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Feeling deeply hurt by friends comment, AIBU?

73 replies

DreamInLavender · 15/03/2020 09:39

Friend is a GP surgery nurse. I am a PA, working for 4 consultants and managing the workload distribution of the clinic 2.5 days a week. I regularly give upsetting and devastating new to patients. I go above and beyond my job spec and I work really bloody hard. A lot of things just wouldn't work and would fall into chaos without my assistance.

I'm no front line doctor but I do my essential bit. Was having a chat to friend today about it all and I said something along the lines of 'worrying for us lot as NHS staff'. She giggled and said why me? I said because I work for the NHS too.. She said yes but you're not a vital team member and the system can cope without your job.

We quickly moved on the conversation but I still feel a bit cut up about what she said Sad I don't know why I'm being such a snowflake. But I have made sacrifices too and put patients first all the time. I have worked in private sector roles for double the cash and half the stress. But here I am, every time I think of leaving and go elsewhere, I just can't. I feel extremely needed and important. Maybe I'm just a fool. I lost my DD last year and returned to my job 3 weeks later - I had a message from some colleagues of support but also lots of reminders of them wondering when I'll return since they clinic needs me. I felt like I had to be there.

The job itself gives me flexibility to be with my DS and attend all of his bits and bobs, so there's that.

AIBU to think what she's said is really off and quite careless?

OP posts:

Mouthfulofquiz · 15/03/2020 10:58

Your friend is a bit of a twat really. I think I’d have to say something to clear the air and make sure she is aware of how it has made you feel. I hope she doesn’t go around at work like that - everyone working in the nhs is there for basically the same reason.


Skeeter2020 · 15/03/2020 11:00

'Regularly' giving bad news to patients? Really? If so your department really needs to look at it systems.

Your friend was really rude btw


MoltonSilver · 15/03/2020 11:10

Is it possible that she was being dismissive in an attempt to assure you that you won't get sick? Perhaps the intention was good, while the delivery was dreadful.


DreamInLavender · 15/03/2020 11:16

Molton No, sadly that wasn't it. And she knows I'm not overly fussed about getting sick. I just worry for my son who has underlying health conditions but is a baby really so likely to be 100% fine... You never can quite tell. I don't feel like we know much about this virus at all

OP posts:

NinjaRule · 15/03/2020 11:37

Your friend was rude, but I’m sorry, if I was on the receiving end of bad news, it had better be a doctor telling me so I can ask the 100,000 questions I would need to and trust in the responses I was getting.

I would stop that shite right now I’m an EA some stuff just isn’t your job.


crustycrab · 15/03/2020 11:44

Sorry, consultants don't get their admin staff to give upsetting and devastating news to their patients. I don't believe that for one minute

Why do you think of leaving if you love it so much?


ElspethFlashman · 15/03/2020 11:56

This reply has been deleted

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

FourDecades · 15/03/2020 12:00

Even l as a qualified nurse don't give devastating news to patients. I think you are overstepping in your role and need to be very careful


Dannn · 15/03/2020 12:04

Your friend is very shortsighted to suggest your role is not important and I’m sure you do a great job, but I’m very surprised to hear that you “regularly give upsetting and devastating news to patients” and would think that well outside of your job role as admin staff.


umberellaonesie · 15/03/2020 12:07

Folk who dont have to try and navigate the system just don't understand the vital role support staff play. My consultants secretary is worth her weight in gold. I often need to speak to hcp staff a short notice and the secretary is my first port of call. She knows where the team staff are, what their workload is and who is likely to be able to help me best and quickest. The system wouldn't work without these knowledgeable staff organising and helping prioritise workload behind the scenes. Thank you for your hard work, i appreciate you.


crustycrab · 15/03/2020 12:09

And does she give you devastating news umbrella?


DreamInLavender · 15/03/2020 12:13

By devastating news I mean that of... Sorry, the surgery you've had booked for close to a year has now been cancelled. Sorry, it is urgent a doctor speaks to you today. Please would you come in? Sorry, I have to cancel your appointment for today. Sorry, the consultant you need can't do today and although you've been waiting 6 months for this, it has to be rebooked

OP posts:

DreamInLavender · 15/03/2020 12:16

People forget certain limitations peopleb have without the needed appointments and surgeries. If something gets in the way of that then yes it is incredibly upsetting for people. And people have questions. They're upset. For example, someone due for hip replacement being rebooked in for a different time. Or someone waiting on a surgery that'll make their life 1000 easier and now they have to remain in pain for ages longer.

OP posts:

Rhubarbpeony · 15/03/2020 12:19

YANBU that was really rude and unkind. Even if that’s what she thinks she should know better than to say it! And it sounds like she’s talking rubbish anyway.

I’m grateful that you’re still there doing your job and helping people.


Hercules12 · 15/03/2020 12:21

I can't get past that a non medical person gives devastating news. That's shocking.


