A Nurse With Attitude

Where Dark Cynical Humor, Nursing Issues, and Politics Seem to Merge

Another Dilbert Day


Every day something happens to me through management, coworkers or technical support that confirms my belief that all companies on the planet work like the Dilbert cartoon.  Fortunately Scott Adams managed to cash in on something that can easily happen each and every day to all of us as we strive to grind out a living.  I was under the illusion that my job was different because I work in healthcare.  After all, if mistakes are made, it could be pretty bad.  Yeah, we have a  checklist system, just like the airline pilots.  Just as they check the list every time before takeoff, we check it before every operation.  It’s just that taking out a gallbladder is a little different than flying  in to LAX.  I’m not trying to demean pilots, but this is surgery. There is more danger and certainly more liability here… so I thought.  All jobs are the same, no matter where you work and no matter what you do. There are certain constants in this world and the repeat themselves.  Ineptitude  and incompetence always floats to the top.  I call it the septic tank system of management.  The least capable become managers of those who are.  (Of course, this isn’t necessarily true for my manager).  In every workplace, there is at least one person that is crazy or difficult to work with.  An environmentalist,  a jock, a workhorse, and someone who is an amazing talented slacker.  I am not surprised to find my place is very much the same as the cartoon.

About the manager thing, in my current job, not only are some of the leaders inept, but their educational path has no health care or patient care in their resume what so ever.  Non-nursing staff are writing RN job description, establishing policy and making nursing decisions.

As the service coordinator for the Neurosurgery department, I occasionally get calls about specific up-coming surgical cases.   Today I got a call from the surgery scheduling office.  She asked “Dr. Smith is an Oncology / General surgeon and she’s  doing a ‘lobectomy’ Why is she doing a lobectomy and does she even have privileges to do such a case… I need to know?”

I did my best not to laugh as I took a moment to collect myself before answering.  “Hmm,  I believe that there are more than a few of the organs in the human body that come in lobes.  And in this instance, I think that she would be removing a thyroid lobe.  I know this because she only does surgery on the neck… you know like an ENT surgeon.  Yep, I’m sure it’s a single lobe of the thyroid.”

What can I do?  Just like Dilbert I did my best to humor this person realizing that this she has the ability to make my life a living horror if she gets angry.    She was just like the  Alice character in the strip, this scheduling manager has the ability to jump immediately  to screaming a fury in an instant and without warning.

With effort, I maintained composure.  I didn’t laugh out loud and the scheduling manager thanked me for my assistance.

Today has just begun and it already has proven that it will be very interesting.


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