After the switch: adjusting to a new job

There is a learning curve associated with starting a new job.
There is a learning curve associated with starting a new job.

It has been 2 1/2 months since I started my new job. For the first month or so, I was so overwhelmed with learning new policies, procedures, and practices that I didn't have much time to reflect on the huge change that had occurred in my life.

First off, there were new colleagues to meet. Honestly, I feel like I'm still learning the names of the 70+ nurses who staff the labor and delivery floor, not to mention the residents, physicians, medical assistants, and ancillary staff.  Remembering names is half the battle; learning the personality nuances and practice styles of different providers is a much more complex task that continues to be a work in progress.

I have caught on quickly with some parts of my job. Days at the hospital are busy and fast-paced, but other than the volume of work and paperwork, it didn't feel like a huge adjustment.

Days in the office are another story. I'm still figuring out the logistics of a new EMR system and how best to incorporate it into the flow of my office visits. It is impossible to predict all the possible scenarios that could come up during a patient encounter, so although my orientation was excellent, most days I still have numerous questions. In my previous job, I was able to efficiently move through a double-booked office session without issue, so going back to feeling like a slow-moving novice is an extremely uncomfortable position for me.

I've been told it can take at least a year or two to adjust to a new workplace. After spending more than 6 years at my first job, I'd forgotten what a steep learning curve new employment can be. But being new has its benefits as well. I bring a different perspective and have been asked to use my “fresh” eyes to help identify flaws or redundancy in the practice.

Honestly, the way I catch a baby, do an annual exam, or counsel a patient on contraception is exactly the same no matter where I'm working. Patient care is the most important part of my work, and thankfully, it remains the comforting constant in a sea of change. 

Most of all I'm thrilled to be a part of a practice where I feel valued and appreciated, even at this early stage. This change is worth all of the growing pains and insecurities that I've felt over the past few months. Eventually I know I'll again forget what it was like to be the new kid on the block. Until then, I'll struggle through the experienced-novice phase and try to enjoy the extra patience and tolerance that my colleagues extend.  

Robyn Carlisle, MSN, CNM, works as a full-scope midwife in Philadelphia. 

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