We are IT. We are Support. We are the NHS.
This is the slogan currently being used in an advertisement promoting IT related jobs in the NHS. The advertisement itself is bold and dynamic, showing how IT systems form the backbone of the NHS and help to change, improve and even save lives.
But there is a lot more to the NHS than IT systems, software and hardware; there are the components sometimes known as wetware or meatware – the people who use these systems to assist in looking after patients.
These people are nurses, doctors and consultants. They are surgeons, health care assistants and domestic staff.
These people are dedicated to providing first class patient care. They are highly skilled, well trained, professional and human.
Whilst these people are all experts in their own field, and confident in what they do day in and day out, they are not always experts in IT and a lot of them aren’t confident when systems do something unexpected, as can happen.
That’s when they call us in IT support and say things like “Oh I’m stupid when it comes to computers” or “You must get fed up of me calling” and all sorts of similar phrases. We also get lots of people apologising for having forgotten their passwords.
With these people I like to turn the statement around and show them that they are not stupid/thick/clueless/whatever. I take their job role and ask them if they would expect me to be able to do it.
For a nurse I might respond with “OK, so you take blood samples, if you asked me to do that I’d feel stupid and wouldn’t know where to begin”
For a consultant I might explain to them that if they asked me to diagnose an illness in a patient using the patient’s notes and scan results then again I wouldn’t have a clue what I was doing.
The point is these people, claiming to be stupid etc actually aren’t at all; they just have different skills and knowledge and that is important, as without this the hospital simply wouldn’t be able to function.
We need people who have knowledge in IT. We also need people with knowledge of the myriad of diseases and impairments that the human body can suffer. We need people who know what is needed to keep the place clean and hygienic and we need people who can operate the complex clinical machinery that detects and scans and probes, seeking out causes.
That slogan up above? I think it would be more accurate if it read “We are IT. We are support. We are one part of the NHS machine.”