View from the reception desk

Judith Callanan retired from our reception team at the end of last year, after being at the practice for an amazing 25 years. Here is her take on how it was to be at reception: 


Being a receptionist is a good job. I must like it as I have been behind the reception desk at Burneston Dental for 25 years this Summer. When I first started, way back in 1990, we were known as Burneston House. We were a completely NHS practice then with 10 minute appointments and consequently a lot more patients coming and going every day. The reception was in a room on its own at the back of the house with a big desk and nothing more high- tech than a telephone and a large diary, a pencil and a rubber.
Changes came and after what seemed like years of builders, dust and disruption (at one time we had to run reception from a stool in the kitchen upstairs) we finally had our new remodelled surgery with reception relocated to the front along with a brighter and better waiting room.
My day always starts with the most important thing – a cup of tea. After that I will unlock doors, fire up the computer and settle down behind the desk. Most of my job consists of greeting our patients, answering the phone and making appointments. There are also medical histories and contact details to be checked and filed away again, letters to see to, emails to be answered, toothbrushes and other sundries to be ordered. These and a myriad of other smaller tasks make up a busy and varied day – always interspersed with more cups of life saving tea.
One of the great things about being in reception is the number of interesting people you meet and get to know over the years. Some first came to us as children and now are parents themselves bringing their own children to the surgery.
I have always shared my job with other colleagues, although there have not been many changes over the years. Many people will remember with affection Jean – the Scottish lady who, like me, stayed for a quarter of a century and inspired me, when I started, with her efficiency and attention to detail. Then there was Geoff who kept us all amused with his fund of jokes and stories and lately we have welcomed Leanne, who being so much younger, is far more adept at the computer than I will ever be. Our nurses all take a turn at reception now and again and even our principal Christian has sat there.
My time in reception is coming to an end as I will be retiring this year, though you may still catch a glimpse of me as I will be coming back occasionally to do some book- keeping and admin in the background.