Saturday, February 25, 2006

Never mind, WAY too busy for updates. More later, TTYL!

Well, it's time for another "live coverage" event. Tonight we are going to the Bunco Night at PSD (PA School for the Deaf), and I think it's going to be interesting enough to send out updates live.

However, if there's no convenient way to send out emails with text, then I'll be just sending out the plain pictures, and then add the captions when I come home. So if you see a bunch of unexplained photos on here between now and the time I get home from Bunco Night, that's why.

Just so you know -- there IS a method to my madness. As well as a madness to my method, but anyone who knows me already knows that. ;o)

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

BRRRR... this clinic is an ICE BOX.

I can't believe how ineffective the heating system has been over the past two days.

It's to the point where I've turned on the fluorescent lights that are under the cabinets, next to my desk. Normally, I leave them off because the light bothers my eyes.

But today, I have them on because at least they generate a nominal amount of heat. If the light annoys me, I have eyelids. But there's no similar "easy" solution to warding off the cold in here. So for now, the lights are on and they're staying on.

I feel sorry for our patients. Some of them are elderly and are sensitive to chills. If I'm freezing my tail off, how must THEY feel?

Friday, February 17, 2006

My manager has let me know that she has, in fact, checked into the phone activity records for both my telephone and that of my colleague, starting from a long time back until now.

I'm not sure what she meant by "a long time", and I didn't ask. But I asked if I was hallucinating about the imbalance in the number of calls I've been receiving, vs. the number of times I've heard my colleague's phone ring. (Under normal circumstances, the way our phones are set up, it *should* be a relatively even workload.)

Apparently, there is not merely a difference, but a VAST disparity in how many more calls I receive, and this is a pattern that has been in place over a prolonged period of time. She said that this report, plus the comparison in the number of phone messages that I take in a day vs. those taken by other people, is significant evidence that the system is being abused. (We use phone message tablets, which create a carbon copy of every message we take. Said tablets are kept on hand for several months once they've been completely used. Since we write the date on all our messages, it's a simple matter to review the exhausted message tablets and see how many messages are taken in a given day, and by whom.)

No %@*#&$ *wonder* I feel like I don't have the time to get anything done! And no wonder the temp SEEMS to have done so little of the paperwork on the days that I've spent at Secondary Rheumatology Site! Spending an inordinate amount of time taking phone call after phone call will definitely wreak havoc on a person's productivity.

My colleague might THINK that she's making me look inefficient by accidentally-on-purpose letting me handle the lion's share of the phone calls. She gets her tons of paperwork done more quickly than I do mine, because she has fewer interruptions. Or maybe she couldn't care less whether either of us looks more efficient, as long as she doesn't have to deal with the phone. Who the heck knows? I'm not going to pretend I can get between another person's ears and figure out what they're thinking.

All I know is that she probably has no idea that it IS possible to document what's been going on with the phones. And I think that the paper trail of what's been going on is significant enough that she's going to find out, sooner rather than later, that it's KNOWN that she has been abusing the system.

And I'm glad to know that I'm not being paranoid over what's been going on with the telephone, and there really WAS something amiss. I'd have felt guilty if I'd started seeing unfairness where none existed, but it turns out that I was correct.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Yesterday was a frustrating workday, to say the least.

I was originally slated to work at Secondary Rheumatology Clinic, the one I've mentioned before. It's the one that's at the Neighborhood Hospital a few block away, which Teaching Hospital bought some years back. Both that clinic, and the one where I normally work, are a part of the same Rheumatology Division.

Because Secondary Clinic has been short-staffed for the past several weeks, due to the resignation of one employee and the absence of another person due to maternity leave, individuals from the Primary Clinic where I work have been "loaned" out to them on some occasions.

Usually, it's been JM, the guy from our records room. Frequently, our manager (who is the manager of both clinics, until one is hired to take over at the primary clinic) is over there. In fact, in the past few weeks, she's been over there more often than at the Primary Clinic at the Teaching Hospital.

And in the past three weeks, I've been slated to work there on Thursdays and Fridays. Except for one thing: last week and the week before, my schedule got tweaked so that I only got to work at Secondary Clinic on Thursday, and went back to my regular job at Primary Clinic on Friday. Frankly, I prefer Secondary Clinic; it's a LOT less chaotic and there's much less chance of a person getting their head bitten off for not doing something EXACTLY as a particular doctor wanted it. It's nice to be able to work like a normal human being, and not worry about anyone going around behind your back trying to sabotage you somehow. (Did I ever mention that when I first started working at this position, I was forewarned by the manager to politely decline offers of help getting things done? Because the "help" was being offered, not for kindness's sake, but because then the "help"er could go around behind my back and say, 'She can't even do her work, I have to do it for her." That's just one example.)

Anyway, I reported to Secondary Clinic yesterday, in the belief that THIS week, in the absence of any instructions to the contrary, I was to work at Secondary Clinic on both Thursday and Friday. Well, surprise. That did, in fact, get changed at the last minute, but I never got notified that I'd be needed at Primary Clinic on Friday. Long story short, I did head over to Primary Clinic and unfortunately, that was just the first of multiple aggravations that cropped up yesterday.

When I have been assigned to Secondary Clinic, we borrow a Patient Services Rep (PSR) from Hematology/Oncology. When he's there, I *thought* he was supposed to do the same things I do. And I'm sure he does the things that comprise the biggest part of my day: taking phone calls, setting up appointments, and checking patients in and out. But there are other things I do, as well, and upon my arrival at Primary Clinic, I discovered that those things hadn't been so much as TOUCHED.

