Part 3: Why I Decided to Leave an Assignment

T’was the Friday before Christmas. I had the usual full schedule and there were plenty of walk-ins. It was 11:30 am, lunch started at 12:00 pm and I had 2 patients waiting for me. This is when I was asked if I would see a ‘walk-in hospital discharge.’ Remember from my previous posts that these are supposed to be schedule appointments but became ‘walk-ins’ on a regular basis.

I responded with “no I cannot see the patient because I already have 2 patients here and unless she has an urgent issue the patient should be scheduled for a hospital discharge appointment.”

The next thing I know, the patient was checked-in under my name. I was told that the front desk “lead” said I HAD to see the patient because we cannot turn away any walk-ins. I proceeded by approaching the front desk “lead”. I told him “I already said I could not see the patient. So I am not sure why she is checked in under my name.” He responded with “she is a walk-in hospital discharge, so she has to be seen.” I said “these should be scheduled appointments. Regardless I cannot see her as I already have two patients here, but maybe someone else can.”

I went to lunch late anyways, and when I returned the Medical Director was waiting for me. He pulled me aside and pretty much said to me:

“I was told you turned away a walk-in hospital discharge. You know we do not turn away walk-ins, not here and not in Virginia. You have upset a lot of people here. I think you should take the rest of the day off and think hard if this is a place you want to return to.”

Like the great leader that he is, he didn’t even bother asking for my side of the story. I didn’t “turn a walk-in away”. I just said I could not see the patient, and they should have asked someone else, but they did not.

I was happy to leave early to be honest because I was able to drive down to Miami in the day-time (for Christmas). As the company is based out of Miami, I decided to use the time I was home to speak with the Chief Medical Officer. I told him about all of my concerns (not following the model and us nurse practitioners being mistreated) at the Tampa/Lakeland market, and what had happened the week prior. He said he would like for me to meet with the Medical Director and “hash things out” by giving him my perspective. I told the CMO that I had already tried approaching the Medical Director about my concerns prior to the incident last week, but he ignored me, as he ignores all of us. The CMO then said he would try to address my concerns himself.

When I returned to work after Christmas, I decided it wasn’t a place I wanted to remain at. As much as I enjoyed working with some of the other PCPs and my supportive staff, I was only there for the model. And since the model wasn’t being followed, nor was management receptive to any suggestions, I knew it was time to go. I notified my recruiter about everything that had happened and told her to find out when was the earliest date I could leave.

I originally still had another month of that assignment, but the Medical Director agreed to let me leave at the end of that week. Like always, it was bittersweet saying bye to everyone. However, most of them understood why I was leaving and agreed that since I have the luxury to do so, there was no point in me staying there longer. I am hopeful that things will improve within the next year, and maybe at that point I can return.

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