Where DO You Park?

physician parking

I seldom park in the designated “Physician Parking” spaces. Mostly, because during this time of very active construction at the hospital where I work (or as I refer to it, the “employee wellness program” encouraging all of us to get that 10,000 plus steps in a day) I have found a strategically placed, out of the way “spot” that no one else appears to have claimed. It is not designated for patients, it is not a handicapped spot, I have to travel a couple of side streets to get to it, but it works for me.

Last week I was precepting residents in another building on the hospital campus. Instead of parking in my “usual spot”, I chose to park in one of the physician-designated spots closer to the building that houses the clinic. I was cutting the time I needed to be there too short and would be late had I needed to walk across the campus. I was the first one in the lot at 7:35 am.

Mine was the last car in the spaces at 5:55 pm. When I went to my car that evening there was a hand-written sign chastising me: “PHYSICIAN PARKING”.

I admit, at first I was a little agitated. Just as all physicians, I worked hard for my degree. I was entitled to park in that space and no one had the right to put a nasty-gram on my windshield. Then I stepped back and started thinking. “Lisa, practice what you preach – and check your ego at the door.”

Why do we have prime designated parking spaces for physicians? With the very few exceptions of a few super-specialists who really need to have quick access to a side door to get to the place they may be urgently needed (like a neonatal intensivist or trauma surgeon), I can think of few other people who need that courtesy. We have in-hospital anesthesiologists, obstetricians, emergency physicians and hospitalists. If a doctor has a physical disability that precludes walking a distance, he or she can secure a handicapped placard for pole-position. Most physicians at my healthcare facility are in pretty good shape and have no difficulty walking a few extra steps. The others not in that category would benefit from the exercise plan. The bottom line is, I should not feel entitled to anything but grateful for everything. Grateful for my “spot” I have found to park, having a car to park there, my good health that I can walk across campus, my eyes that I can read the “love notes” left on my windshield, and sense of humor that when the person who put the note on my car called me to apologize I replied “No worries, Sheldon”.

So, where DO you park?
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