The small stuff really counts, can it save healthcare jobs?

by madwife2002 2,965 Views | 9 Comments Senior Moderator

An introduction to some of the meaningless tasks a manager has to do and why it seems that your manager is always dealing with the small stuff which does not seem to be important.

  1. 9
    I talked about managers and your opinion of them in a previous blog entry. Many of you had an opinion and it did make for interesting reading. Now, I want to introduce to you some of the meaningless tasks a manager has to do and why it seems that your manager is always dealing with the small stuff which does not seem to be important.

    The budget for your unit is of paramount importance to your manager, why I hear you ask yourself what should be more important than
    1/ The staff, performance and satisfaction at work

    2/ The well being of the patients

    3/ Dealing with dissatisfaction

    4/ Troubleshooting
    Well the budget is a good way of controlling the environment, keeping costs to an acceptable level and almost a way of policing the floor.

    Costs within health care are as everybody knows astronomical and can spiral out of control within a very short period of time. Now whilst you cannot control an individualized patient care costs there are hundreds of ways you can control the costs.

    The small things matter and add up, for example tape-yeah I know the tape you carry round in your pocket and the hundreds you now have in your kitchen or bedroom drawer. I remember when I had about 20 in a bowl in my kitchen I never ever used them and occasionally I would take them back to work.

    So if there are 20 nurses and 15 techs on your floor I wonder how many of them have the same amount at home or have thrown them away when they get home! I imagine there is a tape heaven like there is a sock heaven.

    So then put in your mind the grave yard for tape it must be as big as Mount Everest and as wide as the Grand Canyon since surgical tape was first invented.! I bet every single nurse in every single country has at some point taken home tape and thrown away perfectly good rolls of tape.

    Then I want you to add up the cost of that mountain and divide it by the amount of hospital jobs now lost because we do not control costs of the small stuff!

    New Grads are unemployed because we do not control the small stuff and each and every one of us in healthcare has helped to create this problem.

    Every single penny I save on a daily basis in my job I see as a way of protecting my staff, their jobs and their future.
    I scrutinize the budget with a fine tooth comb because I would rather spend the money on staff than waste the money on stuff which I can control.

    The latest issue I found on the budget was found by accident yesterday and caused me to Rant and Rave on the back corridor at work. My staff love it when I start out on a tangent because of the budget, which is a daily annoyance to me anyway-even though I understand why I have to be so vigilant.

    I got a red flag from head office about the office supplies we were over budget, now the secretary controls this spending part of the budget and I call her my office Hitler. So first point of investigation was what on earth have you been ordering to cost us to go over budget by $200 when we have a really generous monthly allowance. We reviewed all the invoices and I went back to the detailed variance report, heres what I found

    Business cards cost $143 WHAT I have seen them on line for $100 less. Then I see this huge expense for over $400 it was a service contract. So further investigation ensued and what did I find we pay it on a monthly basis depending on how much printing we do! So if we print black and white on a color printer it costs three times the price of printing it to the black and white printer.

    The printers, copiers and fax machines cost for each page we print or send because in essence it is 'leased' or 'rented'
    I was told if I wanted a breakdown of each member of staffs usage they could send me individualized information.

    I was shocked to say the least I really had no clue that each member of staff had connected to their log in their computer an printer counter!

    So every single piece of information I send to that printer is counted, every single time I sent the wrong information to the printer and every day I change, tweak something and print it out is accountable. I always thought it was just the ink and the paper which we actually purchased from some office shop I was abusing.

    So now I can save money by diverting my printing to the other printer which is black and white only, which means a walk to find the printer, not a problem if it actually prints and is not lost in cyber space causing me to trek up and down the corridor ranting and raving as I go back and forth between computer and printer.
    In my mind though as I travel back and forth between the computer and printer will be two pictures

    1/ Every penny I save could potentially save a job
    2/ I might actually lose a few pounds

    So the morale to my story is you too can help control the budget by saving the small stuff because the small stuff really matters!

    Remember it could be your job you are helping to save!
    Last edit by madwife2002 on May 21, '11
    Joe V, Ms.Anna, nursel56, and 6 others like this.
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    madwife2002 joined Jan '05 - from 'Ohio'. madwife2002 has '24' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'RN, RM, BSN'. Posts: 9,466 Likes: 5,196; Learn more about madwife2002 by visiting their allnursesPage


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    9 Comments so far...

  4. 0
  5. 2
    Quote from madwife2002
    I talked about managers and can I change your opinion of them in a previous blog entry and of course many of you had an opinion and it did make interesting reading. Now I want to introduce to you some of the meaningless tasks a manager has to do and why it seems that your manager is always dealing with the small stuff which does not seem to be important.



    The budget for your unit is of paramount importance to your manager, why I hear you ask yourself what should be more important than



    1/ The staff, performance and satisfaction at work

    2/ The well being of the patients

    3/ Dealing with dissatisfaction

    4/ Troubleshooting

    Well the budget is a good way of controlling the environment, keeping costs to an acceptable level and almost a way of policing the floor.

    Costs within health care are as everybody knows astronomical and can spiral out of control within a very short period of time. Now whilst you cannot control an individualized patient care costs there are hundreds of ways you can control the costs.

    The small things matter and add up, for example tape-yeah I know the tape you carry round in your pocket and the hundreds you now have in your kitchen or bedroom drawer. I remember when I had about 20 in a bowl in my kitchen I never ever used them and occasionally I would take them back to work.

    So if there are 20 nurses and 15 techs on your floor I wonder how many of them have the same amount at home or have thrown them away when they get home! I imagine there is a tape heaven like there is a sock heaven.

