Job Description - read the fine print!


Opheophagus Hannah Cuddler
I was working at a rural ambulance company. We got few calls, mostly farm accidents, and spent a lot of our time cooling our jets at the barn. I got word that a small hospital about an hours drive away was looking for a B-MET to get them over the upcoming JCAH inspection. I thought to myself, what the heck. 54 bed hospital, won't be all that much work and I could still take graveyard on the ambulance. I had flown with two hospitals through the JCAH so it wouldn't be that big an ordeal, right?
My first hint should have been them calling me up only a couple of hours after I dropped my application off. How reliable was I? Will I sign a contract to stay with them for the entire 5 months at the least. No problem.

So on the job. My predecessor had been on the ball with documentation. A nice neat row of binders of all the equipment under my watch in a book case along with a lot of service and technical manuals. Then a tour of the departments. The usual minor mayhem as P&Ps were being revised. Everyone seemed upbeat and with their programs. Lots of hellos and welcome to the club. Nice friendly atmosphere in all departments.

In less than a week I got a notice from the maintenance Sup. The filters are in. Filters? For? So I strolled over and asked and got sent to shipping and receiving. Boss lady there was looking a little put out. Please remove the filters. Say WHAT? A huge stack of boxes was taking up half their floor space. HVAC filters! I moved them out and made them into a sort of tunnel leading to the B-MET shop. Then I zipped in and pulled all the binders out of the book case. Sure enough, somewhere in the past the B-MET had taken on servicing and maintaining all the HVAC systems. And in the process of discovering that I also found a schedule of fire extinguishers. It was also my job to inspect and get them recharged. And another little sugar cookie came to light. I also had most of the type B electrical equipment under my wing to do safety inspections on. That job had been handled by an elderly maintenance man who retired and left maintenance short handed so bio med had to pick up the slack and had never handed the job back. I had over 40 patient beds overdue for inspection. Oh joy.

So my easy peasy job had turned into a little more serious affair. What with getting all the documentation up to date I started visualizing equipment needing repair stacking up outside the door to keep those filters company.
It was about then that the printer guy brought me up to speed a little. The owners of the hospital were very big on cutting costs. Thus the reason the comptroller was also the administrator. The man who had my job before me, in order to get a raise, had accepted all sorts of non bio med tasks plus a little extra. Maintenance had been downsized to two persons accordingly. That would explain the cryptic note that the business office was ready to move to their new location. I was in charge of the phone system and switchboard maintenance and had to relocate a half dozen phones, run wires, 25 pair, and install the jacks. This just kept getting better and better.

Please repair the ER blanket warmer. Docs are complaining about the heat in the OR. Can I assist the carpenter installing the built ins in short stay? We still need the security cameras installed outside the ER and their hallways. And the electronic door lock keeps locking the ambulance crews out. The new Ivacs are in! The lights in the delivery room are flickering. And oh nice; the isolation power system in the ORs was about three years overdue for a full inspection.

Two days after the JCAH enema I was back in the barn day shift full time and miles of smiles as we waited for the next farmer to get ran over by his tractor.
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