There’s an irony in the fact that a typical day for Joshua Kurzawa doesn’t really consist of anything that typical. That’s because as a managed services engineer, the only constant that can be guaranteed is that his day will be varied.

It’s what happens when you work with 35 different GP practices across Leeds, covering an area that as Josh describes, is “from as high as Wetherby and as low as Tingley.” Jobs for him to complete can crop up out of the blue across this entire area, which means that, as Josh says, “even if I’ve planned my day out, it can all change.”

Put simply, Josh’s role boils down to completing “break fixes on all the hardware that we can support.” At Egton, this means that GP practices and the CCGs across Leeds will “log any faults with our service desk who will then determine if I need to be sent out to fix the issue.” It’s why his day is never the same – even the amount of practices that Josh visits varies between two and six across his 9-5 working day.

“I don’t really have a daily structure – but that keeps things from getting dull.”

Joshua Kurzawa

Managed Services Engineer, Egton

Starting the day

The first thing that Josh does when he wakes up in the morning is to “think on what can be achieved today.” That involves drinking his morning coffee while checking the whiteboard that he’s set up at home. Displayed across it is a priority chart that is constantly evolving, with tasks and projects written up and ranked depending on their urgency.

First up on his list today is an internet traffic project that he has just started working on with four practices. Their internet connection is “getting hammered,” so Josh has to “figure out what is over-utilising the lines.” It’s a slightly slippery task to get a grasp of, but one that Josh is finding “productive” as it’s forcing him to “think outside of the box about how to get a resolution.”

Projects like these are ongoing, with work often getting “done in stages” rather than being completed right away. Hardware renewal projects are the most common of these continuous tasks, where Josh will complete a “batch of upgrades” which are followed up and reported on at the end of the month.

The open-ended nature of projects also means that Josh in never working on just one thing. The next practice he heads to has two different projects going on simultaneously. The first of these is to do with setting up kit in a new consultation room, which will be completed in a couple of months’ time.
Meanwhile, Josh is also “on the lookout for any security issues” since the practice wants to ensure “that everything is up to date.” Even though the second project isn’t the key focus of his visit, it’s “always something he always keeps his eye on so he can help the practice out.

Adapting to the role

Although Josh celebrated his five-year work anniversary at Egton this past September, it’s only recently that he’s taken on his current position. Initially starting out on the Egton service desk, he’s worked in various support-based roles before ending up as a managed services engineer. Driven by the desire “to be more hands on with processes and projects,” his current role is one that suits him well.

Through this varied experience, Josh has learnt how to best liaise with the different people he meets and “the different IT knowledge that they may have.” For Josh, it’s important that those he’s working with always understand what’s happening.

It’s a concern that Amy Sandlan, administrations officer at Burton Croft Surgery, has witnessed first-hand. As she explains, “I find Josh very polite and respectful of staff who do not have a high level of IT skill. He’s extremely knowledgeable and happy to help. He’s also efficient, which is very much appreciated in general practice.”

It was this attitude that helped see through a project that Josh worked with Amy on recently. Involving “the switch over from group to individual Windows log-ins for staff”, Amy found that Josh was “able to sort any bumps we hit along the way.” Despite not being the easiest of tasks – it turns out that some of Burton Croft’s “older software really does not like being networked” – Josh was “amazingly supportive” throughout.

Although this project has finished, Amy continues to see the dedication Josh puts into his role. “He’s happy to provide advice over the phone. And if I then cannot resolve the issues, Josh will pop out to site.”

“Josh is extremely knowledgeable and happy to help. He’s also efficient, which is very much appreciated in general practice.”

Amy Sandlan

Administrations officer, Burton Croft Surgery

Beyond the practice

After lunch, Josh heads out to two meetings. The first of these is with NHS Leeds North CCG, who, in addition to weekly catch-up calls, Josh meets with in person every three weeks. As Josh explains, these sessions are important as they allow everyone to get to grips with “what I have going on, what I have achieved and what we want to refocus on.” These meetings and calls add up to an “ongoing reshuffling of our priorities” that ensure projects are successful.

With an idea of what tasks are on the horizon, next up is a meeting with eMBED who provide clinical support for the regions CCGs. Josh often collaborates with eMBED to bring solutions to practices and this meeting is to discuss the latest one – a video consultation implementation. They deliberate the logistics of the solution and come to a conclusion about where monitors need to be installed and what software is needed. With a decision made and the next steps set in motion, Josh heads back to the office to report on what’s gone on throughout the day.

Unexpected work

It’s 4.30pm and just as Josh arrives at the office, he gets a call about a power outage at a practice. Without power, the practice cannot run and patients are left without care.

Moments like these are why pre-made plans can go out of the window. But Josh knows what to do and kicks into gear the practice’s disaster recovery plan, picking up five laptops from the office and delivering them to the practice. With the laptops on site and running without requiring access to the mains, the practice can access their clinical system and continue caring for patients – and Josh can head off home.

At the end of it all

“It’s easy to be thrown off during the day because something urgent has come up,” notes Josh.

That’s why he finds it important to take some time to unwind and think over “what I’ve done with the day – to see what I’ve achieved.” Some of the tasks that were written up on his whiteboard to be completed today haven’t been finished and will have to be tackled another time. But there are others that have been worked on and can be wiped off or moved down the chart, ready to be replaced by the next project.