July 14, 2012, 12:38 am

Will Work for Half-and-Half

I love my co-workers.

When things get absurd and all I want to do is smack my head, they make me laugh.


We were informed that Half-and-Half would no longer be provided to staff or patients. Those choosing to use creamer in their coffee would be offered Coffee-Mate, or could choose to “BYOH&H.”

“Corporate” decided this would make a good cost-cutting measure.


“Corporate” is like the “Not Me” character in the “Family Circus” comic. Blamed for everything, but never actually seen.

Normally, this would have engendered an eye-rolling, how-much-money-do-they-think-they-will-save, 5-minute conversation and that would have been that.

However, the email noted:

Half-and-Half would be available for all physicians and administrators!

Say what?


But, no.

This was legit.

And I was pissed.

Not at the loss of the half-and-half, but the principle of the thing.

Surely the idea that physicians and administrators were more important than staff or patients, or were superior groups to be coddled and pampered was a remnant of the 1950s, something to be looked back on as a relic of a less enlightened time!

Er, no.


This was such a slap in the face to the staff, and in writing, no less!

Combined with everything “Corporate” has done (or been blamed for) over the last year, it was just too much.

Then one day, I walk in and see the “Will Work for Half-and-Half” jar.

With donations in it!

I LOL’s until I had chest pain.

That’s the kind of humor that permeates my department.

And that is why I work where I work.

Working with colleagues who have a great collective sense of humor is worth its weight in…well, Half-and-Half!!!!

And right now, that stuff is like gold in my ER….

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  • Nancy

    July 14, 2012 at 2:48 am

    OMG, our hospital did this, too! How expensive could this stuff possibly be?

  • Kelly

    July 14, 2012 at 5:58 am

    I love it! I work in a similar situation…they also took away creamer and gave the physicians ice cream because the were demanding it!

  • Susan

    July 14, 2012 at 4:57 pm

    Our doctors’ lounge has a push cart-style popcorn machine. I mean really, are they 12?

  • SB

    July 14, 2012 at 6:56 pm

    This kind of junk kills me. And I say junk because I mean junk. What is coffeemate but a bunch of oil + chemicals. That’s healthy, right?! UGH. But awesome coworkers LOL @ the jar!!

  • RehabRN

    July 15, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    Yes, it’s pretty telling when some problems remain problems until they happen to physicians (gasp!)

    Make sure to tell your patients to remember the half and half on their satisfaction surveys.

    I did that with cable TV at Saintarama and eventually they decided to get it for patient rooms.

    Never hurts…Press-Ganey just might get you your half-and-half!

  • Andi @ oncallrn
    Andi @ oncallrn

    July 17, 2012 at 12:58 am

    OMG hilarious! Seriously though I would have thrown a FIT if I had seen that. I guess for me it wouldn’t matter because I work at veteran’s hospital and we have to provide our own coffee, coffee maker, microwave etc. It’s not fun. Thanks for the laugh!

  • Gypsy Nurse, RN
    Gypsy Nurse, RN

    July 18, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    I have a scheduled guest post coming out next week that discuses this very principal. It’s a sad day when we as nurses aren’t worth a little half-and-half. However, if we as nurses would stand together on issues like this and throw a fit like the physicians would….maybe things would change?

  • NPs Save Lives
    NPs Save Lives

    July 19, 2012 at 3:25 pm

    Oh that is such bull hockey! When will corporate understand that the nurses make or break a hospital. Nurses in the trenches are the ones effecting the satisfaction of patients, not the docs and certainly NOT administration.

  • Susan Reese
    Susan Reese

    July 20, 2012 at 11:09 am

    Hi Kim,

    I read your blog often. Today’s post was just great. In fact I used it as the basis for a post on the blog I host at Time to Care (http://timetocare.kronos.com)…I also put a link to Emergiblog their…keep up the great writing…

  • Oleksiy

    July 26, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    That jar is genius!!! You should do a slow down =) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGySH9iSQxs

  • Steinfeldsmith

    August 14, 2012 at 1:43 am

    It is so very Interesting and Minds blowing article .There are many Lots of Interesting Point .

