Wednesday, December 05, 2012

shift work

factories use shift work if they have to operate for extended hours. it works well only if the jobs are repetitive from one shift to another.

hospitals operate 24 hours a day & nurses go on shifts as well. however, the work here is not repetitive, so this system will not be as successful as in factories.

so, if a nurse fails to do a task in the morning, the probability is high that the afternoon shift nurse will overlook the task, & even if she discovers the shortfall, she may choose to disregard it, esp. if the pervading attitude is lackadaisical.

that's why i just gave the afternoon shift nurse a mouthful, because the patient's condition is critical & any shortcoming can be lethal.

now, imagine, the 1st line doctors in public hospitals, the housemen, are working shifts. if you extrapolate what happens in nursing, you can imagine the consequences.

shift work for doctors is stupid a regressive step, back to the dark ages.

ok, i confess, i don't know what it's really like in the dark ages but you get my drift.


bloghopper said...

If not shift work for doctors, what do you propose? Doctors to be on-call 24x7 for the patients that they are treating?

Andrea Boult said...


I guessed on-calls and work shifts are the nature of the job, mainly bcoz things like babies and heart attacks and broken bones can strike anytime of the day and night :)

Probably the only way around this is to implement a proper HSE policy like the ones used by airlines to ensure that doctors and nurses are not over-worked and in the process, put patients' lives at risk.

As for the lackadaisical attitude of nurses, my guess is that this is a HR mgt problem. Maybe if all the doctors make a big hooha, management would sit up and take notice. Believe me, nothing gets anything done faster than self-interest and a hit on the bottomline :)

doc said...


thanks for your comment.

granted there is no perfect system, but being on-call has worked well all these years, from the very beginning of medical service, so if it ain't broke, why fix it?

they changed because the new batch of so-called doctors are not used to the hard work, long hours & being on-call. besides, there's just too many housemen now that they have to divide them into at least 2 shifts. i assure you, they will either learn half the skill/knowledge in a particular period of time, or will take at least twice as long to pick up those skills.

but don't take my word for it. ask around your friends & relatives & get feedback on how the medical care in public hospital have changed.

doc said...


the cause may even go higher than HR level. that's always the shortcoming of being a GLC - somedays, it DOES feel like a government hospital!!

it's the civil service culture la!!