Thursday, July 30, 2009

Oh, and...

The school, of course, couldn't just let me graduate without some drama. A scant few weeks before the licensing exam, already having paid the fees, and with a "you need to repay in full if you can't be there" notice on my fridge, I get:

"We can't officially graduate you and release your transcripts until..."

Well fuck me, you don't say? I am pretty sure that I, in fact, have to do next to NOTHING on that list. I read my handbook and can quote it. And I did, with only moderate amounts of snark, which got me out of some but not all of the things on their list.

The easiest thing is to roll over, do as I'm being asked, and watch the red tape dissolve. My preceptors think I'm ready for practice (are referring a few people to me, actually) and are interested in making sure I can take exams and get licensed on time; they've humored the school in providing a second set of evals just two weeks after their last set (what do they expect to have changed?), and working with me to be able to sign a few things that if the system worked as it should, my program coordinator would be signing for me.

There are several reasons this pisses me off:

- We had a check in last quarter that made it sound like I was about done, and said NOTHING about several of the items on that list.
- Some of those requirements aren't in the handbook, meaning that they AREN'T requirements and the school has no right to hold my transcripts while they wait.
- In fact, the school has no right to hold my transcripts AT ALL. The state needs transcripts to show that I've done the coursework, they don't need my graduation papers for me to sit the exam, just before the license. The school is effectively holding my papers hostage. The transcripts are mine. That can't be legal.
- The NARM skills checklist - a 22 page long list of things our preceptors are supposed to sign off as we master - has a "safety" where if you don't manage to do some of the skills, the program director should be able to see that you've covered them in your coursework and sign you off. Which the program director is REFUSING to do. This is not OK, it really isn't. Why say you have that safety there if you don't? There are skills on that list that I'm not going to get to do. My preceptors can sign off after we review and drill; but this is something that the program director is supposed to be able to do, since we reviewed and drilled in our courses. So why not fucking sign? I passed those parts of the curriculum. I thought that was the stated reason for the hefty curriculum at this school; so that we have knowledge that we need when we encounter those things that aren't so common, that we'll not see in our practicum. Why are they being such ASSES about signing it off? I have all of 3 things left. My preceptors haven't seen me do them any more than the program director has...but my program director, unlike my preceptors, has access to my exams and course work and could verify that I know what to do. I don't get it. It feels like making life hard just for the sake of making life hard. It feels, again, like holding my papers and transcripts hostage.
- I have to do a fucking EXIT INTERVIEW before you'll release my transcripts? Again, not in the handbook. Those documents need to be at the state office...and you're telling me that I need to do this, oh yeah, and you're going on fucking vacation next week? I think fucking not! I need more notice than "do this or else, oh yeah, and it will be extraordinarily hard to do this and you don't have enough time."

Until this point, I haven't had issues with the school largely because however much asshattery I encounter, it's been forewarned in handbooks or at some point in our education. BUT NOT THIS. This is NOT OK. Setting us up for failure, much?

Yes, I'll get it done. Yes, I'll be OK. That isn't the point. The point is that I could very easily NOT have been able to, and I wouldn't have had the warning I needed to ameliorate that. The school has told me over and over again that I'd be able to take the exams in August. THIS IS THE KIND IF SHIT I WAS TRUSTING THEM TO TELL ME ABOUT, and they don't even have the "it was in the handbook" excuse, because it FUCKING WASN'T.

Mad, mad, mad.

Car Dramaz!

I thought, yesterday as I went in to clinic, that I'd just do a quick couple of visits and leave in time to see my Fran off to work (starts at 1pm). I sweated my way through clinic; in Washington the temp was over 100 yesterday, which is truly exceptional here, and the clinic building (typical for Washington) has no A/C and was, effectively, a solar oven. I walked out to the car thankful to be gone during the hottest portions of the day.

And it didn't start.

Crap, crap, crapcrapcrap.

