Thursday was the end of a three-month pilot program to test uniformly colored uniforms at Central Maine Medical Center.
The program was launched Dec. 1 to test patient response to same-colored uniforms on 250 nurses and certified nursing assistants to better identify — by visually separating — these workers from the collage of other health care workers.
CMMC is joining a national trend toward uniformity to promote professionalism and easy identification of varying levels of hospital staffs. And, according to Sharron Seilman, vice president of nursing at the Lewiston hospital, participants in the pilot like the idea and patients have responded well.
There has been some grumbling about the cost of buying replacement uniforms, which seems a legitimate concern for cash-strapped employees, but scrubs wear out quickly and employees have to regularly replace them anyway, so if administrators stick to the plan to roll out this concept by department, there’s time to plan the expenditure.
At a trade show last week, the New England uniform buyer for SuperShoes was already hard at work displaying the new CMMC colors, to good reviews.
This shift toward uniformity is not a whim. It’s a clinically-tested shift to help patients quickly identify a nurse when they need one.
Sounds like good medicine.
Who names storms, anyway?
The National Weather Service started naming tropical cyclones — hurricanes and typhoons — in 1950 using what USA Today called a “downright bureaucratic” system.
In 1950, forecasters relied on the international phonetic alphabet from A (able) to Z (zulu) to better identify and more quickly report the location of one or multiple fast-moving storms.
Three years later, NWS added women’s names to the mix, and then started alternating male and females names in 1979, according to a USA Today report.
Today, the World Meteorological Organization selects the names (although Bob, David and Frederick will never be used again because hurricanes that bore these names were so destructive), but still name only hurricanes.
Anything else — like snowstorms — comes from the far less bureaucratic efforts of the Weather Channel.
Last week’s storm — on the heels of Storm Nemo — was called “Q,” as in the phonetic Quebec.
Quebec received less than 8 inches of snow in last Saturday’s storm called “Q.”
Maine received over 14 inches in some regions.
Maybe the storm should have been called “M.”
It’s just as marketable and recognizable as “Q.”
The NWS has made it clear it doesn’t approve of the Weather Channel using non-government-sanctioned names and has gone as far as asking other forecasters not to play along, but the fact is, the cable network started naming winter storms for the very same reason the NWS started naming tropical cyclones.
According to a statement from the network, "Our goal is to better communicate the threat and the timing of the significant impacts that accompany these events. ...The fact is, a storm with a name is easier to follow, which will mean fewer surprises and more preparation."
And, if the public gets more notice about a pending storm because of a catchy name, and public safety is approved, maybe a name is more than a name. Maybe, as the NWS has seen, a name is an attention-getter.
And that’s a good thing.
You gotta love a dog that can fend for itself.
A yellow Lab, believed to have strayed from its Windham home, has spent the winter months in Auburn, camping out in the woods and breaking into trashcans to dine. That takes some determination, and some smarts.
Not unlike the carefree cartoon cast of Disney’s Oliver & Co., an Oliver Twist-inspired movie about hobo dogs and the comforts of a good home.
Thanks to the efforts of Washington Avenue residents and Animal Control Officer Wendall Strout, the friendly Lab was brought in from the cold on Wednesday and Humane Society officials are working to find its owner.
Nothing like a happy ending.
Walt Disney would be proud.
The opinions expressed in this column reflect the views of the ownership and the editorial board.