Cultivation of a Poisonous Work Environment:
My employer adopted an new attitude towards its employees whereas longevity no longer has any bearing on advancement or remuneration (pay increases). There is a point to be made that those who work harder and contribute more should receive the greatest rewards. The downfall is that the evaluation can be quite subjective with those "sucking up" to the boss may get preferential treatment.
One can volunteer for every project and take on every task yet not produce quality work while others in the background may do more than their share without any fanfare. Every workplace has one of those loud, boisterous, "look at me" go-getters that never misses an opportunity to impress the boss.
Computers now log every key-stroke and every error. We now live in fear of how our human errors will be tabulated and now come back to haunt us. My concern is that human nature may now try to hide errors rather than correct them which may be detrimental to the patient. I can still hear my first manager's words concerning errors; "bring any errors to our attention as our only concern is to correct, not punish". My how the attitude has changed!
To further poison the atmosphere -in unmistakable terms we were instructed that we must keep an eye on each other and turn in anyone who arrives late, or leaves early. Those that take a longer lunch or surf the internet for something other than work - we must run to the boss and squeal! While life never runs on such a strict time clock, we are now obligated to turn in our colleagues and co-workers. Working through lunch on a busy day goes unnoticed while those taking five minutes longer when the workload allows should be turned in.
It is a very clever concept. It is a shift from 'the employees against the employer' to 'the employees against each other'. We can no longer be upset at our employer if we don't get a raise - we should blame our colleagues! What a poisonous atmosphere!
Those that turn in fellow co-workers and colleagues should realize that they will be shunned and ostracized should they be recognized as the source of the betrayal.
What does it do for the health and well being of the medical technologist? Already in a stressful profession where the workload is ever increasing, we must now "walk on egg-shells" in fear of making any errors and look over our shoulder to see if a colleague is monitoring our work ethics.
The hospital has hired, and proudly promotes their Employee Assistance Program. However this treats stress and burnout at the back end while I feel they should prevent it from every happening in the first place.
For me personally, I realized that Medical Laboratory Technology had become a Job and was no longer a Profession. As such, I knew it was time for me to go...
August 15th, 2016
As I had predicted, a former colleague informed me that the hospital laboratory had decided to divest itself of the Mycology Laboratory. All specimens requiring fungal culture will be sent directly to the Provincial Laboratory. The hospital laboratory I worked for physically merged with another right after my retirement. While our laboratory had staff trained in mycology, most of the staff in the merging lab had no experience in culturing fungi. By divesting itself of the mycology laboratory, the hospital lab saved money by having the Provincial Laboratory perform the culture and identification as well as not having to train incoming staff in the discipline.
Had I stayed on, I probably would have been unable to continue this blog. This blog was about photography and while microbiology in itself is fascinating, fungi were the most photogenic organisms. Mycology made my days enjoyable and rewarding. Knowing this, I have no regrets in having taken my retirement.
My former hospital laboratory now strictly performs bacterial microbiology with a select number of rapid serological screens. The day of the well rounded, all-inclusive microbiological hospital lab are probably gone unless, perhaps, in some very large city laboratory. Sad...
I had considered purchasing my own personal microscope with colleagues at other facilities providing fixed slides for study, but it is a considerable expense for uncertain use and without photographs of the culture plates, I decided to let that idea die.