Monday, January 24, 2011

Apparently I can't turn off the "process improvement" part of my brain even when I'm away from the office.

I have a new son at home, and the whole experience was wonderful, with two very minor exceptions.  One was a brainless article in the stupid free magazine that the hospital's photo service gives out.  The other was an experience with the security at the hospital itself.

Security in the newborn wing is fairly heavy, but I'm cool with that even though I know that kidnappings from newborn wings almost never happen, because the fear that they might is enough to keep awake the people in the world who most need sleep.

But they also have this policy where the hospitality people walk around and take the names of everyone who's staying overnight so that the night guards can let them back in if they have to leave.  But I only know that because I asked, and I have to admit I wasn't very nice about it, because the person doing the asking opened by holding out a pass that said, "Visitor" and that the policy was all about "guests" who stay the night.  My immediate reaction was, "I'm not a 'guest', I'm a parent!"

I'm pretty passionate about dad's being involved in their kids' lives, and unfortunately, anything that puts up a barrier like this means a few less dads changing diapers, and all that goes with it.  So I got a little snippy, and got a better explanation of the policy, and it all makes sense.  I would suggest a few very minor changes, though:

  1. Instead of an off-the-rack "Visitor" pass, have something printed with the hospital logo on it and a space for the name and date.  Don't put "Visitor" or "Parent" or anything.  Use color coding that the staff understands but will be invisible to the people you give them to.  There's no one label that will make everyone happy, so why use one at all?  I can only imagine how it must feel for the parent of a terminally ill child to be handed a pass that says "Visitor" every night as they sleep in their child's room.
  2. Change the script.  I'd suggest opening with, "Hi, are you spending the night?  I need to make sure your name is on the list so you can get back in if you have to leave the hospital over night."