Thursday last week I started to work

I took care of the patients I got

I gave a couple a shot

But for one of the rest

I’ll need quite the test.

The work just hit the spot.

Synopsis: I’m a Family Practitioner from Sioux City, Iowa. In 2010 I danced back from the brink of burnout, and honoring a 1 year non-compete clause, traveled and worked in out-of-the-way places in Alaska, Nebraska, Iowa, and New Zealand. After three years working with a Community Health Center, I went back to traveling and adventures in temporary positions. Assignments in Alaska, rural Iowa, suburban Pennsylvania and western Nebraska have followed.  I finished my most recent assignment in Clarinda on May 18.  Right now I’m in northern British Columbia, getting a first-hand look at the Canadian system. Any identifiable patient information has been included with permission.

I started the day early, and lingered over breakfast while I watched a YouTube video about the underlying geology of northern British Columbia. The clash of tectonic plates has resulted in a coastal mountain range separated from the west edge of the Canadian Rockies by a central valley, everywhere scarred by the violence of glaciers.  All in all, I’m experiencing lovely scenery in an orderly, safe community where the children can walk unaccompanied to school.

Now 4 days into my Canadian adventure, I came to work this morning prepared for orientation in MOIS, the Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system (and my 15th in 30 months), but, alas, still lacking password sign on.

I took care of the latest, and hopefully last, couple of glitches in my bona fides. I did some email.  At the very last part of the morning, I started EMR training, which I followed by playing with the test patient named Mickey Mouse.  I knew immediately his birthdate was off, but finding citalopram (an antidepressant) on his med list came as no surprise.

When I came back from lunch, I had my first patient on my schedule.

I immediately fell back into my 3 question rhythm: Tell me about your problem.  Tell me more.  What else?

Though just starting on the learning curve for the EMR, and though I needed EMR coaching 5 times for 6 patients, this system seems easier to learn than most. Or maybe I have learned how to learn.

Two patients needed injections, three patients’ problems centered on their right leg. The last patient of the day turned out to be more complicated than anyone could have imagined, and will need follow-up and work-up.

To my surprise, the doctors here do their own injections, a job in the States uniformly delegated to RNs, LPNs, and, sometimes, Certified Medical Assistants. I have had to learn injection techniques on myself, as I take vitamin B12 shots into the muscle monthly, and Enbrel injections into the fat just under the skin every 5 days.

I took care of a total of 6 patients in the afternoon. Still clumsy with the EMR, I didn’t finish until 5:00PM, an hour after the clinic closed, but still a good deal earlier than what I’ve been doing for most of the last 40 years.

I thoroughly enjoyed myself.




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