My official position is Medical Office Assistant (MOA). I love my job, I really do! I wouldn't have been doing it for 11 years. It's not an easy job but a lot of people seem to think it is but I'm not here to argue that point. I'm basically writing to bitch of some of the shit I've been through. Here are some points:
Impatients Not Patients: I honestly don't know why people are called patients cuz only few of them actually are. I can't tell you how many times I've been asked how long they have to wait and bitch to me if the doctor's running late. Guess what? When doctors run late, it's hardly ever is the secretary's fault! My favorite is when 'patients' expect me to be psychic! For example (and this happens a lot!): Someone would call me and book an appointment for the next day or so. After giving them a date, they would ask, "Would you tell me how long I'd have to wait?" I constantly have to bite my tongue to keep from saying, "Gee, I dunno. Let me check my crystal ball!" How the hell does one expect me to tell if the doctor would be running behind the next day or the next week for that matter!
Kindness Goes A Long Way: This should be common knowledge but I find it really isn't almost every day at work. I can tell you in my 11 years as an MOA that I have been called every name in the book! Mind you, I get kind words and compliments like 'you're so efficient' or my personal favorite, 'Vee, I don't know what we or the doctor would do without you!' But others are not so kind. I've built up a thick skin and learned the art of sarcasm when someone calls me a bitch or something worse. What most don't realize is that MOAs, depending on how the office is run, have a lot of power when dealing with 'patients'. I know I do. I have the right to refuse a patient as long as my reasons are valid but I don't abuse this power. When someone's treating me wrongly in person or on the phone, I can kick them out or hang up on them. I've been here long enough to build relationships with other secretaries in specialists' offices and frankly, sometimes that helps to get a speedy appointment. Generally speaking, I have a great memory so if we have ever had friction in the past, the less likely I'm going to go the extra mile for you. In other words, just DON'T FUCK WITH ME!
The Mentally Unstable: Working for a general practitioner, we see a lot of different problems and the worst with are people with mental issues. There are various states: some are stable with meds, depressed or a little off beat, slow but very chatty. Then there are the scary ones that may have a history of some sort of violence, homicidal or suicidal thoughts. A few of them, aren't bad. These are the innocent ones who are genuinely happy to see you and just have a case of "verbal diarrhea" but there is one particular person that sends me right off the edge!!!! Obviously, I can't use names so we'll call him "PD". That's what my friend, a social worker, calls him. It stands for Personality Disorder. PD is basically a big pain in the ass and has got a different kind of 'verbal diarrhea'. When he talks, it's usually irrelevant to anyone. He's constantly 'beating around the bush' when asked something and never lets you get a word in at all so he keeps rambling. When he's in, sometimes he spends anywhere from 1 to 2 hours in my waiting room AFTER seeing the doctor. He reads magazines and starts rambling to anyone who'll listen. Sometimes we have to kick him out cuz he sits there until we close! A week or 2 ago, PD needed copies of records for an appointment that he had on a Thursday. It was at least 20 pages long. Monday, I left him a message to say that it was ready. He called me Tuesday and after spending at least 10 minutes on the phone, all he wanted to know was if the copies were ready. When he showed up, he asked when he's seeing the doctor. He believed he had an appointment and wanted to know how long the wait was since there was a roomful of patients. After telling him that he couldn't see my boss, PD stated, "You told me to come in to see the doctor!" I told him all I said was to pick up the copies, he replied with "You told me I had to see the doctor about these copies! You said so on the message! I can even play it for you!" Of course, he said this in a rather loud tone, making patients look at me, worried and probably wondering what the hell was going on. I encouraged him to play it for me. I even offered my phone to use but he stormed out. I later found out he needed them for some kind of arbitration. I guess he looked through all the papers and didn't like what was said cuz PD came back in and threw some papers at me. He said he didn't need them cuz it would make him look bad for the meeting. He insisted on speaking to the doctor so I tossed the papers back at him and told him to get out, saying that I'd get him to call him later. Needless to say, when the boss called, he didn't get PD so PD called back Wednesday. After speaking with my boss, he called back about 5 or 6 times in a row to speak to me! The summary of the situation was he needed an appointment cuz my boss didn't want to speak on the phone with him re: the papers. It took me until about the 4th or 5th time he called to figure that out. That's why he called back so much. He wouldn't get to the point and I warned him I would hang up if didn't tell me what he wanted. The other thing was he needed another set of copies and I was pissed! When I told the boss, he told me to charge for it and PD said he would pay. Then last straw was when he told me that he needed it done by that afternoon! Apparently, he needed another cuz he'd written all kinds of notes on the copies. We argued to the point where I was raising my voice cuz he wouldn't let me speak. I refused to do the copies because what he did was inexcusable. I hung up again but he called back in attempt to lay guilt on me. I hung up yet again and put all the calls on hold cuz by then my heart was palpitating, I was on the verge of crying and I was already shaking. I thought I was going to lose it so I took my coat and walked out of the office. This man always gets to me and he's the only one that can set me off like this. Last week, he came in twice and has made big scenes in the office to the point where you can hear my boss and PD almost yelling at each other. ARRGGGHHH!!!
Whoah, this was long!! Phew, I feel better after spilling all this!