We had a speaker at our regular Wednesday trauma meeting today, some administrator who was telling us about new staffing policies for the hospital and how many nurses we’d be losing from the trauma service. She went on and on about the “negative impact of declining reimbursement” and the “projected impact of attrition on staff levels” and the “impact of Obamacare on the ER population” until I wanted to scream. The information was important since it affects the way we will plan for our trauma shifts, but I wanted to shake her and shout, “The word you want is AFFECT.” IMPACT is a physics term.

If I hit you in the nose with a baseball bat, you’ve been “impacted.” If funding for your favorite project is cut, you’ve been “affected.” Somewhere along the way, the bean counters and middle managers decided that using “impact” made their inherently boring talks sexy and more interesting. It’s become such a cliché that no one notices anymore; no one except curmudgeons like me. Rant finished.



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