First Day Craziness
Wow. Holy crap! What a day!
I arrived in North Dakota yesterday, in preparation for a 3 week stay as a temp doc (known as locum tenens). I have never been to North Dakota before, I don’t think. My parents did a lot of traveling when I was a kid, so maybe we went to North Dakota and I just forgot. I have definitely never been here in February.
My first day of work was today. I had to arrive at the hospital at 7:30 AM to start my hospital orientation. Even though my hotel is like, five minutes up the road from the hospital, I got up at 5:30 (ouch) to make sure I had time to shower, dry hair (so as not to become a docsicle), put on makeup (which I rarely do, so I wasn’t sure how long it would take), eat breakfast, deal with any ice situations, and find my way to the hospital on time.
I got to the damn hospital 45 minutes early. I hope they were impressed with my punctuality. Tomorrow I’m sleeping later. It was supposed to snow 3 inches last night, which was part of why I got up so early. Instead of 3 inches, there was just some loose snow eddying in the wind in the parking lot. I was unimpressed.
The lady who was to meet me at 7:30 was actually already at the hospital when I got there, so we went ahead and got started. I was photographed, rephotographed, processed for a badge, guided through several hundred pages (a somewhat abridged version, but still) of the hospital rules and regs, given a crash course in the hospital computer system, which I must say the IT girl had an alarmingly low understanding of, taken to medical records for dictation numbers and instructions, and given a full out tour of the hospital.
As I have no sense of direction, I have no idea where anything is. They took me to the clinic where I will be working at about 11:00. My first patient wasn’t until 1:30. I met the nurses, and some of the doctors, and became aware that the system is pretty much chaos. They have so many temporary doctors coming in and out of there, there are hardly any permanent ones. Maybe because, hmmm, it’s North Dakota? Actually, it’s because this place is a boomtoom. Hundreds of people are pouring into this little town because they are now fracking full steam ahead. I will have no office – I will just work out of whatever area they have available for me with whatever nurse they have available for me each day. It’s crazy.
Now here’s where the serious craziness comes in. Since I didn’t have any patients for a couple hours, I started asking questions. At the time I finished my residency and was looking for my first job, I interviewed with a woman who was a very strict Catholic. She informed me that she could not condone tubal ligations or basically any other form of birth control. So I thought, well, surely since we’re in the twenty-first century, that would no longer be the case, but this hospital is a Catholic hospital. So I asked. Holy crap, Fertile Woman! They don’t tie tubes. They don’t do IUDs, or Implanons, or Depo Provera shots. If you give a prescription for birth control, you pretty much have to establish a medical reason for it. Other than just not wanting any more babies, which appears not to be a valid reason. Shit, when I was working in Alabama, I put everyone on birth control. Seriously, I made sure my teens, and my patients without insurance, and my patients who wanted no more babies had birth control and plenty of it. Isn’t that kind of a big part of the job of an Ob/Gyn? BUT NOT THIS PLACE!!!! (Yes, I am screaming here). How can I be an Ob/Gyn and not help with birth control? WTF?
So I chewed on that bit of craziness over lunch. By time for clinic to start, I was pretty well convinced I wanted to go home and never see the place again. But once again, the patients won out. I saw some great patients, and after a little conference with the nurse taking care of me, I established that I could, in fact, prescribe birth control. We just don’t install it. So if they want a shot, or an implant, or an IUD, we send them somewhere else in town. So there are options.
By the end of the day, I was feeling better. The nurses were nice, the patients were nice, and I was learning a few things about how to get along in the clinic. I felt sufficiently energized at the end of the afternoon to go home and read and write a little and had a lovely Atkins dinner of eggs and cheese. And Mom called to see how my first day of work went, so I filled her ears with all the details of my first day at work. And now I’ve filled your ears (or at least your eyes, since you’re reading) and feel much better. And soon I’ll have a little Skype with my husband and sweet little daughter, and I don’t need to be in clinic tomorrow until 10:00!
Tune in tomorrow for more fun-filled North Dakota escapades! Beadstork OUT!