I still get a little nervous every time my work phone rings…
Will it be a question that I am unable to answer? (I get a few of these)
Will it be a complaint about a result or some aspect of laboratory policy. (I get quite a few of these as well..)
Or will it just be a standard “bread and butter” clinical enquiry where the answer is engrained in my cerebellum?
Fear of the unknown…
I am not very good at remembering the 3rd line treatment for recalcitrant giardiasis.
I am not very good at thinking on my feet, especially in a stressful situation.
and I am not very good at documenting all the clinical advice I give out.
Sometimes I feel like a bit of a fraud…
But then I remember the things I am good at.
I am good at building relationships with clinicians and gaining their trust.
I am good at turning the conversation from “result interpretation” into “patient interpretation”
I am good at diffusing complaints with a healthy dose of empathy and a bit of Irish charm.
I am good at knowing when and who to ask if I have a difficult microbiological problem.
On reflection, I am not completely useless.
Maybe we are all charlatans in some respect. We all have limits to our microbiological knowledge, our patience, our energy reserves.
And it is good to remind ourselves that it is often the non-microbiological aspects of our job that are the most important…