1. November 2005 05:00
Some surgeries are a delight to wait in. The magazines are up to date, the staff are friendly and the patients are quiet. I imagine I am not the only rep to have been annoyed by the call of ‘Medical Rep to room four’ when I am in the middle of a gripping article in National Geographic about how Polar Bears hide from their prey. Usually I am, of course, happy to see a Doctor. They are after all one of our most important customers. But I consider it a perk of the job to be able to learn how to build my own PC from scratch with parts from old fridges and to read about how ‘I forgave my husband after he had a child with my best friend’. I have even been known to rip articles out of magazines to read later. There is a pile of them at home on my desk, next to the company branded stationery set which doesn’t get used.
Twenty minutes in a waiting room is not always a relaxing experience though. You will see me go white in an instant at the mere mention of a baby clinic. Then there are the surgeries that are, to be diplomatic, in need of some modernisation. You don’t want to sit on a chair for fear it would break and you would end up spending a sizeable proportion of your dwindling budget on replacement furniture.
And then there are the surgeries without magazines. These are the worst of all. What do people do in these waiting rooms? If I have to read once more that ‘If I was around in 1940 I could be at serious risk from Pneumococcal disease’, or spend another second of my time looking at that picture of a girl at a festival with a can of beer in her hand warning against the dangers of meningitis, I fear I shall rip the posters off the wall.
Yet there is a solution to waiting room hell, and it doesn’t involve laptops, planning or sales analysis. Just carry a good book everywhere you go. And write about your experiences. It makes you feel a lot better.
That’s all for this month. The Doctor is waiting for me in room four, and I am ready to see him now.