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Career Kick-Off

I woke up early Monday morning, before my alarm went off, and I couldn’t fall back to sleep. I decided to get up, so I jumped in the shower, brushed my teeth and got dressed in a casual two piece business outfit since today was going to be orientation only.

I made myself some eggs and toast for breakfast and re-read my instructions I was sent for my first day. I was nervous about this and wanted to give a good first impression. This week is all focused on orientation for the company and facility tour.

I won’t start my actual job until next week, but I already had interventions prepared and gathered my supplies I would need, since I didn’t know what the hospital had on hand. I was hoping I would at least get a tour of the therapy department this week, but I guess I will find out once I get there.

I threw on my coat, grabbed my purse and my keys and headed out to my car. I wasn’t too far from the hospital, so it only took about 5-10 minutes to drive there and find a parking space. I could probably walk there in the spring and summer, but it was too cold right now.

I entered the lobby and looked around for the information desk. I told them who I was and who I was here to meet and they asked me to wait while they called. A few minutes later, Valerie, from HR, showed up and greeted me.

“Hello Miss Bishop, I’m Valerie. Welcome aboard Sanford Medical Center,” she said as she held her hand out for me to shake.

I took her hand and shook it, “Thank you Valerie, it is my pleasure to finally be here and please call me Sarah.”

“Come with me and we will head down to my office to go through your paperwork and get you situated with the orientation class. There are ten new staff members starting today including you,” she said while smiling at me. “Did you bring the forms we sent you through your email back with you?”

I nodded. “I have them right here,” I said showing her a folder I brought with me.

“Wonderful, thank you. We did receive all your other copies of things requested from your internship, so we should be all set.”

I looked around the building as we walked through the lobby to her office. It was nice and looked like it was recently remodeled. There were also holiday decorations still in place in some areas, but I saw a few maintenance men taking some down in other areas.

“We just finished remodeling the main level this past fall,” Valerie said as she noticed me looking around. “We had done each floor one by one over the last few years and finished with the main level.”

“It looks great…very homelike and welcoming,” I commented. She nodded in agreement.

“Here we are,” she said as we approached her office, which was among others from what looks to be the business department.

I went in and she shut the door and invited me to have a seat. She sat down in her chair and pulled out my file and I set my papers on the desk in front of me. We went through all of the forms I needed to finish up and I felt like I signed my life away.

She took my picture for a name badge, which will also serve as my ‘key’ to get in the staff entrance and through other doors throughout the hospital as well as my way to get my lunches at the cafeteria. Apparently, you can load money onto it and then they scan it like a gift card to pay for the food.

She explained a few more things to me and handed me a paper copy of the handbook and several other documents that I needed for my particular job and my area of work. “You can read these at your convenience, but much of it will be covered during your orientation over the next few days,” she said.

“Thank you,” I replied taking everything from her.

She handed my name badge, which I took from her and attached to my shirt with the clip provided. “Guard that badge to the best of your abilities. If for some reason you would lose it, please contact me immediately to deactivate it and issue you a new one.”

I nodded to show my understanding. “I really hope I don’t lose it, especially once I add money to it,” I thought to myself.

“Come on, I’ll show you to the class,” Valerie said as she got up from the desk. “Tomorrow you will enter at the staff entrance which they will show you today and go straight to the room we are going to now. Later this week, you will meet with the head of the therapy department who will show you where your office will be and where to report next Monday.”

I followed Valerie to the lower level where there were education rooms set up for staff until we came to the orientation room. I could tell they train their staff well seeing the nursing rooms, computer labs and more that we passed. I was glad I chose to apply here; I think I will do well.

“Here you go Sarah; if you need anything, please do not hesitate to call me or email me.” She held her hand out for me to shake, which I did.

“Thank you Valerie,” I replied and smiled. I went inside the room and noticed there were about six others there already talking among each other. I took a seat at one of the front tables next to a girl that was by herself.

“Hello, it is alright if I sit here?” I asked her. She nodded and smiled a little. “My name is Sarah,” I said as I put my stack of papers and folders down on the table and hung my purse and jacket on the chair behind me.

“I’m Lily,” she said very quietly.

“It’s nice to meet you. What department are you going to be working in?” I asked to make some small talk.

“I’m working in the finance office,” she replied. “Where are you going to be?”

“In the therapy department; I’m starting a Music Therapy program here,” I replied with a smile.

“That’s cool,” she said.

A few more people walked into the room and took a seat. I noticed someone stand up and head to the front of the room, so I turned in my seat to face her when she began speaking.

“Good morning Ladies and Gentlemen. My name is Christy and I’ll be spending the next few days with you as we learn all about this amazing company.” She started. “Let’s begin by introducing ourselves; I’ll go first. I am Christy Keegan and I am the Lead Staff Educator here at Sanford and I’ve been working here for the last seven years. My favorite music is country and I love to eat pizza.”

She pointed to me to go next since I was sitting at the end of the row. “My name is Sarah Bishop and I am a Music Therapist just recently graduated from UND. I will be taking by Boards in a couple of weeks and I will be starting a program here at Sanford. My favorite music is also country and I love to eat mint ice cream.”

