What a ridiculous incentive program the University Health Network recently implemented for their doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers. To get hospital workers to wash their hands properly, the hospitals will reward staff with a $2 Tim Hortons gift certificate if they are caught scrubbing their hands the right way.
Ok, maybe I’m naïve, but isn’t it a duty for every healthcare worker in a hospital to wash their hands before dealing with patients? Shouldn’t this be in a nurse’s or doctor’s oath? Why are hospital administrators rewarding behaviour which should happen anyway? My sister-in-law has been an ER nurse for more than 25 years and has the highest regard for patients and patient care. She doesn’t need a donut or coffee as an incentive to wash her hands – she would be appalled!
So here’s what I find really amusing. The University Health Network – which consists of Princess Margaret, Toronto General and Toronto Western hospitals – actually thought this was a cool story and pitched it to the Globe and Mail. Uh, why? Personally, I find this news very embarrassing for the hospitals. Rewarding healthcare workers for something that should be sacrosanct – like washing hands – is ludicrous. Even my six-year-old does not need to be rewarded with a piece of chocolate every time she washes her hands before dinner.
As for the healthcare workers being rewarded with Tim Hortons, I hope they appreciate all that caffeine and tasty carb-heavy treats. But I’m pretty sure patients won’t be thrilled with all that bed-side coffee breath coming their way.