As I sweatingly encouraged the car to start *with the force of my will and strong words* I got several offers of "I don't know what I'm doing but can I help?" which were of course not helpful, and which caused in me an irrational hatred (I said it was irrational) of those not-terribly-helpful people and their terribly-functional car A/Cs.

What else could I do? I called my man to help. That's what we get married for, right ladies? Kinda?

He got to the clinic at about the time he was supposed to get to work, all three kids in tow. He succeeded in starting the car, which ran limpingly (and stinkingly) in the parking lot, and as we were about to caravan our way to the mechanic, the office manager ran out "[client] is pushing! [midwife] is coming, be ready to jump in her car!"

Of COURSE after a week without a birth *this* would be the moment!

I left my husband with the car problem, the kid problem (erm, they're in a parking lot at 105 degrees, and I can't even say it was a dry heat), and the not-at-work problem, and ran off...we figured there would be a baby, I'd be gone 3 hours total (how long it takes to catch a baby, monitor everyone for complications, clean up, and leave), so maybe they could just wait for me?

Our mama/client/patient was not pushing when we arrived. She is a wonderful, wonderful person, and I don't hold that the least bit against her. It was just inconvenient.

She birthed in a home in the shade, which was about 20 degrees cooler than the clinic building for most of the day. That bit was at least a little convenient.

In the meantime, my family went to several air conditioned establishments in the Olympia area, spent too much money on purpose (which my husband tells me was a twisted act of passive-aggressiveness) - too much money being $50 all day, at this point.

To make a painfully long story short, they spent 10 hours in Olympia, a baby was born healthy if a wee bit early, Fran got the car running AGAIN as I came back to the clinic, and we dropped the car off at the mechanic's shop at the bright and early hour of 11:15 pm.

So, a few words of not-explanation?

I don't know what to do with this blog anymore. I wrote a lot when I was staying at home and writing kid-foibles. I wrote a lot when I was in Vanuatu, and had no need to worry about anonymity.

Last week I went to three births in 24 hours. Which is something to write about, except that it isn't. They aren't my stories to tell. They are significant in my life, yes, but in many ways it has transitioned into being what I do. It feels odd to say it, but birth is my work, and you wouldn't write about the minutiae of your work day either. The interesting bits aren't mine to tell, and (darn those federal privacy laws - kidding, really, it's an ethics thing) this isn't a protected space to talk about anything that could identify anyone, which in my community is pretty much anything at all.

I am tired of being broke, and ready to stop being a student. That much hasn't changed.

Approaching licensing, I feel anxiety. My preceptors believe I am ready for independent practice. I know that I can handle independent practice, and yet, I'm scared of that responsibility. In that way, being a student is a sweet deal; there are some people that are more my clients than my midwives', but if I did something wrong they'd be there to either catch it or take the blame. Not that I do wrong things, just that there's a safety net there that I'll be going without shortly.

I also feel anxiety about starting up my practice and money. I've been whining about money a lot, I know. We are at a place we've never been before, without enough money to pay our monthly expenses and at the end of our credit limits on our credit cards, scrambling to figure out how much we can charge on which cards to pay whatever car repair expense we need to pay. And starting up a business costs money. A medical business more than most; I have equipment to buy, yes, but I also have malpractice insurance to buy and in this state, you pay for a year in advance...and I don't have that money. I'm taking this thing one step at a time, because I can't just make money appear so I can't do anything differently. At the end of my student time, I'll probably need to find paying work that isn't my profession, so that I can make enough money to start up. Which is galling, because once I start up I'll have money. Business loans are next to impossible to get when you make what we do and have as much debt as we do. Funny how your school loans count against you for that.

I didn't mean to start whining about money again, but there it was. I know a few people who are students are reading this. Hopefully in a year my song will be different. Right now things are difficult. I'm not burnt out on midwifery, I'm not soul-dead from my student-hood...but things are difficult in this transition time.