How, you ask, did this one-eighty take place? Well, it's been a gorgeous day, so I went for a short run (my first one since the half marathon) and spent a good chunk of the time thinking about how much this job has really helped me. Not just as far as medical skills and knowledge go, but in terms of patient interaction -- how I convey information to people, whether they're three or eighty-three. And I think cultivating that ability has helped me in other situations, too -- the UF interview, for instance. I'm a lot less nervous about fielding questions than I used to be, and a lot more confident in my ability to answer clearly, intelligently, and concisely. I still often field questions that I don't know the answers to, but I think I do pretty well with putting people at ease and informing them about the things I do know. Some time back, the front desk staff spent a week or two handing out surveys to parents, and they got to rate and comment on every aspect of our practice -- the wait time, the facilities, how comfortable they felt with the doctor they saw, etc. After the results had been tallied, the doctor I work for (whom I absolutely adore) told me privately that I'd received the highest ratings of any nurse at the practice. I was blown away -- after all, I'm not even an RN; my medical knowledge and ability is surely far lower than many of the other nurses. It's got to be my demeanor that makes the difference. Hopefully that same trait will help me in six days, when I'm sitting in that interview chair at Duke University. *gulp*
(Short digression: I cannot believe how much easier it is to run now that I'm 15 pounds lighter! I don't feel like my body really looks all that different, but when Liz tosses three bags of sugar into my arms and tells me to feel the difference, well, I definitely can. I'm still a little sore from Sunday, but I did my 'usual' three miles today really easily. Hooray for weight loss!)
Oh, and more good news: my cousin Anna, who was diagnosed with lymphoma over the summer, has officially been declared cancer-free! She has a CaringBridge blog where she's been chronicling her journey -- you can read it here if you're interested. She is an amazing person, and I never had any doubt that she would triumph over that silly old cancer, but it's nice to hear the official word. She has two more chemo treatments to go, but there was "no evidence of disease" on her scans this week, so these last two treatments will really just be prophylactic. Yay for Anna!!!
In the same vein... I've been looking into that Victory Junction camp, the one that next month's half marathon will benefit (for kids with chronic illnesses), and I really think I might want to volunteer there. None of their positions are paid, so I wouldn't be able to go for very long, but the sessions only last a week (or, in some cases, only a weekend), and it sounds like a lot of fun. They have some amazing facilities (a challenge tower, a multisport complex, an on-site hospital, and a water park -- to name a few!?!?), and it's something I'd really like to be a part of. Maybe this summer, during my month in between work and PA school.
I forget whether I mentioned this in my last post or not, but Liz's and my three-year anniversary is on the 18th, so we're spending that weekend in Asheville, visiting the Biltmore and eating amazing food in the funky downtown district (I have a list of five restaurants that we've been told we "have to" visit... among them, the Early Girl Eatery and the Tupelo Honey Cafe). There also might be a hike involved (especially if there are still a few red and yellow leaves to peep at... they're mostly fading to brown over in this corner of the world) and maybe even a trip to Chimney Rock. We shall see. I absolutely cannot believe that we've been together for three years. A lot has stayed the same, but really, our lives have changed so much since then. 2006 feels like a lifetime ago. And I gotta say... there are some great memories... but I wouldn't go back for anything. I'm much more excited to see what the end of 2009 will bring.