“The typical training period for this position is two years. If you are hired, you need to commit to the job for at least that long. Do you have any problem with that?” My now-manager asked.
“No,” I replied. “I have no plans to be anywhere else for the next two years.”
In my head, when I answered that question, I was thinking, two years is a very long time to think about. So much can happen and at the time, it felt like two years would never pass. Of course, I could stay on the job for that period. No problem!
Well, I hit that two year mark today- and I am officially out of the training zone, and supposedly know all of the basics there are to know about my job.
Except, I feel that I really don’t. But then again, this job was meant to be a life-long learning one.
I can’t say that this is my dream job because it wasn’t something I had really considered for myself when I was 16 and planning my future. I did know I wanted to be working at the particular hospital that hired me but to work in Infection Control and Prevention was something that had never occurred to me.
Now, I can’t see myself doing anything else.
Yes, it’s tiring on all levels, it’s information-overload, it’s soul-crushing to see patients suffering and not be able to do anything about it, it’s even tougher trying to change mentalities and current practices while emphasizing that we’re all trying to care for our patients and their safety, just in different ways. And of course, it’s tough to explain to family and friends what it is that I do exactly.
But at the same time, this job feeds my curiosity and love for learning. Monotony has never been an issue because every single day, there’s a new case, there’s a new investigation, there’s someone new to talk to, there’s something new to see. As the hospital moves, I move along with it too. I barely spend time at my desk because I’m someone who has to be on site, observing and checking every single detail.
And as exhausting as they can be, I love doing rounds.
I put on that white gown, lace up my sneakers tight, and go to each and every ward, looking for breaches but also for compliance. And along the way, I find myself watching people’s stories: the admissions, the discharges, the complications, the success stories, the births and the deaths.
Somehow, they’ve taught me a lot more about myself than all the years I’ve spent at university and graduate school. There’s something about seeing others at their most vulnerable that truly gives you insight to the way life works.
Two years in, I’m proud of myself for how far I’ve come along. I can now pronounce names of bacteria as if I had known them my whole life, I can audit a unit for an hour and not feel bored by it, I can read patient files and understand close to 80% of what they’re documenting. But most of all, I feel like I can make a change somehow, that I’m not just a random someone working behind the scenes.
I’m not going to stand still (I never do) and pat myself on the back, though. There’s a lot to be done, like get certified- a goal I’m working on achieving next.
And since we’re on the subject of celebrations, not a single one goes on without cake! So I baked this delicious mocha sticky cake the other day, because coffee is the lifeline for anyone that works in a hospital.
Yes, it’s as delicious and it looks and worthy of the occasion.