Infection Control Today - 02/2004: Publet

Walk a Mile in My Shoes

During my career in publishing, I have had an opportunity to do almost every facet of this business, many of these for some length of time. While I enjoyed learning and performing each task, I wouldnt want to tackle most of them on a regular basis. Each position requires a certain set of job skills. While I think I possess many of these skills, I am sure there are others doing this same job that might argue that point.

At one point in my career, a former colleague told me how easy my job seemed to be. I simply looked at her and said, Why dont you walk a mile in my shoes? It is always easier to critique anothers job when you havent had to do it first hand yourself. Growing up I, like 99.9 percent of children, wanted to be a fireman because I thought it would be fun. Would I want to be a fireman today? No way! I know what they have to do now; however, I still think it would be cool to drive the back of the hook-in-ladder.

When was the last time someone said, You wouldnt want my job? If you really stop to think about it, there is probably a good reason they said it. You have also probably heard, I think what you do is so easy compared to what I am required to do. I know this can drive you up a wall, as the other person making this statement probably has no idea what is involved in your job.

I have spoken with a number of professionals recently who have complained that co-workers have no idea what they do, and what their daily responsibilities are. Many of these same professionals have said they wished their facilities would cross-train their employees. This, in their opinion, is important so there will be less critiquing and more understanding of job responsibilities, let alone receiving some sense of appreciation for the jobs that are being done.

Over the years I have heard from people within sterile processing that they feel it is one of the least respected departments within the hospital. They are considered basement people. I am sure that many of the people in the SPD have thought, I wish they could walk a mile in my shoes! There are many others within healthcare institutions that have thought the same thing.

If you are one of these healthcare professionals who feel like your department or job is under appreciated, maybe it would be a good idea to suggest that your facility set up a day in the life program. This is extremely important for departments that work closely together on a daily basis. It also could be highly educational. If your institution is already doing this, they are ahead of the curve.

This would not call for Sally to do Franks job, however, as there would be too much at risk here. This would merely be an observational opportunity for one professional to see what another has to do. Imagine someone from the OR observing the sterile processing department as its employees go through their daily routine, and vice versa. Think of the amount of respect that would be gained, and how the work flow might improve.

The next time someone says to you, I wish you could walk a mile in my shoes, wouldnt it be great to respond, Id love to!

Bill Eikost

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