Wednesday, October 31, 2012

the onion that is France

So last week there was the reprieve, and that's good. We're continuing our efforts to validate our methods in the international-norm-sense of the term, just taking a little breather over the All Saints break.
But at the Cancer Genetics Group meeting in Paris yesterday, our leader showed us the draft of the new texts coming up in parallel to all the other ones. Ready for alphabet soup?
The ABM requires that labs be accredited by the COFRAC to ISO15189 standards, ok we've been over that. Now the ABM is developing a best-practice guidelines document that we have to follow in addition to being accredited. Almost everything in there is stuff we're already required to do for the COFRAC! It goes a little more toward the clinicians prescribing tests, but otherwise it's just another thing to adhere to that we already adhere to anyway.
On top of that, as if one redundancy was not enough, the ABM is developing a guide to help the ARS inspect laboratories too!
Um, why does the ARS have to inspect labs that are already up to snuff with the rather draconian international standard?
What do they even know about inspecting labs? (thus the guide, of course) The ARS is the local body that says that hospitals in the region may exist, and you have to renew that agreement now and then. We send them an activity report every year.
Now they're going to inspect us too? Having audits and reviews is so fun, lets multiply them!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

more not much

wow, that last one was a lame post. Have I ever written worse? Bo-ring. Usually I can get into that particular mood and draw a laugh or something from the surreal experiences of the French Bureaucracy.
This time, I appear to have broken down entirely.
I have become a lifeless drone.
I have become this dull being with pasty white skin and atrophied muscles from staying inside all summer and thus far all autumn, slaving away at work. The walk from my office to my living room is the only exercise I get, aside from the occassional detour to the bridge table.
It isn't raining.
Perhaps I should hike down to the train station & pick up my tickets for next week. It's not a marathon, but it'll get me off my butt.


Well, the stress is off for the rest of the week. The extra stress, that is: all that normal work piled up is still To Do.
I haven't been blogging much about it, but the lab is obliged to earn accreditation soon, and the initial dossier for partial accreditation was due, not a minute past and no exceptions, on Oct 31st. Our Quality Dude decided that our dossier was due this Friday, because next week there's the All Saints' school holiday & he is taking the week off. Ya gotta have your priorities.
So! Friday, huh, for having the Validation des Mèthodes for sequencing finished, and the 18 documents that make up the initial dossier all ready and signed, and all of it in the mail. A tall order, but possible with enough tearing of hair and gnashing of teeth and shivering in anguish and artful dodging and suchlike. Several of the 18 documents refer to other documents that make up our Quality System. Most of those other documents have names, at least the ones high up in the documentary heirarchy. Name, yes, but little else.
Monday morning we discovered that France, in its infinite wisdom and generosity, has changed the calender.
Oh, thank goodness.
What, now, with a week to go?!
Any reprieve is welcome.
The next deadline, the one at the end of May, is maintained. And at that time the various documents not only have to be named, but filled out. So we still have our work cut out for us. It used to be that we'd send an initial dossier now, and the COFRAC would ask for supporting documents as necessary before visiting us and looking us over in person sometime before May 31st. Now we just have until May 31 to send the whole thing.
Right now we're looking over our shoulders to see they're not changing the calender back. They've done that before. Last spring there was a law passed saying the whole thing was moved back two years, and just a week or two later they passed a new law cancelling the one that cancelled the old calendar.
Make up your minds!

We all think that the COFRAC looked up from its paperwork and noticed the gigantic tidal wave of dossiers arriving, all of which had to be gone over & the labs visited in the next 7 months, and realised there was just no way. They're drowning in the dossiers that have already been submitted.
It was certainly our plan to submit at (nearly) the last minute and thus be last-ish on the visit schedule. This is better.
The thing is to not take too much of a breather - just enough for our health - because even May 31 to have everything completed is pretty tight.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Friday the 19th

up: breakfast with vanilla coffee

down: made a (dumb) mistake in one of the reference sequences

down: writing up the non-conformity reports for samples where we didn't find the mutation we were supposed to (not our fault, just little mistakes in how the other lab described them)(but it's "down" because I have to write to those labs and mention I found these errors)

up but down: one of those non-conformity reports can be cancelled. Don't know how that typo got in there, but the sequence is what they said it would be. My bad - never mind.

down: secretaries having a little lunch party to which I am not invited (my office is in the middle of theirs)

up: invited for dessert after all

up: new technique shows signs of working

down: boss wants to know why I'm not part of the national group for mutation evaluation

down: boss wants to know why we're not part of a study I've never heard of

down: boss wants to know if we've included cases in a study I've never heard of

up: secretary agrees the boss needs to realize I'm only one person

up: this last thesis chapter is portable and may be reviewed at home, over a nice glass of wine. Time to go.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

lesson 1: pick up the phone

So yeah, I have this new phone thing. I've become more or less adept at text messages, which I really like. They save me, often, from having to speak on the phone.

For some time, until indeed Sunday before last when I had this comedy of a friend calling me and me not noticing she was calling because I have somehow turned it to 'discreet' mode and do not know how to turn it back, so I would call her back but she was still on the phone leaving me a message I hadn't gotten yet & etc & etc. Then she called again while I was taking a break from figuring out the phone, and I saw the little green handset icon, and I kept pressing it !yes! I want to answer the phone! and nothing kept happening.
I can return a call I receive, that's ok.
But then somebody else happened by, in person thank goodness. So I swallowed all my foolish pride about being an educated person, living in the 21st century and not even the first decade of it, and all, and asked him how to answer the phone.
Ah! you don't just press the green handset thingy, you have to slide it over to the right!
Who'd'a thunk it?
I mean, over to the right of the green handset that's just glowing and throbbing for you to pick up, is an evil red handset with a line through it that I just assumed meant hang up, and I figured that sending the green handset over to the red one meant sending my caller direct to voicemail. So I had avoided all experimentation with that.
But apparently that's how you do it.