Death to PowerPoint and Other Notions

Back again.Yeah, I’ve been away for a while, for reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with writing or blogging. However my unintentional sabbatical has had the benefit of leaving me refreshed and full of ideas and so maybe wasn’t such a bad thing after all. I mean, in the two years I have operated this blog, I’ve written something close to 700 (!) posts, so maybe a break was in order before my brain turned into cranial equivalent of this.

So what have I been doing? A little of this and a little of that, but mostly working at the administrative-type secondment I’ve been assigned to for the past few months. I’ve worked closely with a group of other nurses, which I have been thinking lately resemble the Seven Dwarves. Their names are Pouter, Shouter, Passive-Aggressive, Bashful, Grumpy, Beautiful, Grandma, and of course, we have a Princess as well. (There isn’t an Evil Queen, though I don’t exclude the possibility I may in fact be that person.) Beautiful and Grumpy I don’t see much, and in any case I like and get along with them. Ditto Bashful, Grandma, and Passive-Aggressive. Princess behaves, well, like a princess though she has children old enough to be in university. But she’s a likeable sort and always means well. Pouter is irritating me all to hell; she’s pouting because I, um, spoke harshly to her friend Shouter, who walks around rigidly and inflexibly, like an angry exclamation point.

Shouter is generally tiresome to deal with, to the point where everyone tends to avoid conversation with her — which of  further angers her and makes her even more rigid and inflexible. Also, I don’t exactly like her (though Lord knows I’ve tried) and the feeling is even more reciprocal on her part. Not very constructive, I know, but I’ve concluded that not every relationship needs to be “fixed” — and frankly, this one ain’t worth the time and effort.

All in all, the work is fascinating, but I will be very glad to finish. I am beginning to think I get along better with the cat than I do with most people.

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What else? A few interviews for other, more managerial positions, which in the inimical manner of Acme Regional’s Human Resources Department, have evidently fallen into the Hell of Waiting for an Answer. “Oh,” they say, “we’ll contact you in a few weeks.” I am not sure what machinations HR needs to carry out to spit out an answer, but there it is.

***                     ***                  ***

Death by PowerPoint. I gave my very first PowerPoint presentation to an enthralled group of colleagues on the topic of sepsis, which my employer has discovered to be the worst threat to patient satisfaction metrics since inedible hospital food. (Seriously. One of the reasons given for beating down sepsis rates at Acme Regional is “to increase patient satisfaction.” And here I thought “Not Dying” was sufficient enough.)

This was my presentation, in thirty-three PowerPoint slides:

Sepsis is very bad and many people die from it. We at Acme Regional, in an effort to be accountable and responsive to patient concerns, are determined to crush sepsis like mice under a stampede of rhinoceroses. In history, sepsis was discovered by Louis Pasteur. He was French. Other French people include Charles de Gaulle and Victor Hugo. They died of something else. In conclusion, not all French people die of sepsis. Thank you.

It actually went very well, I didn’t hardly talk about coagulation cascades and endothelial function, and people were very impressed, etc., and asked pertinent questions at the end like they had paid attention. I was pleased. Having sat through approximately a billion PowerPoint presentations in my nursing career, I have come to the conclusion the key for effective presentations involve three simple rules:

1. Less is more.

2. Speak to the slides, not read the slides. (Your audience is literate, right?)

3. Avoid pathophysiology like Yersinia pestis.

Or else, you can can check this out for good measure.

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  1. #1 by Jenn Jilks on Monday 24 October 2011 - 1107

    Missed your posts. You’re right, loathe those PPTs where people read the slides. Especially if English isn’t their first language. Also learned, no more than 7 bullets per slide, stand to the left of the screen, as audience views you, wear colours that compliment your background, or design slide colours around it.
    The less is more is perfect. I loathe the moving graphics, and animations, too.
    cheers from Perth.
    Have you read of my #comforterquest? It’s been a hoot. Also have issues with nurses, hired by for-profits by CCAC. Do not speak truth to power. It involves maggots in client’s wound.

  2. #2 by Cathie from Canada on Monday 24 October 2011 - 1338

  1. Don’t blame PowerPoint – it’s just a vehicle | make a powerful point

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