  • Joey

    August 17, 2012 at 5:34 pm

    Humor is the best & only way to slice right through a grave injustice handed down from your superiors! That or leaving & then laughing about it.

    I have been out of corporate X # of years, but mostly I don’t miss it. Your blog reminded me of what I do miss about it though: great coworkers that willingly participate in black comedy šŸ™‚

  • Esmeraldasmith

    August 30, 2012 at 1:22 am

  • Jacobussmith

    August 31, 2012 at 1:50 am

    This is so very good and mind Blowing Blog .

  • UnsinkableMB

    September 15, 2012 at 8:08 am

    Love this story!

    We are going through the same cost cutting measures at my hospital and it really is shocking to see where Corporate thinks they can save money.

    Glad you and your co-workers have not lost your sense of humor!

  • Camburnsmith

    September 25, 2012 at 12:02 am

    It is so Interesting and mind Blowing Blog.

  • Ann Stone
    Ann Stone

    October 14, 2012 at 10:29 am

    About 20 years ago our hospital decided they were going to charge the staff 50 cents per cup of coffee. This was coffee made in each clinical area in a coffee pot, poured into cups by the individual, at all hours of the day and night. I’m not sure how they thought they were going to enforce that and the project was soon abandoned. The week the memo came out, however, one old, surly ER nurse I worked with (like I am, now) says, “You know what I did when I saw that memo? I went right over and made a big pot of coffee and poured it right down the drain”.

  • Kim

    October 14, 2012 at 10:48 am

    LOL – Ann, that’s hilarious! šŸ˜€

  • Teresa, the PhD nurse from Oregon
    Teresa, the PhD nurse from Oregon

    January 8, 2013 at 9:32 am

    Years ago, the hospital where I worked put on one of those employees-suggest-costcutting-measures-and-get-rewarded-if-their-idea-flies promotions. Some genius suggested that staff not be allowed to use the Kleenex! (Yes.) So someone in the medical ICU took a box of tissues, placed it on the countertop, and wrote on it “Do not use. For display purposes only.” I love nurses!

  • Shawn Kennedy
    Shawn Kennedy

    January 11, 2013 at 5:15 am

    Loved this – shows the insane reality that nurses deal with on a daily basis. On one hand, we’re trying to forge expanded scope of practice, professional practice committees, shared governance – and the on the other, it’s just about getting a good cup of coffee. The corporate folks should be ashamed – they’ll probably give you half and half for Nurses Week.

  • 4nursesBYnurses – Friday Favorites
    4nursesBYnurses – Friday Favorites

    January 11, 2013 at 7:44 pm

    […] “Will Work For Half-and-Half”Ā  Kim over at EmergiblogĀ had us doubled over belly-laughing at this one. Ā As if one would think that a nurses’ half-and-half could be taken away without extreme protest and retaliation! Ā Thanks for much needed humor despite an ugly adjudication from “corporate”. […]

  • Aesop

    February 2, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    You’d think you’d really want to be a little more circumspect about asinine policies in an environment where syringes and really small needles, not to mention access to Ex-Lax, and other peoples’ foodstuffs, like, for example Half&Half, not to mention their lunches, are so relatively free and easy.

    Just saying.

  • Dan
    Dan "emt training" Chambs

    February 28, 2013 at 3:58 pm

    i guess humor really works for high stress environments like the ER. Keep laughing!

  • Jackie B.
    Jackie B.

    March 15, 2013 at 8:13 pm

    Did you ever try to figure out how much they were actually saving? That’s crazy. I bet other items started depleting faster as a result…

  • James Leake
    James Leake

    April 9, 2013 at 7:26 am

    Great post. I find it so interesting how the organizational order of a hospital falls. My wife just delivered our first born a few weeks ago. I said something to my dad as we waited for her to progress about how our Dr. hadn’t been there to see us yet. He joked that the doctors are just there to catch the baby at the end. I was confused, yet shocked when our doctor came in after a hour and a half of pushing, puts her hair back, takes her jewelry off, sends a few quick texts, and then comes over to tend to my wife! I laughed in my head, but quickly gained more respect for the nurses who had been with us through the night and while we pushed leading up to the actual delivery!

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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