Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Wash your hands, get a donut: what a concept!

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 na├»ve, 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.

5 comments:

Donna Papacosta said...

So glad you wrote this, Julie. I almost choked on my granola when I read this in the Globe and Mail.

ZoeyBella said...

You know... as always, you hit the nail on the head. What is wrong with people that they have to be rewarded for doing something they should be doing anyway?

Julie Rusciolelli said...

Donna, Zoey .. glad you agree with me... this blog practically wrote itself when I read the story. I'm still amazed at the stupidity of this policy!

Leslie said...

Well said but scary. It makes you wonder: what's next? Tip your dentist first to ensure they wash their hands before....

Martin Waxman said...

I actually think this could be the start of a trend. Instead of stock options, executives and board members could be compensated with extra 'Roll up the Rim to Win' cups if financial performance exceeds goals. This is just plain pathetic (and shows how far Canadians will go for a cup of Tim's). Thanks for the 'scalding' post, Julie.