I mentioned in my last post that there would be/have been several changes implemented in accordance to suggestions made in reviewing my treatment with the Cat Lady. In my meeting with the Head Honcho, Quality Management, and the Psychiatrist, we discussed what changes would be made to the counseling and behavioural health department at the NYU student health center:
With the note of me being Korean rather prevalent in Cat Lady’s notes, it was explained to me that it was an assumption made without my verification. Usually, the ethnicity is noted by whatever the student states in his or her intake form upon their first visit to counseling and behavioural health office. The inference as to what my actual ethnicity was not completely out of line (though the “Koreans smile when they’re angry” was deemed as an inappropriate comment by everyone in the room), going forward, clinicians will only use what is stated on the intake form, as opposed to making their own periodical guesses.
- Facilitating Referrals:
As I outlined in some of my entries, I never sought a referral to a different nurse practitioner or psychiatrist during my treatment with Cat Lady. Highlighting that I would expect a minimum wait time of four weeks before seeing another clinician, I opted to take my chances in hopes that the situation would level itself; that and I wasn’t in completely the right state of mind. Students who feel the need for a referral to a new clinician may now take their case directly to the Head Honcho via email, which means complete confidentiality and efficient transition.
It’s a two-way street – no one is in it alone. Clinicians facing a difficult time are now more openly encouraged to consult with other team members who may have more experience, or even experience with the student on-hand. In effect, no one has to “go it alone” on the treatment of an individual.
Being an intern is a funny thing, especially when you are given similar cases/work to your employed peers – you’re never quite sure where exactly you stand, especially when it comes to voicing a concern. If the student is seeing two clinicians – one therapist and one psychiatrist/nurse practitioner – there is an overlap in record review. And while there is the implicit trust that all facts are documented as correct, we noted (in our meeting) that there should be more encouragement to notify staff if there is an inconsistency or known factual error made. In other words, it’s adding slightly more to an already quite integral learning experience, and giving interns the authority to challenge mistakes when necessary.
With all of it said and done, I received my apology from the Head Honcho. By no means was it possible for the Cat Lady to apologize without her reaching out to me; my request would have only garnered a forced one at best, which in the end, as I’ve come to realize, isn’t something that would’ve left me satisfied. From everyone in that meeting, though, the apology and recognition for these troubles were at least genuine.
And in many ways, all of this brings some closure for me – a certain confirmation that my suffering was indeed real and was neither exaggerated nor imagined (which does explain why I write so tersely about all of this, so as to be clear in documentation). While I would love to say that I forgive the Cat Lady for everything that has happened, I can’t quite bring myself to fully commit to this idea as of yet. To be frank, I waver. The hovering of daily anguish is long gone, but there are now the days in which I find myself infuriated, and the other days in which I find myself calm and moving on. It’ll take a little more time, but at least I know it’s forward that I’m moving.
Image courtesy of nyu.edu/shc