My First Day

“Welcome to Medical Staff!  We hate to do this to you, but we all have to be at a meeting, so you’ll be the only one in the office for about 15-20 minutes.  That won’t be a problem will it?  Just take a message if the phone rings or someone comes in.”

This is what my Director greeted me with the very first day I walked into the Medical Staff Office on a Monday morning.

No tour around the office.  Nothing.

The silence of the office was intimidating.

Not one to sit idle, I logged into my computer and answered as many emails as I could from my previous position.  That took me all of 5 minutes.

Looking around the main office space, it was dark, dusty and mauve.  VERY mauve.  There were office cubicles with mauve walls.  Coordinating pictures with mauve mattings.  The office accessories – letter trays, staplers, tape dispensers – were all a dark plum/mauvish color.

I looked in the office kitchenette – there was a sink, refrigerator, microwave and coffee maker.  All of which looked like it had been years since they had been cleaned.  The cabinets were over-full with old supplies, a mish-mash collection that I recognized from the cafeteria, catered events, and home supplies.

There were plants in each area of the office – 3 large rooms, the kitchenette, and a private bathroom.  The plants all appeared to be neglected and dying.  The only place there weren’t any plants was in the separate, but attached, file room.  Floor to ceiling revolving file cabinets, horizontal file cabinets and a copy machine filled this area.  Each file drawer filled to overflowing.  Cramped, crowded and stifling hot when the copy machine was in use (I later found that out).

The mauve continued into the middle office area and into the director’s office.  There was a collection of furniture and decorations that seemed to be shoved in places to appear to be useful, but gave the areas a feeling of being cluttered.

In the entire area, there was only one window.  Thankfully, it was right next to my work space.  It provided a little light, but no view.  It was made with glass blocks to ensure privacy.  So I could see outside, but it was always distorted.  That’s how I later came to view my job – distorted.

glass-block-wall-roberto-westbrook

I don’t remember much from my first week in the Medical Staff Office – but I remember that first 15 minutes.  They aren’t lying about first impressions.  If I had been honest with myself, I would have known that my first impression of the office would have shown me the chaos I had agreed to enter.

Who Are You?

My name is Karen, and I consider myself a “jack-of-all-trades”.

I have a deep love of learning.  Both new things, ideas and concepts, but also deeper knowledge about things, ideas and concepts I already know.  If it interests me, I want to know more about it.

My “career” is varied and twisted.  How I ended up in Medical Staff is very convoluted.  I had no original vision with my life and I still don’t know what I want to be when I “grow up”.

You see, I have worked in my hospital system for 22 years.  I started as a cafeteria worker, flipping burgers on the grill and ringing up staff on the register.  From there I went to serving patients, then to a kitchen tray-line supervisor.  I was recognized as someone who could do more than just serve food and was offered an office position.  I had no typing skills, but could figuring things out fairly quickly.  My then boss gave me a chance and I excelled, self-teaching myself typing and most of the Microsoft Office programs.

After working for several years as an office assistant, a Vice President suggested that I apply for the Radiology IT Assistant position.  I did and quickly discovered that it wasn’t the job for me.  I stayed for almost 3 years before hearing that my old job had opened back up.  I reapplied for it and was accepted.  The same VP told me, “You are better than that job, don’t hold yourself back.”

So, when it was again suggested (by someone else) that I apply for an opening in the Medical Staff Office, I did so.  I remember at my interview telling the Director that I usually learn a job within the first year, make improvements the second year and by year 3, I’m bored and looking for a new challenge.  She laughed and said that wouldn’t happen with Medical Staff.

She was right.  Three years into it, I was so overwhelmed with everything that was being thrown at me, that I had what I term a nervous breakdown.  Failure isn’t something that I allow myself to experience, but fail I did and I quit rather than face disciplinary actions for my failures.  I was ashamed to quit, but so miserable that I no longer cared.  At that point, I had a wonderful new director who understood my failures, and while she couldn’t protect me from the disciplinary actions, did everything she could to help me.

I accepted another job within the hospital system that required much less stress and responsibility.  I couldn’t talk about my time in Medical Staff without breaking down in tears.  It took three months before I could open up.  It took another three months before I began feeling like myself again.  A year after that, another position opened up in the Medical Staff Office at another facility.

What was I thinking applying for it?  Why would I voluntarily stress myself out again?

I spent the previous year and a half thinking about nothing except credentialing.  How I could have avoided my mistakes.  How I wished there was training.  How I could maybe improve the processes.  How it had gotten into my soul.  How there hasn’t been another job that held my fascination the same as credentialing had done.

At no point had I ever been bored at the job.

How could I not apply?

So, here I am, back at credentialing.  And I invite you to join in the journey with me.

Welcome to the crazy.

Welcome To Medical Staff – Now What?

If you’re reading this post and site, you are probably a lot like I was a few years ago, and still am today.  Lost, bewildered, confused – and trying to figure out how to do a job that has next to no official training attached to it.

You’ll learn as you go.

On the job training.

Trial by fire.

These are just a few of the phrases I heard in my first month working in the Medical Staff Office.  They were not lying.

I began this site to help those, like me, who are desperately attempting to do a job that few can explain coherently.

My fondest hope for those who find this site is that you had a wonderful trainer and mentor when you began your position.  If you are one of those, please stick around and feel free to thank your mentor that they knew what they were doing and were able to transfer that knowledge to you.  Laughing at my clueless-ness is an extra bonus.  For those of you who were thrown into the position, or accepted it without a clue what you were getting into, this site is for you.

This site is for me to relay my own trials and tribulations.  It is for you to learn from.  It is for me to learn from you.  I want you to question my posts, ask if it is truly a best practice or something that “has always been done”.  Help us all to become excellent at our jobs.

Join me in attempting to make sense of the craziness we call Medical Staff Credentialing.

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