Personal Supervision

I made my way to the upstairs office where the unit manager was dancing for joy in front of his computer screen. Suspecting a new porno site, or a successful bid for Marilyn Monroe’s bra on ebay, I was disappointed to discover that he had just completed the staff roster for next month. This was no mean feat, of course, because large numbers of staff were always ‘incapacitated’, some had cleverly turned lucrative night duty into a private cartel, and the unit managers themselves were constantly been told to reduce their reliance on agency nurses and overtime. The supposedly finished roster was invariably rewritten dozens of times anyway, as staff dropped out like flies and others swapped shifts as if they were cigarette cards, but I didn’t begrudge him his moment of pleasure and congratulated him in fulsome fashion.
“Thank you.” he beamed. “By the way. We might be getting a kitchen inspection from the Local Authority some time this week, so make sure the floor’s clean for once, will you?”
“It’s fine” I said. ”I always use the sticky sole test anyway.”
“The sticky what?”
“The sticky sole test. That’s where you walk over the floor slowly, and if your shoes stay on, the floor’s okay.”
“I see. …Very well. Carry on.” He said distractedly. “I’m the last person to get inflated about such things, of course.”
“That’s between you, your wife and your surgical appliances” I said to his now deaf ear.
“Things are nicely in hand” he murmured.
“Richard, would you mind awfully if I called you Dick? It seems more appropriate somehow.”
“I don’t think so Steven. Management have to maintain a certain professional distance from the other ranks. But don’t let that interfere with our personal supervision relationship – I’m only too happy to counsel you whenever necessary.”
“Our last personal supervision meeting was ten years ago, Richard.”
“And I could do with some advice right now.”
“Well, I could spare you five minutes” he grudgingly offered “You have looked a bit under the weather recently.”
“A bit under the weather? It’s my annus horribilus Richard.
“Oh my God! There’s nothing worse than piles Steven. Have you tried a spot of ‘Germoline’ on the end of a candle?”
“It doesn’t always work, but it’s a wonderful way to end the day.”
“Er…..right….thank you”.
“Anytime, old boy. Carry on.”


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