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by Isabel Shaw
15 November 2019

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Wellbeing in Practice: Kay Keane – ‘Nature plays a huge role in my wellbeing’

As part of our new series on wellbeing, reporter Isabel Shaw asks Greater Manchester practice manager Kay Keane how she relaxes outside of work

To mark the launch of our wellbeing in practice initiative, which aims to shine a light on how practice managers can achieve a better work-life balance, we’ve been speaking to practice managers around the country to see how they do it.

Kay Keane has been a practice manager for Alvanley Family Practice in Woodley, Greater Manchester for the last four-and-a-half years. She speaks to Management in Practice about dealing with complaints, building a community and nature’s positive impact on her own wellbeing.

Stresses of the job

Ms Keane’s practice has a very active role in the community. ‘We collaborate and create new opportunities for our patients and staff. We have just started a new group where all the voluntary organisations in our town have come together. The first time this has happened and we are already planning new ways to work together.’

‘I love the community engagement that we have in Woodley,’ she says.

‘Some might say it’s not medicine, but this external service supports the great medicine that our team provides. It supports our staff who live here and their families, as well as various communities and makes Woodley a better place to live and work in.’

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The stress level in this tight-knit community practice is kept to a minimum Ms Keane adds. However, they can’t always escape it, ‘Sometimes, when patients make complaints or unfair comments it does upset our morale. For example the reception team do an amazing job, and when people treat them badly, are abusive or make unfair comments, it really does stress [out] all of us’

She also talks of administrative stresses, ‘[There’s] so much information up the chain that it’s hard to keep track and be timely. The amount of emails [we receive] is astonishing. I’m really mindful now to only reply to things that I can add value to so that I’m not adding to other people’s workload.’

Take a walk

Ms Keane says that nature plays a huge role in her wellbeing, and walking to and from work each day helps her to destress.

‘Nature plays a huge role in my wellbeing. I find it relaxing to walk along the canal towpath, I can use the 40 minute journey to prepare for the day or even forget the day. I also find people are really friendly and that way I have people to speak to every morning. If I walked along the road, no one would lift their heads,’ she says.

The practice itself works on the wellbeing of its staff through building a supportive and nurturing team, ‘We celebrate everything here at Alvanley Family Practice from birthdays to weddings, basically whatever we can. We love sharing our achievements, personal and professional,’ explains Ms Keane.

‘We also offer our administrative staff a day off for their birthdays – a gesture from the partners to help them celebrate. We focus very much on work-life balance. For instance, if a member of staff has a child in a school play or a parents’ evening to attend, we do our best to ensure that they can get there.’

We’d like to hear from you. Let us know how you practise wellbeing by using the hashtag #WellbeinginPractice on our Facebook and Twitter channels