Monday, November 02, 2009

Night Shifts, Hard Work and Sickness

Another set of nights, another Doc off sick.

Trying to compare 'now' with 'then' is often fruitless... memory is, by its very nature, unreliable; we both forget things, and remember things falsely. Rose tinted spectacles.

That having said... I'm sure short notice sickness is more prevalent now than it was when I was younger. And I definitely wouldn't have remembered it wrong.

Maybe it's just me. When I was on the house, being off sick meant someone else having to cover your work, or, perhaps more to the point, you having to cover someone else's work when they were off sick. So, in general, we weren't enormously sympathetic to anything we perceived as someone pulling a sickie. There was a culture of 'working through it'. Is it a good thing that's gone?

I'm sure it is. No-one should have to feel obliged to come to work if they feel a bit peaky.

But I can't help but feel we've washed a little bit of the work ethic away, too. I should point out that I'm slightly biased, having had only one sick day, in eleven years.

Anyway, I have yet to work a set of nights with the allocated number of docs.

That's fine. I'll work a bit harder. I'm used to it. But maybe, just maybe the constant stress is what's causing this increase in sickies. Maybe.

What frustrates me the most about working short handed is that management always act surprised, and then lose the plot at about 2 a.m when our breach targets start to drift...

The latest, slightly sinister, attempt to combat this, was foisted on us from on high. Once a patient has breached (waited for more than 4 hours in the dept), perhaps we could see our way to ignoring them, in favour of those who haven't yet breached.

Let me make that clear; people in the ED get seen in order of clinical priority, and thereafter, time. But once you have waited 4 hours, the department is not penalised further until you wait 12 hours... So management appear to have decided that once you have waited 4 hours, you should be being punished by being made to wait another 4 hours so that we can meet our targets.

I'll let you think about that

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