It has come to my attention that the clinic wherein I spend 9 hours of each and every weekday is conspicuously missing a suggestion box. I can only conclude that this is a dreadful oversight on your part. Either that, or the places I've worked that DID have suggestions boxes have somehow gotten to you before I could. In any case, I know that I have a great many useful and creative ideas for improving my workplace no matter what the narrowminded folks at the nursing home thought (and I still think jell-o olympics was a great idea). For instance:
- A chocolate bar. By which I don't mean a bar of chocolate but, rather, a bar like one you have for liquour, only with chocolate. You can't tell me none of you have ever longed for a hit of chocolate with 80% cacao. Gotta love that 80 proof stuff. Alternatively, perhaps
- A chocolate fountain. It could be anywhere in the office, as long as sometime around 4:00 we could stave off the "please please PLEASE get me out of here" syndrome by dunking a chunk of pound cake in molten milk chocolate, oh yeah.
- I think we would all benefit from a screaming room--a padded, soundproofed area where we could retreat when the 6th person in an hour has called to say that it is terribly urgent and they're very upset because they saw the doctor last week and they don't feel better. And no, they didn't bother to fill their prescriptions...why, is that important?
- Similarly, while I agree that it is not generally acceptable to be rude to patients, there are times when anyone in the free world with two brain cells would feel impelled to expound on the moron-ness of some of these callers. There should be such a thing as "justifiable smartassedness", by which statute we can ask someone how they got themselves dressed today, given that they are no smarter than a lobotomized chicken and by the way, the underwear go on BENEATH the pants, just in case they didn't know. The guy who wanted us to test him for allergy to marijuana probably fits into that category. I hate to be pedantic but....maybe don't smoke it if it makes you cough? Call me crazy.
- I understand that some of our patients rely heavily on the samples left by drug reps, and I further know that it is probably important to endure the constant stream of them going in and out of the office, unctuous as any car salesman. But, I wonder, would it hurt to require the drug companies to make all their reps handsome, shirtless young men from Australia? If that could happen, I'd probably quit accusing them of eating their own young when they hover around the office and get in the way and generally drive me batshit.
- Rude patients should have to pay more. Sort of a "snottiness tax", if you will. For example, the patients who breeze in at 1:33 for a 1:15 appt and then, when the doctor agrees to see them after he finishes with the 1:30 (who was on time) demand to know why it has to take so long because don't we know they're in a HURRY? I think if a person is going to be that way, then a 15% surcharge for putting up with them is perfectly reasonable.
- I think afternoon dodgeball would be great stress reliever. And it could make it more interesting for patients negotiating their way through the clinic if there were big, red, rubber balls whizzing by.
- On slow days (such as today) we should be allowed to make up fake tests and see how many of them we can get the patients to do. "Okay Mr. Jones, it's very important that we find out how long you can keep this ping pong ball in the air by tipping your head back and blowing on it. You'll also need to make a sort of 'paa-aarp' sound while you do it." Or "Mrs. Smith, we can learn a lot more if you'll spin around in circles and buzz like an angry wasp. Oh, and flap your arms."
- Patients should be taught the calming effects of knitting, and so will definitely need someone willing to spend time every day teaching them and knitting with them. It'd be tough, but I'm willing to do it. I'll take one for the team.
- All staff should receive a monthly "screw this for a lark" token, which allows us to respond to the lengthy set of instructions by a doctor ("he'll need a CT scan and I want these prescriptions called in for him and then you can give him samples of these others and ask him if he's still taking this and then get him to sign a release and get his old records--he's pretty sure the doc he went to has a name starting with an 'm'...or maybe an 'n'--and then call the hospital and sit on hold for 20 minutes so you can find out that he's wrong and didn't actually have a ct scan there before and then can you make me some copies of this form?") by simply saying "Not a chance, White Coat." And not get in trouble.
- "I have an eye problem--I just can't see coming in to work" should occasionally be considered a legitimate excuse.
- The fact that I didn't throw a stapler at the triage guy's head when he asked me snidely what I was "babbling about now" should be counted on my review as "creative problem solving". The fact that I then called him a dick should not be held against me. He is one.
I know that change is difficult and takes time, but I am confident that you will see the wisdom in my ideas and do the right thing.