Practice Manager Jenna Johnstone has made a big impact at Peterloo Medical Centre in Rochdale, Greater Manchester. As well as being responsible for HR, Workforce, Complaints, Research and IT, she committed to workforce development and runs an array of dynamic research programmes where she integrates clinical teams, admin and frontline staff.

She was recently awarded PMA Practice Manager of the Year.

How do you start your day?
I am a ‘get up and out of the door’ type of person, so I’m up around 6.45am and arrive at work between 7.30-7.45am. I work on site all of the time and live locally, so it’s an easy commute.

No two days are the same. But what does a typical day look like for you?
First thing I do religiously every day is log into the clinical system and check internal emails, then log into NHS Mail for external emails. I skim though and flag anything that I think needs actioning before sorting out my daily ‘to do’ list.

My role involves HR, IT, Complaints and more recently I have the task of organising our twice weekly COVID Booster clinics and have also been developing my knowledge of practice finances!

What do you enjoy most about your work?
I love the interaction I have with both my colleagues and Partners. Primary Care is so challenging that we’d never survive without having good relationships with the people we work with!

It can be so tough sometimes, but there is always someone who will be able to pick you up and sometimes offer cake!

One of my passions is Apprenticeships and Training – I love seeing apprentices develop in their roles, and some of our current staff started at the practice as apprentices and are now in more senior roles. Or, for example, one staff member who started as an apprentice receptionist has just begun another apprenticeship with us as a higher level HCA.

I love seeing all staff progress and develop in their roles and always encourage them to come to me with any idea they have. If it’s something we can change, I’ll always say to them – try it! If it doesn’t work, we go back to the old way. We can only try these things!

What has been the biggest challenge of the pandemic?
There has been such an increase in workload and staff shortage. We’ve also struggled to recruit staff into General Practice, which I suspect is related to the news reports of abuse.

There is not enough information out there nationally to help patients understand the actual pressure we are under. We’ve been working above capacity for the last 20 months and there’s an unrealistic expectation of what we can do within General Practice.

Everyone at my practice has worked tirelessly throughout – and will continue to do so to benefit the patients – but this is hard sometimes when my staff are facing abuse and aggression daily, when they’re trying their best to help.

How do you relax?
I do sometimes find it hard to wind down as I’m always thinking about what needs to be done next. But I’m lucky to have an amazing husband who reminds me that I need to recharge!

We enjoy walking with our naughty pug Peanut and we are also season ticket holders at Manchester City, so we go to every home match. I have a fantastic set of close friends who often provide support and a lot of laughter which helps me relax, and I speak to my family weekly (they’re all in Birmingham so I don’t get to see them as often as I’d like)

To me, there is nothing more important than family and friends.