Monday, December 27, 2004


Well, figuratively anyway. At work. It's CRAZY! Our schedule is like a black hole with super magnetic powers that suck is inand don't let us go. It's extremely frustrating to look at.

We are so behind that is has become super scary. First of all, we went into the holiday weekend behind. I was the ONLY therapist in THE ENTIRE HOSPITAL (Rehab unit and the Acute Care side) on Saturday. There was another therapist on the Rehab unit on Sunday, but I was it for the rest of the hospital. There was something like 30 outstanding evals left over when I left Sunday night. Plus, all the treatments that haven’t been done. There are people who haven’t been seen in a week or longer. I left only about a half hour late each day, I was super shocked, but it was at the point where I figured I could stay an hour or two late and finish one or two more evals and then there would be 28 left over instead of 30. Not much difference. ESPECIALLY considering that even if I did evaluate the extra patient, they probably wouldn't ever be seen again anyway. So who really benefits? The patient gets seen once and not again, and I'm more stressed? I don't think that one treatment makes such a huge difference. I'm only one person, and I can only do what one person can do, and I can't carry the weight of our schedule on my shoulders alone. As much as I had to this weekend. So I did the best I could.
The sad part is, that so many of these patients REALLY NEED PT services. We often are the only ones who get them up out of bed, get them moving, encourage them to keep moving, do exercises etc. So many lose strength and mobility and balance just by being in bed. I want to help them and see them all, get them up get them walking and moving safely so they can go home. All of us therapists at work do. We're frustrated more for the patients who suffer because we can't see them. But there's only so much we can do, there's only so long we can work, and there's only so much time before we burn out. And it's the patients who are suffering.

We get consults for whatever reason, and we’re supposed to address them and evaluate the patient for PT within 24 hours. Unfortunately, we have patients waiting 2, 3, 4, 5 days for that evaluation. And when they finally get that evaluation, if they need more therapy, they usually won’t bee seen again, unless by some stroke of luck we have time for it. Unless you’ve had orthopedic surgery, open-heart surgery, or a burn, you usually aren’t seen by PT. There’s just no time. And if ortho is crazy and we’re short staffed (like we so often are) then the cardiacs and burns get cut too. Don’t come to my hospital if you have a stroke. You won’t get the therapy you need. Unless of course you have insurance from an incredibly stinky company that pays for nothing and makes our lives crazy. Then you are seen because the case managers yell at us to see you.

The mai reason we are in such a hole is that we are VERY SHORT STAFFED. This is the main reason we are so behind. We need more therapists. Plain and simple. We don’t have the staff to cover the hospital's needs, and the hospital is unwilling to hire us more help at this time. They fired our techs which makes tons more work for all of us. People left and they’re not being replaced. The hospital is trying to save $$$, and meanwhile we’re working 10 hour days just to get the basics done. If this keeps up the therapy staff is going to dwindle to nil. One therapist told me that in the 18 years she’s been working there, it has NEVER been this bad. And it’s getting to the point where insurance companies are threatening to deny a patient’s whole hospital stay because we aren’t seeing them enough. Which makes us more stressed when the case managers yell at us.

To make it worse, some of the staff we have doesn’t pull their weight. Nostly everyone is great, but for the one or two who leave early, call out all the time, don’t show up, play numbers games with their hours etc. And this makes more work and creates more stress for the rest of us. Nuff said.

There just aren’t enough hours in the day. Although I think even if we all worked for like 48 hours straight we still wouldn’t get it all done. Not that we COULD actually work for 48 hours straight, but you get my point.

Anyway, this hole is bad and I’m starting to get depressed about work. I Love PT, I love the people I work with, I love the hospital I work at, and I don’t want to leave. But if it keeps on like this, I don’t think I’ll be the only one. Our schedule is a deep black hole that is sucking us in, and I don’t know when we’ll ever be able to climb out….

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