It's been seven months since I started working for PP, and it's time for the annual party where the whole affiliate gets together to celebrate our accomplishments and recognize outstanding work.
I was nominated by my boss (hi Melissa!) for Rookie of the Year. (Just so we're clear, I won't win and that's okay :)) This is what she wrote about me:
"Kate ******, RHCA, Media Health Center: Starting with customer service, Kate’s contributions are outstanding: She always has a friendly smile for our clients; she is understanding and empathetic to clients in crisis; she encourages all clients to be comfortable and open about their needs; and her interactions are always clear and informative. Kate supports her teammates, both emotionally and by deed; she offers assistance without being asked, switches roles as needed and helps to orient and train new staff. She is accountable for her role in achieving the center’s daily and monthly goals; at check-in, for example, she closely monitors flow to ensure an efficient balance with the needs of walk- in clients. Kate contributes to the affiliate as a whole by staff-sharing as needed and serving as a regular floater. She stays up-to-date on women’s health issues and other “PP topics”. Our mission and values run deep for Kate, who came to PPSP with volunteer experience supporting nursing mothers."
When I started, I was green as green could be. It had been a decade since I had a Real Job, and it had been since NEVER that I had a Real Job I really cared about. And here I was, single mom of two kids, diving into a full-time job that took all of my emotional and intellectual resources to learn how to perform well.
At first it felt like I was drowning- there was so much to learn about how a clinic runs, where our funding comes from, sorting out which insurance will cover what and how much a patient is financially responsible for (more complicated than you think!).
And then there is the care of our patients: what's necessary to document and the peculiar language of medical documentation, how to draw blood and take blood pressure, how to sort through a patient's myriad of symptoms and issues and boil it down to the important bullet points, how to quickly evaluate a patient's relationship history and identify those that are at risk for intimate partner violence or birth control sabotage, how to address a patient who's been sexually assaulted without making her feel cornered.
On top of that, the guidelines are always changing: do we need a BP with every Depo shot? Does a patient in her 20's need a Pap every two years or every three? Can we give Microgestin to Select Plan patients when there's no generic in stock? And what the hell is a colposcopy anyway and at what point do you have to get one?
All that is only half the job- the other half is the administrative support, the front desk. Wrestling with the cumbersome behemoth that is NextGen, entering the correct procedures and charges, billing the right insurance, charging the right amount of money, fixing all the inevitable mistakes, and making sure everything balances at the end of the day.
I am so lucky: I work with an amazing group of people. Compassionate, respectful, knowlegeable, full of passion and experience, and not at all prone to the kind of drama that can turn a great job into an awful experience. People who I can laugh with (you can imagine how gross the jokes are, right?), people who I can ask for help, people who I can easlily read and step in to help when they're not feeling 100%.
Most valuable is the perspective I've gained: talking to patients about their finances and their sex lives all day makes me see how easy I have it. A roof over my head, kids who I adore and make me proud every day, a loving extended family that supports me and my kids in any way they can, a job I can pour my heart and soul into that fits me to a T.
I am so proud, more proud than I ever thought possible, of what I'm bringing into the world, and so humbled and grateful that I was given the opportunity to shine.