I have a very particular sympathy towards anyone who works in a hospital. A member of my family works in neonatology, and their hospital hours are absolutely brutal.
So, when you have someone already working a graveyard shift at a hospital help desk, maybe don’t fuck with them, especially when they’re a veteran of working at the hospital for a while?
This happened to me a couple of months ago. I work for one of the top 10 hospitals in the US as an IT helpdesk person. At the time I was working a graveyard shift (our helpdesk is 24/7) and during my shift I’m usually the only member of IT that is awake and available, save for some roaming desktop support techs who use the time to maintain equipment and fix stuff that breaks overnight.
This evening, I get a call from a rather entitled doctor with an exceptionally minor problem that triggered some delicious MC. It’s not uncommon for Docs to try and force the outcome that they want through sheer force of will, and it used to intimidate me at times.
However I’ve been at this job more than 10 years, I’ve seen and heard it all and none of it impresses me anymore. You’ll get the service you need, not what you want from me. If you have a serious issue that could really hurt someone, I will wake up the world if I have to, to make sure it’s handled properly, but don’t abuse that. You won’t like what happens.
I get a call from Entitled Doctor, we’ll call her ED. She was having some trouble with her desk phone and wanted it fixed that night. While the helpdesk is staffed 24/7, our telecom team is not and I explained that we don’t have techs on site to handle this kind of issue but that we’ll get it handled in the morning. This went over like a lead balloon with her. Let’s play our game:
ED: I need my phone fixed immediately, I’m supervising 3 ICUs up here in this hospital and I need be able to communicate to staff on other floors. (this is a lie, docs don’t supervise ICUs, that’s the role of the charge nurse)
ME: I’m sorry ma’am it’s 2AM and we won’t have anyone on-site for at least another 6 hours.
ED: You don’t understand, this is EMERGENT!!! This Affects Patient Care!
(side note: this “Affects Patient Care” line is one docs love to use because they think it’s a one way route to a high priority ticket and it is, provided that it actually DOES affect patient care. A single phone being out does not qualify, we have thousands of them in the hospital, as well as downtime procedures and cordless phones, that she has chosen to ignore in favor of harassing me. )
ME: I do understand ma’am, however the soonest I can get someone there to handle it will be after business opens at 8AM.
ED: That is completely unacceptable! I need this fixed now!
ME: I’m sorry ma’am, but there’s no one here that can perform the work you need done until the morning.
ED: Are you planning on calling someone in to fix this tonight?
ME: No ma’am I’m not. ED: I really think you should!! sound of phone slamming down (yes another phone was good enough to yell at me, but not for her precious business)
I sit there for a couple minutes, documenting the call, and thinking about her behavior. It’s been a while since I had someone jump up and down on me quite that hard to satisfy their ego, and I was a little annoyed. I knew that if I did nothing, it would get fixed in the morning and there would be no repercussion as I was just following policy. However a particular line she said just stuck with me. “I really think you should call someone”
I pick up the phone and dial a number from memory.
Enter Hospital Supervisor, stage left. We’ll call her HS.
HS: “Hospital Supervisor”
ME: Yes ma’am, this is BusinessDancer from the helpdesk. I just got off the phone with Entitled Doctor, and she’s having some difficulties with her office phone. As you know we don’t have Telecom support after hours so there’s not much I can do, but she says she’s trying to supervise 3 ICUs upstairs and she’s needing some assistance. (I have my best Concern Trolling voice on here)
I get more or less exactly the response I was hoping for.
HS: Well I’m supervising this whole hospital and I don’t know anything about this! Also Docs don’t supervise ICUs!
ME: I can only relay what I was told ma’am, I’m just trying to get her some help. (I’m laying it on a bit thick at this point)
HS: Well let me run up there and see what the problem is.
ME: Thank You ma’am, would you mind calling me back when you know more? I want to make sure she’s taken care of properly.
HS: Sure thing.
About a half hour later, she calls back relaying that she “educated” the doc, who was not a staff doc but a Clinical Fellow (think temporary appointment) on our communications downtime procedures and set her up with a cordless and communicated the number to the floors she was assisting on. Stuff that ED should have done on her own before even reporting the down phone to IT.
I thank her for her assistance and apologize for bothering her (Hospital sups are very busy people). She says no problem, and then her voice takes on a wry tone and my favorite part of the encounter begins…
HS: You know, as I was leaving, ED asked how I knew she was having phone problems…
ME: Is that so?
HS: Yep, I told her that IT called me…
I did not hear from Entitled Doctor again…
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