Monday, February 20, 2012
This was the Chemistry rotation, and it left me so burned out that I haven’t even felt like talking about it until now.
Imagine you’re working in a fast-food restaurant. You have to cook the burgers, pour the drinks, operate the cash register and handle the drive-through traffic. At lunch hour. Oh, and if you get any of the orders wrong, someone could die. It was a bit like that.
Chemistry encompasses more tests than any other department, which meant a huge number of samples to process. Like Hematology and Transfusion, Chemistry operates around-the-clock, with huge analyzers that take dozens of specimens at a time and which are constantly working.
Yet it’s not as simple as feeding in the specimens at one end and collecting the results at the other. The analyzers need regular (and sometimes constant) maintenance, cleaning, calibration and topping-up. If one breaks down, it can cause an serious backlog. And as well as running these, the technologists need to do a number of other tests which are few enough in number that they can be handled manually—analyzing sweat samples for cystic fibrosis, running the flame spectrophotometer, pregnancy tests, fecal occult blood tests and so on.
Most of the time, though, I felt as though I was just trying to keep my head above water—or above the flood of specimens. There was no time for the technologists to ask me questions about the theory behind what we were doing. Chemistry can be interesting, and I never found it particularly difficult in college, but towards the end I was so exhausted I was just counting off the days.
And after it was over, there was the qualifying exam to study for. That was on the 16th, and even if I had wanted to get a full night’s rest before it, I was too tense. I probably had reason to be, since the exam was tough, and I honestly have no idea how it will turn out. CSMLS will let us know in four to six weeks, so that’s another month of worrying I have ahead.
Though at least now I can start looking for jobs. For the past nine months I’d been working part-time in a bookstore owned by a psychic, but I quit that when it got to be too frustrating – here’s a link to the story. Things have got to get better from here.