More and Better Training Not Discipline is the Key to Providing Quality Patient Care

“You have been scheduled for a Pre-disciplinary Investigatory (PDI) meeting at UWHC…Specifically, we will discuss an alleged….and your failure to follow the appropriate outlined procedures to prevent such errors.  Also, please note that during an employment investigation, employees are required to cooperate with the investigators and provide truthful responses and to refrain from any retaliation against any suspected witnesses.  Providing false information and/or evasive responses, and/or retaliating against others may independently lead to discipline.”

These sentences are copied from a formal letter that anybody on a PDI receives from administration.  You may have committed a specimen labeling error or a HIPAA violation (two  common performance accusations), or having been absent or tardy one time too many.  And anybody who has received such a notice knows how unsettling and threatening it feels; one experiences shame of having done something wrong, fear of losing your job.

In doing so, management seems to focus heavily on the breaking of established policies and procedures.  Nothing else is taken into account: past performances, or the overall performance in that given situation.  Administration seems to be interested mainly  in compliance rates.

At a recent class on Evidence Based Practice, the question was raised regarding the value of improvements based on sound reasoning and proven experience, when those changes are forced onto the staff in 5 minutes CBTs or hurried classes.  Signing one’s name at the end of the sessions, one is then held responsible for having integrated that information into one’s practice, no matter what. This concern seems to be shared at some level of management but, at this point, there are no plans to address it.

To make it clear, we are not questioning change or improvements in practice; we are questioning the methods of spreading new information and the communication of what is expected of these changes.

So, as we encourage all of us to pay close attention to changes and to implement them into our practice, we also urge you to raise your voices to ask for more serious ways to be informed and a method of enforcement that is less focused on discipline and more on spreading knowledge.


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