Sunday, August 7, 2011

Acronym of the Day

Hospitals have an obsession with abbreviations and acronyms. Every hospital where I have worked or trained has had a list of unapproved abbreviations in order to facilitate patient safety. For example QD, used to state "once daily", could be mistaken for QID, which is "four times daily", or even OD, something to do with putting medicine in one of your eyes or some such thing. Somebody could theoretically get really discombobulated and give their patient their once a day med 4 times in their eye. Just kidding...hopefully that would not happen. But as you can see, that could get confusing, so writing out potentially misreadable stuff  makes sense in that whole "do no harm" kind of way. In times of yore, before the list of forbidden abbreviations existed, patients actually did get harmed from such confusion. Now that that's taken care of, we just have to worry about gathering round the chart and taking a poll on what the doctor has actually scrawled out in his or her funky handwriting.
But I digress. Hospitals and the agencies that oversee them really do love to make up their own abbreviations and acronyms. Some examples:
SCIP=Surgical Care Improvement Plan
CAT=Crisis Assistance Team
PCAT (pronounced "pee-cat") =Pastoral Care Assistance Team
and so on.
Our latest at my hospital is "OAT", which stands for Organization, Attitude, Teamwork. Our management came up with this gem in response to patient dissatisfaction with staff attitudes, "communication between staff members", and "timely response to patient needs". In other words, our Press Gainey scores are in the toilet.
Our managers are running around like chickens with their heads cut off, trying desperately to improve our patient satisfaction scores. All of our managers have started threatening staff with discipline if they have any unsatisfied patients. There have been loud chewing outs in front of other staff, and now actual firings of some pretty good nurses, who for one reason or another did not measure up to their manager's personal definition of "OAT".
So, I have created a new acronym of my own. I call it VOMIT, to describe the latest panicked attempts by the higher ups to fix our staff and resurrect our scores. It stands for:
Violent     Obnoxious     Mean       Intimidating     Tactics

Do you like it? Should it be vicious instead of violent? I wasn't sure.


  1. LOL. a hospital I know of uses the TRUSTED colleague model. Teamwork, respectful, Some U word, service, trustworthy, Excellence, blah blah blah, it's so funny you speak of those acronyms.

    do all the managers now eat oats- that would be funny- oatmeal cookies...I'm sure you can think of something cleaver to do with your staff to mock the people who actually fall for the oat tactic.

  2. Oats are good for your cholesterol.

    It is always the people who do not have direct patient contact making rules and silly acronyms. I'm surprised they didn't hand out gold stars like kindergarten.

    How about ASAP or adequate staffing and pay.

  3. My favorite is TLA= three letter acronym.

  4. Nice article, thanks for the information.

  5. A bit of VOMIT on the floor where I work too...

  6. wow, same shit, different place. we arent meeting press guaney cause we must not kiss ass enough. so we are getting written up, fired. bullshit. Nice to know this is what nursing is turning into , everywhere, across the board, and across time!