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Toni Talks about PT Today

Holiday Staff

Published December 17, 2013 5:38 PM by Toni Patt

The holidays are upon us and everyone wants time off. Mangers scramble to cover for vacations, illnesses and unexpected accidents. It's a given there won't be normal staffing levels from mid-December through the first of the year. Every year I ask the same question. Why is it okay to miss treatments and skip patients, all the while struggling to meet productivity standards?

I'm tired of this. Normally I don't mind working the holidays. I used to say I'd work so coworkers with families could be off. Not anymore. My caseloads will double. I'll have even less help. Everyone will be asking me why someone hasn't been seen by therapy. I go home tired only to struggle through it all over again the next day. Meanwhile management expects all the paperwork to be kept up to date.

When I worked at the "evil empire," we were lucky to see half the patients on our caseload during the holidays. Sure, we could get overtime, but overtime only goes so far. Therapists have an ingrained need to see all of our patients every day. Not only do we see them, we must provide the best treatment possible. I'm not about to say management cares about the quality of care. They've more than proven they don't. Those of us at work stress because we're not doing enough.

It's time to rethink how we do things. This includes letting fewer people off and having more people working the weekends before and after the holidays. Nothing is as frustrating as struggling through the week doing the best you can, only to hear those who were off complain because their patients weren't seen.

This is healthcare. We know we need to work holidays. I can remember when departments closed for the holidays, but not anymore. All the current system does is cause burnout of those who work. How about two-thirds staffing instead of one-half staffing? Can't decide who works and who doesn't? Draw straws or use a lottery.

Once again, I'll be working. Once again, I'll do the best I can. This year, for the first time, I won't be happy about it.

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