I thought it was interesting a few months back when the administrators at Shoreline decided this hospital was going to go smoke free. Not only are employees no longer allowed to smoke on campus, they cannot leave and come back smelling of smoke.
My dad told me when grandpa was on his death bed in a hospital just after I was born in 1970 grandpa wanted a cigarette real bad and no one would give him one. So dad gave him one of his cigarettes. Grandpa would take a puff every few hours, and one smoke would last a long time.
In the 1980s hospitals started to crack down on smoking. And, about the same time nurses were allowed to wear more creative clothing than those prototypical white nursing uniforms and caps, smoking disappeared from hospitals.
When I was hired here in 1997 there was still yellowed tile in the nurses report rooms from when they used to smoke there. The elder nurses here have told me of how they used to sit and smoke at the nurses station while they charted. Patients used to smoke in their rooms.
They have finally disappeared, but we used to have little red magnets that said, "No Smoking" plastered on the file cabinets in the RT Cave. I never once used one, but these were supposed to be stuck onto the doors of rooms where oxygen was in use.
The policy eventually was changes so that if you wanted to smoke you had to go out to your car. However, I remember several nights the nurses would poke their heads out the door and puff. This habit was ended, however, when one summer many patent's had their windows open, and the smoke wafted in. Many patent's complained, and the practice was put to a sudden end.
So up until a few months ago my co-workers who smoked were allowed to do so with restrictions. However, that has come to an end. No person who works here is allowed to smoke on campus. Not only that, no person who works here can smell of smoke. Not following this policy is grounds to be sent home. And, if it is evident someone is not willing to comply, this is grounds for dismissal.
At first I thought this was quite harsh, but after further thinking about it I think this is pretty good, especially since this is a hospital, and many of our patients are Asthma and COPD patients who can have an attack just smelling smoke on someone.
I know this is true because just tonight I had to give a breathing treatment to an asthmatic kid, and both his parents reeked of smoke and filth. When I walked out of that room I had to use my inhaler, and I have controlled and mild asthma.
If it were a factory making a policy like this, I think I'd feel this policy is going too far. I think it's fine for a business to tell someone they can't smoke on campus, but to say they can't come in smelling of smoke is a bit overboard. Yet this is perhaps for the best for a hospital.