Home From The Field Sweet justice

Sweet justice

Sweet justice

I am a system/network administrator at a small district hospital. When I took the job I had six years of experience in the education field. I thought “Education… healthcare… It’s all pretty much the same thing from an IT perspective.”

How very wrong I was.

I am constantly harassed for stupid problems in the middle of the night, namely password resets. Both the Hospital and LTCU have 24 hour staffing so when the nurses need to chart and they can’t remember their password they call me. This happens at least twice a week, more so on the weekends (when they have agency nurses that don’t work near as often as normal employees).

One particular incident a nurse called me 3 times in one night between 3:00-4:00am because she locked out her account, forgot her password once, and then forgot the new one that she just chose. After the third call I simply turned off my phone. I was tired of the shit and decided I’d deal with it the next day.

I wake up the next day with 4 voice mail messages from the same nurse sighing sarcastically into the phone.

  • 4:18am
  • 4:22am
  • 5:36am
  • 6:04am

The messages weren’t constructive even though I knew who it was so I didn’t do anything about it until she sent me an email the next day when I once again unlocked/reset her account and notified her.

Flash forward 2 weeks. Our HR manager gives me a copy of a sheet of paper that is this nurse issuing a formal complaint about my behavior. To summarize she states that I “never answer the phone, never return calls, never check messages and never help.” she is very upset because she “needs to do [her] job” and she can’t because I refuse to help her access the system.

I’m pretty f$#@ing livid.

I go to our DON (Director of Nursing) and she recognizes the sheet of paper as I walk into the room and says “I wondered when that would get back to you.” (our DON is awesome). Basically we have a short discussion to clarify if she knows what my job description entails, mostly the fact that:

1) I am never on call and I am always on call. I carry a work cell phone to respond to emergencies but I am not specifically ‘on call’. IT is the only department that is not paid on-call pay to answer the phone and help people after hours.

2) I am not always by a computer nor am I always available to help at every conceivable moment. I have a life, I sometimes don’t hear the phone ring, and even if I answer I may not be able to help depending on what is going on. I am not always going to be there even though I try to be.

3) ‘Forgot a password” is not an emergency which warrants waking me up multiple times at 3:00am after I’ve already had an 8-10 hour work day. Nurses remembering their passwords and knowing how to access our system without locking themselves out is part of their job. It is well withing my ability to require them to submit password resets in writing signed by their supervisor for HIPAA security reasons to make everyone’s life a living hell. Nurses need to take personal responsibility to utilize the systems appropriately.

Through the whole conversation the DON completely agreed with me. She wasn’t aware they had become as much of a nuisance as they had, and apologized that they were this much trouble. She assured me she would have a meeting with all of them and discuss their responsibilities and explain when it is and is not okay to call IT in the middle of the night. I was happy with the decision and sent an email to HR to let them know that we had come to a mutual decision about how to handle the complaint in case something escalated further.

Two weeks have passed and I haven’t received a single late night password reset call. I would have loved to be a fly on the wall in the meeting to see the DON put the fear of god in her employees. Sometimes it’s nice to have someone on your side, and I for one am glad to get a few good nights of sleep in a row without that sickening stomach turn I get every time I awake to that phone ringing.

via: [Reddit\TalesFromTechSupport]

Picture Source: [eflon (CC)]


  1. Wow, you must work at a hospital where management actually has a head on their shoulders. At the hospital I used to work at, I could have sworn that their managers believed their nurses could do no wrong.

  2. The real issue there isn’t nurses who can’t remember their passwords – that is an issue, yes – but the real issue is a hospital that doesn’t have sufficient IT staff. Just irresponsible for a place where lives depend on the technology working to only have one IT person.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.