NewFNP asked for it.
Tuesday, January 06, 2009
She wanted to go part time to save her sanity and now her clinic days are jam packed. Her days are busier than they ever were before. It is nuts. But newFNP is pretty cool with it.
She's even cool with her depressed patients who can present a true challenge during busy clinic days.
NewFNP must confess that it makes her a little frustrated and causes her to climb on her soapbox when she sees obvious somatic complaints and notes of 'depressed affect' time and time again in patients' charts yet no one steps up to the plate to frigging ask about it.
Sure, it may feel as though there is not a lot that one person in a busy health clinic which lacks mental health staffing may do to help that patient. And sometimes it's absolutely true that providers are just too stressed themselves to take on a depression visit. But we can't be so stressed that we shelf it to the next visit every time. That is just shrugging off the job and leaving sad, often ineffective and desperate patients in the same hole. And it is not true that we can do nothing. True, newFNP is no counselor, but the act of listening is powerful and making it okay for someone to cry, to disclose a crushingly painful secret, to release some bottled up hurt is therapeutic indeed.
NewFNP has been doing a lot of thinking about what kind of provider she is and what kind she wants to be since she has decreased her clinical hours to part time. It is so obvious that a smile and handshake is a warm way to start a clinic visit, but newFNP can't honestly say that she was providing that regularly in her darkest hours of full-time employment. She cringed as she read the NYT health blog and saw her bad behaviors in black and white. Ouch. She regained that warmth with her switch to part-time.
And while she is pretty crappy at orthopedic issues, newFNP is damn good at assessing for depression and she does not want to be the provider who ignores it. In fact, newFNP has found a new sense of purpose and satisfaction in seeing her depressed patients improve. The change can be so dramatic - what a joy to see that in someone. NewFNP has diabetic patients, on the other hand, whose A1Cs have hardly improved since being in her care. That is not so joyous.
Thirty-five patients today. And yet, newFNP is happy.