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  • When I first met her she had just returned from her honeymoon. A new hire with a degree in Biomedical Engineering, she needed some hands on experience. I was assigned to the outpatient O.R. and they paired her with Matt to learn the inpatient O.R., one of the toughest places for a rookie.

    Anytime you are going head-to-head with surgeons, you need a set of brass balls or they will walk all over you. They have to be convinced that you know more than they do. That your ego’s bigger than theirs. That you can piss further and don’t give a rat’s ass for their authority. They are so used to running rough shod over the entire O.R. staff, that it is a shock to their system to be told “No”.

    Not all the docs are like that, but you have to be ready for the ones that are in order to do your job well. If you show deference or worse yet fear, you’re toast!

    Matt showed her the ropes and eased his way out of the O.R. within the first two weeks. She was left to sink or swim on her own. It wasn’t very long before she dragged me along on a few of her calls for support. Pretty soon it was most of her calls and she would go with me on most of mine. It’s not that she didn’t know her stuff, because she did. She just lacked confidence that comes with experience, that validation of her worth. Me? I had confidence enough for two or three techs.

    We showed up together so much that the O.R. staff began calling us “Beauty and the Beast”, though why anyone would call a cute little girl the beast is beyond me. We continued on like that for some time with me dominating the situations (sort of like a “pros from Dover” attitude in M.A.S.H.) and her slowly developing her own style of control based on her knowledge and the O.R. staffs belief and willingness to learn from her.

    We slowly stopped going on calls together as she gained a larger base of believers. I was no longer needed to lean on while she learned. She no longer lacked in confidence and would take charge of situations.

    To say that we have two different styles of getting the job done is an understatement. Do they both work? Well, I’m still doing my job, although since I moved out of the O.R. I no longer treat my customers quite so much as advisaries…but I can still call up attitude when needed.

    And her? She’s moved up the ladder to supervisor and has been my boss for the past five years. I see her maybe twice a week now. She has five hospitals and multiple clinics to oversee for biomedical services. She spends most of her time now in meetings and doing administrative work. After all, she had too much education to slog along in the trenches for too long.

    But every now and then, we sit in her office with the door closed and just shoot the breeze. We’ve been friends too long not to be able to talk straight and relax in each other’s company…me and the Beast.
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