It’s finally happened.

Posted on October 22, 2009. Filed under: Journal from behind the desk... |


Well it finally seems to have happen..I think! (hmmm, I’ll rephrase that before someone makes a smart arse comment about me finally thinking…)

Well I think it has finally happened!

No not that!

When I first started out in General Practice, I felt a little intimidated and a lot impressed when I went to the Doctors and asked advice on a particular patients care and, on just hearing the name, they would rattle off about that particular patient as if they had memorized their notes.  I mentioned this to one of them, and they said…

“You’ll be the same in a few years!”

Surely not!  I have a slight disadvantage, the GP’s usually see their own patients, and as there are 5 GP’s they only have a 5th of the patients to deal with, whereas I see everyone. Now I am less naive I realise the GP’s can’t recall every patient, but it seemed that way because on the rare occasion I go to them for advice, it is usually about a regular with complicated issues, and thus their Doc knows them quite well.

So yesterday was a sunny day, and I went for a lunch time stroll around town. I realised that several patients smiled and said “hello” to me.

I’m always cautious about saying “Hello” first. I suppose it’s a bit of a confidentiality issue, if I say “Hello” then everyone in the street might realise they’ve been to see me, especially as I live in a different town.  Mind you it’s not like I say:

“Ah, hello Mrs Smith and Mrs Jones. So Mrs Smith, how are those tricky piles today? Mrs Jones I trust you’re wearing a good incontinence pad, after all you’re a long way from your house!  Ah young Charlie is over the road….’Afternoon Charlie,  how’s the crabs?!” 

Instead it’s a nod and reciprocated “Good Afternoon” if one is received, and a half smile and nod to Charlie on the way down the road. 

Psst, how’s the crab’s?

After all it’s not just about confidentiality, it’s my bleeding lunch break!

Anyhow, I’m walking down the street, several patients saying “hello” (what’s the plural of Hello?  Hellos, Helloses, Helli, Hell I don’t really care!) and I look around, I see a Schizophrenic chap walking up the road, and then I see the woman with depression, and that bloke in the motor scooter with diabetes, who I have recently started on levothyroxine, and over there is one of the twins, with her friend who just had an unplanned pregnancy and didn’t know how to react when she had a miscarriage…and then I realise it’s happen!

No! I haven’t developed that ultimate nurse super power of being able to diagnose people just by passing them in the street, (Is it just me, or does anyone else pretend that they can do that when walking along sometimes!?!?  It’s not crazy, it’s just like people watching with a diagnostic twist – hmmm, OK sounds a little nuts!)

I realise I now know enough of my patients and have had enough encounters with them to know who someone is and be able to recall a fair chunk of their medical history, just like the Doc. said I’d be able to!

So I feel a little strange about this occurence. Is it time I moved to another area? Am I now part of society in this area, someone who is known by lots of people in the town?

I go back to my consulting room feeling like some kind of local celebrity, part of society, intergrated into the towns folk law of the future. I call in my first patient of the afternoon and I get greeted by….

“Oh hello, I was expecting a lady Nurse Practitioner, are you new here?”

The next thing I hear is the thud as my feet land firmly on the ground!

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One Response to “It’s finally happened.”

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Yes to both — recognizing people (and being recognized by them) and diagnosing strangers. But I was a pharmacy tech with no medical training… but you just get to where you know, y’know? You see enough people coming in with cholesterol problems and they all have that same skin tone — whether it’s from the cholesterol, or the cholesterol-fighting drugs tearing up their liver, I’m not sure — that sort of thing. It’s been nearly 7 years since I worked in my pharmacy, and I can’t remember as many people (or conditions) as I used to, but every now and again, I come up spades.


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