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so, many of you know that for a few years now i've been doing various… - don't let the bastards grind you down.
so, many of you know that for a few years now i've been doing various medical programming. i started out doing imaging systems for medical records, moved into practice management software, and then into a real management information system. unfortunately, for a year now, we're using a mckesson product, so i've just been coding add on procedures and blah blah blah...mostly reports, and i've hated it. but it pays the bills, and i like it here.

the reason i like it is that i'm working for a non-profit, CHRISTIAN company, and that's pretty cool. i can't think of one i'd like to work for more. i mean, the normal politics and power plays occur here like any other 6 billion dollar company, but the mission statement mentions caring and compassion, and how many companies have that?

but the division i work for is the home health and hospice division. hospice is when you send a nurse to someone's home to take care of them while they die. home health is when you send a nurse to someone's home when they are unable to leave the house. both high callings on the nurse scale, i'll tell you what. maybe not as prestigious as trauma or L/D, but honorable, you know? it's one of the big reasons i like reading about the work gina was doing with her old people. i could relate in a "i can't relate but i know what you're talking about" kind of way.

i used to think it was pretty depressing when i really thought about it. i mean, like, when one procedure called for arranging records that aren't records but are actually people's life stories in order of the date of death..i mean, there are constant reminders that we're helping people who can't help themselves, or whose families have given up on them, etc. adults who used to be soldiers and politicians and businessmen and doctors and teachers, but who can no longer wipe their own asses.

the y2k problem was huge here...some systems had this rollover thing where if the two-digit year were greater than 50, then it was the 1900's, but if it was less than 50, then it was the 2000's. we couldn't do that, because we had most of our clients born before 1950. so you're thinking to yourself "ok, then instead of 50, use 20, or 10, some other system" well we coudlnt' even do that, because we had people born in the 1800s in our system.

but i digress. i used to think that the constant reminders that i'm abstractly dealing with the deceased, dying, and invalids was the most depressing part of my job. i changed my mind.

last week there was a periodical on a specialized form of hospice...you know, as i said above, it's the kind of nursing that deals with people dying within the next 6 months...

pediatric hospice.

THAT is the worst part of any job ever. EVER. having to code a kid who died on you in the trauma ward is pretty bad. but you didnt' get to know the kid, read them books, love them, see them waste away before your eyes, and then cry at the funeral as much as the grandparents.

i admire our staff.
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wiffler From: wiffler Date: August 11th, 2003 12:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
That's interesting that you mention this because of the work Culann's girlfriend, Carolyn, recently traveled to Mexico City to do. She originally went to work in a hospice. Culann explained that it was a house where people pretty much go to die. Carolyn spent 3 months in Mexico but not working in the hospice because there was only one patient at the time and there was already sufficient staff.

That is work I don't think I could handle.

citizengwen From: citizengwen Date: August 11th, 2003 12:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
i worked with and visited so many nursing homes last summer and some were hospices. it's hard to determine the value of human life, so i hate to make a statement that a pediatric hospice is worse than a "normal" one, but....you know...it IS. seeing someone who hasn't even experienced life be at their end is heartbreaking. but in either situation, i too commend the staff that can care for these people day in and out. it's really sad that our government doesn't to more for the people who's job none of us can do. i've heard stories of CNAs getting better jobs at fast food joints.

the thing about these people who do this kind of work...if you meet them, the will tell you how much they love their job. to be there for people during their last days, they truly are stronger than me.
christy_p From: christy_p Date: August 12th, 2003 06:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
pediatric hospice...wow, there is no way i'd hold up under that kind of stressful job. is the burn out rate high among those people who do that line of work? maybe I'm just assuming they'd get as attached as i would and that would be very difficult.

I applaud those men and women who have what it takes to do that job.
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