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Professional Development [FLASHBACK]

Posted on Fri Dec 4th, 2020 @ 4:40pm by Lieutenant Nora Morrison M.D. & Lieutenant Jamia Kaar

Mission: Interlude 4
Location: Main Sickbay, USS Firebird
Timeline: 20 March, 2395 - 1530 Hours

Despite the revolving door that had become the chief medical officer's post aboard the Firebird, Nora was ever optimistic the current CMO would remain. She was grateful they had the EMH to rely on in the interim, but it was no secret, of course, the hologram's bedside manner could leave much to be desired. Morrison's own medical degree allowed her to help out when she could, but she also had her hands full tending to the psychological needs of the crew.

She debated whether to request a meeting in Sickbay or in the mess hall, but decided the former was probably the best start. No doubt the senior doctor had her hands full given recent events, and she didn't want to take up too much of her time. Already, however, she was thinking of inviting Jamia out for a meal or a drink sometime. Lord knew, Nora could use the chance to unwind and she was looking forward to getting to know her new ally.

"Computer, send a request to Dr. Jamia Kaar for a meeting at her earliest convenience, low priority. Tell her I'll come bearing snacks."

It wasn't long before her message was returned: 1530 Hours in my office? I'll make the tea.

A contented sigh slipped from the CMO as she sniffed the aroma given off from the freshly brewed pot of Earl Grey. Jestral tea was her usual preference, but after a long day of administrative office work, Jamia was in the mood for something different. Having cleared her desk, she set down the teapot and matching cups, ensuring plenty of room for whatever treat the Counselor would bring. Content with the set up, she pulled her hair back into a ponytail and moved over to her chair, settling in to wait.

She was grateful Nora had requested a meeting. The two of them hadn't really had much of a chance to talk since she had arrived on board, and although she appreciated the fact the Counselor had picked up a few sick bay shifts during the recent mission to Bajor, it would be nice to have a conversation that didn't involve a patient's vital signs or medical history.

Nora pressed the chime outside the office with one hand, while carrying a basket of food in the other. She realized although she and the senior medical officer had spent a fairly significant amount of time together professionally, she knew very little about her personally. It wasn't that Morrison was disinterested, it was a reflection of just how busy they had been. Consequently, Nora had decided to put together a basket with a variety of snacks, sweet and salty, from all over the Federation.

"Come in!" Jamia greeted, standing to welcome her guest. "Good afternoon, Counselor! I am so glad you suggested..." the doctor stopped mid-sentence, her senses immediately drawn to one of the many inviting aromas drifted from Morrison's basket of goodies. "Fresh oskoid? How have you managed to find fresh oskoid?"

The doors slid open and Nora graced the doctor with a smile of her own as she offered her basket of goodies for inspection. "Do you like that? Honestly, I haven't had all of the stuff I brought, I just needed a break from replicator food and asked around. I don't get an opportunity to shop much, but I will stop for food," Morrison added with a chuckle.

"Like it? I love it!" Jamia answered, fighting the urge to reach over and grab a luscious green and purple leaf right out of the basket. "They are so rarely found fresh off of Betazed. My dear counselor, you are in for a treat." She poured a cup of tea for each of them before settling back in her chair. "How's your day been?"

Nora smiled brightly and couldn't help but be cheered by the doctor's enthusiasm and warmth. She had no reason to question or doubt whether the two healers would actually get along, but since this was the first time they were really getting to know one another, nothing was guaranteed. Morrison was glad her fellow healer appeared to be so welcoming, as no doubt, they would be expected to work closely together. Morrison offered her thanks for the tea and reply, "Very well. As I'm sure you know, there's never any shortage of things to do even when things appear comber on the mission front. Taking care of the crew is a full-time job. How about you? How is your day going?"

"Not too bad," Jamia answered, thinking back over the morning, "A lot of reports and records management... I'm finally getting caught up on the work a new CMO usually gets done their first week, you know, when the first two weeks on board aren't spent treating a Bajoran pandemic." She leaned back and took a sip of her tea. "It's unfortunate that the ship has had such a high turnover in my position, but to be honest, I believe the staff is one of the best in the fleet. They've kept things operating all while maintaining the highest level of medical care. I've been very impressed."

