A registrar survival guide... managing paperwork

Just the word 'paperwork' can conjure up a mental image of a mountain of monotonous correspondence, with magical sleep-inducing properties that you wish you could prescribe for your army of insomniac patients.

The issues with paperwork mainly revolve around the facts that it is never ending and it can be dull. There is an expectation that it should be completed yesterday and there are increasingly complicated forms, just because someone has discovered a new function on Microsoft Word.

Is there a way to get away from paperwork? No. Are there ways of dealing with it? Yes.

  • Start early

Coming in a little earlier before surgery to deal with bits and bobs will lead to a less stressful morning surgery.

  • Remain vigilant

The seventh normal autoantibody screen in a row might lull you into a false sense of security. Pay attention to what you are reading and doing.

  • Do not multi-task

When dealing with important things, do not try to multi-task. Signing a script, faxing a referral and reviewing a blood result all at the same time will only lead to problems.

  • Give up fighting it

Procrastination will only lead to even more to do the next day.

  • Have a routine

Allotted times for each task helps organise your day. Set aside a time to read letters, sign prescriptions and review blood results.

  • Admit that you are struggling

Most importantly as a trainee if you are having difficulty coping with the amount of work asked of you, discuss it with your trainer.

Essentials checklist
  • An organised approach.
  • Attention to detail.
  • An ability to ask for help.
  • Contributed by Dr Syed Haque, a GP registrar in the east of England.

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