a small win

A big part of what I do at work is checking chemotherapy order forms and batch sheets — making sure patient details and treatment details are correct, and making sure these have been correctly transferred onto batch sheets so that we can compound or make each dose for each patient.

In the course of checking an order this week, I noticed that my colleague had omitted what would appear to be the patient’s middle name. This usually wouldn’t be a big deal — we never include middle names on the batch documents — but this was not an English name. I recognised the name as Chinese, and for a number of Chinese people I know, the “middle name” is actually part of the first name. 

I considered the situation for a minute: There were other patient identifiers on the batch documents, so it was very unlikely that the patient would be misidentified or that any other treatment issue would arise from the omission of the second name. However, it seemed disrespectful to omit it just because we’re all used to seeing names consisting of a one-word first name and one-word surname (including when it’s hyphenated, which makes it count as one word).

So I emailed the team and explained it gently in a “you might not have realised, but just thought it would be good if we added this in” kind of way.

I sent that email pretty early in the morning, and got no response all day. I asked a colleague if he’d seen the email, and his response was that he agrees, but everyone else seemed unconcerned. I went home feeling despondent and agitated. I didn’t want this issue to be ignored.

The next day, contemplating how I could bring it up again, and at the same time wondering if I should just concede defeat in this matter, I happened to receive another order for a patient with a Chinese name. And this time all three names were included on the batch documents! It actually brought a smile to my face because this was not the colleague I’d spoken to (the one who already said he agrees) but one of the others who had seemed unconcerned the previous day.

It felt good to know that I helped bring about this change, and it felt even better to know that I was capable of helping to improve cultural awareness in my workplace. It is one thing to continue to learn, but it is another to help others learn as well.

managing care

I have been in middle management for about a year and a half now, and there are still times when I wonder if I’m doing this “managing” thing right, or if I’m really cut out to be a manager. But I guess the day I stop wondering how to do things better is the day I stop improving (and there’s always something that can be improved on).

When new people start work in my department, there are a few things I tell them, regardless of their role or their previous work experience:

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lockdown cut-down

I have found an unexpected benefit from this whole lockdown situation, and it involves coffee.

Prior to lockdown, I would get coffee from the hospital cafe on most days that I work. When lockdown rules came into place, they no longer allowed use of keep-cups. An understandable rule, but this has been one of the greatest disappointments of all.

At first, I continued to get take-away coffees, now in disposable cups, but eventually the guilt got to me. I decided to cut back.

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up and down

I was going to include a graph in this post but it’s of rather ignominious appearance, which is to say that it is not very pleasant to look at because there are many sharp corners on account of the high variability of my sleep patterns occasioning the graph to take many turns up and down as it traverses along the x-axis.

(It should be noted here that I’m still making my way through the last several chapters of Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens, who is renowned for his lengthy sentences, and whom I greatly admire as an author, and so it is inevitable that after reading any of his books for any considerable length of time, I’m bound to incorporate elements of his style of writing in my own.) Continue reading

the sleep system (stage one?)

Ok, so in my last post, I mentioned that I was going to devise some sort of system for fixing my sleep. I’ve had some time to think about this, and have come up with something that might work.

Realistically, the only two things I’m interested in when it comes to sleep is the quantity and quality – that is, the actual number of hours of sleep, and whether or not this sleep is restful. This was a good first step because I don’t want to have to evaluate and record ten different factors of sleep every time I wake up in the morning. That would be a sure-fire way to make me stop using it. Continue reading

reflecting on the past month

The last few weeks at work have been particularly challenging. All of August was challenging.

I’m not sure if I’ve ever been so stretched and so exhausted in all my working life so far. Operating on not enough sleep, I’m surprised I never had more than one large coffee per day. There were probably one or two days I didn’t have any.

But changes are happening, improvements are being made, and overall I’m still pretty optimistic. Some would say it’s impossible for me to not be optimistic, regardless of the situation or objective outlook. Continue reading