06 June 2010

How to get an equipment upgrade

Our ER is probably typical in that much of the equipment can be pretty dated. Half of the computer workstations are still running IE6, and the printers/faxes/copiers are all similarly vintage. The hospital tries to save money by only upgrading when something breaks. The printer by the docs' station is a particular problem for us since it's a high-use device -- it's responsible for all prescriptions and discharges. When it jams (which is frequently) or starts spewing toner all over our prescriptions, it bogs down the ER because we can't discharge anybody till it is fixed. It's a very frustrating and recurring problem.

The other day, I came on shift and began, as I always do, by picking up the first chart and removing a patient label. I keep a running list for each shift: it keeps me organized and lets me track my productivity. I looked around for a blank piece of printer paper for my list, and there was none, so I pulled the tray out of the doctor's printer to get one.

Either I pulled harder than I intended or somebody had greased the skids, because the whole fricking tray came right out, kept going, and flew out into space and down onto the floor, smashing into a million pieces. It made a huge noise and the ER stopped dead while everybody in the nursing station turned, startled, in my direction and stared at me. An uncomfortable pause followed.

"Lisa," I said to the charge nurse in my most authoritative tone, "I've decided we need a new printer."

"Very well, Dr S," she responded, very formally. "Will there be any other equipment you would like to upgrade today?"

"I'll let you know. Just listen for the crashing noise."

At that point we all laughed and began cleaning up the mess. Lisa had the last laugh on me. She got IT to come and replace the printer tray. Just the tray.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Would organizing a "Charity 5k Run" to benefit the 'Technology Fund' be out of line?

Or perhaps including on patient surveys "If you were satisfied with your service today, donations to the Technology Fund can be mailed to..."

Just sayin'