Another lifetime ago, those five words were spoken to me in a VA hospital in New Orleans. Another typical civil service, morbidly obese nurse biding her time until retirement. The patient was a WW1 vet (who’d been gassed, etc.) and he needed to have his bladder catheterized. I wrote the order that was countersigned by a resident but it didn’t happen.
A few hours later I returned. I asked about it and was told,”Do it yourself, white boy!” So I did, although I fumbled my way through the procedure since his 90-year-old prostate was the size of Delaware. He’d been hurting for hours while this lady did her very minimal job as well as her nails.
Now let’s go to an actual VA doc who, when he resigned after a couple of years, was told by his boss that he was the worst employee ever. Funny thing, that doc was as bright, compassionate and motivated as any I’ve ever met. But being the “worst” actually meant he busted his bottom and refused to give in to the slothy culture which permeates ALL civil service life. Holding a meeting and resolving to eventually do something positive but never doing it was the norm. This “worst employee ever” could not deal with the rampant laziness and dysfunction. Having spent plenty of time in four VA hospitals, I can say this is epidemic.
In the private world we bust our buns. Time is money and we have promises to keep, with miles to go before we sleep.
In the civil service world, you kill your work time until the shift is over, doing the minimum and never rocking the boat. The patient life units are all just statistics anyway, right? They fought for our freedom but the basketball playoffs are on tonight, so just wait in line, buddy, and shut up.
We are headed to a single-payer system eventually, albeit run through cronyist insurance agents who are in bed with bribed politicians. As Obamacare fails, this eventual system will emerge, populated by clock-punching robots without compassion or motivation. Does anybody even remotely think civil service hospitals for ALL will be anything better than our VA’s?