Welcome Back

Welcome Back photo: jparadisi

Reluctantly, I sit at my computer writing this post. Tomorrow I will spend eight hours at a training computer learning the electronic medical record system, Epic. The following day, I will spend another eight hours doing the same thing. I previously posted that our hospital converted from paper charts to EMR last week while I was on medical leave. I am making up the classes that my colleagues took last month. Although I’m not thrilled about spending so much time at a computer, I am looking forward to participating in patient care again.

I provided precious little help to my coworkers during the two shifts I worked last week, since besides having limits on lifting, I won’t have a computer sign on until I complete the two classes mentioned above. Instead, I spent much of my time following coworkers who kindly taught me as much as they could about Epic in a live patient care setting.

The hardest thing about those two shifts was my feeling of incompetence, because nothing in our unit operates the way it did before EMR. I can’t even open a patient’s chart, look up the name of their doctor, or find an order without a sign on. I’m used to being nursing muscle, not a helpless bystander. I felt uncomfortable, and I have to admit, mildly anxious.

The funny thing was, because Epic is still so new, my coworkers are struggling too. In that way, we remain on level ground, although at least they can access charts, and record the care they gave. However, I could see how learning to navigate the new system slows them down. One way that I helped was to listen thoughtfully as they described the frustrations of providing patient care while simultaneously learning a new system. I let them vent, and I learned from their experiences.

Week by week, things will improve. I hope so, because EMR isn’t going away.

Did I mention that despite all of the controlled chaos at work, I brought a cake to work for my coworkers on my first day back? And that one of them found time to bring in flowers for me?

Remember: be nice to one another.

Baby, I Was Born to Run

Identity: Self Portrait

David and I are at our favorite brewery slurping steamer clams with broth-soaked crusty bread and sharing pints. Overhead, Bruce Springsteen’s disembodied voice wails Baby We Were Born to Run:

The highway’s jammed with broken heroes on a last chance power drive

Everybody’s out on the run tonight

but there’s no place left to hide

Together Wendy we can live with the sadness

I’ll love you with all the madness in my soul

h-Oh, Someday girl I don’t know when

we’re gonna get to that place

Where we really wanna go

and we’ll walk in the sun

But till then tramps like us

baby we were born to run

It’s the first hot, sunny day of the year in Portland, and I’m thinking life doesn’t get any better than this.

In a few more days, my medical leave ends and I return to work in the ambulatory oncology clinic. Damn, back to work just as I’m feeling good. That’s how it goes. I’m mostly ready. There are restrictions on lifting, and time on my feet, which require light duty for a couple more weeks. I will return the same week Epic, the electronic medical record (EMR) program, goes into effect. The way the medical leave program works at our hospital, I was restricted from attending Epic training classes while on leave.  I hope I’m allowed to make them up during the time I’m on light duty. Otherwise, I will hit the ground running along with my colleagues.

It’s okay, because baby, I was born to run. Literally. Running is my exercise of choice. I haven’t been able to since this health problem began. Running is as much a part of my morning routines as brushing my teeth. I don’t feel right without it. Hopefully, my surgeon will give the go ahead to start at the next follow up visit. I am cleared for walking and do at least a short one most days. Growing stronger, and healthy again, I feel energy building within me.

The need to run is not only physical. It’s mental too. I miss my nursing job. I miss being the person who helps instead of the person needing help. I want to be Superman, not Lois Lane. I want to drive the motorcycle, not hold on from the back seat.