Each person went around introducing themselves, where they will be working and what they like. The class had a variety of staff from the finance department, nursing team, therapy, dietary, maintenance and housekeeping. When everyone was finished, Christy began telling us the history of the company.

The rest of the day and the next two days were spent going through policies and procedures facility wide, learning about the company, taking a tour of each department and unit within the building, learning the computer software and getting all our logins and passwords set up. There were also a lot of education videos we had to watch and take quizzes at the end of each one.

We finished up the training on Thursday morning and then we were sent to our own departments to meet with the department head for the rest of Thursday and Friday. We discussed policies and procedures specific to our area, learned more specifics on the computer documentation software including treatment planning, assessments, etc. and to set up our schedules and access our offices. We also toured the supply rooms and were shown what we could utilize in each unit and how to clean them after use.

Because Music Therapy was new, there weren’t a lot of supplies I could utilize at this time. I was told to put together a list of items that we would need and submit it on Monday. In the meantime, I would bring in my guitar, a few smaller rhythm instruments and portable keyboard from home. I also needed some of my own songbooks until I could finish getting my song sheets set up on my tablet to use electronically. I was glad that they had a cart that I could use for all the supplies to go room to room.

At the end of the day, I went home and crashed on the couch. Even though I didn’t actually do anything except sit and listen to people talk all week and do computer work, I am exhausted. I guess taking a few off in between my last job and this made me lose my stamina.

After myself some dinner, I called Mom and Stacy to check in with them on how things were going so far. They were both glad to hear that I’m adjusting well to the job and my apartment. Stacy is finishing up her online classes and is crazy busy with the girls. Her Foundation is going strong and I love how she has impacted so many young women with her support and assistance in a little over a year and a half.

I spent the rest of the evening watching TV and decided to go to bed early. It’s Friday night, I’m nearly 23 years old and I’m in bed before 10:00 pm. What is wrong with me?


Monday morning I came into work wheeling a small suitcase filled with instruments, books and some other music related items for my office. I also had my guitar case strapped to my back along with my purse. I’m sure I looked silly, but I didn’t care, I was ready to get going.

I unlocked my office door and went inside; it was a fairly good size office when I really looked around it. It had a desk on one side of the room with a computer, phone and other office supplies on it. There was a bookcase next to it on one side and an enclosed cabinet on the other side.

The other half of the room had a couple of chairs, but was pretty much open space and that was where I could see potential clients if they were outpatient. Most inpatient clients would be seen right in their rooms, hence the reason I needed the cart. I had brought the cart into the office on Friday and it up against a wall.

I set the suitcase near the cart and put my purse on my desk with my bag of office supplies and notebooks, etc. I set my guitar case on the floor for now. I had about thirty minutes to organize a bit until we had a department meeting. We would meet daily to discuss caseload and updates within the facility.

I set the suitcase up on the desk and opened it up. I took the books out first and set them on the bookcase. I had a few songbooks, some music therapy books and a few other music activity books for intervention ideas. I put the rhythm instruments in the cart which included some shakers, tambourines, paddle drums, bells and some other silly sound makers since I was working with children first.

I unloaded some props that I had made or purchased during my internship including puppets, pictures for songs or cue cards, stuff animals, ribbons and scarves to use for movement. The cart had a top with individual compartments which was nice for the instruments and then had two doors with a couple of shelves inside that I put bins with the props on.

I lastly took out my guitar stand and set it up next to my desk. I opened the guitar case and took out the guitar and set it in the stand after making sure it was still in tune. I folded the case up and put it in the still empty cabinet. I’m sure I have this filled as well as the bookcase before long. Everything of mine was labeled with my name so I could take back home when I needed to.

I had about five minutes left before I had to meet with the team, so I slid my purse into one of my desk drawers. I opened the others to see a few supplies in them already and I had put my facility paperwork in one last week already. I made a note to get file folders and a few other items from central supply when I could. I turned on the computer, but didn’t log into it.

I grabbed a notebook I brought with me and a pen and headed to our morning meeting. The rest of the things I brought will be organized later.

“Good morning Sarah,” I was greeted by my department head, Kim.

“Good morning,” I responded and took a seat.

“We are just waiting on a couple more people to join us and we will begin,” she said.

The therapy team consisted of several physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, and recreational therapists, an art therapist and myself; there were about twenty-five altogether. The art therapist, Molly, started last week with me and is also developing a new program. We have already talked about combining our therapies as needed or warranted with special interventions.

I do hope to combine with the other therapists as well as time goes on, but I have to get my program up and running first. I have my proposals and plans set to go when I meet with Kim after this meeting privately.

“Good morning everyone! I think we are all here, so I’d like to start with welcoming our newest team members Sarah and Molly,” Kim started the meeting. We waved to the team and they welcomed us to the team.

The meeting lasted for about thirty minutes and everyone left to continue or begin their services. Some of the PTs, OTs and STs have been here since 5 or 6, while others didn’t come in until 8 or 8:30. The schedules are staggered to accommodate all the different populations served and to meet the individual needs of the clients. There are a couple team members that do not come in until later and stay into the evenings.

