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  • This extension pluggy thing is right by my bed. I have all my gadgets plugged in including my work gadgets.

    I believe I told you all before that I am tracked all day long in my work by Big Brother. It is really unnerving. They know when I'm driving, when I'm with a patient and when I'm typing on the damn tablet. I'm just waiting until the day they attach a camera to me. (Not).

    So I had my personnel review on friday. I am sickened by it.
    Overall I got satisfactory marks. I'm an honest person, a hard worker (no...they didn't say that, I'm saying that.) In my review they said that I meet my daily point value, ie, the number of patients I have to see. But guess what? They said that isn't enough.

    They had several examples - by the exact minute - of time I was "unproductive." This, because they can track me to the exact minute and this is how they spend their day - tracking employees minutes. Also, they pointed out, I start seeing patients too late in the morning. I explained that I have to check emails, call people to schedule, and print out resources I told people I'd give them. I was told that is "admin" time and I don't get paid for "admin" time. Of course while I'm being told this one of the supervisors returned from a coffee shop with snacks for several in the office but he isn't tracked like I am, so, that's different.

    Anyway, I'm told that despite meeting my daily point value, they want me to see more patients because there is "unaccounted" time in my day.

    I can tell you, as a social worker, I have many phone calls with staff, patients and their family, but my phone is (blessedly) not connected to any tracking device. Sure they could review the phone bill for calls but I don't think they wanted to put in that much effort to account for my sample of "missing time." Plus.. Phone calls are "admin" time and I don't get paid for "admin" time.

    I explained to my supervisor that since social workers keep quitting (wonder why) I'm doing a lot more driving to cover their areas. Then of course, there are the bathroom breaks (they have not yet supplied me with a catheter - don't worry - I'm sure that's coming).

    They also said I leave work earlier than my 8 hour day, that I don't always work til five. I have told you all how I work several hours a night completing my documenting. So, according to them ... if I ended a patient at 4:30 and drove home to document, I was leaving early.

    So last Friday I finished at 4:40, but instead of driving home to document I sat in my car outside my patient's home in 103 degree california heat running my airconditioner and gas while I documented to 5:00, then I drove home. Ok - satisfied! I didn't dare drive to anyplace cool to finish as that would have taken 20 unproductive minutes.

    This is just how ridiculous the work environment (read-my car) has become. No one I work with (over a hundred people) know my husband had a heart procedure, lost his job, and we are stressed we may have to sell our house. Ok, maybe I told two people who smiled and said, "I hope it works out." We are so disconnected as a people that no one really gives a damn. I don't know about their worries either. We only meet at meetings that are unfortunately not classified as productive although it is discussing patient care. Then everyone runs to their cars to try to meet "productivity."

    I woke up this morning at four completely stressed. I feel anxiety about my upcoming week now. I don't possibly see how I can increase "productivity" without turning into "I-Robot" or melting into a pile of scrambled neurons. And frankly, I am closer to the latter.

    Yes, I'm thinking about applying elsewhere, but is it really any different? The job I had prior was even worse than this one and I lasted three months due to lack of sleep from over-time. I was thinking about a hospital job but see that many are looking into increasing productivity in the same way, ie, nurses will spend more time with patients because of technology (read-stand by the bedside with a tablet typing instead of going to a work station). My patients already complain to me that their doctor never looks at them but spends their 15 minutes typing in a computer. I sympathize (with the doctor) as I know if the doctor doesn't do that they'll be up all night well into early hours typing. But ... they have "productivity" because of how many patients they can see in the day in 15 minute increments (read - insurance billing). It's not that the doctors, nurses, social workers, don't care - but everyone is constricted by this damn technology which has come out of a need for money, more money, and more money (read-productivity).

    Unfortunately, as a medical social worker I have moved up on the pay scale. The problem with that is I'm stuck in a niche. Apply for a job with less pay and they think something is wrong with you, or - you're over qualified. (A couple years ago I tried this, to go back to an old job, they declined due to my pay history). My husband has the same problem as he job hunts at 64.

    I keep hoping I can retire but with my husband losing his job, not only is that a pipe dream, I need even more money just to stay in our house. I admit it - I really don't want to sell as rentals are now the same as our mortgage (seriously). It's not a fancy house, built in 1940s with 2 bedrooms and 1.5 baths, but it's home. Then, having a 16 year old with learning differences that I need to keep in the same high school for the next two years and there are very few rentals in the area, so selling the house is also complicated by that. That is, can't just pull up stakes.

    I openly admit I'm ranting here and ...I do appreciate you listening ..if you made it this far. Cowbird does help my sanity. That there are real people - humans - out there somewhere, and yes the poetry, music, heart-felt stories, appreciation of the young and the old and the struggles in-between.

    I'm not anti-technology
    but I think it has gone too far!
    And ... This is only the beginning.

    The last time I was in the emergency room the doctor never approached my bed but stood about 10 feet away looking at my records on a computer that pulled out from the wall.
    Really? Is that patient care?
    I could have stuck out my tongue at her the whole time and she would have never known.

    I pride myself in actually looking at and listening to my patients at my home visits. That will be changing though as I don't have enough "productivity" in my day.

    There is empty untracked space in my life and
    God forbid!
    that should happen in this world.
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