March 12, 2007, 12:49 pm

Bribery Will Get You Everywhere


Anyone else remember these ads?

You’d always find them in the back of movie magazines. The old ones, with stories about Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton from the mid ’60s. I think one of them was called “Photoplay” or something similar.

Think of them as “Tiger Beat” and “16 Magazine” for the middle aged.


I could use a pair of these now.

For some reason, the ability of the lower back to withstand aerobic exercise has to do with the strength of one’s abdominal muscles.

Well, I don’t have any abdominal muscles! Therefore my back is killing me after three days after recovering from last week’s foray into the world of Jazzercise.

I remain undaunted, for tomorrow we do a routine to “Vertigo” by U2!!!!!!!!

And that is like, the best rock song EVER! Therefore, I shall press on with all my strength and pray to St. Jude for the spontaneous appearance of something called “obliques”.

St. Jude is the Patron Saint of Lost Causes…..(and hospital workers! I did not know that……)


I love my job. Really, I do.

But sometimes I just have to laugh. It keeps me sane (relatively).

We are supposed to perform what is called “immediate bedding” or “rapid bedding”. This means that if a bed is empty, the arriving patient will go directly to the room and all services come to them. Triage, the doc, registration. You get the picture.

Now, some of my esteemed colleagues are not availing themselves of this new procedure to ensure high “patient satisfaction scores”, the attainment of which can cause a grown hospital administrator to grovel at the feet of said patients.

Never mind that my facility is consistently at the top of the corporation’s list of said scores. We’re like Avis. #2. Have to try harder.

So, in their infinite wisdom, it has been suggested that for every ten patients that a particular RN utilizes the “immediate bedding” procedure they should get a Starbucks Gift Certificate.

Get out of town.

Hell, for a Starbucks Gift Certificate, I’ll go out to the intersection and bring people in and sit their butt on a bed just to collect ten at a pop!

Just tell me how much the certificate is for and how many I am able to earn and I’ll put a butt in a gurney so fast it will still be warm from the previous occupant.

Because lord knows, we professionals need to be bribed to provide stellar patient care.

But this got me to thinking. What else could be used to entice RNs to provide the patient care du jour required by the administration?


Here are some ideas:

  • Jiffy Lube Gift Certificate: to the RN who gives the most enemas in one month (hat tip to the ED doc I was working with the night I was brainstoming this post)

And that, apparently, is how you get the RNs to do their professional duty.

You bribe them.

Oh, and one more thing:

What do you mean you don’t know anybody like that?



  • N=1

    March 12, 2007 at 2:08 pm

    Ah – Press Ganey – what clueless admins think is important – because perception is reality, you know.

    If they are going to bribe, make it pay – all inclusive vacations to Venice, Italy; Paris, France; and Athens, Greece come to mind. Perhaps a two week stay in the Autralian Outback.

    But not Starbucks or any other franchise in the U.S. No how, no way.

    Stand up to corporate shilling – go for the gold standard in corporate bribery. If it’s good enough for our US representatives, it’s good enough for nurses!

    Great post, Kim. We must have been on the same wavelength. I’ve been ranting about Nurses Week – and the best ways to take it from the jaws of employers who use it for marketing, but not for nurses.

  • Rachel

    March 12, 2007 at 5:37 pm

    Yes, I think someone deserves an Apple Store gift card. heh.

  • jen

    March 12, 2007 at 7:02 pm

    This whole idea is hilarious. Shouldn’t the patient be brought back to an open bed anyway if the bed is open?
    I love the way your facility thinks!!! I’m coming to work there, because starbucks eats up too much of my check already.

  • Steve

    March 12, 2007 at 9:19 pm

    Our admin types have tried to institute bed side registration for about 4 years. Hasn’t happened yet, thank God!!! All we do is say, “so if we fill that last bed with another whining backpain/migraine/dental disorder; then were do we put the next chest pain with 10/10 pain. Where do we put the next bloody stool/puke/nose?
    And if the patients don’t like their 4 hour wait; can we call you at home to come in and smooth over their hurt feelings!?!??

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  • girlvet

    March 13, 2007 at 10:08 am

    I think its a great idea. After all, if some hospitals are offering the patients gift certificates if they aren’t seen in a certain amount of time, then we should get them too. But I want neiman-marcus, tiffanys, day at a spa….

  • jcjones

    March 13, 2007 at 11:17 am

    FUNNY! I think I get the Denny’s card for all the ER patients who start eating (& immediately puking up) bagels with butter just after their arrival with chief complaint: Vomiting. Didn’t their moms ever teach them : dry toast!

  • Candy

    March 14, 2007 at 8:20 am

    Let’s get back to the beginning — the trim-jeans. I can guarantee (from a “try-on” as a stupid teenager) that they do not work and in fact only leave GIGANTIC red marks on your thighs making you have to wear long pants in July. ICK.

    As far as PG scores and bribery, if you’re alredy in a fairly highly rated place, Starbucks is not enough. You need something more — and more immediate! How about a flash ‘o the cash to entice a little employee morale?


    March 15, 2007 at 4:35 pm

    I loved the POST…..made me laulgh out loud. You may not need to be bribed to provide stellar patient care but you certainly need to be rewarded and recognized for doing so and for supporting a concept that really is in the patient’s best interest. What’s not right about it for the patient?….especially if you are leaving one open bed for that 10/10 chest pain. If you LOVE Starbuck’s, it’s not exactly the same as an extra nurse or cardiac monitor but it’s not a bad way to say thank you.

About Me

My name is Kim, and I'm a nurse in the San Francisco Bay area. I've been a nurse for 33 years; I graduated in 1978 with my ADN. My experience is predominately Emergency and Critical Care, and I have also worked in Psychiatry and Pediatrics. I made the decision to be a nurse back in 1966 at the age of nine...

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