“,,, 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!
We could have beards underway… But we were required to be able to pull and maintain a seal on the emergency air breathing masks. Every week or so, the COB would take a training mask and stand beside the chow line – and if you had a beard you had to prove you could pull a seal. If you couldn’t, you went and shaved right then and came back to be retested. (Not trimmed, shaved – the whole thing came off.)
Nobody had any sympathy if you thus missed a meal or were late relieving the watch. In fact, you’d come in for a heavy ration of shit because everybody knew the drill and it was on you for fucking up.
He’d also sometimes randomly bring one into the crews lounge or pop you as you came past him outside his office.
Seems a bit harsh, but in the situation, probably makes complete sense. Safety above aesthetics.
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