Tuesday, June 5, 2012

More Soapbox Time

That's what I'm supposed to be working on, but honestly I am more concerned about the eggplant parmesan and crème brûlée baking in the oven. This feeling of hunger and vexation! Feed me mommyyyyyyyyyyyyyy.

I miss cooking on my own though. I like to try random recipes and then tearfully eat the misshapen morsels of failure. I also miss the freedom of sleeping on my clean laundry because I'm lazy and not have to be judged (and nagged) for it.
Anyway. That was yesterday. I thought it was hilarious that my mom still gave us rice to eat with the eggplant parm. We also ate it with chopsticks. Old habits die hard. It's because of habit that I'll never eat brown rice. I tried it once at a friend's house in college, and I did that childish thing where I stuck out my tongue with a half-chewed lump of brown rice and made a disgusted face. Because I'm classy like that. I love white rice.

The other day, I realized that I am third in seniority at work, at 8 months of employment.
One of my coworkers, M, has been with the company for maybe 10-11 months, and the other girl, Y, has been with the company for two years. Between March and now, seven people have willingly quit and decided to take their chances on the job market again. I've never been in a situation where everyone hates the office (myself included) and it took a long time to learn how to cope. I'm dealing with it, but there are days when I keep the small talk to a bare minimum because I don't have the energy to pretend to be cheerful.

Also, the main office's schedule sucks. At my former AmeriCorps position, the receptionist would double-book patients if her sixth sense tells her that Patient X probably won't show up. At the main office, it's common to see 3, 4, even 5 patients booked into the same time slot. Is this common for facilities that serve mainly Medicare (government-funded insurance for senior citizens) people? Y (my coworker) and I each manage a separate offsite location and we never have crazy schedules like that. Is a two-hour wait the typical wait time to see a non-ER physician in a clinic? Because I feel so bad when I see my patient KO from boredom in the waiting room.

Y and I have also learned, the hard way, that the other girls will completely ignore our patients. Not even a "Hi, Mr. So-and-so, I'm sorry but the doctor is running behind by 20 minutes." I also learned that I need to  CLOSELY monitor the queue to see the physiatrist, otherwise the other girls will let everyone and their mothers cut in line behind my back.  I literally went pee, and all of a sudden my patient wasn't next anymore, she was next-next. The dude that cut in line was (so I'm told) someone that had just walked in out of the street. I had some Words with the other girls, and I've complained to my boss about it, but he is only concerned about the monthly quota.

In the end I had to meet with one of the administrative staff at the senior home to request his support. This isn't what I had in mind when I think of "patient advocacy." Because I also don't trust the girls, I follow my patients everywhere when they see the physiatrist to make sure that they're being treated right. I don't do anything particularly special, but I doubt anyone (former, current or future employees) would go to such mediocre lengths.

This is my first time working with a for-profit company (excluding retail). As a student and in the two years following graduation, I was always with a non-profit, but I met a lot of health and admin professionals who were part of other non-profit and for-profit health facilities. Am I just spoiled by my prior experiences of working with awesome people?

Edited to Add:
Sleeping on freshly-laundered clothes and towels is the best. So warm and soft.


  1. It sounds horrible. No wonder so many people are quitting. Good for you complaining and trying to make it more sensible. Maybe the girls who are clearly doing a crap job will quit? At least you're trying to watch out for your patients. I can see how this job would get you down. I expect your presence makes it somewhat more pleasant for the patients.

  2. BTW, can you talk to the 'girls' directly? Shame them into not booking 4 or 5 people at a time?

    1. I haven't talked to them about it because I doubt they 'care.' I suspect they are more terrified of our boss throwing a fit about having too little patients. I also think they're still learning which patients are more reliable about showing up. It does take a while to form that intuition and to gain their trust. The elderly aren't very receptive to change, especially when the entire staff changes.

      For now, at least, it's easier for me to sidle up to the physiatrist with my most worshipful shy-pre-med face to sneak my patients in. :P