If RCMH is a "well-oiled machine," (and it's usually not) it's the office goddesses are who keep our place up and running. (Don't you dare call them "secretaries"--as I found out to my chagrin on the first day of work.) We couldn't survive without their amazing clerical skills (I'm pretty sure the docs haven't used a fax machine since the Macarena was the new dance craze.) but it's all the "little things" they do that make the day go more smoothly for us all.
Like warning me which pharmacies are hard to deal with, so I'm emotionally prepared before I telephone Overly Expensive Drug to ask why our deliveries haven't arrived. And taking the gazillion Post-It notes that have pharmacy phone and fax numbers scrawled on them and making them into an alphabetized spread sheet!
When I've spent the last twenty minutes on the phone with an insurance agency punching random numbers in the hope of contacting a live person to get a medication pre-authorized, they've even been known to come to my office holding a sign to tell me a patient is waiting to see me.
One of them, June, is a truly formidable woman. She's bilingual, incredibly intelligent, and very good at her job. (I want to be like her when I grow up!) She has worked for RCMH for the last twenty years and doesn't suffer fools lightly. Many patients (and some of the staff) have described her as "scary."
Yesterday the secretary who's in charge of our patient assistance program (making sure people get the medication they need even if they can't afford it) called. She asked many questions about why Vince Lombardi wasn't getting his prescribed medications and could we give him samples until the paperwork went through.
"Sure, we can do that," I said. "But why did Mr. Lombardi call you about this instead of me?"
There was a pause on the other end of the line. "Don't take this the wrong way, but he says he thinks you're scary."