Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Disorienting Orientation

Is it just me, or is the word "orientation" completely abused nowadays? It seems like it should be applied to a process which helps you know where you are, keeps you from getting lost, puts your head back on your shoulders and find your way around. Right?

The problem is this: has anyone EVER been actually oriented during a session called "orientation"?

Yesterday, I went to the program's session, where we received a very thick binder full of papers. During the course of the morning, various people filed in and added even MORE papers, including some we'd already been emailed (and so, of course, your OCD-highness here had already printed them out). Statements in the binder conflicted with the verbal statements of the program directors on very important subjects, like parking, so much time was lost in working out the nitty gritty details of parking at multiple different clinical sites (how much does it cost per day? per month? will I be reimbursed? how far will I have to walk to the site?--etc.)

Today's was far worse. We arrived at the Very Large Hospital and eventually found the conference room (helpfully titled "6B-183", but located on the 6C wing), only to find that none of the people orienting us were present (and I was 10 minutes late, due to an alarm clock malfunction and lack of parking spots). We spent awhile filling out paperwork, then were led to a 3 hour computer orientation on the very-complicated EMR system. (On the way to the computer lab, our leader, who WORKS IN THIS HOSPITAL, got lost. And when she asked for directions, two different employees had no idea what she was asking about. This does not bode well for me--I have zero sense of direction indoors). The computer session was awful. The woman leading it had a mild speech impediment, yet spoke rapidly. I would look at my screen for 5 seconds, look up, and she'd be on a whole new window, but I'd have no idea what she'd clicked to get there. About an hour and a half in, I gave up and surfed the Web (conveniently NOT restricted on that computer) until it was over.

Lunch was yet another boxed sandwich meal. I don't mind them, but honestly, why would you put tuna and chicken salad sandwiches on a catering menu? You know those sandwiches were delivered up to an hour or so before we got to eat them, and who knows how hot the delivery driver's car was (it was in the 90's here today). I ate warm chicken salad until I couldn't stand it (it also had pineapples or somesuch in it--yech), and then survived on potato chips and a granola bar until dinner. Nothing like a little warm mayonnaise to breed a little staph food poisoning.

After lunch, the real crap started. The lady led four of us to Human Resources to get our badges. We signed in and proceeded to wait. Eventually, the rest of the group came into HR, but we original four were still waiting. Now there were 15 or so of our group, plus other new residents who were there before us, all crammed into a tiny waiting room with about 6 chairs. They started calling us out one at a time. I went, and found that one woman, by herself, had to verify ID, fill out the form, take my fingerprints (twice), take my picture, upload the picture, copy my documents, and lead me to the exit. It took her about 10 minutes to complete my paperwork (and she wasn't lollygagging, either). I then had to go to another office where they actually printed my badge; the whole thing took me an hour, and I was the first done. They scheduled our group to finish this in 2 hours.

After waiting for another hour, our lady came in with some forms to sign and get notarized, and then we waited some more. I tried to go get my parking decal, but the office closed at 3:30 (we went at 3:39). Eventually, our last (and reasonably important) lecture started late and ran long (naturally), and I spent what was probably the most important time of the day trying not to fall asleep or let my stomach growl too loud.

Tomorrow, I have stuff in the morning, then a break of several hours, then more stuff from 3:30 pm on. Our schedule says "dinner" (another box, from the looks of it), with no end time given, so for all I know I'll be in the Very Large Hospital all night. I'll have to try to go get my PPD read, since the occupational health people aren't going to take my word for it that it's flat without erythema. One of my classmates said "Well you know, MD, you need that LVN to read that PPD." (My med school's clinic just let us call in with the results if it was negative, hence the confusion).

At this point, I have one ID badge (out of 3 I need), 0 passwords/logins (out of 3 I need), 0 pagers (out of 1 needed--I'm not in a hurry for this) and I have not seen my call schedule for July because apparently the neuro department is known for not getting it done until 2-3 days before the month starts.

So now I've finished my little temper tantrum, and I've finished compulsively typing in the entire year's lecture schedule into Outlook, so I think it's time for bed. I'm still reading The Devil in the White City, which is really interesting and more than a little creepy. Nighty night from a tired, cranky TS.


Bardiac said...

Wow, sounds worse than faculty orientations! (Where the powers that be basically feed you a donut breakfast and tell you how happy they are you're here, but no, the pay really is staying crappy, and the state's broke, and why weren't you at the meeting last week that no one told you about? And then they give you a 200 page faculty manual of dense legalese and send you on your way.)

My reading group ALMOST chose that book for summer reading, but Ann Patchett won out... And Sherman Alexie!

medstudentitis said...

Ugh. sounds awful! i typically spend more orientations falling asleep... i can't seem to stay awake through hours of computer training in dim rooms with powerpoint slides... go figure.