Thursday, September 4, 2008

Praying for....the balance sheet??

Over the past few months I've found myself praying more for my job - that the circumstances (and yes, admittedly, some of the people) would change, that it would bring me more joy, that it would turn once again into a 40-50 hour a week pleasure, rather than the 60-70 hour obligation it has become. I hoped "the suits" would start to "get it" rather than insisting on conforming to the lowered standards of care that unfortunately are a result of their beefed-up productivity demands. In this world of older, sicker (and in my case younger and sicker and going back to work) patients, the convoluted data on the spreadsheet cannot possibly allow what is right for our patients.

Let me start with the premise that no healthcare provider would even exist without the patient. That is why the industry was created in the first place - because of the need to care for the ill, the infirm, the broken, the terrified. I work under a Mission Statement (and was asked to sign a paper that I agreed to uphold it) that declares we are "..committed to living out the healing ministry of the Judeo-Christian tradition by providing exceptional and compassionate healthcare services that promotes the dignity and well being of the people we serve..." Sounds great, huh? In fact, this statement reflects exactly my heart, my beliefs, my spiritual journey - everything I believe God has called me to do. So what's the problem? Sounds like a perfect work/life balance, doesn't it?

Not so fast.

Let's call it The Gap, since I haven't shopped there in several years. It appears I'm at The Gap - the huge Gap between what we say, and what I, as a follower of Christ first, and a health care provider second (or third, or fourth) am called to do. Minister. Serve. Witness. Not just to the patients, but to colleagues, fellow employees whom I have never met, and strangers walking the halls. I will never leave my profession. (Note, I didn't say my job). I will never compromise my standards or my values. But tonight there's tremendous cognitive dissonance as that gap widens because of the ever-present balance sheet, and the people who think that you can provide compassionate care with the formula function in Excel. I am unable to fulfill my personal mission OR my employer's mission, and what is really hard to understand is this - THEY ARE EXACTLY THE SAME. What's up with that? I wonder if this post will get me fired. In the meantime, I feel like I am being called to close The Gap, if it means walking away from 35 years of loyalty, sacrifice, joy, Godly coworkers. I regret the lost time with my family. Even my dog wonders who I am these days. And I guess I do, too.

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving." Colossians 3:23-24

Tea tonight: Mai Feng

1 comment:

gitz said...

As a chronically ill person who has spent more time in the hospital than I'd like to remember... I can tell you that a kind and caring nurse makes all.the.difference.

I know it's a difficult profession and getting harder by the year, but I've only every had one bad (cruel) nurse in all the times I've been inpatient and value the care greatly. Thanks for what you do.

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