Thursday, March 11, 2010

Never Give Out Your Cell Phone Number

Simple enough title right? Yea, it makes sense as well. I know as a first year dental student, I never planned on giving my patients access to my personal phone number. You are just asking for trouble. Obviously though, it is easy to talk about this well before you enter the clinics and realize how difficult it can be to contact some people

I was desperate. A fresh naive D-3 with tons of open time slots, paranoid about experience and letting the faculty know I was doing something. The first semester of clinic life is a slow process. It takes time to weed out the good transfer cases from the worthless pieces of crap that should have been dismissed years ago. In the process, you end up having a lot empty timeslots because the transition of finding reliable patients takes a good two months.

However, when you first enter the clinics, you want to have EVERY time slot filled otherwise you feel like you aren't being a good student. Here in lies the problem. I gave my cell phone number to about five patients total (and they were all during the first month of my D-3 year). Why would I do this? Because it is impossible to contact some people otherwise. I would call, leave a message to call me back at the clinic. They would call back, leave a message with the secretary and I have to call back. You very rarely can answer a call while you are in the clinics because you are too freaking busy and half the time the secretaries just take the message down without asking (and I'm fine with this).

So you end up playing phone tag and trying to catch these people, it just becomes frustrating. After my first two weeks of the D-3 year, I maybe had filled 1/2 my openings. So in an act of utter desperation, I gave my cell number to several patients.

Yea it worked out for the time, but it has come back to bite me the ass hard. Take this spring break. I am on vacation from dentistry. I don't want to go the school, here about projects, or talk about dentistry period. I want to enjoy other hobbies, see old friends, and just relax.

But no, I have been called a total of eight times (EIGHT) in the last four days by TWO patients. They call, leave a voicemail, call again 30 minutes later, leave a voicemail and so forth. I don't know about you guys, but when I leave one voicemail, that's it. If they don't call me back, they clearly don't want to talk to me and that's the end of it. But these patients just keep calling. It isn't an emergency either, it's about scheduling or rescheduling appointments.

This altogether isn't that bad. I wouldn't have posted until this morning's events. I was woken up at 6:30 in the A god damn M by a guy who wants to reschedule an appointment that isn't until next week because he has a birthday party to celebrate...good lord. Could this not have waited until normal hours? He also is aware that I am on vacation because I already talked to him YESTERDAY about scheduling this appointment that he already wants to reschedule.

The other patient called me saturday at 7:45 am and then followed up with sunday at 7:30 am followed with an 8am and 9am until I finally answered the phone to stop the insanity. Again, no emergency, just wants to schedule an appointment (for a cleaning mind you).

Good fucking god. There is nothing that pisses me off more than being woken up abruptly on a day I can actually sleep a little.

Moral of the story? NEVER give out your phone number to patients. If you absolutely have to communicate via some other avenue than your school, then buy a separate phone. Trust me, it isn't worth it with the same head cases pestering you on a weekly basis.

As a practicing dentist, I will have an emergency contact number. Key word though, emergency. And it sure as hell won't be my personal cell phone.

I will definitely be dumping this phone once I graduate, because sure as the grass turns green, these same people will be calling me until the day I die.

OK, raging over. Back to the rest of break!