I started a new project this week in the health care industry. I was surprised to see as many as forty different pediatric specialties associated with one hospital. So doctors and surgeons, and I am sure many other healthcare professionals, appear to be highly specialized, perhaps down to a specific organ or disease in some cases. Can you imagine the following dialogue on a Friday afternoon after a long week in the OR?
Hospital Administrator: Amanda, have you got a second?
Oncology Specialist: Sure, what’s up Henry?
Hospital Administrator: I just found out that Dr. Wilson, our bariatric surgeon, is going on a two week vacation next week. Can you cover for him?
Oncology Specialist: Uh, isn’t bariatric surgery where they bypass your stomach and connect your esophagus to your small intestine to drastically reduce weight and food craving in severely obese people?
Hospital Administrator: I think so.
Oncology Specialist: Henry, I’ve never done that before.
Hospital Administrator: Oh, come on, there have got to be You Tube videos of the procedure and books on how to do it. You’re a great cancer surgeon!
Oncology Specialist: I don’t think this is something I can just “pick up” over the weekend.
Hospital Administrator: But we already scheduled 5 surgeries for next week before we realized Dr. Wilson would be gone. C’mon, do me a favor. I promise to never ask you to bone up on a whole new procedure over a weekend ever again.
Oncology Specialist: Well, OK. I’ll do my best…
And yet, for you IT Professionals out there, how many times have you been asked by your manager to learn PHP, Biztalk, SQL DBA skills, or Sharepoint (God forbid!) over a weekend so you can show up at a client site the following week and be ‘an expert?’ From my own experience and what I gather from others, this happens FAR too often. It’s ultimately an insult to the technical skills and experience that a competent IT professional develops and a lousy way to treat a paying client.
So you managers out there – start treating your IT professionals as if you were one of the 5 patients that was going to get your bariatric surgery from Amanda instead of Dr. Wilson, and maybe you’ll try to find some more honest or creative solutions to a shortage of a skilled resource…