I made it onto the Outpatient Unit today, and tried to help and absorb as much as I could. I finally had my HIPAA training, which thereby magically allows me to view patient charts, and I was able to slowly start to learn how to process a chart when the patient arrives and has checked in with the “front desk.” A lot of it involves reading through the pt. history, checking for ordered labs, checking for current vaccines, preparing a PCC (Patient Contact somethingorother) for the doctor, and then passing the chart on to another aide, who will call the patient in and screen them.

I think one of the main roles here at the clinic for an RN (as opposed to an LPN or the unlicensed personnel) is that of team leader and problem solver. However, there are only 2 RNs and there’s room for five or six. Everyone is working very, very hard, and the clinic is packed every single day. There is the Outpatient Adult clinic (that’s where I am), the Outpatient Children’s clinic, Walk-In/Urgent Care, and the 24/7 ER. It is a busy, hopping place. When we’re in the thick of appointments, charts are flying back and forth.

All of the MDs are non-native. I think there is one Navajo MD, but he works mostly in the ER. The aides frequently act as interpreters (or, “interpolators” as one of the docs calls it) as many of our patients speak very limited English. All of the aides are Navajo. I’m happy to say that 1 of the RNs is Navajo, and one of the LPNs is Navajo and about to take her boards to be licensed as an RN. It sounds sappy and weird, but I would love to see the day when that clinic is staffed with the Navajo people, and can provide the absolute best care to the people of their nation.

But good gravy was I grateful to get out of my holding pattern and get onto the floor. After I pass a few more sections of orientation they might even let me work with patients. Until then, I’m grateful to get the chance to be on the floor in all the craziness. It’s why I’m here.

In other news, this morning was Attack of the Rez Puppies. There are three little crazy puppies in the yard across the street, and they go beserk every time someone walks by (Lisa calls it our “Early Warning System”). Two of them managed to get out today; I have no idea how. They proceeded to follow me down the street and nip at my heels. They were finally diverted with a bicyclist came by — much more interesting prey, I’m sure.

I know I keep harping on the rez dogs, but I’m actually a little enchanted with them. They seem like homeless children, and I’m a big sucker. I realize this a completely useless way to view feral dogs, but…..I want to FEEEEED them. I’m thinking of heading to Bashas this weekend when I go to the laundromat and picking up some Milk Bones. They’ve gotta at least taste better than my ankles.