That’s a very good question to know of your fellow bloggers. Me? I work full-time as a Surgical Instrument Technician- a job that I used to enjoy and felt proud to do.
Long story- after 2008/9 most hospitals began to fall as a domino effect of a struggling economy. Where most claim the “non-profit” status (such as my employer) we had the unfortunate but all too common trend of hiring the CFO (Chief Financial Officer) as the CEO, thus the hospital began to operate most similarly to a bank. It does especially so, still to this day.
“What happens when that happens?”- You ask?
In places such as hospitals- generally there used to be a non-verbal ranking of order of importance that used to be;
1) tie: level of care/patient satisfaction
2) fiscal responsibility
3) employee wellbeing
4) anything else not covered by these blanket terms
Fast forward a few years as the economy continues to struggle and the bounce back is taking longer than expected. We start seeing more ‘suits’ around (aka million dollar consultants) that for this amount of payment begin to suggest layoffs at a continual pace. Patient volumes ebb and flow from quarter to quarter so we begin a basic feast/famine style of staffing which tends to reflect patient census amounts from previous months (as formulated on bar graphs by the experts).
Fast forward to now, after years of various departmental staff reductions- the most recent being the one I work in and we’re basically working by numbers and instructed about our staffing requirements by people who’ve never done my job, who’ve if they’ve ever cared for people in healthcare capacity- it was long ago. Long forgotten.
Our hospital looks beautiful though- because they continually update areas that mostly don’t need it (it was in the ‘budget’ though) and skip over areas that could use the most attention.
As it stands, my hospital no longer has employee well-being even on its list in regards to a hospital work environment. There are only two things on the list:
1) Patient Satisfaction (at the top only for a very specific reason)
2) Fiscal Fitness
Patient satisfaction is no doubt at the top spot ONLY because Medicare and other government funded health insurers will only pay out if the patient satisfaction and level of care is at a certain amount. This comes from those surveys you get after you’ve given the hospital your insurance information.
Stay with me here…
Patients are getting smarter. With Google around and other sites for information regarding illness and treatments patients have become empowered more now than ever. That is good, but…
Patients still only think about their care in terms of Doctor, Nurse, and maybe one or two other people (assistant/techs they see while receiving care). Hospitals that operate like banks are aware of this and ‘profit’ because of it.
What you don’t know is that when you’re a patient and come into the hospital particularly for surgery, there are perhaps dozens of people who are preparing for your course of treatment. People that prepare your particular set of surgical instruments, people that sterilize those trays, people that had to drive in and bring in extra instruments/implants, people who had to assemble your surgical cart (which can contain up to 100 different items), people that had to get your cart to the OR suite once you arrive, people that had to get YOU to the OR suite, people who wait for a call to get extra items to your room be it anesthesia related, be it blood from the ‘blood bank’- be it IV poles, people who take specimens to the lab, etc. These people are NOT nurses or doctors. They often go unnoticed, unknown but were a vital part of your care. Once your surgery is over- someone has to clean up the mess (and sometimes it’s messy!). When you’re in your hospital room the nurses are busy ordering items on a continual basis for your care. Someone has to answer that call and it’s often only 1 person covering the whole hospital! This is work that with the exception of the washers that clean/sterilize the instruments (which have to be handled and sorted manually)- cannot be done by machine. Those specialty items have to be returned, etc. Everything has to go back in place for the next person awaiting surgical intervention. I digress slightly…
You the patient being unable to judge the level of care based on these unseen individuals gives the hospitals that operate like banks (HTOLB) a chance to save tons of money by limiting staffing in these areas because they are not judged by fitness by you for Medicare and others to decide if said hospital is worthy of payment. Instead, the HTOLB will only put monies into things a patient will notice and score high on in the survey.
“Look at the pretty wallpaper! Isn’t it soothing? Though when I was here visiting someone 6 months ago they had a slightly different color scheme. Taupe must be the ‘in’ color this season!”
That wallpaper and those new comfy chairs that are mostly empty after 5pm cost a lot of folks their jobs and the old furniture wasn’t despicable. You may think that furniture and color scheme is important but what if it were you that got laid off? What do you tell that newly unemployed person’s children? Can anyone of the thousands get a job at the hospital furniture factory? Probably not. Enjoy the comfort though… You can probably come back next year to my hospital and they’ll have new furniture yet again because they’d rather not hire any more ‘unknowns’. The spreadsheets and bar-graphs told them not to.
So yeah, I aspire to be a full time writer. I will continue to do the best job I can under the tremendous added pressure and unstable work staffing. In my spare time however, I’ll prepare to be the best author I can be through the meticulous process of creating and writing. This is my passion.