I am called a ‘visiting fellow’ of the university because my post is honorary and I maintain contact by visiting and email. I do not have a room or desk there but I hold meetings with my Hallam colleagues on site (discussing course content, funding, and arrangements). I must spend about one or two hours a week answering emails and arranging courses in this role, and another hour or two each month attending meetings although it can take longer to manage workload from this role when we are coming up to deadlines.
I help a small team of people at the university (including former nurses) run courses for primary care staff. I helped to establish the clinical update forums series of educational modules for primary care staff on clinical, management and commissioning topics.
I am the only GP on the team at the moment. Hallam’s courses are based on educational needs and topics requested by delegates, or made imperative by the current changes in the NHS. In my other roles on the CCG and running a medical education group for GPs, I can pick up educational needs quickly.
In between my surgeries or on a free afternoon I schedule meetings with the team at Hallam. Sessions can vary from ‘brief interventional’ type of teaching which lasts one and a half hours, to half- or whole-day events. We also watch for opportunities such as offering statutory training in areas like cervical cytology.
After work I scrape up a bunch of medical magazines and head home for dinner with my husband. He tells me about his day in the hospital pathology department while we eat.
After dinner I answer some emails, and do background research for a book I’m writing. It’s a history of our practice and so I have gathered stories from patients - the emerging theme through the book is that we must never stop caring, despite medical services becoming more complex.