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Possible job loss... Seeking some advice


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I graduated PA school last May and 6 months ago I started "my dream job"  - Ortho surgery. I was told it was going to be working 40hrs/week, half clinic half surgery,  no call.. it all sounded perfect. Now this is my current reality - I am pushing 6 months at this place, love the field and a couple of coworkers. However the doc that was supposed to be a "super nice teacher" is done with me it seems like. At the current time I am working about 10-12 hours every day and scheduled to start taking calls soon. This amount of time plus the calls arrangement is not what I was told this position would be like during interviewing. That being said, I realize that I am getting so much experience, and being a new grad I can use as much of it as I can get. The major problem is the doc I work closely with. He gets upset with me when I ask him questions or am unsure about something, he was really good about walking me through a lot of stuff for the first few weeks but very early on I was expected to be a fully functional partner. I entered this job with them knowing that I am a new grad. I lack so much experience and despite my success in school this isn't something I learned before or even something I can pick up from a book. There are so many cases and they all can be so vastly different, even if its all shoulders. In my mind I think that patient safety and well being comes first but the doc I work with has been upset for some time as he thinks I am slowing them down. Basically for the last month or so he has been avoiding me as much as she can. I try not to ask him questions and instead go to my other colleagues, but i feel like his attitude isn't fostering a professional relationship between us. I can see that he is not fully wrong in expecting more of me but I don't know why they hired a new grad knowing that it would be very difficult for me to work on par with him within just a few short months. Just a couple of days ago he sat me down to tell me he isn't sure if we are a good fit for each other and that we should both think about that as my 6 month performance evaluation is around the corner. I knew that he has been annoyed with me and mostly sees me as a "kid" but this really took me by surprise. Especially since I asked him no more than a month ago how I could improve or what I am not doing well... to which he responded - "you are doing great". So now I don't know if I will even have a job by the end of April. Has anyone had similar situations? Am I supposed to start applying for other jobs? Do you think that a 6 month employment period will look super bad to new potential employers? I've been thinking about what he said and have come up with a few things I want to talk to him about further. I plan to speak to him again this week and tell him what I plan on doing to better my work flow and increase my knowledge as well as ways in which our relationship could be smoother (aka better communication on his part) but even if he doesn't fire me I don't know how we can come back from this. Sorry for the long post but i just needed to vent a little bit. 

Thanks for your replies in advance!

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That sucks. I'm sorry about that.  Have they never hired new grads before?  Maybe you can ask to only do certain type so of cases and then as you become comfortable, start expanding?   It's a tough situation - I think they're expecting you to work at a level way beyond your experience and that's not fair.  A first year resident wouldn't be expected to do all that and you shouldn't be either. 

My advice for you is to have some concrete examples - like case A or case B was your first time and you didn't know about a, b, c, etc.  Have some ideas on what you need to become more efficient.  But also start looking.  You have to look out for yourself too. 

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1 hour ago, quarterlengthsleeve said:

I graduated PA school last May and 6 months ago I started "my dream job"  - Ortho surgery. I was told it was going to be working 40hrs/week, half clinic half surgery,  no call.. it all sounded perfect. Now this is my current reality - I am pushing 6 months at this place, love the field and a couple of coworkers. However the doc that was supposed to be a "super nice teacher" is done with me it seems like. At the current time I am working about 10-12 hours every day and scheduled to start taking calls soon. This amount of time plus the calls arrangement is not what I was told this position would be like during interviewing. That being said, I realize that I am getting so much experience, and being a new grad I can use as much of it as I can get. The major problem is the doc I work closely with. He gets upset with me when I ask him questions or am unsure about something, he was really good about walking me through a lot of stuff for the first few weeks but very early on I was expected to be a fully functional partner. I entered this job with them knowing that I am a new grad. I lack so much experience and despite my success in school this isn't something I learned before or even something I can pick up from a book. There are so many cases and they all can be so vastly different, even if its all shoulders. In my mind I think that patient safety and well being comes first but the doc I work with has been upset for some time as he thinks I am slowing them down. Basically for the last month or so he has been avoiding me as much as she can. I try not to ask him questions and instead go to my other colleagues, but i feel like his attitude isn't fostering a professional relationship between us. I can see that he is not fully wrong in expecting more of me but I don't know why they hired a new grad knowing that it would be very difficult for me to work on par with him within just a few short months. Just a couple of days ago he sat me down to tell me he isn't sure if we are a good fit for each other and that we should both think about that as my 6 month performance evaluation is around the corner. I knew that he has been annoyed with me and mostly sees me as a "kid" but this really took me by surprise. Especially since I asked him no more than a month ago how I could improve or what I am not doing well... to which he responded - "you are doing great". So now I don't know if I will even have a job by the end of April. Has anyone had similar situations? Am I supposed to start applying for other jobs? Do you think that a 6 month employment period will look super bad to new potential employers? I've been thinking about what he said and have come up with a few things I want to talk to him about further. I plan to speak to him again this week and tell him what I plan on doing to better my work flow and increase my knowledge as well as ways in which our relationship could be smoother (aka better communication on his part) but even if he doesn't fire me I don't know how we can come back from this. Sorry for the long post but i just needed to vent a little bit. 

Thanks for your replies in advance!

It sounds like something changed, happened or is happening and it is continuing to bother him, whether at work or outside. Did something happen in his personal or professional life? Did he finally get some collection numbers back that show you aren't being as profitable as he thought you'd be? If that's the case, that's something he needs to understand won't likely happen in the first year or two and that's on him having unrealistic expectations. Are you his first dedicated PA? Perhaps you need to help show him what he can and should expect from you.

I would think through everything and write down points of discussion, expectations, goals, and areas to work on. Think through these and then ask to sit down with him.

Maybe you haven't quite figured out when are good times to ask questions and he's annoyed by that or perhaps by the sheer number of questions. You can imagine trying to work and then being constantly questioned. Are you writing down things for reference? Are you understanding his clinic and OR styles? Are you doing the things he wants, e.g., Prepping/draping properly, assisting how he likes, etc.? Remember that the OR is his "territory" and he's the surgeon. Some surgeons are incredibly territorial and may not want you stepping on their toes.

With all that said, as a 6-month-old new grad, it sounds like he is likely expecting too much. He might be likening you to a resident and unfairly responding by treating you this way. You are not a resident. You are a licensed professional who's been hired to assist his practice. You obviously need some additional insight from him as to how you can realistically achieve this. 

And on another note, they are not upholding their end of the bargain by increasing your workload and having you take call. This is something you must discuss and iron out. 

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As a new grad I was trained for a day... Started seeing patients next day with sp next door for questions. Epocrates has been my best friend!! To be honest, I'm starting to think that residency for PAs should be a requirement! We are not prepared enough to practice medicine as soon as we are done with school. But employers have different expectations! 

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