Lessons from Volunteering

Yesterday while volunteering I spent time talking with my group of middle school girls about what their plans are for their holiday break. Several of them mentioned traveling and seeing their families.

What one of the girls mentioned she would be doing really resonated with me. She mentioned that her cousins would be spending time with her at her house. She said that when they get together they typically sit in her room on their computers and hang out. One of the other mentors and I asked if they ever played games or spent time together without their computers. She said that when they were younger they were closer and would hang out and have fun, but that ever since getting laptops they only want to sit on their individual computers and spend time together that way. She also said that she doesn’t like it as much and misses being as close as they used to be.

When I was growing up I didn’t have my own laptop until high school, I didn’t have my own cell phone until my older brother was driving, and how often I used our family computers was monitored. Children are getting their own electronic devices younger and younger. It’s interesting to see what kind of effects they could be having on their relationships with people they love.

I was impressed by my student for acknowledging how her relationship with her cousins had been affected by technology. I also encouraged her to challenge them to spend time away from their computers. Hopefully she reports back in January that they spent some time unplugged!

Erin

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Birthday!

Today was my 24th birthday! My Wednesdays are typically my busiest day of the week because after work I volunteer. This was my first birthday where I wasn’t spending my evening studying for finals, so I was just happy to be able to enjoy my day without stressing over exams.

When I got to work I was greeted with a huge surprise! Allana had baked cupcakes for me and had strung up a Happy Birthday banner in my office. She also picked up a cupcake recipe book for me since she knows I love cupcakes (they’re a major weakness of mine!). Needless to say I was extremely surprised and was very grateful for her! We had plenty of cupcakes to share so we walked around the hospital and shared cupcakes with coworkers until we were low.

Later in the morning Lake Pointe’s two administrative secretaries surprised me with a Happy Birthday balloon and a bag of caramel popcorn! I tend to be very low-key about my own birthday, so I was extremely thankful and humbled by how kind everyone was!

After work I headed to volunteering where I spent time chatting with my group of middle schoolers about what their holiday plans are. It was a nice way to end my day!

Erin

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Thanksgiving

For Thanksgiving my boyfriend and I decided to go to his family’s cattle ranch to enjoy some time outdoors and relax. This year we also invited Allana, who is also a resident at Lake Pointe.

Since Thanksgiving falls on Thursday we were given both Thursday and Friday off to enjoy time with our families. To my surprise we were also told to leave at noon on Wednesday! It was a great surprise and it was really nice to have a little bit more time to relax. We all met at the ranch on Thursday morning. After a big lunch we spent the rest of our day hiking around, enjoying the beautiful weather and showing Allana around. We ended our day with a bonfire including s’mores!

I have come to love living in Dallas, but I always look forward to spending time at the ranch. There is something very rejuvenating about spending a whole day outside, enjoying the weather, and being unhooked from technology. It was wonderful to be able to share our ranch fun with Allana! She and her dog really had a great time with us and will hopefully be back for another ranch trip in the future.

I know I’m certainly hoping to return soon!

Erin

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Final Presentation

Now that it’s almost Thanksgiving I am only a few weeks away from the end of my residency. I really can’t believe how quickly time has passed since my first day at Lake Pointe. As much as I am excited for Christmas break and to see my family and friends I will also be sad to leave Lake Pointe.

Since June I have been lucky enough to spend time with a wonderful group of people who have taught me a lot about how integral everyone’s roles are to making a hospital operate. I’ve also been given opportunities to use some of what I learned while at Baylor and was also given opportunities to continue to develop interpersonal skills.

One of the opportunities I have had is through my final project. For my final project i helped to develop several results metrics that will be utilized to monitor our new Community Paramedics program. Prior to developing results I also was able to sit in on meetings and watch the program develop. It has been a wonderful learning opportunity and I’m very thankful to have been a part of its development.

Since the program just recently launched, my presentation will focus on telling the story of how the program was developed. Although we do have several patients enrolled in the program now, it is too early to report results from the program. After spending so much time with this program, I am very excited to present the steps taken in the program’s development with Col. Garner and with my preceptor. I’m sure I’ll be nervous, but I know it will be great to present everything I’ve learned!

Erin

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Holiday Plans!

Now that November is coming to a close it is officially my favorite time of the year! I love October – November, but I especially love the weeks leading up to Christmas.

For Thanksgiving, I have both Thanksgiving day and the Friday after off work. I’m really glad I also have Friday off so that I can enjoy a long weekend of relaxing. I am planning on spending my Thanksgiving at my boyfriend’s family ranch like I did last year. This year, however, I am also planning to bring along my friend from work! She hasn’t visited the ranch yet and I’m excited to share it with her.

After Thanksgiving I only have two weeks of my residency left! I really can’t believe how quickly time has passed. I am going to be very sad to leave after spending so much time getting to know a wonderful group of people. It has been a lot of fun and has also been a wonderful learning experience for me. I am excited to go back to school and graduate in May, but it’s definitely going to be hard to leave!

After my last day, I am planning to head back up to Ohio to spend some time with my family. I don’t have any set plans for Christmas, but I am looking forward to having one last long Christmas break where I can spend a good chunk of time at home with my family and friends. I should be able to spend several weeks at home before heading back to Texas to begin my last semester of classes at Baylor! Its been a great journey so far and I’m looking forward to finishing my MBA and beginning the next chapter of my life next summer.

