Delivering the Paper

I was just about to leave, when the unit manager said:
“Oh, by the way. I’ve got one or two little jobs for you to do here.”
An hour and a half later, I had finished transferring lots of old nursing notes into archival boxes, using W.H. Smith circular reinforcements to patch up the existing sheets and dividers, and adding up how many hours of overtime and agency nursing we had used for the last five months (a lot). I had also toured the entire unit documenting how many chairs, tables, wardrobes, beds, cupboards, dressing tables, pot plants, cookers, desks, monstrous food warming machines, shelves, and filing cabinets we had, comparing these figures faithfully with those gathered six months earlier, and accounting for any differences. I had additionally, checked through the maintenance book to see how many maintenance jobs were still outstanding (a lot), I had filled in the monthly patient status form which told us how likely the patients were to move on and why they weren’t, and I had undertaken to audit the care plan entries of my colleagues during the next week, so that we would know whether blue pens had been erroneously used, abbreviations had crept in, or any other capital crimes had been committed.
I didn’t challenge Richard, as I had many times before, with the reasonable contentions that some of these jobs were unnecessary, some were his, some should be given to a ward secretary not a clinician, and some were perfectly mindless. He refused to accept the view that somebody with a £100.000 nursing degree shouldn’t really be spending long periods wrestling with W.H. Smith’s sticky reinforcements. Today, I allowed myself just the one comment:
“Let’s face it. These care plan binders are so thick and heavy, they’re bending open the high tensile steel rings. We can’t really hold back the tide for much longer with paper reinforcements”.
“Hmm….hmm. Well, do your best. The clinical auditors may be coming soon, and we need the records to be as complete as possible.”
“I can only try.”
“I’ll give you the thumbs up then old boy.”
“I’d rather you didn’t, if you don’t mind” I winced.


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