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Toni Talks about PT Today

The Noise-O-Meter

Published December 13, 2011 5:54 PM by Toni Patt

The neuro service line got a new manager a few weeks ago. She seemed nice when I met her. She said all the right things about wanting to improve things and work with us. She told us we were doing a good job. I heard nothing more from her until last week when she had noise meters posted at all the nursing stations because she thought it was too loud.

These noise meters look like stop lights with three lights, one on top of the other. Just like a stop light they are red, amber and green. When things are quiet the green light is on. As the noise level increases the light changes to amber and then red. I guess the red light means we should stop making noise. As if it was that easy.

I feel insulted. I don't need a noise meter to tell me to be quiet. Hospitals are noisy places. Sure, some of the noise could be avoided but no one is sitting there deliberately making noise. At least they weren't until the meters went up. The first few days everyone stood next to them and tried to make the colors change. I watched one of our neurosurgeons stand in front and whistle at it until it turned red. He laughed.

No one took them seriously. Within a few days, the sensitivity was reset. Now they rarely change from a green light. No one even looks at them. Any influence they might have had on the noise level is gone. I can understand her concern about the noise level but posting those meters wasn't the way to address it. A simple conversation would have been more effective. All she did was waste time and money.

She also lost some respect. It will be a while before I take her seriously again. Luckily I don't have to interact with her much, if at all. Nonetheless, my opinion has been formed. I'm probably not the only one to form an opinion. Conventional wisdom says the first impression is everything. Those noise meters weren't a good first impression.


I agree, a meeting would have been the better solution, initially.  A piece of paper with a printed message to keep noise level down would have been a nice reminder and a lot cheaper.  A white board posted with a message for all to see works well too.  The device sounds like a noise biofeedback machine, I'd like to have one in my house.  

Give the new manager credit for trying something new - something nobody else tried.  Whether it succeeds or fails at least it was different and she tried it.  Don't loose respect for one bad idea, imagine if Edison, Marconi, and the Wright brothers stopped what they were doing due to one failed attempt.  People laughed at Noah too.  

Jason Marketti December 14, 2011 1:14 AM

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