Erin

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Thanksgiving at Lake Pointe

In order to thank employees, my hospital both gives away turkeys to employees around. Thanksgiving time and also holds a free Thanksgiving meal.

This week vouchers for the turkeys were given away and the free lunch was held. Since lunch was free and staff members were serving-I obviously had to check it out and sample some of the delicious food. We were all given a complete thanksgiving meal with turkey, stuffing, green beans, mashed sweet potatoes, cranberry, and pumpkin or pecan pie to enjoy. The whole meal was delicious, but it wasn’t what I enjoyed most about the meal.

I loved seeing employees coming down to the café, grabbing a meal and enjoying each other’s company. It was great to see that caring for its employees is a priority of the hospital. I certainly care about valuing people for their hard work, so it was a wonderful event for everyone involved.

In addition to having staff members serve food, our CEO and COO also spent time in the café talking with employees and thanking them for their hard work. I hope to always make sure I find ways to value employees throughout my career. I’m lucky to have spent my residency at a hospital that makes doing so a priority.

Erin

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Dallas

Now that my residency is coming to an end, I’m beginning to plan when I’ll move back to Waco to begin my last semester of Business School.

Although I’m looking forward to seeing my classmates, I’ll be sad to leave Dallas.  I’ve grown to enjoy the city and have tons left to explore. Needless to say, I hope to come back after graduation and have more time to try out new places in the city.

One thing that I love about the city is that there is something for everyone. Depending upon what you’re interests are there are different areas of the city to enjoy and explore. I’ve enjoyed checking out most of then, but admittedly have not done much exploring as of late. My hope is to come back to the city after graduation, work, and hopefully live closer to downtown than I currently do.

Either way, I am definitely planning on spending at least SOME time in Dallas next year-since a group of my close friends are coming to visit and go to a concert here!!! It’s going to be a lot of fun to have my friends visit Texas, show them around, and have a wonderful time together. Although it’s hard to move away from close friends after college it is a LOT of fun to be able to visit each other in fun cities! I know we’re going to have many adventures to come as well!

Erin

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Ranch Weekend

Coming back from Orlando, it was a little tough for me to get back into the swing of things at work. By mid-week I was back into my groove.

Even after finishing the week off strong, I wanted a little time to relax and enjoy my weekend away from work. My boyfriend and I decided to head to his family ranch for the weekend to enjoy the outdoors, hike around, and let our dog run out all of her energy.

Overall it was a great weekend! One of my favorite things about the ranch is that I can take naps outside…when else do you get to do that?! I have often found myself asleep outdoors there, taking a quick nap and enjoying the breeze. The weekend was beautiful for enjoying time outside and we had a nice time away from the city.

In addition to enjoying the outdoors, we also were able to take my boyfriend’s Grandma out to dinner. I haven’t ventured into town much when we visit the ranch, so it was neat to visit a local restaurant and take his Grandma out. I do not get to see my family very often, so it was a treat to be able to spend a nice dinner with his Grandma and enjoy our weekend off.

Erin

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Community Paramedics Project-First Patient!

For my final project I have been helping out with the development of a Community Paramedics Program.

Over the past few months I sat in on many sub-committee meetings, watched the development of the program in terms of form development, process development, and have had the opportunity to contribute in terms of developing several metrics through which the hospital will monitor the program’s results. I am still helping to tie up this portion of the project and will likely end my project with a good portion of time dedicated to this.

After spending so much time sitting in on meetings and helping out the program, I have become very invested in the program and excited about its potential to impact community members. This week the program was finally launched and the first patient was enrolled into the program.

The program is designed to help the hospital partner with patients as they return to their homes following the receipt of care. To do this, community paramedics meeting enrolled patients prior to their discharge and then follow-up with home visits upon the return to their homes. This allows the paramedics to evaluate the safety of the home, help with obtaining prescriptions, help with setting up PCP visits, and with other healthcare needs.

I am a big advocate of population health initiatives and truly believe that this program has the potential to help many people.The plan is to hopefully expand the project following its initial pilot period!

Erin

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Registration & End of Residency Scheduling

My classmates and I recently registered for spring classes and also set up times for our presentations before taking a few weeks off over Christmas break.

It feels like just yesterday that I was beginning IMS classes and starting my MBA at Baylor and now I only have a little bit more than a semester to go!

With only a little over a month left in my residency, I’m excited to finish up my contribution to my final project and spend the rest of my time helping out and continuing to learn. One of the biggest lessons (and most confusing) that I have taken away from my residency is that while lots of things are interesting to me, only a few are motivating.

I am typically a very curious person. I love to learn, enjoy being in school (most of the time), and am genuinely interested in almost every learning opportunity that presents something new to me. What I’ve found, however, is that only a few things that really capture my interests are able to keep me motivated. Many of the other things I was initially interested in become less intriguing and, to some extent, dull. I think one of my challenges going forward in my career is going to be finding opportunities that keep me mentally engaged in what I am working on.

I am incredibly excited and passionate about healthcare and working in healthcare,  just a little nervous about paving my way after graduation. Being motivated and mentally engaged and curious about what I am working on is very important for my personal happiness. Going through my residency has helped me to learn a great deal about where my interests in healthcare lie and about what I need to look for in my long-term career goals.

Erin

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