It's All About the Nurses
Nurses are tough. Physically demanding, the work often requires them to work in cramped, confusing, emotional and dangerous situations. As the most visible caregivers in a hospital, they probably don't take enough credit for what goes right with patient care.
But--let's be honest--nurses get much of the blame. More precisely, they receive the emotional brunt of a mistake: the anguish of a family member, the frustration of a coworker, the ire of a doctor or the rudeness of a telephone call. Tough, indeed.
As the largest labor pool in a hospital, nurses also enjoy the most bargaining power in a union, the most seats at a department head table, the most resources in recruitment and retention, and (on off shifts) even authority over the whole house--laboratory included.
Much of the time, it's all about the nurses.
Maybe so. It can be frustrating to be a lab tech, at times, when dealing with nurses on issues like specimen labeling, patient identification, quality control on bedside glucose meters, or the best time to collect a specimen. Their culture can seem to dominate a hospital.
Lab techs are, in a word, underestimated. The unrelenting nature of dexterous precision combined with multitasking has to balance speed and accuracy. Lab work depends on understanding large, complex systems that interrelate, in vivo or in vitro. The bench worker has a culture of jikoda associated with Toyota Lean production systems that stops all work on a bench when an error is found or even suspected. The solitary authority of the lab tech goes largely unsung.
But we each see healthcare through our professional prism. Surely, to the nurses it's all about the doctors or even the laboratory some of the time. The old saw about walking a mile in another's shoes comes to mind. Although, I wouldn't want to do it where nurses are concerned. My feet would hurt.