As someone who has had experience in process redesign; organizational development; and coaching, I get curious about my experience and noticing what is happening within me and outside of me to contribute to that. This one instance, when I was finally ushered into the examination room, the physician proceeded to apologize for my wait (great!); inform me he’d get me out of the room as soon as possible (wait a minute… you’re the reason I came!); and proceeded to badmouth his front desk staff (whoa: I’d like to have confidence in the team I’ve chosen to see).
As he didn’t even sit down during our discussion, my perception was that he was more concerned with time and less concerned about me. I am sure that this has happened to you, whether you’ve been on the receiving end as patient or client, or on the providing end as frustrated and good-hearted clinician.
Believe it or not, this experience had such an impact on me that I felt compelled to write a letter offering feedback, which I knew may or may not be read; may or may not be seriously considered; may or may not impact insight and change. Still, as a coach, I felt that I wanted to provide that possibility and complaining to my friends would not serve any benefit for anyone else. Perhaps you will find the tips that I offered that physician helpful:
- Offer a Simple Apology Everyone’s time is valuable. The apology was spot on and received as empathic and respectful.
- Breathe, Get Present, Get Curious, and Listen Recognize that you, as provider and “expert,” are the main attraction. I want to know that you are totally dedicated to my needs at that time. The simple question of: “What do you most need to get from our visit today?” would have saved us time and provided me the message that the visit was “all about me.”
- Manage Up I also want to have confidence in the entire team from whom I’m receiving care. If you have frustrations with the process, then you address those off line. In any service, speaking ill about anyone else in your system reflects poorly on you and can easily result in people leaving your system/ practice.