Once the insurance company had given me the go ahead, I sought out someone who seemed like a skilled surgeon and called his office.
From that moment on, I was in the hands of his medical secretary, Pat, who looked after everything.
Pat set up the initial consultation, booked the hospital room and the operating theatre and the follow-up appointment, as if she was my own secretary. Truly impressive!
In need of a secretary myself, I called Pat after the operation to see whether I could poach her. Apparently that was out of the question as she loved working for the surgeon too much.
She suggested I call Pitman Training in Holborn where she had studied. She had taken a medial secretarial course and earned a diploma with distinction. I was a bit shocked to hear that she had only been working for the surgeon for 6 months. I would have thought she had years of experience, judging by her efficiency.
Anyway, she claimed there were lots of really good people taking secretarial courses there.
So I gave them a call. Although I’d never heard of them before, it turns out they’re over 160 years old and a bit of an old English brand like Dunhill and Church’s shoes.
As I found out more about them, I learned that if you’re looking for a secretarial course, there’s not really anywhere else to go. They own the market.
I spoke to a really enthusiastic lady who asked me to send over a job spec which they would circulate among relevant students in their London centres in Notting Hill and Holborn, and as a long shot, in Manchester.
I didn’t need a medical secretary like Pat but the Pitman lady suggested I go for someone who had taken an Executive PA course as these were at the top of the tree, with the widest range of skills.
Oh, and by the way, they don’t charge a fee like recruitment agencies.
At first, I was disappointed to only receive three CV’s from their students and none of these had much experience. But having started down this road, I decided to interview them. The Pitman lady even suggested I give each a trial half-day, so I took her up on that.
I must say, all three were impressive! I could have hired any of them.
As their skills were almost identical, in the end I offered the job to the one whose personality blended best with my own.
And that’s how I ended up with Elena, a charming young Hungarian girl with perfect English.
Always immaculately turned out, Elena is my personal assistant, organising my diary and carrying out secretarial duties, as well looking after front of house reception.
Despite her lack of experience, I would say she could perform 95% of her duties from day one and needed minimal input from me.
She told me she had found out about her Executive PA course on the web and had come to the UK especially to study for her diploma. Initially she had thought she would go home again but she loved London too much, so she has settled here now.
Elena has been with me for a year now and she has saved me so much time and hassle, especially as I’m out of the office a lot.
If you need office staff, I’d recommend contacting Pitman Training. They have so many skilled students and they won’t charge you anything if you hire one.