A registrar survival guide... setting up your consulting room

When you take over a consulting room, what is the best way to set it up?

Out with the old and in with the new
Assuming you acquire your own room and do not have to hot desk, firstly give it a good clear out. This includes video consent forms from the 1980s and plants that are well and truly dead. Add whatever you need to make it a comfortable work environment.

Know your equipment
Find out the process for replenishing your stock early on. There is nothing more infuriating than fishing about for equipment during a busy surgery, or realising your fundoscope is out of battery the only time you need to use it. Gloves, specula, peak flow mouthpieces, thermometer probe covers, auroscope attachments and tongue depressors will need replacing fairly regularly.

Other handy tips
1. Find a safe place for your valuables.

2. Consider the patient's comfort: change the examination couch cover with each patient, keep a blanket available and make sure curtains or blinds are closed during examinations.

3. Keep cleaning products, air freshener, tissues and plenty of paper towels handy.

4. Keep good quality patient leaflets in a drawer or filing cabinet for easy access.

5. Post-it notes are wonderful things. As are pens that work. If your conscience permits, pinch some from a friendly drug rep.

6. Know how to load blank prescriptions into the printer. And write a note of how to do it for next time.

7. Squeeze in extra learning during and between consultations by keeping certain websites open on your computer, for example Clinical Knowledge Summaries and ePortfolio.

8. Keep a to-do list or notebook of daily jobs, including referrals, patients to follow up, etc.

9. An in/out tray helps ease the pain of paperwork.

10. Remember, this is your space: how you feel in it may well change the dynamics and quality of your consultations.

  • Contributed by Dr Suchita Shah, a GP in Oxford
Essentials checklist
  • A comfortable working environment.
  • A good stock of equipment at all times.
  • Access to learning resources during and between consultations.
  • Access to good quality patient leaflets.
  • An in/out tray to ease paperwork pressures.

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