"When you get those rare moments of clarity, those flashes when the universe makes sense, you try desperately to hold on to them. They are the life boats for the darker times, when the vastness of it all, the incomprehensible nature of life is completely illusive. So the question becomes, or should have been all a long... What would you do if you knew you only had one day, or one week, or one month to live. What life boat would you grab on to? What secret would you tell? What band would you see? What person would you declare your love to? What wish would you fulfill? What exotic locale would you fly to for coffee? What book would you write?"

Friday, August 3, 2012

A Satan kind of Business

Yesterday I went to a hospital-sponsored "Birthday" breakfast, where employees get to sit at a breakfast table with the hospital CEO/CFO and some other important big-wigs. I have been employed at this hospital for what will be 6 years this August, and this is the first birthday that I've actually went.

We just hired a new CEO, and there have been mixed feelings about him. Normal, I suppose,when a new big wig comes to play, as this instantly makes people fear they will lose their job. A CEO has to really work in order to gain the trust from its employees.

So I wasn't sure what to expect from this "birthday breakfast" with the CEO....how many people would go? Would it be 1:1 time with the CEO? What would we talk about? Cupcakes? Breakfast? The weather? Monkeys? History? Rules? Africa? Eggs? Pancakes? Opinions?

We started off the breakfast with one of those "icebreakers" where we all had to share our name, how long we've been employed, what we do.....squishsquash like that.

Then we got into the real mishmosh, the nittygritty of things we've been wanting to hear about. When are we getting our raises back? Whats going to happen to the hospital? Are we going to remodel? Are our jobs secure? Everyone sits tensely in their seats, politely yet rebellious as a lion inside, ready to pounce, yet trying to behave. People get very tense when it comes to money and their jobs.

Lately our hospital census has been in the toilet, meaning we have not very many patients. This raises a lot of concern, being that without enough patients , we won't have enough money to sustain the business or pay our employees. So everyone has been nervous, so of course this issue was brought up with the CEO. His response is what really got me thinking.

He jokingly said, "I guess we gave out too many flu shots this year." People laughed quietly.

But what he said.....it's absolutely true, and yet it isn't true. True, we did give out a lot and they were effective. But we didn't give out "too many". We prevented a lot of people from getting sick this year, and it may have impacted our census, maybe it didn't.

But it got me thinking....running a hospital is like running a Satan business. We thrive, we depend on people getting sick or injured. When less people get sick or injured, our business suffers. We market our business just like any other type of business out there- We billboard and advertise on TV to get people to think of and choose us when they are sick or injured and need to choose an ER.

I guess the point I'm trying to make here is that, an ideal world would be if a hospital could support itself and its employees without depending on others suffering. It can't happen, I suppose, considering money doesn't just magically appear and fund organizations.

In my schooling, we learned about the growing concept that hospital patients were changing. In this present day and in the coming future, a typical hospital patient is a lot sicker than in the past. More and more illnesses and conditions are treated in the outpatient, long term care, clinic or home care setting. This is great for public health care but it could be why we are seeing a lower census as of late. Some of these sicker, long term hospital required care patients don't have insurance or insurance that is going to pay. Also, these patients aren't turning over the beds and are taking up space, draining the staff, etc. So its like the hospital administrations depend on the misfortune of the community to sustain itself, but we need you to get better quickly, so you can be a patient of ours, pay us and then leave so we can give your bed to the next paying patient.  Like I said, its a Satan Kind of Business....

It's similar to the concept of warfare health care. Back in the days of surviving WWI and WWII, we learned and advanced so much in health care because of all the emergent practice we had on suffering soldiers. Suddenly we had patients that were going to die anyway if we didn't try something, so it gave surgeons and doctors of the age to experiment and practice....and sometimes save lives resultingly, sometimes not. But it taught and revolutionized health care. It's the concept of trial and error.  It's yet another example of how health care thrives off the mass suffering off its population.

Yet this concept turns on itself. The more people that suffer and come in to the hospital, the more money the hospital makes. For non-profit organizations, such as mine- this allows us to then put the money back into the hospital, better machines, more nurses, better doctors, new units, more services, which all lead to safer, and better patient outcomes and satisfaction, which then leads to word of mouth in the community to others, which therefore leads to more money back into the hospital from others that are suffering. It's a cycle. A Satan cycle. A necessary cycle in the health care industry. A sad cycle.

I've had this post, this thought, stemming in my head for a long time, since June. I even had half of it written out but decided to halt the writing on it because I felt it was getting too political. I really know nothing about politics or finances. Nothing. I know that. All I know is nursing, nothing administration. All I know is what nurses see and how nurses are affected. So what prompted me to finally go through with this post? My unit, the smallest unit in the hospital, recently shut down last Friday along with the second smallest unit. At first we all thought it would just be the weekend. Tomorrow we will hit one week. All of us are on our toes. This is where a low hospital census hits home. My entire staff team is now orphaned, being sent out around the whole hospital, floated. It's miserable. We all want to be back on the unit we were hired too, the unit we have raised and grown to love throughout the past year.

The only, and I mean only, good thing about this sad misfortune, is that I am at least gaining experience on other units in my hospital. But I miss the familiarity.

Thats all for now folks,



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