Category Archives: Evaluations

Do you really have cataracts?

It started out as a simple, easy, routine visit to the optometrist, maybe the ophthalmologist as well…to see if I needed an updated prescription for contact lenses.

When I arrived I inquired as to whether Medicare covered any of the anticipated expenses. “No”, I was told. The newly graduated optometrist immediately halted the exam for contacts because she informed me that I had cataracts and she could not proceed in examining me for new contacts until I had the cataracts evaluated and removed. She referred me to an ophthalmologist of her choice.

I was out of “fresh” new contacts, so she was kind enough to give me a pair of contacts to wear while waiting for my cataract surgery! But only after insisting that one of my contacts surely must be for “distant” vision and one for “proximal” vision. I had never been told this before in my approminately 15 years of wearing contacts. But because she insisted, I guessed which eye was which to satisfy her.

Since I was not willing to undertake any surgical procedures without significant thought, I gave this some thought. I ardently believe that everyone MUST be their own best advocate in undertaking any medically related evaluations and procedures. (I am a well educated health professional.) I scheduled appointments with two optometrists who practiced with ophthalmologists. Medicare would cover some or all of the expenses for the evaluations I was told. And Medicare did cover these expenses.

The conclusion of both othphalmologists was that i did not need a new prescription for contact lenses, just a supply. AND I had no cataracts!!!

BE YOUR OWN ADVOCATE.

New position: Week 1

 This entry is about orientation of new staff, etc.   The moral of this story: it is really important to ask all the questions, have a contract, and don’t do a thing, don’t commit to anything until you meet with Human Resources, which should happen on your first morning, if not before you start.  And, if you are a manager or supervisor, please spend your first week telling your staff (or providing them with) your history, their rights, their challenges, commonly used acronyms, an organization chart, a list of necessary phone numbers and email addresses, how to use the phone and the computer, the politics, not to mention introducing them to other staff, providing them with a CLEAN equipped working environment, and a vase of fresh flowers.

 I have had a week from hell. First week in my new position. The incompetence and the accusatory style of communication amazes me. The worst I have experienced in my 39 year career. I still don’t know what my salary is, don’t know benefits, don’t know about my 1 yr contract. Will find out at 3 on Halloween. Bad omen? Good omen? I SHOULD NEVER HAVE STARTED without knowing salary. Why can’t anyone tell me? Well, if it is not livable, I will just have to decide not to sign the contract and walk out the door. 

And on the way to work on Tuesday, I could not avoid some metal debris on the freeway (typical highway shlocky maintenance where I live) and blew out 2 tires and bent a rim. For almost $1000. Didn’t report to insurance cuz my deductible in 1k. So I hear “you were late!”. Yah; well I am alive! Went out to my car for 5 minutes one day to change my contact lens and was told “you never came back”. What!?  And the week before I even started I was asked by my “mentor” how I planned to allocate my time between my job sites.  What? I didn’t even know what sites I would have assigned to me. Most staff have 1 or 2 sites. And I already get the picture. They “drive” between their sites, presenting the fiction they are working when indeed they are not. I was given 17 sites! I will spend 2 days a week at an ethnic academy. Was told they are hard to work with. Nice intro, huh? But I find them VERY pleasant. Cuz I am not naive. I have been around the block a few times. I think THAT site will work out fine, if I ever get paid.

Are you expected to use your personal cell phone and not be reimbursed for mileage? I will just keep my cell phone off. Why should I pay for this service for them?

Take care of you, because often your employer will not….

Admitting Mistakes

I believe, from my years of experience, that health professionals, more specifically supervisors, educators, mentors, and managers have a very hard time admitting mistakes.

In how they handled a difficult client/patient. In how they handled strife in staff relationships. In how they handled their supervisory role when they should have been more inquisitive, supportive, rather that critical and demeaning.

In how they handled staff meetings. Staff meetings to me, are for sharing new information, but more importantly for team building. The more the staff talks and shares, the better. You will learn a lot! I have found that frequent staff meetings are extremely important. And the longer the agenda, the shorter the meeting. And the shorter the agenda, the longer the meeting. Staff is often very pleased to have a forum to be heard and respected.

A good manager, supervisor, mentor always gives the benefit of the doubt, and then shares similar experiences in order to help the staff persons grow, rather than become angry and disillusioned.

This concept leads somewhat to evaluations of staff. Why not allow “self evaluations” on which you can comment. Do not make these events a crisis and frightening. Make them a growth experience for both of you. Don’t make them long and tedious. See if you can prepare a somewhat brief, and to the point, evaluation. Just as your initial interviews should be. Let the staff talk. You will learn a lot more that way. Generally forget exit interviews. When that time comes, egos might be so bruised that you don’t hear the truth. I have occasionally left before the exit interview. I knew I would not be heard anyway. And I once had a lengthy interview, trying to be honest about the management style, and after I left several staff were laid off and/or fired and/or left because they couldn’t stand the place.

So what kind of manager/supervisor/mentor do you want to be?  One who is rigorously honest and willing to listen, grow, be even more supportive of your staff? Do you want your former staff to not fear asking you for references? Do you want to be respected and respectful?