My Home Away From Home

Hi. Do you need to schedule for something?”

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That’s what I usually ask patients when they approach my desk (above).

I’m one of the last people patients see when they check out of the clinic. (Well. They have to see the cashier, but I’m more fun. ha!) My job is to set patients up for further testing: MRI’s, CT’s, Xrays, Injections, Physical Therapy, referrals to other specialists. I’m also responsible to make sure that the insurance companies will PAY for these tests. I’m learning which insurance companies will likely approve these procedures and which will likely give me trouble.

I don’t care dealing with the trouble companies. But I do it because A. it’s my job and B. because I have an honest desire to take care of these patients. Because they can’t move forward on their problem until they have these tests so the doctors can tell what is going on inside them.

It’s terribly interesting and completely challenging. It’s also mentally exhausting. Because each patient is different and has unique problems, no two procedures are ever really the same.

I’m on the phone WAY more than I want to be. You all know how I feel about talking on the phone – I HATE IT. So isn’t it ironic that I now have a job where I’m pretty much on the phone eight hours out of each day? I’m calling patients, I’m setting up appointments, I’m calling insurance companies … the list goes on and on. In fact, I’m on the phone SO MUCH, that I wear headphones so I can keep my hands free to type and/or write at the same time.

This is a picture of the back of my desk:

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I have post-it’s everywhere. I go through an alarming number of post-it notes. At first, I wrote myself notes on how to do things, but now that I’ve been working there nearly three months (!?!), I’m starting to get the hang of my job and I no longer have to write myself notes. Now, I use post-its mainly to make notes on specific patients that I need to contact and/or take care of.

I take great pride in my job. The doctors I work for are MY doctors. In fact, I get a little jealous whenever any of the other girls take care of patients for MY doctors. I’m learning their techniques, their preferences, and their habits. I feel protective of the patients they see and I go out of my way to make sure they are taken care of. I honestly care about our patients. I honestly feel for these patients. Because if they have gotten to the point that they are seeing MY doctors? They are in some SERIOUS pain. It warms my heart whenever patients come back after surgeries and praise MY doctors. I’m proud of them for doing such a great job and I’m thankful for their talents.

Doctors/nurses, heck, health care professionals, are truly wonderful people. Think how MUCH they help people!!

Sure. They make good money. They SHOULD make good money! They work hard to fine tune their talents to do what very few humans can do – they FIX our bodies. They are caring, patient individuals who see it all. They deserve our respect. They deserve to be compensated for their hard work.

Our doctors never take lunches. They grab bites to eat in between patients. Our doctors attend out-of-town clinics in order to reach those people who would have a difficult time getting into town. Our doctors take Medicaid patients, even though they don’t get paid to see them. They have huge hearts.

So. It makes me really angry whenever people start treating health care professionals as if they exist to SERVE them. They exist to HELP them. They exist to FIX problems whenever they arise. They DO NOT exist to fix bad personal choices. They DO NOT exist to be anyone’s slave, or scape goat. People take our health care professionals for granted. So much so that they now insist that these people not get paid for what they sacrifice – YEARS AND TIME – from their lives in order to educate themselves on how to help people.

Is our health care costs out of control? Absolutely. It needs reform. Insurance companies need reform. But if we take too much away, then we will be left with nothing at all.

We must find a healthy balance. Because in the end, these health care professionals? Need to feed their families and pay their bills, too. They don’t HAVE to help anyone, if they choose not to. But they do. And I, for one, am damn grateful that they do.

Sorry. I sort of got off on a tangent there. But I get so sick of people vilifying our health care system. There is NO DOUBT ABOUT IT – our health care system needs help. It DOES NOT need to be destroyed.

For then, where would we be?

I shudder to think.


(Click the blue arrow to play)
(Michael Buble “White Christmas”)

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