Rhubarbpeony · 15/03/2020 12:22

And I know what you mean by devastating news because when my grandmother was told her hip replacement was being cancelled and she had to spend another three months in agony she broke down crying and said she didn’t know if she could keep living with the pain. Just because some people on this thread are suffering a failure of empathy and imagination doesn’t mean you aren’t a really important port of call for people who are suffering.


Greenandpleasanter · 15/03/2020 12:28

Your friend is very rude.

When a close family member with terminal illness was admitted to hospital, very distressed and in pain, the person who I'll never forget was the cleaner who went and got him a pillow. All the nursing staff just left him to sort himself out and he just wanted to get settled in the bed, which didn't have a pillow. The cleaner heard us and went and got it himself. My relative was absolutely fine once settled in and it reduced his stress and discomfort immediately.

Sometimes those small gestures mean more than anything. It can be a kind receptionist, a HCA who goes and makes a cup of tea, admin staff who sort out an appointment issue. When you're scared or in pain, the people who talk to you kindly and resolve problems for you can make all the difference.

Equally I'll never forget the catering assistant who was very rude to me when I was starving having just given birth (and breast feeding) and was given a sandwich and a kitkat and asked if there was anything more substantial, told me it wasn't all about me and I had to just wait until someone came in to bring me food (I couldn't leave the baby obviously). People who keep the system running and provide the support services are vital to the actual patients.


sarahC40 · 15/03/2020 12:43

Your friend is crap. The volunteers, receptionists and the healthcare assistants were just as much of a support for us when we had a loved one in a hospice - won’t forget those hugs, ever. When I was in hospital, it was a member of admin staff who heard a consultant being an absolute arse to me, leaving me frightened. She came over, hugged me and told me she was going to do something about that. I got an apology...because she spoke up fo me. Not going to forget that either.


PlomBear · 15/03/2020 12:48

I appreciate your job is important OP but it still is just a job. If you got a (better paid, less stressful) job elsewhere they would soon replace you. Nobody is irreplaceable.


Pamalarrrr · 15/03/2020 12:50

Why are people jumping on the devastating news bit? If that is OP's job role, then that is their business. I hardly think they are looking at personal info and saying "Oooh Mrs Smith has got XXXX life changing illness, let me go into reception and tell her"

FFS. Would you like OP to download her job description??

And your friend was very rude and patronising in her response


YouokHun · 15/03/2020 12:54

You’re a PA and I’m not dissing that role at all.
But regularly giving distressing and upsetting news to patients? I don’t wish to be rude but is that not beyond your remit and something a doctor should be doing

@Papergirl1968 the realities of the NHS and the lack of consultants means that speaking to them face to face is simply not possible. An example: my father is now gravely ill with cancer. He is in a hospital that has two consultant haematology oncologists who cover a very large chunk of Sussex, shuttling between two large hospitals an hour apart. The PA is the only person who my father could reach before he was finally admitted. She was excellent but in a very difficult position, but there was no consultant to impart information with the swiftness he needs. We relied on her to chase for us!

OP your friend is wrong (speaking as a former NHS employee myself), we all have a part to play and she is short sighted if she can’t see how important your role is. I’m sure the consultants you work for would set her straight.


feathermucker · 15/03/2020 12:55

I'm guessing you mean P.A. as in Physician Associate as opposed to Personal Assistant?

Think there's some folk misunderstanding.

Our P.A.s at work are a vital part of the team, as are admin, porters, domestics etc. We're all part of the team and whilst the work we do may not be deemed as vital or lifesaving, it all helps towards a functioning hospital.

Whether we could be replaced at the drop of a hat is irrelevant (and probably not true)


Hmpher · 15/03/2020 13:23

I think your friend was being very rude and looking down on you. I’d be hurt by it too. I think your role is extremely important. While I guess you wouldn’t be considered ‘frontline staff’, those people wouldn’t be able to focus on their job if they couldn’t rely on you to do yours. They’d have to absorb all of the work that you’re currently doing. It’s a pretty simple thing to understand.

I’m currently volunteering in an admin/reception role at a children’s centre (obviously not as important as NHS) but I feel valued and respected. They are understaffed and underfunded so the staff who were previously doing basic everyday things can now leave it to me and focus on the jobs they are actually trained to do. I’ve tactfully dealt with and helped drained new mums, people who can’t afford food and people having contact with children who have been removed from their care. I know that my role is tiny in the grand scheme of things, but I feel proud to know that I am helping people in some small way and the staff have been nothing but grateful for the support.


LashesZ · 15/03/2020 13:27

Your friend is a div. I manage an NHS department and had to sort out all of the contingency plans that the doctors wanted to put in place. Contacting telecomms, the communications team, writing SOPs.. the clinical aspect of the NHS cannot function without the clerical staff. Admittedly I know nothing about coronavirus but I'm the one with the contacts in procurement to pull a favour for some extra supplies on the sly.


MonicaGellerBing · 15/03/2020 13:33

Why are you a band 5 for being a medical secretary? The midwife was correct in being shocked you're a band 5 and nurses don't even start off on a band 5. I used to be a medical secretary too btw

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