Friday, September 16, 2011

User Error

For three years I worked in my hospital's computer department.  I had been "loaned" to them, much as one department loans another an IV pump or a pulse oximeter.  It was a challenging and stimulating time during which I learned much that I use to this day.

One of my duties was to take calls from the nurses in the hospital on computer problems.  Over fourteen
laptopImage by utnapistim via Flickryears ago, our nurses were new then to computerized documentation and to dealing with computers on a large scale in their workplace.  When one of the laptops they used for charting would not do what they wanted it to, I would often hear the same thing, "It's broken."  No detail would be given because many of them just didn't understand it enough to give me any detail.

The great majority of the time when I heard this, the issue actually ended up to be what is called "User error".  Which simply means the person using the computer did something wrong to receive the error message or lack of response they did. (I can't tell you how many times the problem was simply that the computer needed to be turned on.)

It was often impossible to convince the staff that "User error" could be the problem, however.  They believed and expected the computers to break, to malfunction and to just be ornery and hateful to them.  I learned it was futile to try to convince them of the "User error", so I would just go about fixing the problem.  They began to call me even when I wasn't on call.  In fact, even after I had stopped working in the computer department and returned to Labor & Delivery, one nurse in another unit called L&D one night to get my home phone number.

"She knows how to fix our computers," the frantic nurse told our L&D night shift nurse.  I was so glad our  nurse knew better than to give out my home phone number (which would have then been posted in nursing units throughout the hospital).  She protected me and I appreciated it.

The nurses would have been much better off if they had adopted the attitude that the computer doesn't usually malfunction, that it isn't really ornery or out to get them.  I have been able to help facilitate this attitude in L&D and I frequently hear "I don't know what I'm doing wrong" instead of "This computer is broken!"

Sometimes when we open the Scriptures we read things we don't understand or can't explain.  We are so much better off if at the very beginning we confess to the Lord that we agree with the Bible when it says,  that "The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times," (Psalms 12:6).

We are better to believe the problem is not with the Scriptures, but with our limited understanding.  I have often heard it said that the Bible is the only book which comes "with it's Author", and we know the desire of the Lord is that we understand and apply His Word to our lives.  So if we find a passage that is difficult or confusing to us, let us follow the advice of the Apostle James:

 "If any of you lack wisdom,
 let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, 
and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." 
James 1:5 
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