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Last updated:
22:07 22-Jul-2005

Copyright 1999-2005
Ian Jefferies
All rights reserved
webmaster
 

Theme Hospital Clinic: Staff

"Pay me me a decent wage or I'll resign and become a computer games programmer!"

Overview

Dr Kildare sets up a delicate operation

Your staff ARE your hospital. They make it run smoothly, keep it clean, and cure the patients: all without complaint. 

Did I say without complaint? Sorry... wishful thinking. Try swallowing this course of meds and you might get close to that ideal. 
 
 

  • Staff types
  • Hiring and firing
  • Unhappy staff, pay demands
  • Training
  •  
     

    Staff types

    The most defining staff characteristic is skill. The higher this is then the quicker a task will be performed, and the quicker he or she will walk through the hospital in response to a page. 

    It is in the best interest of your hospital to get the most highly skilled members of staff. Unfortunately this makes your wage bill higher, but is worth it in the long run. 

    All low skilled staff will be bad mouthed by their description (possibly a liability etc), but all staff can improve in skill if placed in the right environment. In the case of doctors this can be trained out of them as well, far more rapidly than they can pick up skill by working in the hospital. 
     

    Doctors

    Left or right ventricle?

    You can never seem to have enough of these guys, they handle the queues at the GP's office with aplomb, dash off to where they are needed most, and give no cause for patients to sue you for malpractice. 

    Their skill broadly falls into three categories (junior, doctor and consultant), though there is still considerable range within each level. The best thing you can do for yourself is get your juniors and doctors promoted to consultants. You get the added benefit of a consultants' skill at a junior or doctor salary.

    Some doctors come with one or more specialist skills (psychiatry, surgery or research). These are required to operate several of the rooms you will build. 
     

    Nurses

    Take the weight off your feet

    Sometimes overworked, you actually need surprisingly few of them to run your hospital. Demand will swing between requiring all that you've hired and very few of them. 

    They handle the ward, pharmacy and the fracture clinic. They also come in useful when you have an epidemic - assisting in containing it by vaccinating the contagious patients. 
     

    Handymen

    The worlds favourite litter

    These guys make your hospital a place worth visiting and working in. They also repair your machines and save you the expense of buying new ones (for a while at least). 

    You can balance the priority between their three tasks: cleaning up litter, repairing machines, and watering plants. 
     

    Receptionists

    Always a welcoming smile

    You get very little complaint from receptionists: they don't go to the staff room to rest or place unreasonable wage demands on you. Mind you, make sure that they are kept warm or you might start having problems. 

    When two or more receptionists (and associated desks) are placed close together they will handle the same queue. Very useful when your hospital is in peak demand. 

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    Hiring and firing

    Here's your P45
    • hire the best you can
    • make sure you have the right balance of skills in doctors
    • check hireable staff on first day of every month
    • fire only if you can replace with someone better
    • hire juniors to plug gaps or train

    Hiring the right staff for your hospital and budget will make everything run so much more smoothly. In general you want the best possible staff (highest skill level). This can be restrictive on your budget in the early phases of the game, but is beneficial in the long run. 

    Try and pick up two psychiatrists and three surgeons as early as you possibly can. They can be used as ordinary 'unskilled' doctors until you have a demand for the operating theatre or psychiatry. By hiring at least one more than necessary you can keep one well rested in case of heavy demand on a room. 

    If you need to use a research room to develop or improve cures and equipment then it is best to get one started as soon as possible. The more researchers you can get into a room the better, they can be used as a pool of labour in times of heavy demand. 

    All hospitals in the local area draw from the same pool of staff, and new doctors arrive on the first of each month. Sometimes it is worth hiring a junior in the last day or two of a month so that a new doctor (perhaps a skilled consultant!) appears at the start of the next. 

    Firing someone is not an easy decision to make, though there appear to be no repercussions for your reputation or staff happiness. Usually it is best to fire someone when you have a better person to replace them. The only other reason is if they have made an outrageous pay demand (consultants are good at this). 

    Junior doctors are a real liability to the running of your hospital. They take a long time to treat a patient, and even longer to walk around. They are best hired to handle low demand rooms during peak patient periods (while your best doctors handle the high demand rooms), or specifically for training. 

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    Unhappy staff, pay demands

    ...makes the world go round
    • identify problems that create unhappiness
    • keep an eye on the staff pages for trouble
    • staff will become unhappy as they grow tired anyway
    • staff can overwork themselves
    • pay more attention when the boiler fails
    • use bonus payments to temporarily fix problems

    If one of your staff has a happiness level that is lower than about 50% then you have good reason to see what is wrong with them or their environment. There are quite a few things that can cause problems: too hot, too cold, hospital is very dirty, staff rest percentage is set too high, room is small and cramped, low salary.

    One time at which you definately need to check staff happiness is on the first day of each month. They get their monthly salary at this point, and will generally be reminded of how little they work for. Those staff who are tired will usually drop the most morale, but there are factors that complicate matters further that are hard to spot in game play.

    It is wise to check the staff page at least twice per month for problems. If the indicator is below about 50% then go and have a look. If they are too hot or cold then a little icon will be displayed above their head. Remove or add radiators to fix the problem, and give them a short break if you can.

    If the person is too tired (or overworking) then pick them up and place them in a staff room immediately, then try and find a replacement doctor. Keep track of this person and see whether their happiness improves. 

    When the boiler fails watch the staff page more frequently, and either rest or give bonus payments to tide things over. Handymen also have a heat problem: they often wander around in parts of the hospital that haven't been built up yet. Either move them out or block off the area with chairs or a cheap room. 

    If you do find someone close to giving a pay demand, try giving them a bonus payment and resting them while you identify what it is that caused the problem. 

    If you've missed an unhappy staff member you will get a pay demand (consultants demand one that matches their ego!) If the person has a skill you need then strongly consider paying it. Accept higher demands if you badly need their skill, then turf them out when you find a replacement. A 20-30% wage increase is typical, this brings them up to full happiness. 

    Repeated and frequent demands for a pay rise indicate there is a serious problem with your hospital. 

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    Training

    • build a large and well equipped training room
    • quickest way to promote doctors
    • try and find a consultant with psychiatry and surgery
    • generate a large pool of skilled doctors
    • train 2-3 at a time

    Building a large training room that is well stocked with extra items means that doctors will learn their skills more quickly. You need a consultant to train your doctors and juniors. While they are learning specialized skills their overall skill is also increasing, you can turn a junior doctor into a doctor in a short amount of time. 

    Once a doctor has been promoted to consultant he will leave the room (one consultant per training room). If you start training an ordinary doctor then he is unlikely to complete the course. 

    Each doctor learns skills at a different rate. They are best let out when they have graduated all their skills and have an overall skill of 50% or greater. You can use a consultant without special skills to train doctors up to consultancy. 

    Students learn slowly when they are tired, transfer them to the staff room if it looks like they are learning very slowly. 

    Having a large pool of skilled doctors makes management of surgery and psychiatry far easier. Try and find a consultant who has psychiatry and surgery. If you have one with research as well, lock him in the training room! 

    The number of doctors in the room shouldn't be too large - I find 2-3 to be sufficient for rapid promotion. 

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