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Toni Talks about PT Today

Lunch Time

Published February 14, 2012 2:57 PM by Toni Patt

Last week I worked at a facility where two of the therapists exercised during their lunch time. Exercising at work isn't unusual. I've worked at clinics where staff could use the equipment before and after hours. One place I worked at actually sold gym memberships to use the equipment. So while exercising at lunch might be somewhat different, it isn't out of the question.

There was just one problem. They locked the door to the gym while they worked out. I was told they didn't want anyone to see them. It was OK if I needed to go in there for something but I couldn't treat any patients. That created a problem since the facility expected me to be working during that period. Working as in either writing notes or treating patients and I'd already written my notes while trays were being delivered.

I've never run into anything like this before. I understand their wanting to exercise without staying late. For all I know, the facility might not want them to use the equipment after hours. On the other hand, the expectation was that I would be working, which was difficult to do since the door to the gym was locked until they finished. I had time requirements for these patients. To leave on time, I had to keep working. The facility might not have noticed I wasn't working but I knew I would get caught in some serious traffic if I left late.

This is a minor thing on the big scale of things. Considering the last few weeks, it barely even registered. I ended up treating someone in his room, which wasn't ideal but solved the problem. I never considered exercising at lunch before. I write notes at lunch. I treat patients. I don't sit around idly. To me it was a foreign concept.

1 comments

I have some concerns with the scenario that you describe. The first is a safety issue. If they are exercising behind locked doors, there is a risk of liability to the facility if something should occur and nobody could reach them. This immediately bothered the manager in me.

More importantly, a facility exists for the treatment of patients first and foremost. If staff can benefit as well, that is a nice plus, but probably not part of your facilities mission statement. This appears to me to be a conflict of interest where the interests of the staff is coming before the needs and interests of the patients. Ethically this seems wrong to me.

I would like to know how this situation resolves, I hope you post on it again.

Dean

Dean Metz February 16, 2012 2:22 PM

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