Today at work we got absolutely smashed. Again.
The workload was congested, chaotic, intense and high paced,
As an emergency operating theatre list should be.
But it's not the work I'm worried about.
The work itself is interesting, dynamic, challenging and fun.
It is the way we go about it that worries me.
For example, we know about time and motion work methodologies.
They have been the dominant work design strategies for the last one hundred years.
For nurses it means one thing: if there's still time, for God's sakes, do something!
We know that time can be broken down into workload and work distribution.
We know that motion can be broken down into systems processes and human factor ergonomics.
But do we really know and understand the principles of cognitive science and endurance
physiology when it comes to applying them to health care workers?
In other words, how can we get the best out of our staff in a physically, emotionally and cognitively
demanding environment where the tendency is to continually crash the schedule?
For example, today I started at 0800.
I snatched a cup of tea on the run at about 11:00.
I got lunch on the run without a chance to sit down at 13:30.
I finally got my first sit down at just after 15:30.
And finally finished my shift ten minutes over time at 18:10.
Not bad for a fifty year old.
Especially on the back of the late shift I did yesterday, starting at 13:00 and finishing at 23:00.
20 hours work in 29, all on five hours sleep.
So my question is: how can we not explore the effects of this on cognitive and physical
performance when we consider ourselves to be not unintelligent?
How can we refuse to nurture peak performance in our staff and still expect them to turn up to work engaged and enthused, today, tomorrow, next week, next month, next year?
Just questions. No answers.
Well..... we have answers:
To our detriment, we as clinicians lack the ability to engage across the administrative chasm so that we can achieve consensus on these matters
It's a pity that not everyone is as fit and as enduring and as bulletproof as me!
So thinks everyone, which is partly the reason we are in this position in the first place!