I found your seemingly defunct website in a corner of the internet full of cobwebs with no signs of life or activity. It feels like the perfect place to post this note. Your readers (if you have any) might be able to commiserate with my current emotions. And since no one will probably read this, I can be direct and open.
We have all witnessed and participated in administrative stupidity, mostly out of laziness, and the desire to just be left alone by bureaucrats so we can do our jobs, go home, and play with our kids.
But they will not leave us alone. No, they will impose requirements onerous and nonsensical on us that we will quietly accept. In doing so, each time we lose a little bit of self respect. The pile gets more burdensome and we stoop a little more as we shuffle down the hospital corridors to our drab clinics and shabby offices.
We are now as “professionals” at the point where just about any mandate, requirement, training, examination, online form, survey, surveillance, protocol, is meekly accepted as just being “part of the job”. There is nothing to which we will not accede, so cowed and fearful are we. We have been programmed over years in practice and throughout training to know that without strict adherence to the mostly nonsensical requirements, we will be quickly emailed “reminders” about any policy in question, reprimanded, and threatened with loss of privileges, jobs, licensure, income.
There is no recourse when it comes to a stupid policy. Once in place, it becomes sacrosanct. There is no reasoning with the machine. No debate to be had. No logic to which to appeal. Accept the policy. Any policy. Every policy. Without question. Without hesitation. With a smile on your face. Or you, are out of job, potentially out of medicine. You are free to take your nontransferable skills that took you decades to learn, and large sums of money to acquire, throw it all out the window and learn to code. They know this, and they know we know they know this.
The well-heeled administrators and their lackey enforcers take pride in their ability to quietly humiliate doctors and keep them divided and working at odds with one another and kowtowing to every mandate. It’s the same everywhere.
The straw that broke the camel’s back for me after all of the Covid insanity was something so banal and mundane that it still surprises me. But it was so absurd that I could not fathom or accept it after the events of the last two years. It was just too much.
It has to do with BLS. Yes, Basic Life Support.
A year ago, I took and online test and an in-person BLS course as one of the many requirements for hospital privileges. I passed both courses and obtained a certification card without difficulty or issue. No big deal. My certification doesn’t expire until 2024.
I recently applied for privileges at another hospital and dutifully gave them my proof of certification along with a mountain of other paperwork, drug tests, fingerprints, etc... Now mind you, given my specialty, I could easily teach a BLS course and this is clear from my background and training.
Despite having a valid, current, certification, I was told by HR that I would need to take another, different BLS course (online and in person) and obtain another certification on my own time and at my own expense (of course) in order to get privileges. It is their policy, you see, and it mandates that all doctors obtain a BLS certification through this one particular organization. If I did not get another certification, I would not be able to get privileges. Sorry.
That was too much for me. I told them to fuck off (not literally). And it felt great.
How much of this crap do we as physicians need to put up with? We live in an age where a Board Certified Physician who has a current, valid certification, can be told that he needs to get the exact same certification by a different organization again to work at a hospital? Sheer madness! And how much contempt does this reveal from the perspective of hospitals for our training, our finite time, our money, our dignity?
Doctors need to say no more often. Just no. The healthcare system is going down in flames because too many of us put up with too much nonsense. It will only get worse and more intolerable with time. For me today and for you tomorrow.
No. Fuck off, I say. Fuck off!
Dear Dr. No,
We are glad you found us and hope you feel a little better after venting. Most of us agree with you and have had similar experiences with hospital policies.
Be well and hit the gym.
- The Editors