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1945: A practice nurse’s perspective

Lorraine Pring, a practice nurse at the Yare Valley Medical Practice in Norwich, has early patients, dismissive consultants and an unfamiliar feline to deal with.

Monday morning started at 8.10am when I unlocked the surgery front door.

I start earlier than my GP colleagues to offer access for those on their way to work. On the doorstep are an elderly couple and a cat I haven't seen around the surgery before (the feline that is).

The phone is ringing non-stop. The GP on today is the most patient-requested one and his reduced appointments - he is at the weekly partners' meeting until 9.30am (don't ask) - are going fast.

The practice has a no pre-booking policy for Mondays - apart from my few early slots - and when the GPs' are full, the rest slide into mine. The morning gathers momentum and the consultations commence with the preamble 'I wanted to see the doctor' (great for morale).

There was nothing I couldn't deal with, thanks to judicious selection by the receptionists and after fielding phone calls, lab results and queries from receptionists and patients as I'm spotted venturing through reception, I draft a referral to paediatrics for a 4-year-old boy I have seen. I live in hope that the consultant will direct his reply to me instead of a bemused GP who has not seen the patient and then forgets to direct the response to me.

I have a 10 minute break between morning and afternoon surgery to grab a coffee and then take a quick trip around the increasingly vandalised premises to investigate the intermittent mewing I've been hearing all morning (see earlier mention of cat). I don't find a stress-relieving furry friend, but discover a boot protruding from an overgrown hedge and breathe a sigh of relief there is no leg attached.

I return to an intranet message. Can I attend HQ tomorrow for SystmOne prescribing tuition - we 'go live' next week. That will just take a couple of hours before I go on my Tuesday afternoon home visits! The week is well underway.

A day in the life of general practice