Posts Tagged ‘fingerprinting’

Fingerprinted by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police

November 22, 2018

The Constable, he offered a link

He was trained, thank goodness, in ink

A true pro, that Mountie,

He declined my bounty

And we agreed on the evils of drink.

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. I followed 3 years Community Health Center work with a return to traveling and adventures in temporary positions in Alaska, rural Iowa, suburban Pennsylvania, western Nebraska and northern British Columbia. I have returned to Canada now for the 4th time.  Any identifiable patient information has been included with permission.

I went to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to get fingerprinted today.

I had my finger prints taken first in 1970 by the Sheriff’s Department in Geary County, Kansas, having been booked on the charge of Illegal Pedestrian. (Neither the Court nor the Sheriff has a record of the offense.)  The Indian Health Service required another set in 1982.

Between the summer of 2010, when the Samuel Simmonds Memorial Hospital management sent me to the police department of Barrow (now Utqiaviq), Alaska, for 4 sets of prints, and the summer of 2015, the fingerprint paradigm shifted. Instead of special ink and paper, the FedEx installation used a digital device.

(That particular installation in Pennsylvania got hacked, and all my personal and security data got leaked, including my fingerprints.)

As I’m applying for a Texas medical license, the Texas Medical Board wants two sets of fingerprints, the old-fashioned way. I had to stop by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police station.

A few of the larger cities in Canada maintain their own police forces, but most jurisdictions find contracting with the RCMP more cost-effective.

I have had nothing but favorable experiences with law enforcement in Canada. The Mounties maintain a unique blend of professionalism with friendliness.

The RCMP branch opened at 8:00AM. I had luck, the Constable had been trained in paper-and-ink fingerprinting before the digital revolution.  I had to give my height in inches and weight in pounds; we couldn’t be sure that Texas would know what to do with metric dimensions.

In the States prints cost $10 to $25, depending on quantity and agency. I reached my fresh-washed hands into my pocket for cash, but the RCMP declined payment.

I told the Constable about my adventures, and my plans to do locums with my daughter and son-in-law in Galveston on the Gulf Coast. Most people like warm climates and the Sunbelt, I observed, but my wife and I thrive in the cold.  Then I talked about wanting to work in Nunavut, the northernmost and largest Canadian territory, but nobody answers my emails.

He has connections in Nunavut, he said, and said he’d send my contact information on. After all, we agreed, not very many docs want to go there.

I left the RCMP station with a bounce in my step, impressed again by an institution that blends professionalism with friendliness. I have hope that the meeting will help me network.




Back in Pennsylvania, Urgent Care and a Transformed EMR

November 6, 2015

It’s an updated, revised, EMR

In the last five years it’s come far

But down the wrong road

It’s as slow as a toad,

It can push a doc towards the bar.

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, travelled 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 am back having adventures in temporary positions until they have an Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system I can get along with. I spent the winter in Nome, Alaska, followed by assignments in rural Iowa. This summer included a funeral, a bicycle tour in Michigan, cherry picking in Iowa, a medical conference in Denver, and two weeks a month working Urgent Care in suburban Pennsylvania. Any patient information has been included with permission.

