Over a week ago, I had someone tell my wife that they were excited about my applying to PA school and they’d love to be my patient if I make it. While I appreciated their faith in me, I reminded my wife that if my career choice goes in the direction it does, my preference would be to work in an Emergency Department and as such, that person might not want to be my patient. This reminded me of a time when a friend was giving me a tour of the med-flight helicopter he worked on and showed me the logo that was on the ceiling above where a patient would be laying on a stretcher and joked few people saw it the way I did. In fact he added, many in a position to see it from a stretcher were often not in a good enough shape to really see anything.
Last week on social media I posted a bit about a specific concern I had in the process. It was more a comment than anything else. I generally don’t post such things looking for support or the like, it’s often more a stream of consciousness. Well the amount of “attaboys” and “you’ve got this” was uplifting and encouraging. Now the truth be told, most of the folks posting didn’t know the specific details of concerns and while I appreciated the sentiment, it didn’t change the actual reality. But that’s ok.
Here’s the thing. I might not succeed. I might hit a roadblock. I might find a class that simply stumps me. I might find my time in the ED to be such a negative experience that I decide to go back to being a fulltime DBA. Most of all, even with all the prep work, there’s no guarantee my primary (or even backup) schools of choice will accept me. Simply statistically, the odds are long. (Fortunately it’s not as simple as a roll of dice, there’s a lot more to the process than simply that.) But at the end of the day, knowing people have my back, for better or for worse, helps hugely. It’s not so much “how can I fail when I have so many people cheering me on” as much as “whether I succeed or fail, people will support me”. That makes the effort that much easier. And for that I’m grateful.
So, a year from now, I really hope to be able to tell folks, “yes, I was accepted” but even if I’m not, I’ll know they have faith in me. That’s helps more than I can express. Thank you.
First this question came to mind when I arrived for the second day of orientation. Technically there was no sign for where ED Techs should report to, so I made the assumption that it would be the same classroom as Patient Care Associates. But when I went to the classroom it was dark and no one was there. I fretted a bit, but not too much, after all I was early.
Fortunately my assumption was right and I was soon seated among a number of other students. Turns out only one other was also a Tech, who happened to be assigned to the ED, but all the others were PCAs in various departments.
The second time the question came to mind was while waiting for the class to start and I’m reviewing the material and start reading the requirements and wondering, “umm, I’m not sure I really have the experience they expect. I’m sure I’ll be found out shortly.”
Fortunately, again the answer appears to have been yes, I was in the right place. This became more evident over lunch when 4 of us started talking about our backgrounds. Yes, some clearly have more experience in the medical field than I have. But some are starting at about the same level I am, or perhaps with even a bit less experience.
So yes, I’m in the right place. At least so far.
This is not to say it won’t be easy. There’s a lot to learn. Some of it I’ll learn tomorrow, some will come later. Like any job, I suspect the learning will never be over. So it’s two days into my new job and so far I’m still loving it.
And today I’m officially a step closer:
And now for the first time I have to add that the above are my own words and do not reflect the opinions or views of my employer Albany Medical Health Systems.
Actually, unlike the song, I feel like I do need education and I’ve been getting it. Ironically in A&P II we’ve been covering the adaptive immune system just as I’ve been going through my intake steps for my new position. I mentioned last week that I had go get a number of shots. As of today in the last week I’ve had the current flu shot (last Monday), the new covalent Covid vaccination (Wednesday), a TDaP vaccination (yesterday) and the first of two Hep B vaccinations (also yesterday). So it’s been just “another shot in the arm” for me several times now. Oh and the second of two injections of tuberculin to test for tuberculous.
I’m not sure if my immune system is hating on me right now or loving me. Hating me because I’ve asked it to respond to a foreign substance 6 times in the last 7 days, or loving me, because right now, there’s a series of T cells forming (or having formed in my body) with the net result that I’ll have a bunch of additional T memory cells floating in my blood stream and lymphatic system just waiting in case the real thing (for pretty much any of these things) come around. I don’t know anyone who really enjoys getting a shot or even the reactions we often get (for the record my reactions to all of the shots so far have been very mild).
That said, I am happy that at least for now, it looks like my days of being a human pin-cushion are over. I have one more Hep B shoot in about a month and then after that I’m good for awhile.
Just one more step to get into the world of working in the Emergency Department.
I start orientation on Monday and can’t wait. In the meantime, my immune system can deal with it. I know I am.
“,,, so you won’t be able to flush or wash your hands until I turn it back on,” the nurse said. I understood why, but honestly, the sound of some rushing water might have helped with the task at hand: filling a specimen bottle with at least 40 ml of urine.