    So then put in your mind the grave yard for tape it must be as big as Mount Everest and as wide as the Grand Canyon since surgical tape was first invented.! I bet every single nurse in every single country has at some point taken home tape and thrown away perfectly good rolls of tape.

    Then I want you to add up the cost of that mountain and divide it by the amount of hospital jobs now lost because we do not control costs of the small stuff!

    New Grads are unemployed because we do not control the small stuff and each and every one of us in healthcare has helped to create this problem.

    Every single penny I save on a daily basis in my job I see as a way of protecting my staff, their jobs and their future.
    I scrutinize the budget with a fine tooth comb because I would rather spend the money on staff than waste the money on stuff which I can control.

    The latest issue I found on the budget was found by accident yesterday and caused me to Rant and Rave on the back corridor at work. My staff love it when I start out on a tangent because of the budget, which is a daily annoyance to me anyway-even though I understand why I have to be so vigilant.

    I got a red flag from head office about the office supplies we were over budget, now the secretary controls this spending part of the budget and I call her my office Hitler. So first point of investigation was what on earth have you been ordering to cost us to go over budget by $200 when we have a really generous monthly allowance. We reviewed all the invoices and I went back to the detailed variance report, heres what I found

    Business cards cost $143 WHAT I have seen them on line for $100 less. Then I see this huge expense for over $400 it was a service contract. So further investigation ensued and what did I find we pay it on a monthly basis depending on how much printing we do! So if we print black and white on a color printer it costs three times the price of printing it to the black and white printer.

    The printers, copiers and fax machines cost for each page we print or send because in essence it is 'leased' or 'rented'
    I was told if I wanted a breakdown of each member of staffs usage they could send me individualized information.

    I was shocked to say the least I really had no clue that each member of staff had connected to their log in their computer an printer counter!

    So every single piece of information I send to that printer is counted, every single time I sent the wrong information to the printer and every day I change, tweak something and print it out is accountable. I always thought it was just the ink and the paper which we actually purchased from some office shop I was abusing.

    So now I can save money by diverting my printing to the other printer which is black and white only, which means a walk to find the printer, not a problem if it actually prints and is not lost in cyber space causing me to trek up and down the corridor ranting and raving as I go back and forth between computer and printer.
    In my mind though as I travel back and forth between the computer and printer will be two pictures

    1/ Every penny I save could potentially save a job
    2/ I might actually lose a few pounds

    So the morale to my story is you too can help control the budget by saving the small stuff because the small stuff really matters!

    Remember it could be your job you are helping to save!
    oh God, better you than me, this is why I'm a bedside nurse. People keep saying "you'd be so good in management"
    No, no, no, no.....but thank God you care, and you are relentless in tracking down the corporate waste n bullsh%#!
    cherryames1949 and madwife2002 like this.
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  7. 3
    I get it . I really do. But when you are running up and down the hall to find out if the black and white printer is working the CEO of your hospital is sitting behind his mahogany desk, using his Mont Blanc pen, and sipping Perrier. As long as health care is a for profit enterprise it will be so. Nursing will have to scrimp and save so that the people at the top will make a handsome profit and get rich. That is our present reality. I have never wanted a management position because of all the reasons you have just given. I think that every nurse realizes that it is a thankless job. Thank you for reminding us of what you do on a daily basis to make life more tolerable for your staff. Good luck
    wooh, elprup, and madwife2002 like this.
  8. 2
    Quote from barbyann
    That is just unbelievable! Thank you for that link it makes my blood boil!
    Yesterday I was asked to reduced somebodies hours by 2 hours a week my response was No how can we when she never ever has enough time to do her work now! I also said that 2 hours might mean nothing to the CEO but to the small people it makes a huge difference.
    wooh and cherryames1949 like this.
  9. 4
    Quote from barbyann
    It's really criminal, isn't it? When you think of the staff who work for so much less, staff who deal with bedpans, visitors, shift work, holidays away from loved ones, etc., it is really so mis-prioritized.

    Admin generally has no real concept of what bedside workers' lives are like, do they? Yet they get so much higher pay.

    I am definitely going to see to it that my offspring make better choices than I did.
    wooh, nola1202, cherryames1949, and 1 other like this.
  10. 2
    madwife2002 wrote:
    An introduction to some of the meaningless tasks a manager has to do and why it seems that your manager is always dealing with the small stuff which does not seem to be important.
    Perhaps it's my Dutch ancestry but I really hate waste and really get why watching the small stuff is important. What I've never been able to understand is why austerity is applied so selectively and never seems to reach up through senior management. When I was in the army, we NCO's lived by the saying "Lead By Example". Our soldiers saw that we made even more sacrifices than we asked of them, that we put their welfare ahead of our own and that they were never asked to do something that we hadn't already done ourselves.

    How different this is to most of corporate management. Perhaps if the sacrifice started at the top, it would be easier to get those lower down the rungs to understand.
    cherryames1949 and wooh like this.
  11. 2
    Yep, waste matters. But stingy about supplies saves jobs? Sounds like you've fallen for the management koolaid that staff is just a red mark on the balance sheet.
    Give me a decent patient load, and I'll have time to empty the tape out of my pocket at the end of my shift instead of sending it to tape heaven. Way too often we're penny wise and pound foolish. You want good customer service and safe care that prevents lawsuits (lawsuits which cost more than a few lost rolls of tape)? Consider staffing an investment instead of a costly line on the balance sheet.
    barbyann and cherryames1949 like this.
  12. 1
    Well said Wooh.
    wooh likes this.


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