Years ago I was invited to present a talk on Patient-Doctor Communications to a group of specialists. I was just one speaker during a many-day conference for thousands of doctors who had come in from all over the world.
Imagine my surprise when I was assigned to a large room, set up for 300 or more attendees. And imagine my even bigger surprise when it was standing room only! What on earth? Me? Why would so many people care what I had to say?*
The even bigger surprise came about as I began speaking. I was setting the stage for them to walk into the exam room where the patient was waiting, with two pieces of advice: First, that they check that their nametags were turned out so the patient could read them (because, you know how often then are turned backwards and can’t be read?) And second, that they NOT be reading a chart or paperwork as they walk into the room. Instead they should look their patient in the eye, then introduce themselves, “Hello. I’m Dr. So-and-So,” then wait for a moment while the patient replied with her or his name.
The surprise? That, immediately, half the attendees wrote that down! I watched them as their heads bowed to their notes and their pens began in earnest to record my words. I was floored.
This week’s TIP is a reminder to us all – including myself! – because it’s too easy to violate this one word action step.
I cite it today because I was actually guilty of failing to do this myself – and then had to apologize, and fix the problem, a problem which, had I paid attention, would not have happened. I wasted her time, my time, and it took far more effort to fix the problem than it would have taken had I not made the error.
Fortunately the person I had not properly helped was understanding – much appreciated of course. But believe me, I’ll be far more careful in the future!
And hopefully, after reading this post, you will, too.
That one word action step is….
Does your practice focus on working with an older folks? Patients, caregivers, adult children… If your work or marketing targets people over the age of 50 or 55, then this tip is for you.
Because… you may be sending them away without even realizing how or why – or importantly – what you can do instead.
When I have a good meal at a restaurant, I leave a good tip. I remember back to my college days when I waited tables between classes and studying… I know how much a good tip meant to me then. You may have had the same experience!
When we work with clients to provide life, health, and money-saving service, they don’t leave us a tip, of course. We bill them, and they pay us. But for most, their gratitude goes so far beyond what paying the bill can ever relay. That gratitude is sometimes shared in a phone conversation, or by a personal note, or even when they pass on our business cards to friends and family.
Further, most would do anything they could to thank you in a much grander way than just a quick thank you.
So let’s tap into that wish.
This is October. It appears the world has turned PINK in the name of breast cancer… as if someone spilled a lifetime supply of Pepto Bismol and it coated the world.
The breast cancer PWB (powers that be) have done a remarkable job with this branding of pink and breast cancer since their first year of pink in 1985. All that PINK does an extraordinary job of raising awareness for breast cancer research and its fundraising.
And thus – October spells “breast cancer.”
So what does that have to do with your advocacy practice?