Infection Control Today - 02/2004: Publet

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Walk a Mile in My Shoes

During my career in publishing, I have had an opportunity todo 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 tacklemost of them on a regular basis. Each position requires a certain set of jobskills. While I think I possess many of these skills, I am sure there are othersdoing this same job that might argue that point.

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

When was the last time someone said, You wouldnt want myjob? If you really stop to think about it, there is probably a good reasonthey said it. You have also probably heard, I think what you do is so easycompared to what I am required to do. I know this can drive you up a wall, asthe other person making this statement probably has no idea what is involved inyour job.


I have spoken with a number of professionals recently who havecomplained that co-workers have no idea what they do, and what their dailyresponsibilities are. Many of these same professionals have said they wishedtheir facilities would cross-train their employees. This, in their opinion, isimportant so there will be less critiquing and more understanding of jobresponsibilities, let alone receiving some sense of appreciation for the jobsthat are being done.

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

If you are one of these healthcare professionals who feel likeyour department or job is under appreciated, maybe it would be a good idea tosuggest that your facility set up a day in the life program. This isextremely 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, asthere would be too much at risk here. This would merely be an observationalopportunity for one professional to see what another has to do. Imagine someonefrom the OR observing the sterile processing department as its employees gothrough their daily routine, and vice versa. Think of the amount of respect thatwould be gained, and how the work flow might improve.

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

Bill Eikost