Patient Recognition Month Poster (Photo credit: Army Medicine)
I was recently talking to a nurse friend who still works at Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara, California where I was employed in x-ray before we moved to Utah. The old hospital was torn down and rebuilt in stages to meet California earthquake standards. She was lamenting the fact that the new hospital ward on which she works is not as easy to work on as it was before the rebuilding. I have noted too that the x-ray rooms in Utah had problems for the techs and the patients. Patient rooms had issues too in their design that made accessing a patient for care more difficult than it needed to be. Patient gurneys made connecting a patient to oxygen difficult because oxygen bottles were added as an afterthought instead of standing upright at the head of the gurney to make the controls easily accessible.
I gave thought to her complaints and my experiences and came up with the following suggestion to improve usability. Rather than design hospitals and other facilities from architect and administration input, I think that a portion of proposed facilities should be constructed as models that workers can test both as care givers and as role players portraying patients to test designs before they are constructed. As it is done now, people must fit themselves to the facility. It should be the other way around; facilities should fit themselves to the people who use them. Eventually standard designs would evolve that could be implemented nationally.
During my hospital career, I often worked at the nursing station processing doctors’ orders and answering the phone. Perhaps a dozen times in my career, I worked at the nursing station in maternity. Unfailingly being male, callers were surprised to hear a male voice on the phone. I did feel out-of-place although I had no patient contact.
I never learned to prepare birth certificates which could be quite complicated in dealing with spanish surnames. However, I did witness their preparation by clerks more experienced than I. There was only one type of birth certificate; there were no class A or class B or class C birth certificates depending on race or national origin. We did not inquire after whether the parents were in the US legally or not. A child born in that hospital received a birth certificate. My son was born in that hospital in 1982. I have to assume that we followed the same procedure as followed throughout the US since all hospitals everywhere follow the same US laws. There may be local variances in record keeping state by state. However, that does not alter the fact that anyone born in the US is an US citizen.
Birthers go on about being a natural-born citizen to be eligible to be president. What is the alternative to a natural-born citizen, an unnatural birth? I believe that all the commotion is a smokescreen for those opposed to Barack’s legitimate election.
If Mitt and others of like mind have their say, the first definition will fade from our vocabulary as the retirement age is raised until no one, except the 1%, will be able to retire. Not everyone will be able to continue working until the retirement age because the human body wears out with use. Some jobs are more physically demanding than others. I retired at nearly age 70, and I would still be working at almost age 71 if I were able. In a hospital working with patients, one is expected to assist patients if they cannot help themselves. Frequently the hospital worker’s back is stressed, and my lower back is still tender after a year of retirement. We were trained with an inflatable air mattress device that made patient transfer from gurney to x-ray table easy, but the device was never put into widespread use. A budget problem I suspect.
When I was age 50 and working as a hospital aide, I decided to switch from 8 hour shifts to 12 hour shifts to increase my income. Working 8 hours per day at that time was not a strain, but I found that I had to pace myself to survive 12 hour shifts. Sitting down between tasks became a necessity. I understand that at WalMart, a letter from your doctor is required if an elderly employee needs to sit during working hours. I also understand that the job of greeter at the entrance to WalMart is being phased out. One less employment opportunity for the elderly.