Sunday, July 24, 2005

Things I wish hospital staff would remember

1. I am only one person.

2. Being only one person, and not gifted with bilocation, I can only be in one place at a time.

3. "On-call" does not mean the same thing as "available." I may at any given moment be both on-call and unavailable. This goes for returning calls as well as arriving in a given place.

4. If I say I will be there as soon as I'm able, I mean as soon as I'm able. I do not mean instantaneously, even if I am available. If I am unavailable, it's because someone else has a claim on me that's legitimately more pressing than yours - hard though that may be to imagine. Therefore it may take me longer than you (or I) would prefer.

5. If you are too busy with other parts of your job to speak with me, that is fine. However, please appreciate that while I am waiting, I may choose to do things such as answer my pager, work on paperwork, etc. I may therefore ask you to wait as long as two or three seconds if you are ready for me before I have quite finished these tasks.

6. While working in an intensive care unit ups the chances that I will consider your emergency a top priority, yours is not the hospital's only intensive care unit. LGH has five such units plus an emergency department. If you're not sure what this has to do with anything, please refer to points 1 and 2.

6. If I am smack in the middle of working with another family, the chances are good that I will need to finish with them before moving to you. So while a baptism may not seem as pressing as a trauma or a death to you, when I'm in the middle of pouring water over a baby's head I consider myself unavailable. If that confuses you, please see points 3 and 4.

7. My job is not to know your job. If you are unsure about what to do with bodies or pieces thereof, with paperwork that doesn't come from the pastoral care office, with used equipment, etc., you should ask your coworkers or supervisor. Unless you are a chaplain, I am neither of those to you.

8. If I tell you I do not have certain paperwork, I have most likely checked to make sure that is true. It is therefore unnecessary to ask me if there's a place it might be or whether I looked in the office for it. I know, probably better than you do, the various places that paperwork likes to hide. If I do not have it, I can almost always help start or find it, but I cannot make it materialize just because you asked a second or third time.


Marisa said...

More proof that "common sense" isn't all that common.


Songbird said...

Hi, Beth~
I serve on the board of the organization that provides funding for the one Protestant chaplain at our big hospital. It's interesting to hear your priorities.
Welcome to the Web Ring, by the way. Have you seen the blogger page?
We're having a discussion about where to donate $1 for each piece of merchandise sold at our CafePress store.

Lorna said...

scary to think that common sense should make most of this unneccessary.

Emily said...

See, it's all because they never showed chaplains on "ER."

Dawgdays said...

Sounds like you still need to go to Evanston Creamery. Ice cream may provide some relief. :)

Emily said...

But first Beth would have to stop at the bank. . .

Friday Mom said...

Love your list. I'm about to start a CPE residency, after serving part time as a chaplain for several years. I've got a story to tell for everyone of your points.

Welcome to the blogring. Good to find you.

Songbird said...

Emily, I so agree! I often thought they needed to show a chaplain. Back in the day (I'll now show my age), there were some chaplain stories on St. Elsewhere, but I hardly remember them now.