Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Master Class, the First

Hello, everyone! Good morning. Thank you for joining us today for the Master Class series presented by the laboratory. As you know, there are several aspects to the lab worker's day that might seem foreign to the rest of health care. This series has been organized to shine a light on the shadows, so to speak, to clear up the mysteries and to answer any questions you might have.
Oh, hi. Well, yes, you're a little late, but we've only just started. Go ahead and take one of these handouts and sign in on the sheet up here. Yes, you do need to list your employee number; otherwise you won't get your continuing ed credit. Actually, that's important for everyone to know. Please make sure you signed in and put your employee number next to your name. I know everyone wants credit for being here!

Here we go! Our class today, as you see on the handout, is The Ice Cube Tray; Battling The Beast In The Freezer.

All right. Since this is the first of our series, we're just going to ease into the process. This is going to feel most relevant to employees from my building, but really, this is information can be used in almost any health care setting--actually, in almost any business setting!

No, given that our subject matter melts pretty quickly, we're sticking with pictures of the trays and the ice, but don't be alarmed. Anyone who needs additional, hands-on practice may stay after today's class. Let's take a look at our first slide.

Now, who can tell me what this is?

That's right! It's an ice cube tray. Now, I see a few people already look nervous, but please trust me, there is nothing to fear.

We all like ice in our drinks, don't we? It's lovely to open the freezer and see ice, ready and waiting for our sodas, our iced tea, our water. Sometimes we just need one tiny cube, to cool our coffee, right? And so the last thing we ever want to see is this:

Who can tell me what this is? That's right! An almost empty ice tray. Believe it or not, this is more commonly found in freezers than the completely empty ice tray.

Okay, let's turn to our work sheet. Everyone have that? Great. There are four steps to eliminating this problem listed; let's see who can guess the order of those steps. First step--anyone? Yes, go ahead.

That's right! Number one: remove tray from freezer. Everyone have that? Good. Now who can guess the second step?

Yes!!! Number two: turn on the water faucet. Very good. Now, who's got the third step---wow! Lots of hands up! You guys are on it! How about you, sir?

Exactly. Number three: refill the tray with water. Because that's the main ingredient in ice, isn't it?

And last---oh, do you have a question?

That is an excellent question. Did everyone hear that? The question was, is it necessary to remove the remaining cubes in the tray? No, that is an optional step. Everyone got that? Optional. You certainly may remove the last cube or two, but it is not necessary to do so to refill the tray with water. Does that make sense? Excellent. So the last step would be...?

That's right, everyone! Number four: return the tray to the freezer. Because that's our other ingredient, isn't it? Cold.

Oh, I see we have another question. Yes?

Another good one. Yes, physicians can refill ice trays. Heck, even administrators can do it! The wonderful thing is, refilling ice trays isn't limited by job title, relative company value OR gender. We are all capable of refilling the trays. When you think about that, isn't that empowering? Yeah. It's great, isn't it?

Oh, another question! I like the way everybody's thinking here!

Ahh. Yes. This come up a lot, but usually not in the workplace master classes. Normally, we get this question in the classes tied to marital counseling. No, you are correct. Beer doesn't need ice, but as we don't normally drink beer on the job, we're all still capable and responsible for the ice supply. At least I hope we're not drinking beer on the job! Ha ha! Boy, that would make for some pretty crazy days in surgery, huh? Ha ha! But good question.

Anything else? Okay, finally, let's look at the consequence list on the second to the last page, before we take our post-class quiz. Ohhh, I know, no one likes the quizzes, but everyone's done so well, I know there will be nothing but high scores!

Hmm? Yes, you do need to pass to get your credit. But don't worry! We'll get you through this. Most of the score is the practical exam, anyway, and I know you can do that.

All right, then. Consequences. Who can name one consequence for not refilling the ice trays? Yes?

Very, very good. We would all have warm drinks. And who wants that? Right. Good. Who can--oh! well, there's a hand waving! Go ahead.

Oh, boy. Did you just say a mouthful. That's right, your female coworkers could lose their grips and kill you. And given that health care is dominated by women ranging in age from child-bearing to menopausal, that might not be a risk any of us wishes to take. I've worked in situations that included a coworker with hot flashes, another with third trimester mood swings and a third with just raging PMS. That's a lot of power in one room, folks.

And who can think of one more? Let me help out with this one. If we constantly leave the ice cube trays for the laboratory personnel to refill, something besides clean, fresh water might make it into the trays. Yeah. Ewwww. No one wants that, do they?

So let's all do our part and what we'll have is this: Okay, let's turn to the page and take our quizzes!


  1. lololol......

    I take it someone isn't doing the common sense thing and refilling when empty scenario.

    Like finding an empty box in the cupboard. Really.

    Do you offer a master class on that? Just wondering.

  2. a box made for freezing water into cubes...BRILLIANT. Almost as brilliant as a box that contains dirty clothes until they are washed--NOT to be mistaken for the floor, or the couch. Or that receptacle that collects garbage, no not the kitchen island itself, but the receptacle that is 2 feet to your left...Hmmmm....fucking brilliant.

  3. *timidly raises hand*
    Um, ma'am-- if I re-fill the tray before it's empty, don't those last four ice cubes become functionally unavailable until the rest of the tray has frozen?

  4. Ah. Yes. Another excellent question. It is true, one does sacrifice the availability of remaining cubes when refilling, but as there are other trays in the freezer, it is okay to refill the nearly empty tray in the meantime. Just place it on the bottom of the ice cube tray stack. And please, DO feel free to take the remaining four ice cubes instead of ignoring the mostly empty tray and reaching for the full one.

    Remember, refilling only take a moment and spreads so much joy!!!

  5. That was freaking hysterical. And of course you know I would love the part about the physicians being "able" to fill the trays. Priceless.
    And wow, you must have a few discourteous ice-hogs at your work!!