Friday, January 14, 2005

Need Not Apply

At a staff meeting a year or two back, a hospital administrator passed around a new policy barring the hire of psychiatrists who had not been seeing patients within the past 12 months. Several of us thought this was a foolish policy, primarily because at the time (and before that time, and since that time) we’ve had unfillable vacancies on our medical staff. In short, it was delusional to think we could be choosy. Any shrink with a pulse and a legitimate or well-forged diploma should have been (and should still be) hired immediately.

But beyond that practical aspect, some of us had other objections to the policy. Our one female psychiatrist (since illegitimately fired, worsening our staff shortage) questioned why we would refuse to hire a doctor if he/she had taken a year off from practicing to raise a child. Another colleague asked if he’d be barred from returning to work if he got cancer and was ill for a year. Or if he had a research fellowship.

The administrator stammered, explaining that such was not the intent of the policy. “The point,” he said, “is that we don’t want people who have been sitting around on the beach sipping margaritas for the past year.” This phrase became locally famous and oft-repeated. Whenever the shrinking business got too stressful, which was just about every day, we’d say “Well, maybe it’s time for me to go sip margaritas on the beach.” If someone was heading for vacation, we’d joke that he’d not be welcome back if he went anywhere near a beach or a margarita.

Thinking more about it, though, a person who spent the last year SMOTHB may be the ideal candidate for this job. The burn-out rate is high-- at three years, five months and 14 days, for example, I have the longest tenure of the current medical staff. Perhaps a year spent doing something completely different would give one a running head start? When I interview people for a job here (not that any have come by lately), I’ll look to see whether they’ve ever explored something different, expanded their sense of possibilities, and relaxed their brain ligaments. The last thing you want is a shrink stuck in a routine and about to crack from the tedium.

Vaguely related Question of the Day: Which of these is closer to “reality”, and why?

1) Driving to work, getting coffee, working, driving home, going to the supermarket, paying bills, going to a movie, going to bed.
2) Standing naked on an island in the rain with a piece of plastic tarp and wondering what’s going to happen next.


Blogger Dinah said...

I would so like to apply for the position of Psychiatrist Sipping Margueritas on the Beach. Where do I send my CV?

Just found your blog, skimming through the past stuff.

Ours is:

Come visit. I make a great Cosmo but haven't figured out how to do it online.

6/2/06, 9:58 AM  

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