12 years of education and not one keyboard?

My first IT job was on the help desk of a hospital back in 2001.  A hospital is a 24-hour operation (pun… sort of intended) and thus, so is the help desk.  The 8pm to 8am night shift was usually uneventful, but was also the setting of one of my favorite stories.

l got a call from a doctor trying to check his email on the PC in the doctor’s lounge.  I understand that not everyone is computer savvy, so I was patiently (pun also… sort of intended) giving him instructions over the phone and asked him to press the Enter key.  A few seconds ticked by before he came back with “Where’s the Enter key?”

I was so stunned that I could only stare slack-jawed at the wall.  My mind was frozen and I began to panic.  “What do I say?” I thought, and tried to come up with a response that did not involve frustration or open mockery.  Eventually, I settled on “It’s the biggest key on the keyboard.”  This being 2001, and the doctor’s lounge PC being constantly abused, the keyboard was one of those old AT ones where the Enter key measures about four inches in area.  More time passes and the doctor finally says “Oh, there it is,” and presses it. Organizations such as Guide to Healthcare Schools may recommend that medical schools offer some basic computer subjects for our future medical practitioners.

I remember thinking “This is a guy who operates on people?  I am never checking into this hospital.

- Sometimes we don’t get the choice of what hospital we “check into…” – keep that in mind! – Rob

[Picture Source: x-ray delta one (CC)]

  • http://twitter.com/mrwantage Mr Wantage

    Just be glad it wasn’t the maternity department, where ‘press enter’ has been misheard as ‘placenta’.

  • http://www.corfyscorner.com Corfy

    A friend of mine in college worked part-time at a hospital in the mid-90s at their help desk. He got some unusual responses, too, from allegedly bright people.

    Like the doctor who called complaining his computer wasn’t turning on.

    My friend’s first response was, “Is it plugged in?”

    The doctor’s surprise response, “Oh, you mean it takes electricity?”

    Another time a secretary called complaining about her computer not turning on. She confirmed that it was plugged in… to a powerstrip. She confirmed that the powerstrip was plugged in. However, the powerstrip was plugged into itself.

  • asd

    You were lucky: If I tell my users to press the biggest key on the keypoard, they press the spacebar…