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Sunday, May 11, 2008

Blogging from work: the Unwritten Internet Code

The Internet is so amazing. All the information that's on here has probably doubled my wealth of knowledge, and places a world of resources right at my fingertips. So when I learned eight years ago that some computers here at work had access to it, I begged the RT Boss to put it on one of our computers. He obliged.

It's neat, because every time we have a patient with a disease we are not familiar with, or we simply want to do a review of a disease we already know about, the information is right here. It's also nice to use this World Wide Web as a resource of staying up to date on all the most recent respiratory therapy information.

It was right here that my co-workers and I did much of our research when we were putting together our protocols. And the information we didn't get off the world wide web we obtained through emails and even a few respiratory related chat lines. I've also used this to put together hospital policy among other things.

So, by far, this Internet has benefited this particular department a great deal.

Yet, there are times when it gets slow around here, and during these times some of us RTs like to get on the Internet and play around. I think that I'm the only one who blogs, but I know some RTs here check their emails, shop or read the news or latest sports scores. It's simply a great resource.

Now I have seen notes up in other departments that say something like: "NO DOWNLOADING GAMES," or "NO WATCHING VIDEOS ONLINE." But we all ignore those notes and do those things anyway. We do so even though we know the powers that be can watch every one of our moves on the mainframe in the basement if they so chose to do so.

I know this has been done before. In fact, I know one tech who worked in ER was fired because the powers that be learned he was watching porn. That was an isolated incident I am certain. However, I know in doing RT searches on Google, porn sites have popped up on this screen on rare occasion. I click off as fast as I can. That's one of the side effects of using Google, you can't control what might come up on a search.

There have been problems on occasion that have come up. For instance, this computer got bogged down about five years ago, and I was blamed for it. The RT Boss told me that I was downloading stuff onto this computer. So, for about two years, we lost the RT Cave Internet.

I never said a word. I let the boss blame me for the computer jamming up, even though I knew one of the new RTs was the one who was downloading non-respiratory related stuff. In fact, I watched my friend do it and told him not to. But he was arrogant and told me it wouldn't matter. Well, it did. And, soon enough, I had to go down to the computer lab to play on the Internet instead of doing it here where it is convenient. Like the old saying goes, where there's a will there's a way.

Since then we have our Internet back. And there have been a few problems here at work on occasion, but for the most part we all play on the Internet, including the bosses, so we all usually keep our mouths shut, including the bosses. Lord knows they play on the Internet too.

Now, the reason I bring this up is that before we had the Internet I used to read books when it was slow. I still do sometimes, but most of my free time now is spent right here reading the news, sports, or blogging. It's not like I'm on here playing games or looking at porn, or doing this in lieu of taking care of my patients. No, because the patients always come first.

I don't like to waste my time playing games, however, I would imagine that probably most of the time the net is used by other bees it's for this purpose. Personally, I think playing games is a waste of time. But that's just me. Still, so long as your work is done, and that you follow the unwritten rules that I will list below, I see no problem with using the Internet to play games.

I like to think of it this way, if I wasn't on here reading the newspaper for free on the net, I would be reading the newspaper I bought. If I were not on here reading a short story, I would be reading a book I bought. If I were not on here watching an NCAA tournament game I would be watching the TV in the waiting room. And none of those things are trackable.

There are some unwritten rules that we Internet users tend to follow:

  1. No playing on the Internet for non medical purposes in site of patients. This makes us look like we are not respecting the patient. It simply looks bad.
  2. No downloading, unless it is absolutely medical related. Or unless you are absolutely burned out and figure the hospital owes you this time.
  3. No going online when there is other work to do, particularly work that involves the patient.
  4. Get up and tour the hospital every hour and check up on all your patients. This is particularly important on those days when it's REALLY slow
  5. If you are paged, get going right away, don't worry about finishing up what you are doing on the net. This is the same for those who read books: if you are paged, stop reading and take care of business.
  6. Don't go on the Internet when there is someone around you don't trust. If they happen to be a spy for the bosses, you will find yourself in a predicament. And you all know who I'm talking about.
  7. Don't go online when the bosses are around, even though you think you can trust them. You certainly don't want to provide them with an opportunity to cause trouble.
  8. Do not check your emails unless it is from someone you trust. This is perhaps one of the most important rules.
  9. If you print something, do not leave it on the printer or in the office.

I had to add #9 to this list for personal reasons. I had a really good freind who downloaded offensive jokes and left them on the printer. Someone on the day shift found them and put them in the bosses mailbox. The worst part about it was his name was on each page, and he was fired.

Personally, I think there is nothing wrong with reading the news and sports or even checking on your fantasy baseball team or even your email, so long as you follow these unwritten rules. If nothing else, this makes you smarter, and provides you with information you can use in a conversation with your patients.

Most RTs, however, probably don't have time to blog at work. The day shift RTs here certainly can't surf the Internet while the dragons and doctors are around. And RTs who work in large big-city hospitals probably don't have time either.

They have to wait till they get home. But some of us don't have time when we are home, so we'd prefer to blog at work. Yet, sometimes, bosses can be stingy, as was the case with Djanvk over at RT Driven. And he works in a small town RT Cave just like Shoreline, so he should have plenty of time to blog.

He wrote a post for the first time in a couple months yesterday, and explained his absence this way:

"My hospital started blocking personal (BLOGS) sites from viewing on the Internet so I wasn't able to log onto Blogger here and post anything because I usually did it from work. Home has been a bit busy and there just wasn't enough hours in the day to do much posting."

Why would a hospital go through the effort to block blogs? How rude?

In fact, one of the reasons I started my RT blog was because since I needed something to do during down times at work, this would allow me to spend my time actually reading medical stuff. And there is a lot I have learned from reading medical blogs. So why would the RT Bosses want to stop me from learning RT stuff.

So, that in mind, I see nothing bad about Djanvk working on his medical blog while spending time in his RT Cave, so long as he follows the Unwritten Internet Code.

If one of my readers is an RT Boss, or if you happen to see something here that I'm missing, please feel free to let me know via comment or email.


keepbreathing said...

One of the things I really love about our Computers On Wheels at work is that they get internet access through the hospital wi-fi. As long as I'm getting my work done and not being blatant about it (i.e., looking at obviously non-work sites in plain view of patients and families) nobody seems to care. I check my email, use Google reader, and look at the news. It's great. And as long as people use some common sense and follow a few easy rules, nobody's going to say anything to us about it.

Djanvk said...

This place has really censored the Internet, I even get blocked from some sites that I look up medication information on.

Iron Lung said...

Our policy is kind of patchwork at best. Personal email of any kind is OK, but other personal stuff (blogs, Facebook/Myspace, etc.) is blocked. Shopping's allowed, but streaming media (whether from the AARC or YouTube) is verboten. Unless, of course, you know the double-secret password that gets left laying around from time to time.

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