Wednesday, February 17, 2010

It’s Raining Forms

I was recently teaching a nursing student who asked me what I hated most about the profession. At the time I answered, “waking up early”. It’s true – there is nothing I hate more than waking up before the sun has risen and shivering my ass off while I walk to the train station. Words can’t describe how much I hate early mornings. In fact, I refuse to schedule anything before 1400. I make no secret of the fact that I’m loathe to early morning activities so I was rather irked that my corporate education day was scheduled bright and early at 0800 in which management tried to indoctrinate me and fellow am haters into the society for filling out useless forms – twice. We sat there for a solid five hours listening to mindless drones drone on mindlessly about the necessity of filling out both online and paper forms for incident reporting, blood glucose monitoring, blood transfusion monitoring, order entry, narcotic records and a whole lot of other stuff. Suffice it to say, that my brain activity declined to nearly zero half way through that session.

When I got back to work the next time (for a bloody day shift too), the new documentation policies were in place. I tried to keep up with the mountain of paperwork while trying to provide meaningful care but inevitably fell behind because there are only 12 hours in a shift and my bladder and declining blood sugar levels can only be ignored for so long. On my way home, I felt quite awful for ignoring some of my patients and rushing them because I had to fill out pointless forms which were designed for the sole purpose of tormenting nurses. The following week, a staff meeting for the nurses was called by the nurse clinician and the manager to inquire about the ‘barriers’ that prevented us from filling out the forms. It was nice knowing that I wasn’t the only one being entombed by one useless form after another but having woken up early (again!), my brain to mouth filter was malfunctioning. I suggested that perhaps she should hire an army of form fillers so that the useless form gods are appeased with the sacrifice of millions of trees while patient care remains unchanged. Amidst the chuckles and snorts of my coworkers, I noticed that the manager and clinician were not amused but I still stand by my suggestion.

The next time I get asked what I hate most about nursing, I will now modify my answer to waking up early to fill out forms – twice!


Morris said...

"I noticed that the manager and clinician were not amused"

Then they shouldn't have asked, eh?

Hehe. I loved your answer btw, having a special hatred for bureaucracy in any form..

Grumpy, M.D. said...

For a world that is supposed to be on the way to becoming paperless, it seems quite the opposite.

midwest woman said...

I believe the barriers to filling out paperwork is called patient care. One must have priorities.

Old MD Girl said...

Dr. G totally hit it on the head.

I have to say that I am a little jealous actually. You only hate waking up in the morning. I hate waking up no matter what time it is.

DreamingTree said...

Amen! Oh the irony -- forms created to ensure good patient care...that take valuable time away from good patient care. I keep missing the mandatory meetings we have to talk about forms. It's not intentional -- I just don't notice the memos amongst the massive amounts of paper hanging all over the walls (even on the bathroom door -- give me a break!).

Anonymous said...

"designed for the sole purpose of tormenting nurses" omg...I nearly fell off my chair laughing so hard! I work ER out here in BC, so I'm assuming our paperwork isn't that much seems every day I go to work, the educators are introducing a new piece of paper I have to fill out. Our "Admission Pack" (7 pages, for now) grows by at least one sheet of paper each month, which doesn't include, an OR pack (at least 5 additional pages), or more specialized forms (blood transfusions, glucose monitoring, wound assessment, ortho/neurovascular assessment) that can be brought out as needed.

To make matters worse, we are asked to assist various research projects, the most current one is "Early Sepsis Identification at Triage" where if a patients meets certain criteria, triage is expected to *gasp!* fill out a form! Not surprisingly, the research forms aren't getting filled out. I'm certain a committee will be struck to determine what barriers prevent this from getting done. I may submit your blog entry.

Southern Drawl said...

Love it! I wish I were brave enough to leave my brain to mouth sensor off! :)