Kim followed me to my office after the meeting to discuss my intentions and plans. She sat in front of my desk in the chair I have there and I sat in mine behind my desk. I pulled out a couple of files I had put together, one for me and one for her.

“I put together a couple of plans to get us started to run through with you. As I had discussed with HR during my interview, I would like to start with the children’s unit with individual and group sessions as able.

I know this is going to be new for the staff and the children, so I wanted to start with something fun if I’m permitted to do so. I’d like to get those that are able together to do a little music session and instrument play to introduce the program in a common area. From there, begin seeking referrals for individual sessions and build the program up.”

I paused to hear any feedback from Kim.

“I don’t see why we couldn’t begin with a music program like that. There is an activity room on the unit and I the staff and families present would love to participate. Obviously the children are here for different reasons and for different lengths of stay, so I assume you would adapt programming for the different needs.”

“Yes, I would be. Some children do better in a group setting, while others prefer more privacy. I have no issues providing what will suit them best. Once the program has been established, my goal is for staff to recognize who would benefit the most to make the proper referrals.

When we do decide to extend my services to other areas within the hospital, it will be more referral based and more scheduled and obviously my time will be limited in one unit rather than my current availability.”

“We do have patients throughout the hospital who I know would benefit now, so here are my thoughts to add. We will establish a program in the children’s unit, but allow referrals from the rehab unit, transitions unit and others as needed. It is hard to create a set schedule since some people are here for a short-stay while others may be here longer.”

“I can work with that. I have done group sessions in a transition unit before which I could do one set group a week, but then allow individual sessions as needed. Same in the rehab unit or wherever else needed. As far as a schedule, I have some ideas if I can take a little time to work it out and show it you.”

“Absolutely; I want you to take this week to get out on the units to meet staff and some of the clients and get familiar with the units and how they are set up. Maybe take your guitar and travel a little if that works for you before setting up anything official. I want to get your referral forms out to each unit and other team members; do you have those with you?”

“I’d love to get out there and just explore. Thank you. Here is a referral form I like to use as it gives me the information I feel I need the most to properly treat someone or at least get the assessment started. I’m not sure if this can be put into the computer like the ones you showed me last week. This form here is my assessment that I like to use and it is adaptable to the different populations. I can use the treatment forms and progress note forms on the software provided here.”

Kim looked over the forms I handed her and nodded her head. “I think we can create these into the software, I’ll send them to our IT department and get their opinion and let you know what they say.”

“Great! I am really looking forward to getting out there, but I will admit I’m a little nervous as well.”

“No reason to be nervous Sarah. I think the staff will appreciate what you do and the clients will gain more than they get now. I truly believe in all therapies and I would love to see our team work together and create the best treatment we can for our clients. You are off to a great start already and I like that you have planned all this for me. Last Friday, I asked you put together a wish list for supplies, do you have that available?”

“Yes, I have that right here,” I replied, handing her the list. “I know it might be a little too much to start with, but I wanted to list everything we could use as we grow. I’m not sure of our current budget, but I am kind of hoping that once word gets out there, people might be willing to help us out.”

“We do get donors every now and then who do like to help in these situations, so I agree. What would be the most important things on this list to get you started? I see you did bring some of your own things, but I would like to have things here provided for you so you don’t need to use your own.”

“Rhythm instruments are on the top of my list as they can be used in so many ways, and having multiple of each would be great for infection control and for when I do small groups. Other props like ribbons and scarves are there as well as a portable keyboard.

I like my guitar because I’m used to it, but if we could get one for the facility I wouldn’t have to bring mine back and forth. I do have a catalogue with all these items in it and marked, but I tried to give you as much information on this list as I could. The other thing I’d like at some point is a large tablet so I can put my song sheets or music on it so I don’t have to haul several songbooks around. There are a couple of programs that have all kinds of songs accessible unlike songbooks that are limited.”

“I will see what I can do, but your requests are not unreasonable. I know money has been put aside for this program as well as the art therapy program with them both being new, so I’m sure we can get most of items requested,” Kim said smiling.

“Thank you Kim,” I replied with a smile of my own.

“Well I am going to let you finish getting things settled in here. As I said before, I want you to take this week to get familiar with the units and meeting staff and some of the clients so when you are ready, head on out there. If you have questions, please call me or text me, using this phone. Every team member has one assigned and all our numbers are programmed in there as well as a couple of other main numbers.”

I took the phone from her and opened it up to see a few apps that we can use and the contact list she mentioned. I looked up to see her handing me an iPad as well.

“Besides the computer, this is what we use when seeing the clients for charting and assessments. You can explore this when you have time this week and again, I will help you if you have any questions. Because this is a new iPad, I think we can get you that online song book you need. Look for the app when you can and let me know the cost and I’ll talk to IT. Be sure to password protect both the phone and iPad before you use them. Have a great day Sarah and I’ll check in with you later.”

“Thank you again Kim,” I said as she got up and left my office.

After she left, I finished emptying my bag and put things where I wanted them. I logged into the computer to check my email and responded if I needed to. I put my notes to the side and created my ‘To Do’ list and then decided it was time to explore and I headed to the children’s unit to start meeting people.

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