Filling out forms, a disagreeable lifetime pursuit


Every day since I left the dorm

I’ve had to fill out the form

     They’re never the same

     Except they ask my name

And how well that I stick to the norm

 In my senior year of high school I got so fed up with filling out forms that I put twenty items on a questionaire, titled it FILL OUT IMMEDIATELY, and left fifty copies at the school’s front desk.  Forty-six forms were filled out.  I don’t like filling out forms, and what goes around comes around.  I think I’m being punished for my prank.  As life goes on, the forms get more frequent and trickier.

I’ve been filling out forms to find new locum tenens jobs.

Even where I am a known quantity with a good reputation, I have to supply the same information.

They all want to know where I’ve worked, where I went to school, where I have licenses, if I have physical or mental problems, if I have alcohol or drug problems, if I’ve ever been convicted of a crime, if I have ever been taken off of Medicare or Medicaid rolls, if I’ve ever been sued, if I’ve ever been refused privileges at a hospital or been disciplined there.

But are the same and the questions are all phrased differently.  “Have you ever been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony in any jurisdiction of the United States or other country?”  is not that same as “Have you ever been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony aside from minor traffic violations?”  I answer the first one with my five parking tickets, my one moving violation, and my conviction of being an illegal pedestrian (I’m not joking).  For the second I can check the No box.

Some ask for the day, month, and year when I started and stopped certain activities, some for the month and year, and some just ask for the year.

They also want copies of my licenses, medical school diploma, and Continuing Medical Education (CME) activities.

I would think that in the twenty-first century checking me electronically would be more reliable than looking at photocopies of paper documents. 

A number of countries would like to import American doctors; one such country’s eighty-seven page query document collection is written so opaquely that even though the official language is nominally English I can’t understand the forms; I’ve been working on them for months and each time I get the jitters.

Today I went down to Staples and got copies made of the certificates which are most asked for: med school diploma, residency certificate, state medical licenses, the details of my legal history, and DEA permit.  I left with five copies of the packet.  I’ll need them. 

I’ve been talking to recruiters for spots in New Zealand, Wyoming, Dubuque, an Indian Reservation and Grand Island.  I’m stoked.

Of course I have to remember that many plans fall through at the last minute.

I’m a family practitioner from Sioux City, Iowa.  While my one-year non-compete clause ticks out I’m having adventures.  To comment on a post, click on the title.

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