Monday, September 25, 2006

Stay away from the windows

It has been an exciting few days in newFNP land.

In addition to the minimum 27 patients per day newFNP has seen this past week (range 27-34), we had a little drive-by shooting fatality/car crash in a too-close-for-comfort location. And by that, newFNP does mean visible from the front door of the clinic. NewFNP was all for closing up shop that day but alas - once the fun and games of clearing away the body and the cars was taken care of, all returned to normal. Only the disconcerting knowledge that newFNP does, in fact, work in the hoodiest of hoods remains.

Thankfully, newFNP had an unexpected treat today. As she deftly moved around her patient to partake of a thorough lung exam, she was treated with a rare sight: a mullet. A wavy mullet. Others might not find joy in the mullet, but newFNP was thrilled! It's not so often that anyone rocks the Billy Ray Cyrus these days!

It was a high in newFNP's achy breaky day.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


NewFNP hates to repeat herself, but it is tough to deny that the shit that comes out of a kid's mouth can brighten one's day.

A little background. NewFNP is averaging 30.3 patients per day this week. This is a fact that would give her CEO a big boner but makes newFNP want to stab her eye with a used needle, repeatedly. NewFNP is looking in every corner of every room for the silver lining, but newFNP is fed up. One might even say that newFNP is fucking fed up.

So thank goodness for little miracles, right? And it is unusual in newFNP's life that miracles take the form of fat 9-year olds, but it seems as though miracles do indeed work mysteriously.

This chunky guy was midway through his physical when newFNP instructed him to lie down for the old abdominal exam. Reclined comfortably, he closed his eyes, stretched and sighed, "Ahhhhh, I knew this day would finally come......" He was so serene and sincere, as though he had stepped into the day spa. Or did this patient think he had stubled upon the Best Little Whorehouse in Anonymous Urban Center?

As his mom, older sister and newFNP were chuckling, this Hugh Hefner protoge continued. "I knew that one day I would be here and be examined thoroughly." Now, newFNP knows that this little kid did not intend for his comment to sound creepy or weird - let alone pornographic - and he probably didn't even intend for it to be humorous. But he indeed did receive a thorough exam and is off to urology as a result. Did his big genital fat pad eat his testes or were they never descended to begin with? That is for Dr. Penis to decide.

There was a distinct lack of awesome little kid comments today, however. NewFNP could go for one tomorrow. NewFNP could also go for a day with 20 patients, a new Miu Miu handbag and some raspberry-colored Marc Jacob's patent leather wedges. Alas, newFNP thinks that the wedges are a more achievable desire than is a light clinic day.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Office staff rant

A tough thing about being newFNP (or supervising MD or co-worker NP) is that there are no other employees in the clinic as responsible or as knowledgable as you. In some ways, that's fine. In other ways, it makes newFNP want to yell at people and throw her pens at them.

NewFNP's biggest pet peeve in not having labels in the chart.

NewFNP is the third stop in the clinical flow. First stop - front desk. Second stop - MA/vital signs. Third stop - newFNP.

As evidenced by the above written flow chart, here are at least two people ahead of newFNP who can open the chart and see that there are, in fact, no labels. Ultimately, the front desk needs to take a split fucking second and look in the chart. Are there labels? No? Print them out!

Ten minutes later, when the MA writes down the chief complaint and sees that there is no label with which to identify the patient on a new progress notes page, she then has the opportunity to ask the front desk to print out some labels.

Now, newFNP is not sure how often the aforementioned scenario occurs, but she is quite sure that it did not happen three times today, a day in which newFNP was responsible for the care of thirty-four patients. On such a day, newFNP finds it difficult to be polite when wasting precious minutes of her time to go do someone else's job. It is not as though newFNP has neglected to mention this ever-present need for labels to all clinical staff during weekly staff meetings. To the contrary, time and time again, newFNP has pleaded with her co-workers to throw her a fucking label bone. Alas, no.

Ranking second on newFNP's list of pet peeves is incomplete or an absolute lack of lab results in the chart when a patient's clearly stated CC is "lab results." Should it ever happen? No. Should it happen daily? Hell no. Does it? Shit, yes it does. This causes newFNP to hunt down her MA and request the results. Sure, newFNP could find them faster herself, but fuck that just on principle.

