I wish I could say that my transition from the academic/theoretical portion of the semester to the clinical portion was going smoothly, but alas, ’tis not the case. The hospital I will be doing my clinicals in (a well-known certain Bronx hospital, for all you curious, saavy New York types) has at least two miles of bureacratic red tape to get through before they actually let students begin their clinical rotations: health clearance, security clearance, a policies and procedure class and a computer class—all of which is a real pain in the ass, but pretty standard for most hospitals. The only problem is that this year, I’ve been referred to a woman who works in the nursing department named Ms. V (obviously not her real name) to help me sort out my administrivial clearances, and unfortunately, it seems as if she is rather unfamiliar with my school, and with our clinical rotations. I am under the impression that previous students who did their clinicals at this site went through a different person. Somehow, Ms. V is a new player in this game. She’s asked for copies of my nursing license and registration, my BCLS certification, and my NRP certification—all of which is pretty standard if you’re trying to become employeed as a labor and delivery nurse, but I explained to her that 1) I won’t be working in an RN capacity, 2) my NRP is my neonatal resuscitation certification, which will be unnecessary since I’ll be doing ambulatory prenatal care and well-woman gynecology, and not actually resuscitating any babies at all, and 3) there are direct-entry students in my program who are not nurses, and wouldn’t be able to provide her with all of this documentation—if I didn’t just happen to already be an RN, how would I meet all of these requests? I think part of the problem is that the contact my school has been using for the past few years seems to no longer be working for this hospital, and Ms. V is unfamiliar with my school’s midwifery program, and with the different paths by which people can become midwives (i.e., nursing or direct-entry). This is something my school should have already addressed, and is definitely something that needs to be explained to her so that if future students at this hospital are referred to her, she’ll have a better understanding of what student midwives do, and hopefully their clearances will go much more smoothly—however, I don’t feel it’s my place as a student to be doing this explaining. This is something my school needs to work out with her.
In any case, I provided her with all of the documents she requested, and I wish I could say that was the end of it. However, Ms. V has also requested copies of the master contracts between my school and her hospital, as well as the malpractice insurance policy that covers me as a student, which is again a totally standard and acceptable thing to request. Again, this is something I should have absolutely NOTHING to do with, as a student; these are details that should have been worked out between my program and this hospital long ago. My school has told me that both of these things have been on file with this hospital for over three years now, and this has never been a problem for any of the previous midwifery students from my school who have done their rotations at this hospital. However, this year, because Ms. V is unfamiliar with my school and with this rotation, all of this has come up, and unfortunately, I’ve been somewhat stuck in the middle of it. And finally, add to this some other minor glitches, such as my inability to get the necessary computer class scheduled last week or this week, and the net result is one very frustrated student midwife.
The long and the short of it is this: I was supposed to start clinicals this week, but I will be unable to do so because I haven’t managed to get all of the administrivia cleared yet, so I will officially be a week behind in my clinical hours, from the very start. Nevermind the fact that I’ve been working on getting all of this taken care of for over a month now, or the fact that I have been calling/e-mailing Ms. V and my preceptor and my program directors and clinical coordinator for over a month now. I am going to the hospital again tomorrow to try once again to get all of this sorted out (this will be my third 2+ hour commute to this not-so-close-to-me Bronx hospital in the past three weeks). I have spoken to my preceptor, and will hopefully begin my clinicals next Tuesday, despite the fact that I will need to take a 2-3 hour break from the clinic in order to attend the computer class which I was supposed to take last week, and was hoping to take this week. I am doing my best not to let any of this administrivia color my perception of my actual clinical site, because I’m sure the midwives I will be working with (none of whom have anything to do with Ms. V, or the nursing office, or the administrive process, in general) are all fabulous, lovely people, and I’m sure the site is going to rock (I’ve heard good things about it)…but even so, for the love of filing cabinets, enough with the administrivia already!!!! Urrrrgh!