Day-By-Day, Work Stuff

Wednesday: It’s Been One Year??

It didn’t dawn on me until the day was half over …


For you long-time readers, can you freaking believe this??? It’s already been one year since I started in the healthcare field.

That just boggles my mind. And even though I’m going to leave healthcare at some point in the near future … I’m not sure I thought I’d last a whole year. The first few months were rough – REALLY ROUGH. Like I would go-home-and-cry rough. There was SO much to learn. Not only was I learning about the industry, and all the terminology and acronyms, and policies and HIPPA rules, etc., but I was scrambling to learn brand new software and terrified I was going to schedule the wrong patient with the wrong doctor (check), or a wrong test (check) or forget to put them on the Imaging schedule for a test (check) … it was nerve wracking.

It didn’t help that I had no help – AT ALL. There was virtually no training. I watched my office manager for maybe – maybe – two days before she said, “Okay, you’re on your own. Just jump in, that’s the best way to learn.”

Now granted, I’m a fast learner, but COME ON, I’m human and I was completely lost for several weeks. Slowly, I started getting the hang of it and I must say, looking back on the experience one year later, my office manager is the worst office manager on the face of the earth. She openly despises her job and she in no way ever, EVER offers to help anyone out.

It’s really quite sad, if you want the truth. She’s an alpha female (which technically, I guess you could say I am too, but I’m also a smart alpha female and I’m aggressive in more effective ways – heh) and she likes to feel like she’s in control of everything. So … she doesn’t teach anyone anything so you have no choice but to rely on her.

Meh. Whatever. She can sit on her throne and feel self-important – I could give a monkey’s butt.

So yeah, I’ve been there for one year now and it never ceases to amaze me how people refuse to take responsibility for their health. I had one lady I was trying to set physical therapy up for and she whined and fought me every step of the way. She kept complaining how she couldn’t afford it and yes, I realize it’s expensive, but this is your health we’re talking about – I’d say that’s a good investment, wouldn’t you? I’ve moved past the point where I allow people to bully me. That happened a few times when I first started, but I quickly got over that and now I know when to stick to my guns and when to compromise. I stuck to my guns with this woman and after a while, she laid her head down and mumbled, “I just want an injection.”

Yeah. I thought so.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the crux of it. People want a quick fix. They want an injection. They want a pill. They want surgery. They want the solution that requires the least amount of work from them possible. It annoys me to no end when people act this way. Or. They get upset with the doctor because he didn’t immediately suggest surgery.

First – contrary to popular belief – surgery should be the LAST option, not the first option. Our doctors put patients through physical therapy, injections and pain management programs in an effort to see if any of these conservative treatments will work. Secondly, the doctors prescribe conservative treatment because insurance companies will not pay for surgery if the patient hasn’t at least TRIED conservative treatment … and you can see why. If we all skipped conservative treatment, insurance companies would go broke paying for everyone’s surgeries.

It’s also frustrating to try and explain to patients that they are not surgical. Our doctors are neurosurgeons – if they determine they can’t help a patient, that that patient is not surgical, then we have to refer them to a pain management doctor or back to their primary care physician (PCP) because we can not help them. Patients simply do not understand, or accept, the fact that our doctors can’t help them. i know they pin all of their hopes on our specialists being able to fix them, to help them get past their pain and if surgery is ruled out, they are left feeling hopeless, scared and frustrated because now what? The quick fix is no longer an option and CRAP, they are going to have to start taking responsibility and make lifestyle changes – exercise, lose weight (which is about 85% of the problem, if you want the truth), stretching, etc. …

It’s really hard to NOT lose patience with people sometimes. Most of the time, I’m pretty sympathtic, even empathetic because my back goes out sometimes and I get it – I GET IT. But there are some patients that you can’t just get through to … and it gets so bad, our doctors refuse to see them back for whatever reasons.

And trust me when I say, you really don’t want to get to a point where your doctor “fires” you and yes, that happens more than you think.

So the next time you go to the doctor and he/she prescribes conservative treatment remember three things:

1. He/she is trying to avoid an invasive procedure.
2. Insurance companies demand conservative treatment options first
3. It’s a process of elimination and if the doctor can rule out certain possibilities, then he/she can come make a more accurate diagnosis.

And the ultimate goal is to feel better, right?