The nun who gives us a big welcome to Our Lady Of An Undisclosed Location Hospital. The intermittent reminders that The Hospital Was Founded By Nuns, You Know. The lingering fear from my days in Ireland, when all of my friends had Nun Horror Stories and parents would scare disobedient children by telling them they better behave or the nuns will come for them. The distant memory of my father telling me that hospitals run by nuns are a thousand times more cut-throat and ruthless than hospitals run by supposedly efficient businessmen.
The Hospital Mission Statement. The descriptions of the long procedure, the countless doctor-hours of work, the innumerable committees, that went into drafting this mission statement. The firm assertion that this mission statement is a divinely inspired pipeline to the culture of this particular hospital, meditating upon which will tell us the sort of institution we have been hired by. The total indistinguishability from any other hospital or clinic mission statement I have ever heard, all of which go something like “We strive to provide comprehensive care to patients in a culture of excellence” and could have been devised by the average college student in three minutes.
The big Vietnamese guy from Internal Medicine sitting next to me with a nametag reading “Becca Silverman”. The halting attempt to be humorous – “That’s funny, you don’t look like a Becca”. The deadpan assertion “Becca is an ancient and traditional Vietnamese name.” The awkward, uncertain silence.
The discussion of the hospital’s Ethical Guidelines. The assurance that, although not all of us are Catholic, the hospital guidelines are rooted in Catholicism but not limited to them and we will all be able to appreciate their wisdom in a nice ecumenical way. The segue into the first of these guidelines, which is COMMUNION WITH THE CATHOLIC CHURCH.
The introduction to various executives and officers, a disproportionate number of whom used to work in the auto industry but left for the hospital industry when times got bad. The inspirational quotes from Henry Ford, who, if these executives and officers are to be believed, is some sort of credible expert in the art of hospital-running. The growing worry that someone is going to tell me my patients just need an oil change.
The educational movie about someone who drives drunk and then gets in an accident and dies. The explanation that the moral of the movie was “Don’t make bad decisions”. The feeling that this is probably one of those problems that could benefit from being taskified. The only good part of the movie, which was the totally unnecessary plot twist where the drunk driver turns out to (secretly!) be the son of the doctor who was supposed to treat him, leading the actor playing the doctor to shout “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” in a very Anakin-ish way for about five seconds straight.
The presentation on work-life balance at the end of a long ten-hour day. The feeling that every time a company makes employees stay overtime to attend a mandatory seminar on work-life balance, an angel does a facepalm. The request for audience suggestions on how to fit a sixty to seventy hour work week in with sleep, study, errands, and family. The comment from Becca: “That thing with the hourglass Hermione used in the Harry Potter movie?”
The inspirational speech about how we should let Jesus guide us in our medical practice. The suppressed comment that as far as I know, Jesus only encountered one psychiatric case, which he diagnosed as a demon and treated by casting it into a herd of pigs who then fell off a cliff. The suspicion that this is no longer considered Best Practice. The doubt over whether Medicare would even reimburse him for the pigs.