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14 March 2013
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The Office

‘To understand how high up healthcare decisions are made’ and ‘learn how to interact with senior board members’  -  that’s what I wrote on my application form explaining why I was applying to become a FMLM Clinical Fellow.  And I’m sure, by the time my year is up I will.  But it appears there are some entry level skills to pick up first.  Like learning how to work in an office. 

I know it sounds ridiculous, but I am an office virgin.  I’ve worked in supermarkets, multiple bars and of course hospitals, but never in an office.  And I had no idea how different it would be.  First off, I couldn’t even get my chair to fit under my desk.  Normally I’m not sat down in one place long enough to notice, but now it seems important as the vast majority of my day is spent sitting down.  Speaking of that - how is ‘Office Acquired’ VTE not more of an issue?  My undersized bladder is a hindrance on the wards, but here I suspect its one of the few things protect me from developing a workplace DVT.

Coming to the end of my first full week as an ‘office worker’ - I’ve got a few pressing queries.  Dress down Friday.  How ‘down’ is down?  Why am I considered less likely to look at inappropriate websites here (nothing appears to be blocked, although I can’t proclaim to have pushed the boundaries significantly) compared with in a hospital setting, despite the fact I have far more time to do so?  How does anyone get anything done in an open plan office?  And finally – why is the person near me wearing sunglasses inside?  Is that part of my essential office attire? 

Answers on a postcard please…

Dr. Bethan Graf, National Medical Director’s Clinical Fellow, NHS Commissioning Board


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