Saturday, February 8, 2014

What Goes Wrong!

So last post I let you know what a big part of my job at U of M entails. Sending slides out for patients to get second opinions when they've been diagnosed with cancer or some other disease.

About 50% of the time things go pretty smoothly. We get the request, pull the material, get the pathologists approval and get the stuff shipped out, all within 24 hours of receiving the request. I love that part!

However, this is a teaching hospital with heavy focus on research. Besides all of our regular labs for routine diagnosis, we have tons of research labs scattered all over the campus.

Many time when I send in a request for slides someone has already beat me to them.

For example, here I put in a request for two sets of slides for the same patient.  The first set was pulled by Dr. Lim in December, probably for her research lab. The second set is just not in file; which means what it says, the slides are not there and there is no tag saying if they were pulled for someone else.

In this case I can either contact Dr. Lims secretary and have her check with Dr. Lim to see if she still has them. !

Or, I email the doctor directly.

Or sometimes I page them if I'm getting desperate and need their attention immediately!

 If I get no results either way, I can send a mass email to the whole pathology department! In all my years there, however, that's only worked once or twice.

So eventually I just have to request the blocks and have new slides made. That causes a delay of a few days and lots of times I'm getting phone calls from patients or the requesting hospitals wondering what the delay is. I can't exactly tell them that we lost the slides so I have to be careful what I say!

This is the pile of trouble cases that has been on my desk all week. Each tray is a case in various stages of trying to find the slides or getting recuts! No stress there!!

As a side note: See that jumble of cords under the desk? One time I spilled a glass of water on my desk and the water ran down the back of the desk and all over that power strip! Luckily I was able to reach the main power cord before it blew everything out!

Finally the most frustrating thing is when I finally have all of the materials together and I go to prepare the shipment and I get this

The FedEx site is down! Thankfully it doesn't happen too often but when it does it can be for the whole day! Then we have to hand write a label! Terrible!!!!

So that's part of my job.  The other parts include

Receiving requests from clinicians for specialized testing and having to send materials to one of our specialty labs.

Answering phone calls from clinicians looking for biopsy results on their patients. We are not allowed to give them the results before the pathologist is finished, but we are allowed to give them the pathologists pager so they can contact them themselves.

Scheduling patients for our cytology service, which is fine needle aspirations, like for cysts.

Returning pathology materials that we have received from other hospitals. Although that actually is done in another area we are the back up when they get behind, which is all the time!

I'm also a member of the Employee Appreciation Committee. That committee plans any events and outings that the department does for the employees. Once a year they do a outing for the whole department. Last year it was a day at the Toledo Zoo. This year I think it's going to be a murder mystery dinner. We also  have a little award luncheon once a year for people who have been there 10, 20, 30 or 40 years. We plan that and arrange food and decoration and gifts. Plus March 7th is Employee Appreciation Day so we have some stuff we're doing for that.

I'm also on the Workplace Recognition Committee. Every month people send in nominations for one of their coworkers who has gone above and beyond on part of their job. After we've gone through the nominations and decide who get an actual award, my job is to type a nice letter to them, make sure the head of that particular lab signs it, get the  letter to the employee and copies to the head of the pathology department, the nominator and their supervisor. In May there will be a nice luncheon ceremony with the presenting of the awards. We'll plan all that!

I received a customer service award a year and a half ago. I posted about it here.

It keeps me busy but truthfully, I was getting bored with all the usual stuff so this has definitely helped! A little stressful at times but worth it!

So that's pretty much it. Other than having to take a bus from my parking spot to the hospital every day, it's a good job with great health insurance for me and Rich with minimal cost to me and a retirement plan that is second to none!

And that is worth it's weight in gold!

Until the next time!


Sally said...

Girl! Wow, you do a LOT! Sometimes, I wish I was back to work; in fact, I still think about it occasionally; part time you know like I did a few years ago.

I'm so glad you have good insurance and retirement; you're right, that makes it all worth it.

Thanks for the update; I'm always happy to see you.


Judy said...

I sounds like a fascinating job--the kind of job I would love to do! you bet a good retirement plan is to die for!!!!!Hopefully you will not die before you get to retire and enjoy the benefits of that plan!!!

Donna said...

That is one heck of an important job! I know from a patient point of view, that the time waiting for pathology results goes excruciating slow. And now I have a better appreciation for all the work that goes on behind the scenes. The good medical insurance and retirement are parts of your total compensation, and it sounds like you are earning every penny!

Sally said...

I meant to tell you; LOVE the header!! :)


Grandma K said...

There are the little glitches in every job. The health insurance and retirement makes things a lot better!!!

Donna said...

Wow...just Wow! Gotta be a better way...but the job benefits sound wonderful!!