Working in the Bay Area

It has been an easy transition to my new position working in a community health center in Northern California. Of course no place is perfect, but it is definitely a breath of fresh air in comparison to the facility I was working with in San Diego, CA.

The MA’s are pretty autonomous, they help assess which health screenings the patients have completed and are due for. They follow standard protocols to complete tests as indicated such as urine dipsticks and rapid strep tests. They gather and input family and social history.

The computer system we are using is NextGen. It’s an upgrade compared to Meditech but still part of the Flinstone era. There are a lot of clicks required to accomplish orders and adding of diagnoses. It can be a bit time consuming because your orders are all in different places instead of just having them all under the same “orders” tab (referrals, diagnostic tests, labs, medications etc.).

I started off on a slow schedule with 12 patients per day the first week. It ended up being really slow because there is a high no show rate. The second week I had 16 patients and found myself busy in a good and not overwhelming way. My only complaint is at one of the clinics I only have 1 patient room to use. Sometimes my patient is not ready until the time I am supposed to leave because other providers were using my room. This isn’t necessarily a huge deal when I have a low number of patients. But they will expect me to see 24 patients per day, and this will not physically be possible with just one patient room. I brought this to the attention of the clinic director – so we’ll see what happens.

They also only provide 15 min visits for all patients – including new patients and adult physicals. Once my schedule becomes busier, I foresee this as a problem. Luckily, any extra time spent seeing patients or documenting I can always add as overtime. This includes working through lunch and staying past my shift. I try to see this as a positive since the salary employees are often staying late and are not compensated for it.

All of the other physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants are very friendly and helpful. They have welcomed me with open arms! The medical assistants are also nice and respectful. The patients are pleasant. There are not too many narcotic seekers, which is always a plus. It has been interesting working with a high Asian population for the first time. This includes Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese, Indian etc. They often come with a family member to help translate but we also have providers that speak their native languages.

I don’t even have to do well woman visits/pap smears because each clinic has a Gynecologist or Woman’s Health Nurse Practitioner. I rarely have to see children because each clinic has two pediatricians. Procedures are rare since patients are usually directed to the “care today clinic” which is one of the facilities urgent care like clinics.

So far, so good. I will keep you posted!

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