Sunday, February 25, 2007

I hate to say it, but I've been getting that antsy,tense, knot in my stomach feeling more and more lately. I know it's my anxiety acting up yet again and I know a lot of it has to do with my job situation.

No, it's nothing like my last job- where I wast almost scared to go in. But it's still not great. I mean, lately I feel like I am being pushed too much! And, yes, while I can work under a certain amount of pressure, when it becomes too much, I tend to go into panic mode...

Without going into too much detail, I recently took a job at a hospital as a medical coder. Now, this field is completely new to me. I've never coded before and, therefore, had really no idea what to expect.

That, said, I completely underestimated what goes into this job. I never anticipated how much I would have to learn and all the responsibilty that would fall on my shoulders. It's challenging, and while that's a good thing, it's also a little overwhelming too.

When I first started, it was fine. We started out slowly... My manager, J., who is not exacly the most friendly or helpful teacher, did his best to show me things little by little, which was good. However, as with any job, I soon was expected to take on more responsibility. I would be learning how to do ER coding, who would be taught to me courtesy of my co-worker, L.

I actaully was very eager for the challenge. I was doing radiology coding and some other random busy work, but, truth be told, it was becoming somewhat tedius to me. There's really only so many mammograms and bone densities that you can code before it becomes boring. So, when I was told that I would be learning how to code ER records, I was excited. It was nice to be given something new.

And, frankly, it is actually very interesting. You'd be amazed at what you see in the ER- just about anything and everything. You might see anything from a child who swallowed a coin to someone there for a psych consult (no, not me!).

However, at the same time, the variety of issues, symptoms, and diseases seen in the ER also makes things a little difficult too. Sometimes it isn't so clearcut on how to code the record or selecting which code is appropriate.

Also, unlike other types of coding at this hospital, I am also responsible for charge posting (entering the charges ($$$) for the ER). It's probably good that I'm picking up this skill, for possible future use, but it's also a pain. It too can be difficult to know how to charge things.

And, along with that, it can be time consuming. Not such a good thing, when you have a certain amount of records you are supposed to get done a day... Something which only adds to my anxiety.

To make matters worse, L., who had been trying to teach me what she could about ER coding, recently got into a car accident. Meaning, I am basically on my own now! Yes, my manager is there and K., who had done ER coding in the past, is there as well, but, honestly, they are not much help to me.

L. was the one who really knew what she was doing and always was very helpful to me. She never heisitated to explain things or answer my questions. But with the extent of her injuries, she is going to be gone for awhile, so this leaves me very nervous about the state of things.

My manager doesn't do a whole lot of coding himself. His job is basically to delegate who does what and some other odds and ends. He spends very little time coding. So, in L.'s absence, when I have had to ask him a question, I often get the impression that he just doesn't know. His response is usually go ask K., or don't worry about it... which is, frankly, not an answer.

And to go to K is, usually, no better either. She will either say I don't know, tell me an answer I'm not sure is right, or send me back to J., who told me to speak to her in the first place. So, like I said, I'm on my own.

At that point, I'm kind of at a loss at what to do. I try my best to code and charge as I think is right, but most of the time it's almost like an educated guess. No, it's not the best way to do things by any means, but what else am I supposed to do?

I know I shouldn't, especially seeing how I am not getting much help, but I am feeling the pressure regardless... I'm trying my best, but, I know I haven't been doing everything perfect. In fact, I'm 100% sure I've made some mistakes. That doesn't exacly sit well with me, but I guess that sort of the learning process too, right?

I hope that they understand that and that it doesn't come back to haunt me, but, with how things usually go for me, I wouldn't be that surprised.

Anyway, the whole situation is just making me feel very insecure. And I really don't like feeling that way at all. Yes, I know it's going to take more time, but I just wish I felt better about what I've learned and what I'm doing.

Plus, I wish I could get rid myself of some of this pressure and anxiety. It really doesn't help matters, but I know it also goes along with being pushed so much and taking all this on so quickly.

And on top that, I realize it has to do with me too. No surprise, butI belive it also has to do with the pressure I put on myself. I know it isn't helping, but it's something I just can't help. I just hope it doesn't get in the way of being good at or, even, doing my job at all.



Blogger Chrissie in Belgium said...

Hej, isn't there some kind of manual out there? There should be! And if there is no manual AND if there are no written guidelines and no one who can advise you- well then your educated guesses are the best you can go by. That is exactly what you have figured out yourself! Maybe point out to your supervisor that the lack of a written manual is something that could be improved upon. This input to your advisor could also be helpful if you are worried about being blamed for mistakes that YOU COULDB'T AVOID b/c you lacked such a manual. At least the guidelines ought to be printed! Hang in there.

5:36 AM  
Blogger Scott K. Johnson said...

Wow - that's a tough situation to be in! Unexpected things like that can throw a monkey wrench into the best laid plans.

I'm thinking that you might want to talk with your boss - let him know that you are not getting what you need from him or your other co-worker.

It's his responsibility to get you the training you need - he can't just expect you to pick it up from the air!

Just my two cents!

4:52 PM  
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7:31 AM  

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