Hearing the good-natured sarcasm in Jamia's voice as she mentioned the pandemic, Nora offered dryly with a smile of her own, "Welcome to the Firebird." More seriously, she added, "I'm glad you appreciate the team. It is true we've had quite a bit of turnover in the department, especially in your slot, but I think I can speak for all of us when I say it's a matter of professional pride to maintain high standards regardless of what's happening at the top. I'm not quite sure why there's been such turnover in your slot. I can only surmise this particular position is quite demanding and can burn even the most dedicated physicians out. We don't exactly deal with colds and scraped knees on the regular."

"Well, I've been around the quadrant a time or two, so I don't burn easily," Jamia smiled, leaning forward a bit to pick through the basket. She grabbed one of the oskoid, as well as some peeled and sliced gespar. "What's been your biggest challenge on the ship so far, if you don't mind my asking?"

"I don't mind at all," Nora answered. She liked the doctor immediately and appreciated her thoughtful questions. They were professionally wise and seemed to also be a way to grow closer. She found herself hoping the other woman would be sticking around, not just for professional reasons, but for personal ones as well. Reaching for a bit of pastry, Nora used the time to give the question serious thought. "I realize this isn't original for a counselor to say, but I think the biggest challenge has been getting people to reach out to me for help when they need it. I think it is especially difficult on this ship because we are all motivated to help others, we are the ones offering assistance, not asking for it. With the ship being so small news about the crew spreads like wildfire, so there can be a perception that things won't stay private for long, no matter how many assurances I offer. Of course, with the crew being so small, we are also more like a family. I'll admit, though, it's been challenging for me to strike the right balance between being objective enough to serve as a counselor while also making friends and developing my own personal relationships."

The CMO nodded. "That balance can be hard to find on a larger ship, but on a smaller one? It can feel impossible. I can certainly relate... though, in my experience, I've found that I was putting undue pressure on myself in that regard." She paused to take a bite of her food. "You won't ever have to twist my arm, though, in either regard. Once I get a sense of my new normal, I was hoping to set up a couple of regular sessions with you, just to make sure I am processing everything as well as I think I am. My divorce isn't exactly new, but sending the kid off to school and returning to Starfleet... those have been big steps. So, professionally, I will be seeking you out soon. Personally... I'm always open to making new friends." She offered a warm smile with the last bit, then lifted her cup for more tea.

"My door is always open to you," Nora replied. She thought well of the doctor's candor. The fact she could be so open about her own potential blind spots was indeed a healthy sign of her own adjustment. "I know managing a career and motherhood isn't without its challenges, but personally, I am a bit envious. I just haven't found the right time or the right person, I guess."

Jamia smiled. "Not to sound sappy or cliche, but I think those things find you. Or, at least, I think they happen when you're not trying so hard." She reached back into the basket and selected a small, buttery croissant. Breaking off a piece of the flaky pastry, she gobbled it down and smiled in satisfaction. "Delicious."

Nora took the opportunity to sample her own pastry and after offering her own contented murmurings, she chuckled. "You could be right about opportunities finding you. Although, at this rate, if I did meet the father of my future children, I'm afraid he would find me to be twice the weight I should be."

"Nope, no, I'm stopping you right there, Counselor," Jamia sat up straight, raising a finger for emphasis. "Even though I'm pretty sure you're joking, I have a strict 'no-should' policy. 'Shoulds' never help anybody - if you want to lose weight, fine, but there is no 'should' to it. Not for you, and not for some dream man." She started to blush but held her ground. "Sorry if that was a bit aggressive, that word just gets to me."

Nora smiled. "I was attempting to joke, but I do get your point and I admire your passion for it. You're absolutely right. Words are powerful. As a therapist, I understand that and appreciate you giving me a dose of my own medicine," she added with a chuckle.

"Anytime," Jamia grinned. "As long as you promise to keep me accountable, too. Doctors really can be the worse patients...."

Nora chuckled. "You can count on it."

[ OFF ]

Lieutenant Jamia Kaar
Chief Medical Officer
USS Firebird NCC-88298

Lieutenant Nora Morrison
Chief Counselor
USS Firebird NCC-88298


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