Monday, September 04, 2006

Just Cook Enough For Yourself

I stepped out of my comfort zone this morning... on a subject about which I struggle personally... and with someone very close to me.
The subject is accountability and integrity when rules for safe work practices are not adhered to by a team of co-workers... and one person assumes responsibility for "making sure it all gets done".
Here's the story, names changed to protect the innocent/guilty/unassuming.....
Carol, Denise, Mary and Claire all work in a healthcare practice that is owned and operated by a licensed professional. They've all been told that over-time is no longer allowed and that their work must be completed without putting in more than 40 hours per week. Carol, Mary and Claire have no problem with that... they are happy to show up at the required time, take their hour lunch, and to leave at the end of the day. Denise is having a problem getting all her work done in the allotted amount of time. There are supplies and instruments to sterilize and put away, charts to write notes in, treatment areas to clean, disinfect and prepare for the next work day, and the schedule to review. All four women have a treatment room and a specific area of the practice for which they are responsible, but if the end of the day comes, and Carol's, Mary's or Claire's work is not done they leave... so they don't go over the 40 hour limit. Denise stays and finishes so that the next day will go smoothly for everyone... and she typically puts in more than 40 hours because of this. The licensed professional has requested that the phones be answered through the lunch hour, that all work be completed, and that the practice be ready for operation every day... but he refuses to acknowledge that Carol, Mary or Claire are neglecting to complete key tasks and that Denise is picking up the slack. When Denise came back from vacation, she opened the office on Monday morning to find the alarm had not been set, the computers had not been shut down, dirty instruments left uncleaned, and treatment rooms unprepared for clinical procedures. This only confirmed in Denise's mind that she was the only one who was being responsible for getting these things done.
That's the scenario... in a nutshell. Denise feels her time is being taken for granted, that no one else cares, and that she is the only one who can get the job done and done right. HIPAA and OSHA rules have been compromised... rules that the entire team has been trained to uphold. Ultimately the licensed professional is responsible for that, but Denise has taken the responsibility of it all upon herself.
What would you recommend to Denise?


B said...

Learn what everyone else already knows at the job. IT'S A JOB! Don't take it home with you, don't think about it when you're not there, and don't worry about doing things that can't be done. Too many people spend their lives worrying about someone else's business. It doesn't lead to much; the business does well (and it's owner), and the individual suffers (mentally and physically). Also, it seems easy for people to think that they are the only person that makes the "difference." This is also an unhealthy thing. It breeds resentment among the other workers, because it definately does show when you take on this attitude. Slow down, enjoy life (all that time outside those 40 hours!), and think about the time when you can look back and remember all the great things about your life, and have work NOT be one of them. BTW, I speak from what I know and aspire to know, not how I always show myself. It's hard to take that step back and loose all that worry.

jen said...

Amen brother! We grew up with type A's and became type A's. I'm writing this at 8:07 pm... I just arrived back at work after Mr A went to sleep. And I am the only one here in my office! Its in the genes. Your comments are so true! Its hard to let it go, but necessary.