There are many other things our MA's miss. Some of it a simply a lack of knowledge and newFNP is not going to fault them for having next to no education. However, newFNP attributes a decent amount of MA oversights to sheer laziness. And newFNP is pissy about that. NewFNP has struggled all year with the fact that she is working like she is on the chain gang all day long while she sees other employees looking on MySpace and taking 10 minutes to figure out from which fucking fast food restaurant everyone wants to order lunch.

Being at the top of the intellectual food chain in one's community health clinic is at times a welcome responsibility and a frustrating burden. NewFNP sincerely believes that it would not take much effort on the part of other staff to ease the workload of the clinicians. Sure, we'll see the 25-30 patients per day. Just make it a frigging smidge easier on us.


Friday, September 15, 2006


NewFNP feels that she is not alone in declaring that, for FNP students, pediatrics can be daunting. Kids have high fevers, they have weird rashes that may be viral or may be frigging measles. Who knows? What new NP has ever seen measles? What parent feels confident in the diagnosis of 'viral exanthem'?

Nonetheless, pediatric visits have turned into the highlights of newFNP's day. Why, just this week, newFNP had a five year old boy laugh and scream, "You're touching my penis!" during a regular old testical exam during a well-child check. You just don't get that kind of enthusiasm during the adult exam. A four year old boy this week told newFNP several times, "You're funny." And, damn it all, that kid is right. NewFNP was having a grand old time chatting up this four year old about school, his cousin, crying, Batman - a little sample of all things important.

For all the students, newFNP thought she would share some secrets to help overcome the fear of pediatrics for you and your patient.

1) This lesson is courtesy of Sunshine, a co-ed with whom newFNP studied. New FNP uses it without fail. Kids hate the ear exam, but looking for Dora or SpongeBob in a kid's ear will greatly facilitate the process. Sometimes newFNP tells the kid that she saw Dora running to the other ear and they graciously turn and offer the ear for examination. This tool is not limited to the ears, no sir. It works on the mouth too!

2) Making an amazed face upon cardiac auscultation is a wonderful tool to get kids interested in what's up. Of course, older kids can listen to their own hearts, but the young kids like to see that you think their body is working well.

3) Knowing when you don't have to do a full exam is important. Not every well child check needs to be a head-to-toe. If kids are scared and crying, newFNP lays off, especially if they are a regular patient. NewFNP explains her lame exam to the parent, letting them know that being scared is normal and that newFNP will provide a more thorough exam when the child is not screaming and kiding under the chair.

4) Tell parents to bring the kid back the next day if you're concerned. In newFNP's experience, parents don't appear too put out when it comes to their kids' health. You can also try obvious things like oral rehydration and fever management in the office. Duh.

"You're touching my penis!" Ah, good times.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Holiday! Oh yeah, oh yeah! Celebrate!

Ah, the joy of a two and a half-day weekend! NewFNP did have to work on Saturday but then was able to luxuriate in the glory of 2.5 days off. That is, until she attempted to return to work this morning and appreciated the hell that is the first day of school, which added a full 15 minutes onto her usual 20-25 minute commute, only to arrive to a waiting room with a population density that rivaled Calcutta.

It is entirely anecdotal yet positively indisputable that the first clinic day after a holiday weekend sucks donkey nuts.

Too. Many. Patients.

What happens in that one extra day during which newFNP is having brunch and playing Scrabble and cursing The New Yorker for not picking her brilliant caption that causes a 15 billion-fold increase in patients?

And the air conditioner in newFNP's clinic has bought the farm. Granted, that was two weeks ago but temperatures are soaring here is newFNP land and one would not call the exam rooms in newFNP's clinic 'spacious' or 'windowed,' thus creating a real issue with heat, smells - you get the picture. Perirectal abscess? Sitz baths and Keflex until the air conditioner is repaired. Not that newFNP would do that, but it seems a fair alternative given the conditions.

All in all, today was almost enough to make newFNP seek refuge in the suburbs. Or the spa. Or Barney's. Or perhaps just the H.M.S. Bounty.