I just wanted to see the green light


I work for a very large suicide prevention line associated with a national healthcare provider. To say our training time is strenuous is an understatement because the liabilities are massive. We have 4 weeks of classroom, 2 weeks of classroom and group shadowing combination, a week of individual shadowing, and then at least a week or two of being shadowed individually. During the period of classroom/group shadowing combination, we go into a training code so nobody gets a call. We’re just listening and observing how the actual worker handles the call and documentation, then we return to the classroom to process. During this time, we listen to the call using the softphone but engage with our classroom on Teams.

A buddy of mine worked in training. During the listening phase, the trainers suddenly hear someone speaking over the actual worker. They realize one of the trainees has gone into the actual queue *and is now getting a live call!* It’s worth noting here, the availability at the time would have been 7-10 minutes of waiting for a call to come in, so it’s not an immediate “in and get a call.” They quickly find a qualified staff person to take over the call and move the trainee to process.

Her reasoning for not following the *very explicit* directive not to enter the queue? “I just wanted to see the green light.” That’s it. She potentially put someone at serious risk because she wanted to see a green light. And to boot, she wasn’t even discharged from her job for that! I told my friend she’s a walking liability because she clearly doesn’t appreciate the gravity and seriousness of what some of our calls are, but he wasn’t in a position to argue for her discharge. I have no idea if she lasted on the floor though.


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