Wednesday, October 27, 2010

For Hire

In my travels around town today, I drove past a plaza with one of those temp agency jobs places. On the street corner at the end of the plaza was a middle aged guy walking around wearing a weather-beaten and very sorry looking bristol-board sign advertizing “Jobs! Jobs! Jobs! AAA-111 Employment Agency!!!”

Somebody drew the short straw at the jobs office this morning.

Queue Jumping

(winding up a lengthy intake assessment) …our program has a twelve month waiting list right now. I’m going to take your information to our intake committee, and I should be able to call you within the next week to let you know if you’ve been accepted.
Mr. Konfused: so I start next week?


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Peer Reviews

I just got two requests to do peer-reviews for my co-workers. This will make #8 and #9 that I have done this year. When we do our yearly evaluations, we have to submit the names of two co-workers that we would like to submit an evaluation. If you want to provide useful input, they can be quite time consuming.

I understand the importance of these reviews, but I’m getting a little tired of them. And to be honest, I’m not sure why everyone keeps picking me! I know that I am friendly and personable with my coworkers, but around the office, I tend to stick to myself. I never have quite warmed up to this place, or the idea of working in a setting that is not expressly a shared team model. Also, it’s not really my thing to share a lot of personal information, or gossip. I’ve always been someone who listens from the sidelines.

So why do they pick me? I don’t know. Perhaps I appear to be a neutral party? Maybe they think I’m “nice” so I’ll just say good things? Perhaps they get that I’m thoughtful and introspective, so feel I will give them a worthwhile evaluation. Or maybe it’s just a coincidence.

All I know, is it’s another stack of paperwork to add to the pile.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Fill In The Blank Friday

From the little things we do via Social Worker Mom:

1. I am doing a poor job at focusing on my work today.
2. I wish it was 5:00 and I had a big bottle of wine already.
3. I like red wine.
4. I can sing really well.
5. I hope it’s not this bloody cold all weekend.
6. I think I should get back to work.
7. I was going to finish some notes, but I got distracted.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Anything Else to Add?

Check all that apply:

Concurrent Disorder (Substance Abuse)

Dual Diagnosis (Developmental Disability)

Other Chronic Illness and/or physical disabilities

First time I’ve checked ‘em all. Oh yeah, and throw in an Acquired Brain Injury to boot. For a guy diagnosed with Bipolar and PTSD. Actually, truth be told, I'm kind of surprised it took until now.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Standard of Care

I’ve been absent.

Thanksgiving weekend was spent mostly in bed, feeling sick. I took the Friday before and the Tuesday after off work, all for a stupid little cold.

I think work burn out had something to do with my reduced immune system.

One of my clients has recently been diagnosed with cancer, and I’ve been putting a lot of energy into supporting him. Practical stuff has been taking up most of our time – getting to appointments, arranging new supports, making sure he has food in the house. I saw or spoke to him 2-3 times every day for about three weeks.

One bright spot in this experience has been visiting the oncology unit. That sounds so wrong, but wow! What a difference from the mental health units! Prior to this, they were the only parts of this particular hospital I had been in.

I walked in to a sunny, bright reception area. The nurses’ desk was open, and there was somebody to greet me, who actually looked me in the eye, and didn’t just pretend that they couldn’t see me through the glass while they type away on their computer. In fact, there was no glass! The nurses were happy to admit me in, without having met me before.

They came over to check on my client while I was there speaking to him. The nurse introduced herself, and talked about how we could support him together. My client had lots of space and privacy (well, as much privacy as a curtain can offer, but still…) while he received his chemo treatment. When leaving, the nurses told me to call if I needed any information.

I did call later in the week, and someone got back to me the same day with helpful information. The following day when I went in with my client, the nurses remembered who I was, and helped us right away with what we’d come for.

Everything about this experience is the polar opposite of how things go in mental health.

It really makes me wonder about how the treatment of these different (although some times the same) patients is valued, and what are the expected outcomes.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Cloudy Day

Wordle: Client Notes September

Inspired by this post over at Social Work Blogs, I decided it would be fun to make a Wordle of my own. I decided to use my client notes for the month of September.

A couple things I found interesting. The words that turn up frequently in my notes seem very formal: scheduled, meeting, information, reported. If I were to do a wordle of the words and phrases often used to describe mental health work, I bet it would look very different. Also, I decided about half way through the month to break my habit of using “client” instead of a person’s proper name. It’s an out dated practice, and a bit of a hang over from when I used to write notes in third person. I’ve gradually been shifting out of that mode since I did a bunch of legal & documentation training where I learned that it’s really not necessary, and often confusing. If I took notes from any previous months, the words Client and client would have been twice as enormous. By the same token, I learned at that training that “stated” is a valuable tool, because it makes it clear that you are not directly quoting the person, and also that you are reflecting their own ideas and not imposing or assuming anything. Obviously, I use it a lot.

The prevalence of certain words reminds me just how much I rely on a certain set of phrases and terms to help me get through my notes quickly, and hopefully write them in a way that will be clear to others.

I could go on a lot more, but I realize this analysis probably a lot more interesting to me than any one else! Identifying information has been removed, natch.