For one thing, I'm the person who calls the confirmations. I print up a list of patients who have an appointment in two days, and I call them all to remind them of the appointment. On Thursdays, normally I call confirmations for the appointments on Monday. Did YOU call Monday's confirmations last Thursday? Well, neither did anyone else, in my absence. So I started off Friday by rushing around like a maniac getting Monday's calls made. Color me non-happy about that.

I also found that there'd been a ton of incoming mail, another one of my responsibilities, that had been left unsorted, unopened, and undistributed in my absence. It was a real bite-my-tongue moment when I saw it there, because I thought, "What in HADES did they do in here yesterday? Why get someone to come in and not have them actually FILL IN for the absent party?" Well, whatever. I figured I'd work on getting the mail taken care of as soon as I finished calling the confirmations.

Wrong again. I got an email from my manager; one of the doctors had to change her schedule on a particular day in March, resulting in what's known as a "bump list". It means that I had to contact all those patients whose appointments were rescheduled, let them know of the change, and send a letter notifying them of the change.

The bump list wasn't that long, really. But it did involve making phone calls. And therein lay the rub. Because my fellow PSR at Primary Site chose yesterday to surreptitiously not take incoming phone calls. To explain what I mean: have you ever called a company and gotten a message "Our representatives are assisting other customers. Please continue to hold, and someone will be with you shortly"? That's a queue that your call is waiting in. We have that kind of setup for our phone system, and in order to receive calls from the queue to your phone, you have to enter some codes to log your phone in to the system.

Well, my phone rang off the [expletive omitted] hook yesterday afternoon. I mean it was CONSTANT. One call after another after another... I literally couldn't hang up without the phone ringing immediately with a new call. So I glanced over to the other PSR's end of the desk after about the fourth or fifth call in a row that I received without her telephone ringing even once.

Her phone was not logged in. I don't know HOW she thinks I wouldn't notice.

Rather than say something I'd regret, I just kept on working and waited to see how long it'd take for her to sign in. The answer is that she remained logged off from before 2 PM (when I return from my lunch hour) until about 3:45, fifteen minutes before it was time for her to leave.

During that time, I got more and more angry. And, of course, you know those calls I was supposed to be making for the bump list? I couldn't make them because I never stopped getting INCOMING calls all afternoon.

Did I mention that I didn't want to say something I'd regret? Rather than confront her and cause a permanent case of friction, I emailed the manager and asked if there was a polite way to indicate to someone that their phone is not signed into the system without coming off sounding snarky.

I figured I owed it to the manager to let her know that something's amiss. She stuck her neck out for me, hiring me without prior medical clinic experience, and then sticking up for me in the face of some of the doctors having psycho moments (as I've ranted about in past posts). So, to be as concise as possible, the manager is now aware that she needs to examine the phone records for both telephones, at which point she'll be able to see that there's been some underhanded nonsense going on.

I'm not going to start treating the other PSR as an enemy, particularly not now that she's at least nice to my face. But it will be a cold day in Hades before I sit back and ignore it when someone dumps work onto me that they're supposed to be sharing with me, and then compounds it by talking on her bleeping cell phone for personal call after personal call. To heck with THAT.

I should have been able to leave work yesterday at 5:00 PM, because when I work at Secondary Site my hours are from 8:30 to 5:00. But because I was stuck taking phone calls nonstop for the entire afternoon, I got none of the work I expected to do completed. That had to happen after the phones went on "service" at 5 PM, and I wound up not leaving until 5:50. That's nearly an hour of overtime that I'm not even going to get credit for, because we turned in time sheets Thursday morning, and I'd already filled it in as though I was leaving at the normal time on Friday.

Maybe if I mention this to the manager, that I worked that extra time, she'll let me fill in a different day this coming week as though I worked overtime, to make up for how late I wound up leaving on Friday.

Sorry if this post comes off as a total rant. But if you think I'm worked up over it NOW, you should have seen me last night. OOOOO. I was registering on the Richter scale when I got home from work. Poor Mark had to hear me raving about what a day it was.

It's unfortunate that we're able to get cell phone signals in the building where we work. I wish it was like the insurance company where I worked as a temp last year, where the cell phone signal was terrible and, in many parts of the building, the signal was nonexistent. That would keep certain people from using their cell phones to take personal calls for hours on end. Oh, well. Whatever.

I'm less enraged now, but I'm still ticked off and I'm more inclined than ever to stay in "watch my back at all times" mode. Sheeze. I hate having to look at everyone as though they're more likely to stab me in the back than be fair. But I just had an afternoon-long example of how willing people are to throw a coworker under the bus without thinking twice. If she wants to look out for number one to that degree, guess what? Two can play at that game. I don't intend to do anything even remotely like sabotage, because I still have to live with myself and my own conscience, but I'm going into "observe *everything* and take mental notes" mode. I'll just do my job the best I can, and I'll have my BS Detector up and running at all times.

What a shame it is that I even have to think like this. I wish I could just go in, do my freaking job, and go home without even once having to worry about what kind of crap someone else might pull. GRRRR.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

So I guess we shouldn't park here if we're not picking up a takeout order? Is that what they're getting at? ;o)

Thursday, February 02, 2006

He saw his shadow. I watched it live this morning on a PA cable channel Mark found. 6 more weeks of winter are on the way.