Music Mambo: Week 34
Happiness in Seattle

Hospital observations

So I've been at this hospital every day for the last three weeks, and before that I was here at least two or three days a week for a couple of months. Here are some things I've noticed in that time.

No particular order:

  • This hospital is big on HIPAA rules'n'regs to guard patient information and privacy. Or at least they say they are. In the last few weeks, I've observed a few strange methods of maintaining that privacy, among them:

    1. Stacks of metal charts, with patients' full information (name, condition, treatments, etc.) attached, placed outside the pre-admission nurses' offices on weekends (these nurses don't work weekends, so they process the charts the following business day)

    2. Pre-admission nurses' offices are so small, the doors can't be closed easily when the nurses are speaking to new patients, so anyone loitering outside those offices can hear clearly anything and everything being discussed inside

    3. The hospital's main patient-registry area is in the main lobby, right across from the gift shop and next to the information desk, and often patients speak loudly enough to be heard clearly across that large space when they're first informing the registration agents of their reason for being in the hospital that day

  • The hospital's cafeteria closes at 14:00 on weekends, and they have this charming habit of just turning off all the lights to let any remaining customers know it's time to go.

    There's some fine customer service, my friends.

  • There are two banks of elevators in the main hospital building. One's in a side hallway that isn't readily visible to visitors, so it gets used by employees more often, but the impatient employees hit the call buttons for both banks almost every time, and then bitch about how slow the elevators are.

    Hello dickheads: If you didn't call all the elevators every time you needed just one, the elevators would respond to EVERYONE'S CALLS FASTER!

  • You see a wide variety of fascinating people in hospitals. Several times when I've been standing by the information desk, I've heard visitors wander in and ask the volunteers to direct them to their appointments. But they don't know what the appointments are for, they don't know the doctor's name, and often they're not even sure what time the appointment is actually scheduled. Somehow, however, they expect the volunteers to divine all of this information and point them in the proper direction.

  • Speaking of which, several times in the Women's Pavilion I've seen new (usually teenage) fathers come in and ask where the mothers of their newborn babies are, but they don't know the mothers' surnames. (!)

  • It amazes me how people only read signs when it's to their advantage, like the woman yesterday who wanted to argue about 1/3 off a bag of potpourri that was on a cart with a sign reading THANKSGIVING & FALL ITEMS 1/3 OFF. She instantly pointed out that the sign didn't SAY the potpourri wasn't included.

    "You're absolutely right," I said. "The sign doesn't say that."

    And out she huffed.

    And I thought, "If the sign had specifically excluded potpourri, you'd have claimed you hadn't seen the sign."

    People really piss me off.

    (And the potpourri is included, by the way. I made a mistake.)

  • The volunteers are all doing well with the registers, for the most part, but the one thing they don't do properly is LOOK AT THE DAMNED SCREEN to see what they're doing. Many of them work at the information desk as well, and they have no trouble looking at the info desk computer's screen to see if they've misspelled a patient's name or the like, but for whatever reason they just do NOT do so with the gift-shop register PCs.

    If anyone can explain this to me, I'd certainly appreciate the insight. I'm utterly mystified.

I think that's all for now. I'm in the midst of verifying our inventory list to remove any duplications and this has taken the better part of an hour to write as I've jumped back'n'forth between the two.

::continue to count seconds to Fri 11/19 15:06::