I had forgotten until a few minutes earlier when she had mentioned it, that a urinalysis was required as part of the intake process. I’m generally against drug tests for most jobs as I think they’re irrelevant and don’t necessarily have a bearing on the candidates ability to do the job. It’s part of the reason I actually ended up in consulting right out of college. The software company I could have basically walked into a job with had been acquired and now required drug testing. Now, I was not at the time taking drugs and have actually never taken illegal drugs, not even any form of cannabis when it’s been offered. So it was never a fear of being caught. It was simply a resistance to what I feel is an unwarranted invasion of privacy for a tasking involving sitting in front of a computer and creating code.
But this job is different. This job involves both being directly involved in the health care of others and it involves being exposed to drugs. I feel it’s a reasonable compromise. So there I was being handed a sealed specimen bottle standing in a bathroom. Outside all my items, phone, keys, pen, etc. were locked in a cabinet, I’m assuming to ensure I couldn’t sneak in any clean samples. She walked out and I gave deep thoughts of places like Niagara Falls. Fortunately it worked. Less than a minute later I was handing this woman I had met only 20 minutes earlier a warm specimen bottle full of my pee.
She had with her a kit that included another container of sorts. She opened it and the specimen bottle. I started to leave the bathroom and she told me I had to stay “since I have an open specimen bottle”. I realized in this case, unlike the lack of running water to keep me from cheating, this was most likely to make sure there was a witness to prevent her from tampering with the sample.
Once it was transferred and sealed in the new container we left together and she started filling out some forms on the computer screen while we waited for the urine to travel up the test strips and react with the reagents. Think about how the Covid test trips we’re all familiar with work, a Control line and before that a Test line (the Control being after to of course ensure the sample has travelled past the test). This container had 3 strips built in so I asked about them. The 3rd one actually had 4 tests on it, but she said she ignored one. I asked why. It turns out it was for THC, since it was no longer banned in New York. So, I suppose I could take up pot if I wanted to. But I have no interest. I also had fortunately not eaten any poppy seed bagels recently!
After all the strips all reacted she moved it to the edge of the counter and rang a bell. She explained she needed a second witness to sign off on the sample. In this case I assume it was to ensure I wasn’t bribing her to pass my sample. Not 2 seconds later we both hear a rather loud, “GOT IT!” from down the hall and up walked another nurse. She saw our somewhat surprised faces and admitted, “I love doing that.” I joked in return that I had apparently passed my audio test (which strangely enough is about the only thing they didn’t test yesterday!)
The Rest of the Afternoon
I’m not ready to call that the highlight of the day, but it was just one part of that day’s intake process. I also managed to get a flu shot, the first step of 2 TB skin tests, scheduled for a Tdap vaccination (in addition to hopefully at the community college getting my Covid Bivalent booster this week), the second of the 2 TB skin tests, get fingerprinted, get entered into the HR system, fitted for an N95 mask, and start the paperwork on parking.
I had arrived around 1:00 PM (a bit early for my 1:15 scheduled appointment with the health center) and was done with all of the above by about 3:15 PM. Not too bad. There was some waiting, but overall a rather expedient process.
N95 Mask Fiitting
This was one thing I wasn’t familiar with before yesterday. I knew the general principal: make sure the mask is tight and the nose bridge is well-formed to your face. However the fitting process is actually a bit more complex. I did find out after arriving that if I had wanted to keep my beard, they have a a PAPR and I could have been fitted for that. But honestly, I figured it was time to get rid of the Covid Beard for a bit so had shaved the day before.
The actual fitting is interesting because the mask they give you is hooked up to a machine with two tubes, I’m presuming to measure air inflow and out. You put on the mask, fit it to your face and then, as the machine instructs do a series of exercises, including bending over for 30 seconds and breathing, loudly reading some text, turning your head side to side and then up and down. Apparently my initial attempts at fitting weren’t quite right so the fitter came around to my side of the bench and moved the masked down and adjusted the nose piece a bit. She explained after why. So now when I’m wearing an N95 mask, I’ll have to remember to place it a bit lower than I thought was proper. I was also instructed to refuse an assignment if the type of mask I was fitted with was not available. So for those who are geeky enough to care, my mask type is a 3M 8210 Reg – White. I even have a sticker to put on the back of my ID badge once I receive it.
So, Wednesday I go back to have the TB test checked and then next Monday go back again for the TDap booster, another TB Test, and I think the first of two shots for my Hep B regiment and then back next Wednesday for the final TB check. Then on the 17th I start actual orientation at 8:00 AM. (due to orientation it looks like I will be missing an A&P lab and two A&P lectures unfortunately). Finally, I think my actual start date on the ED floor will be October 25th. I can’t wait!