physical time restrictions, unannounced closures and time wasting
Over the last few quarters, changes have been made in the Center for Health and Optimum Performance (CHOP) that have left a bitter taste in the mouths of many of the interns completing their Level II Clinic. The frustrations began with the implementation of specific physical times that are for the most part completely incongruent with the schedules of interns, as well as their patients.
With new patient physicals and re-physicals only being allowed at the times of 8:00 AM, 10:30 AM, 3:00 PM and 4:30 PM, a large number of problems have been created with interns trying to start new patients while still attending their classes and working around their patient’s work schedule. Frank Ambrosio, a 12th quarter intern, expressed his frustration that he had patients lined up and ready to come in, but couldn’t get them scheduled for a physical until fourth or fifth week. The afternoon slots have become such hot commodities that scheduling for physicals must be done several weeks out in order to find an open slot. Joe, one of the CHOP staff members, quipped that interns have begun to resort to “selling their afternoon physical times.” While he made the comment jokingly, it appears the joke may not be far from the truth.
More recently, the clinic administrators failed to announce that the clinic would be closing early on Tuesday July 19th for the 8th Quarter Clinic Gateway ceremony. This omission, while seemingly harmless, resulted in many interns unknowingly scheduling their patients for appointments after 6 PM that evening, only to discover the clinic was in fact going to close early. The clinic attempted to remedy in the situation by allowing those who had already scheduled patients to still see them after 6 PM. However, Scott Robinson, a 12th quarter intern, left clinic at 4:45 PM very frustrated. He had scheduled his regular patient at 6:30 PM for that day the week before. However, when he went to double check with scheduling, the appointment was nowhere to be found, and he was told that he would not be able to see his patient. Robinson, a student who commutes at least an hour each day from North Georgia and places high value on the times he is on campus later in the day to see his patients, was not the only student to discover that an appointment they were 100% sure had been scheduled the week before was no longer listed on the books.
While the clinic administrators continue to make changes in hopes of streamlining the outpatient clinic system more and more each quarter, it is still not uncommon to hear interns referring to CHOP as a “time-sucking black hole” that’s difficult to incorporate into the still busy class schedules of 10th, 11th and 12th quarter. This feeling has not been helped of late by the added bonus of having the computers the interns use freeze up on them while they are trying to print or type reports. The question remains whether the clinic administrators can develop a system that satisfies the interns, faculty doctors and their patients without leaving anyone frustrated.