The first serious challenge I faced after arriving in the Medical Staff Office was when my coworker went out on Medical Leave. It was anticipated that she would be gone for between 8-12 weeks.
This happened less than 6 months after I joined the team.
Remember – I had no real database training, no foundation knowledge regarding what I was doing and why, I had barely learned my own job duties and now I would be responsible for someone else’s as well.
I was panicking inside while those around me assured me that everything would be fine.
My specific instructions were from coworker – “I’ve already set up all of the reports for the next 3 months, all you need to do is fill in the blanks.”
There was no – “This is where the information comes from.” I was missing the instruction of “That is why this is important to be included on the reports.” And there was never a conversation that included “You may run into a snag with this aspect, if so, this is how you fix it.” Nothing. Nada.
Up until that point, it was the most stressful I had ever been at work. Even more stressful than a previous boss volun-telling me to attend a cancer retreat, be the craft coordinator for 80+ people, with no prior experience at doing any of that – the weekend before my own wedding.
It took the full three months that my coworker was gone for me to figure out a system to deal with all of the issues I kept running into.
At one point, I remember having a conversation with the Director who asked how I liked my job. Ever the optimist and attempting to be positive, I commented that I really liked the “process list” aspect of MSOW – as it helped me to keep track of what was still pending and what I needed to do. I also included a comment, “Checking things off the list helps me feel like I’ve accomplished something in my day.”
I received the response from her, “There is much more to credentialing than just checking off items on a list.”
We both missed a great opportunity that day. She didn’t understand my comment had a much deeper meaning – that I was feeling out-of-control in my job. And, at the time, I didn’t understand that her comment meant that I hadn’t been trained properly because at that point, I only knew how to check items off the list.
Every time I turned around I was being told that I was doing a great job. The Director, the Chief Medical Officer (CMO), the Physician Liaison, the Credentials Chair – everyone insisted that I was doing wonderful.
So, why did I feel like a fake? I felt like I was an impostor, like I didn’t belong in the Medical Staff Office. I kept asking myself, the people I knew outside of the job, and a counselor (who I eventually started seeing) what was wrong with me. Why couldn’t I get a handle on what I was doing and why was everything so hard?
I had the counselor sum it up best after I had been in the job for about a year – I hadn’t actually had just one job; I had been asked and required to learn 4 jobs, all requiring extensive knowledge that I did not have, with next to no training.
But at the 6 month mark – I knew none of what the counselor finally pin-pointed. I just knew that I was trying to juggle work (with no training), home (with a husband and kids who didn’t understand with their own problems and demands) and self (my self-esteem began to plummet during this time – the start of a three year depression that I’m finally, just now, clawing my way out of).
It took another 3 years before I realized that the problem was not me, that I was not a fraud and that I did have something to bring to the Medical Staff world.
Have you felt like a fraud at work? What did you do to overcome the feeling?