Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Staff image audit

Recently, due to an internal audit of staff appearance, my ward manager and ADON G suddenly decided that female staff's pony tail should not touch the uniform's collar. If it does, it must be bun-up. Their logic was that long pony tails may accidentally brush against the patients, resulting in patients' complaints.

My pony tail barely touched the collar and was too short to swing around when I tilt my head. In fact, were you to brush against it accidentally, you'd have to be standing next to me physcially, touching not just my pony tail but my body as well. However, that afternoon, the ward manager singled me out because those with longer pony tails or hair weren't around for her to criticize.
  • SN J quickly left the treatment room when the NO started talking about staff image.
  • I think SEN L was not on duty that day.
  • SEN IV was successfully nagged by the NO to bun-up her pony tail.
  • SN O whose long bob hair touches her collar. I was later told by the admin staff that SN O had long hair years ago but cut it to a bob too as a result of an earlier image audit years ago.
For some reason (perhaps it's due to a double-shift and then 2 consecutive busy AM shifts), I felt pissed-off by nursing management expending so much energy on a minor image issue when they have bigger issues, e.g. staff recruitment and retention, yet to be solved.

Anyway, I decided to just shut-up the nonsense by heading to the hairdresser right after work. Thankfully the hairdresser did a good job of cutting my hair into a super-short bob. The next day, the NO was impressed by my new hair-do, but I made sure from my body language that she knew that I was not pleased.

As it turns out, even today, there are other staff still with long hair or pony tails touching or beyond the collar but they miraculously escaped the NO and the ADON's attention. This so-called problem is even more common in the other wards. This is a reflection of the management's policy implementation. Lack of consistency.

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