I drove the large rental car away from the airport into the Pennsylvania countryside. A simple transposition of two numbers for my phone contact with the hospital led to confusion and tension.
I stopped into a UPS store. As I walked in, the clerk looked up and said, “Here for fingerprints?”
“How could you tell?” I asked.
“The piece of paper you’re carrying,” he answered.
The new inkless technology contrasted to my last fingerprinting 5 years ago in Barrow, Alaska; everything about the northernmost point in the US qualifies as a unique experience.
Finished with fingerprinting, I figured out the phone number, got ahold of my contact, and entered the right address into my GPS unit.
Fall colors dominated the forests, and cute furry animals like deer, possum, and raccoon littered the country roads with their lifeless bodies. A few cornfields retained a trace of green, but most stood dry and ready for the harvest. Huge round bales of hay lay scattered over alfalfa fields. It felt a lot like home in Iowa, but agriculture here has to deal with a more and steeper hills.
The GPS took me to an address having nothing but buccolic pastures. I followed the properly named road another mile and came to a new-loooking medical building.
The Urgent Care clinic has its own CT scanner and MRI machine, but rarely used for same day studies from Urgent Care. I had a good conversation with the doc there. He showed me around, praised the nursing staff I’d have the next day, and walked me through an electronic medical record system I’d worked with while in private practice.
But this version suffered from updates and looked nothing like what I remembered. It boasted spiffy colored graphics but shuffled and gimped like a zombie. I took notes, and, at the end, I drove back to a Chinese buffet, ate large, came back to the hotel, and slept hard.
The next day started off busy, and the EMR became even more truculent than I could have imagined. It suffers from a counter intuitive, chaotic layout. It runs slowly, with plenty of 15 second click-and-wait features.
With incomplete documents piled well into the double digits, I got a call from an ER doc who talked me through the trouble spots, and as the patient flow lightened, the annoying data entry sped up.
I finished my charting on time, leaving at 9:00PM sharp.
The stress of learning a new EMR system took a toll. I remembered back to the time when the Practice Formerly Known As MIne made the conversion from paper. The steep, six-month learning curve took me well outside my zone of comfort. Halfway through the process, I had a second glass of wine on Friday night while at supper with friends, and not before nor since has my wife has seen me consume alcohol under stress. She doesn’t remember it. I do. But I didn’t have a drink when I got back to the hotel. It would have ruined my sleep.

Five referrals south to save life and limb, getting fingerprinted, and an ice cream bar from home.

June 24, 2010

I’m just trying to keep folks alive

My off-slope referrals were five

     At the station I lingered

     While cops printed my fingers

At the end of a leisurely drive.

I just finished a twelve-hour call shift, which is not an excessively long call. 

Out of respect for the patient I won’t give identifying details of the day’s first patient’s bizarre presentation.  I can say that between the time the patient came in and the time that the patient left, I could see in the face a sense of wellness returning.  It required a good amount of work on my part with several phone calls, a consult from a colleague, and five forms to fill out.

“I sent five patients off slope today” is not something you will hear said anywhere but the North Slope of Alaska, and the linguistic device reflects a cultural thought process.  The Brooks Range runs more or less east-west across the top third of Alaska.  The land slopes gradually downwards and northwards to the Arctic Ocean.  The North Slope is close to the size of Montana, the population is less than 10,000.  Barrow is the largest town at 4500.  The roads that connect the rest of the world only come to Prudhoe Bay; the well publicized Ice Road is a temporary phenomenon that ends with spring.  Commerce between settlements can be by plane or boat or snowmobile, depending on the season.

I was instrumental in sending five patients off slope today, away from the unique cultural assumptions of the North Slope.  Three were sent by Medevac, two went by commercial jet.

ATVs and snowmobiles are necessities of life here; they are the vehicles that feed the towns.  With so many of the two passenger gas burners around, no wonder people get hurt with them. 

Barrow lacks CT, and we send a lot of patients to places like Anchorage where CTs are common.  They can find diseases and conditions that endanger life and limb.

In the middle of the steady intensity of ER coverage, I had to go get fingerprinted. 

My employer here is the Arctic Slope Native Association, or ASNA, which is a bureaucracy.  Though run by Inuit, it is subject to the vagaries of all bureaucracies.  For unknown reasons, they wanted four sets of my fingerprints. 

The police station is four blocks from the hospital, and one of the hospital’s expediters drove me in one of ASNA’s vehicles.  When I left the ER, I checked out to a colleague one of the patients in the middle stages of being Medevac’d out.  I left the hospital wearing scrubs and a white coat, into 40 degree fresh air.  The police station maintains an anteroom for those waiting to be fingerprinted.  I waited in line and I didn’t fret about waiting

My clinical duties were being handled while I was away from the clinic.  I was in the service of my employer and I had time to breathe.  It was a good break.  When the policeman called my name I shared my relaxed attitude.  He took my prints professionally and we had a good time chatting. 

I’m no longer the boss.  I enjoy my position as an employee.

Back at the clinic, I arranged transport out for an injured patient.  Supper was the best corned beef brisket ever, but I ate dessert first.

It was an ice cream sandwich from Wells Blue Bunny, just north of Sioux City.