My work experience was from the 8th July – 18th July 2002 at a surgery in Greenwich called the South Street Medical Centre. It took me about half an hour to get there from my house by bus. I started at 9 o’clock and finished at 4 o’clock. On the first day, I was a bit nervous but outwardly calm. I felt optimistic and enthusiastic to have the opportunity to experience something new and potentially exciting. If only I had known what the world of work was really like! I went in calmly and asked the receptionist where I should go. She told me to go to the top floor to see Jackie Bowness, the secretary.
I went in and we talked about what I was going to do for the two weeks. Then she took me around the medical centre and told me what the rooms were and what happened in them. Then she took me to the reception and introduced me to the staffs who were working there and she explained their duties and that I would be working with them as well as in the secretaries’s office. After looking around we went to the top floor. To start off my work she gave some letters to type. I also had to listen to the doctors on the tape and type out what they said and then confer with Jackie and then print it out. I had one hour for lunch.
I could bring my own lunch or go out and buy some lunch. They had a kitchen where you can make tea or have a drink and eat. Jackie asked me if I wanted to come with her because she was going to go out and I said okay. We went to the out and she asked me where I wanted to eat and I told her how I had left my food in the fridge and she said we could go back and eat. We looked around the shops and we went to the post office to post the letters from the medical centre and then we went back and had out lunch. We went back to the top floor and she gave me some photocopying to do and then I typed some more letters using the dictaphone.
Then it was time for me to go home. On the second day I went in and Jackie told me that I could open the post with her, she told me to open all of it, except the ones with ‘private and confidential’ written on them. After I had opened the post it had to sort it out and put it into each doctors’ folders. I had to take the medical results and the repeat prescriptions down to the reception. The staff working in the reception told me to put the medical results in to each person’s file, and then I did some filing. Then I had lunch in the kitchen and after lunch I did some more filing and then I went home.
I spent the fourth day down in the reception, helping with the filing and I had to put the letters back into the files. They told me I didn’t have to come in the next day because they had half day. I thought yes, excellent! Because by this stage, I was frankly finding the whole experience completely boring and the routine tedious. What amazed me was that some people seem condemned to this kind of day to day grind. I felt sorry for them but it made me want to concentrate more on my studies so that I will be able get a much more interesting job in the future.
I spent the second week down in the reception and up in the secretaries’ office. On Monday, I met the senior doctor and he gave me a booklet that they were going to give to staff and new staff who were going to start. He told me to read it and when I read it I found some mistakes and I told him and he told me I could read through the whole booklet and correct the errors. At least I felt some recognition of my worth and this was positive for me. On Tuesday I was in the reception all day because Jackie couldn’t come in on that day. While I was in the reception I translated Tamil to people who couldn’t speak Tamil because I knew Tamil.
Again this made me feel useful and of benefit. I was happy on Thursday because it was the Last day at work, so I took some chocolates for the staff. I did some translation for some people I knew. For lunch I went out with Jackie and she took me to a book shop and I brought a cook book for mum. After lunch Jackie told me that one of my teachers was going to come and visit me. Then Jackie told me I could have half day because it was my last day, so I said good bye to everyone and I thought to my self ‘yes free at last’. This was a good feeling because I was so bored at that place.