Wednesday, April 23, 2008

My Portfolio

There was an alarming story about medical errors in Portfolio magazine last month, and in this month's issue, there is a letter which says, "Couldn't a single nurse have taken ownership of separating mixed medication bags as he or she fished through the storage bin day after day, shift after shift?"

Spoken like a supervisor.

Yeah, she could, if she wasn't pulling a double shift with a sick kid at home. Responsibility always gets pinned on the line worker, while the supervisors are at home playing with their kids. All my life, people have told me I have to work harder while they themselves are "not in the office".

Another extremely alarming sentence, this time from this month's issue: "[the] inspector general told Congress that his auditors stopped counting after finding 2.3 trillion dollars in unsupported entries."

2.3 Trillion Dollars. Trillion. With a T. Lost, or at least unaccounted for. In the Department of Defense.

Jesus Christ with a popsicle stick.


  1. "Yeah, she could, if she wasn't pulling a double shift with a sick kid at home. Responsibility always gets pinned on the line worker"

    Well, not bothering to check the label is a pretty serious whopper, and it is a very real responsibility. If they aren't up to that, maybe they should be stocking shelves at Kroger. At least someone can't die because you put Cheerios on a potato chip shelf. And no, it is not the supervisor who is the one who can't be bothered to properly read labels.

    The 2.3 trillion thing is very significant too.

  2. I really should have quoted the whole letter, and I didn't really explain myself very well.

    Yes, it is a pretty serious whopper. (The error in the article didn't have to do with that, but those sorts of errors certainly happen.)

    Unless genuinely psychotic, every health professional is obsessed with doing their job completely and correctly.

    My point is that the workload pressures in health care are unrelenting and constant. Every part of the system is creaking under too much demand and too few staff.

    And the response on the part of management is a insulting, dismissive, "well, then do your job better."

    As if they're not trying to do that already.

    And it IS the supervisor who makes the schedule and says, "well, that is enough staff, no matter what the employees or the numbers say."


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