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Toni Talks about PT Today

The Baby Cam is Not Skilled Therapy

Published May 7, 2013 12:42 PM by Toni Patt

There has always been some conflict between therapy and nursing. Each complains about what the other does or doesn't do. Last week I saw something that floored me. I went into the nursing office looking for a chart. I didn't find the chart. I did find three nurses watching someone's grandson through a web cam feed at his day care. It was on the computer screen. They'd apparently been watching a while. They were talking about things they'd already seen him do.

OMG! This is a facility that makes me account for almost every minute of my day. Employees aren't allowed access to the WiFi. Yet these three nurses were watching the kiddie cam on a computer only they have access to. If I want to look something up on the web, I have to use my phone. Therapy has one computer in our office. None of the therapists have access. If I want to download a Tinetti or Berg, I have to ask the secretary to do it for me.

This is the kind of double standard that creates conflict between the two disciplines. It can lead to resentment and distrust. I wasted several minutes looking for that chart only to find it sitting unused in the nursing office. Those were minutes I could have spent doing something else, not to mention the added aggravation of having to look for it.

I brought it up to my supervisor and was told to let it go. It would just get me labeled a troublemaker. The logic of the situation escapes me. The nurses were doing something no one else is allowed to do on equipment no one else has access to but I'm a troublemaker if I bring it up. I think I'm safe in saying no work was being done in that office.

I'm sure this happens everywhere. There's no telling how much time is wasted in the "evil empire" where I formerly worked and everyone has computer access. Although I doubt anyone there has the time to sit and baby-watch for more than a minute or two. There's a huge difference in work production between watching a few minutes every so often and devoting 10 minutes at a time to the viewing. The same is true of any activity that takes away from work time. A certain amount of wasted time is expected. The baby cam took wasting time to a new level.

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Such an activity performed on the clock could be construed as stealing your employers time if you are performing a personal activity on the clock. Most facilities have a process of peer review which often require Directors to take action.  If those nurses were on the clock and not on a break that could be a potential patient safety issue which I hope any administration would take seriously.

Dan May 7, 2013 8:50 PM

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