New Kid.

I’m going to take a moment to pat myself on the back and not care too much if anyone thinks I’m an arrogant prick.

I am a smart kid. I catch on quickly, I multitask like nobody’s business, and people like me. Genuinely like me.

These are, apparently, super helpful things when one is starting a gig as a patient services representative in a busy medical specialty office.

Today was my first full day on the job. I spent a few hours with my colleague yesterday before computer training, learning a bit about the chart prep process we’ll perform each morning (well, hopefully completed in the morning). I had to scoot out before ever actually touching a computer or filing a piece of paper or placing a chart in the appropriate spot, but I arrived ready to jump in this morning. And, from the sound of it, I did okay. Better than okay. My coworker and my manager were both effusive with praise about how quickly I settled into the tasks I was learning, while also greeting and processing patients at the reception desk.

It felt really good. REALLY GOOD. To be reminded that I am not solely a drone who is great at performing those job functions that pretty much any literate person with a working knowledge of computer peripherals can master. I have skills – both learned and innate – that make me ideal for a position like this. We’re responsible for attending to lots of tiny details that would take most new hires time we don’t have, which need to be addressed with each patient at check-in and check-out; being attentive and kind and helpful while simultaneously doing data entry and collecting paperwork and keeping in mind that Dr So-and-So needs to know when Patient LadyFace pops in for a specimen; remembering that this insurance is quirky and that this hospital doesn’t use contrast dye so I have to give it to the patient when she leaves; and this doc hand-writes his follow-up requirements while this one enters hers in the computer database, so I have to check each accordingly.

These things stick in my brain like it’s my job. And guess what? It is. And I’m gonna be damned good at it.

I hate a learning curve. I want to be good at what I do from the very minute it’s on my plate. But when I really stop to think about it, my favorite thing is this training period – a time that, for me, is shorter than for most, because I have been gifted with a quick mind and a willing spirit. I enjoy those offhand comments about how it seems like I’ve been working in this office forever, or how I’ve caught on more quickly than anyone they’ve had in years, or from that one wonderfully fun patient who said I remind her of her cousin’s daughter, and that makes me special.

Sometimes I don’t remember that I’m special. But you know what? I am. And it’s okay for me to accept that from virtual strangers who come to me when they’re at their most vulnerable, checking in at the Oncology office. Know what else? It’s okay for me to accept it from people who have known me for months or years or decades, too. They aren’t biased – they know me. There’s a difference. And when I tell someone, “When you discard my compliments, it tells me that you don’t trust my judgment. You trust it about other things; why not about you?” Well… That goes both ways. And what a slap in the face for me to preen under the praise of someone like a coworker who has known me for eight hours, but to shrug off the kindness offered by someone who has spent hours and days and weeks in my company.

Just a lil food for thought.


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4 Responses to “New Kid.”


  • Comment from Auntie April

    You we’re the same way as a baby. You were destine for great and amazing things!! Nana Kit was so proud of you. She beamed looking at you. And you were just a baby!! You have developed into an amazing woman. Every awful event in your life has assisted in making you great. I know you, maybe not as well as your peeps,. I’m proud to say that. Good luck with the new career!

    • Comment from Kirsten

      You know me in ways noone but family can. Scary, isn’t it? Thank you for being a friend besides an aunt; not everyone has relatives they can count as friends, too, and I feel truly lucky that we were plopped into the same gene pool :) xoxo

  • Comment from Maureen

    I told you all along that you were wasting your time at your old job. You had so much to contribute but no one listened. this post made me smile from ear to ear and I got teary eyed as it is so nice to hear the joy in you. You go girl and rock that office. Love and miss you.

    • Comment from Kirsten

      Maureen, I don’t think I can ever tell you, not even with all my fancy words, how much your encouragement and support and love has meant to me. I couldn’t be happier that you and I were stuck down that little hall together; otherwise I might never have known what a gem you are. Thank you, for everything. Your words mean so very much to me, as do you.


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