Perspective is all

25 05 2011

Our department is being faced with some significant changes and we have, for the last few weeks, been struggling to find any opportunity that we might meet to enable appropriate feedback to the senior management in the organisation. It has proven almost impossible for the six of us to find any time within our already busy calendars, including early mornings and late after work, to meet.

Last week when I returned to my car in the hospital car park I found my car blocked in by two cars. There is never enough space and this is actually fairly accepted local practice. Our permits display contact details so we can be contacted, nip out and release trapped colleagues. I telephoned both owners who both agreed to come straight away and let me out so I could to the peripheral clinic that afternoon. As luck would have it the owners of before I had the chance to leave my office and car 1, in her haste, allowed car 2 out and quickly re-parked (keeping me blocked in) and ran off. I arrived literally 10 secs after her departure. With a heavy heart I telephoned her again explaining that my car remained blocked by her and I would need her to return so that I could go to my clinic. “I’m afraid I can’t come; I’m in a very important management meeting.”

It struck me then the differing perspectives on “management meetings”. As clinicians, we have no time whatsoever set aside within our schedule for something that is actually essential to the functioning of our unit. It is not considered a priority in the job planning meeting that such meetings should be timetabled and yet a management colleague believes that her time at a management meeting is so important that she cannot spare literally five minutes to release a colleague trapped in the car park.

Surely we could learn something from each other? Effective clinical engagement can only occur if management discussions are given some priority within the clinical job plan but realistically, just how important can a meeting be that you would leave a colleague trapped in the car park?

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