I’m staying AAA, but I’m being driven towards the AAAA By Dr Sheila O’Neill

We wrote this piece for Dr Sheila O’Neill, chief executive at Glasgow Medical Rooms, www.glasgowmedicalrooms.com. As a result, she appeared on the front cover of the April 2017 issue of Scottish Business Women magazine. Jargon busting pieces always go down well with reporters who like to keep copy as readable as possible. Read and enjoy our writer, Ron Clark’s, creativity.

Picture details: Sheila O’Neill


I’m staying AAA, but I’m being driven towards the AAAA By Dr Sheila O’Neill

Jargon gets a bad press but, let’s face it, we all use acronyms and short cuts to find the most efficient routes of communication with other professionals in our field. It may sound like gobbledegook to outsiders, but it makes sense to us.

Until, that is, you change professional horses – and, of necessity, terminology – mid-career and suddenly you can find yourself in a snafu*, or if things get really complicated, perhaps they will even be fubar.**

That is the unenviable position I find myself in after setting up this summer as one of Scotland’s newest independent general practitioners and one of only two private GP practices in Glasgow city centre.

My previous life – and, believe me, it feels a lifetime ago – was entirely spent with the NHS as a partner in an inner-city practice in Glasgow. We had our shorthand and our codes, many of which it might be advisable to draw a veil over here.

But now I am a businesswoman, and while I am quickly getting up to speed (should that be UTS?) with KPIs, RoI, SaaS, SEO and all the rest, there is a terrible potential for total confusion with the old medical terms.

For instance, there is not a single sharp-suited MBA out there who is not comfortable with CRM as customer relationship management. But for me, it is still Crown-to-Rump Measurement, the standard technique for sizing up a new-born baby.

Similarly, though I know that a problem in the CPU refers to the central processing unit in my technology set-up, it still sets my heart racing because my first thought is that it’s the Cardio-Pulmonary Unit.

And I do feel awful about my PR company, which has smoothed many of my un-businesslike edges, but whenever anyone mentions PR, I still think – forgive me – of Per-Rectum.

The list goes on. ABC will always be Airways, Breathing, Circulation to me, but more than one sales person has pointed out that it is actually their mantra – Always Be Closing. Who knew?

ERP may mean enterprise resource planning to most of the business community, but I don’t think it’s unreasonable if my mind skips naturally to Endoscopic Retrograde cholangio-Pancreatography.

Never mind. I’ll just have to work on my MI – that’s management intelligence, not myocardial infarction. I shall remain AAA (that’s Alive, Alert, Aggressive, not Abdominal

Aortic Aneurysm) and perhaps I’ll even sign up to the AAAA (Association against Acronym Abuse).

Personally, I think it may be ABCD (Above and Beyond the Call of Duty) but I’m sure I’ll have it right by COB.

* – situation normal, all fouled up

** – fouled up beyond all recognition

Dr Sheila O’Neill is the founder of Glasgow Medical Rooms

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