Saturday, July 7, 2012

They Do as I Do, Not Say

To get on or off a ward, you need to use an electronic card to open the door.  For reasons not clear to me, most employees do not have such cards or do not carry them.  So they stand at the door and ring to be let in.  When they wish to leave, they usually track down the Nurse, because what qualifies a person to be a doorman if not nursing school?  "But you're the Nurse!" is the usual explanation when I ask them why they couldn't have the orderly SITTING NEXT TO THE DOOR let them out.  "But I'm the Nurse," in contrast, does not seem to be an acceptable response when I explain to someone why they can't remove a patient from the ward without telling me.

Anyhow, with my New and Improved Outlook, I do not buzz people in or out.  This saves me significant time not only with not performing the actual task, but also with avoiding the distraction and interruption, which costs time in refocusing on what I was doing, but also in avoiding the new task that the visitor was going to push onto me.  I do not think that I ever buzzed anyone in and had that person reduce my work.  The visitor has always given me MORE work, nevermind that I already had more than enough.

To illustrate:  after lunch, when most were away on their break, I was in the common patient area, signing the medication records, which I need to do in a timely fashion.  An orderly was in the room, not on break, reading the newspaper.  Another employee rang at the door.  And rang.  And rang.  In the past, I would have stopped my work, opened the door, been reprimanded by someone who is not my supervisor for not being fast enough, and then had their work dumped on me.  If I did not get to the door, the orderly would reprimand me, "Nurse!  You don't answer the door?" as I scurried to open the door in a vain attempt to squash any formal complaints they were about to make about me.

No more.  The orderly continued reading the paper through all the buzzes.  Eventually I saw her looking at me.  As if I was supposed to stop working to answer the door while she continued reading the newspaper.  The person started banging.  I continued signing the record.  The orderly got up and answered the door!  I heard her saying, "I don't know why she can't answer the door."  I suppressed my desire to shout back, "I can't answer the door because I am working.  You can answer the door because you are not doing anything else."  But I didn't shout this because it would have been a useless argument:  others think that my first and foremost concern should be doing Whatever Task Others Think I Should Be Doing.

They respond better to Showing than Telling.


  1. Do you really call it a "ward"? And do you really still sign your MARs by hand?!?

  2. Yes and Yes.
    It's a "ward." I sometimes call it a "floor" or "unit," and people insist they don't know what I'm talking about.
    Everything is by hand except the duplicate shift report- it is by hand and on the computer. Why do we have to write it out by hand and type the same thing on the computer? "Because that's the way it is."