Friday, I lumbered into my Doctor’s office, well before my appointment time @ 10:30 was scheduled, I might add, because I believe in being before an appointment. After checking in, having to fill out yet another dumb form required by BCBS, and paying my $35 co-pay, I was summoned into the depths of the Doctor’s office by the nurse calling my name. (I mean…who wants to hear their name yelled to one and all? Everyone’s eyes dart to you, glaring as if you are the most evil person on Earth for daring to be seen before them!)
The room wasn’t ready, but in fact, a patient was still in it! I was weighed, and waited for 5 minutes. Rarely do we spend more than 45 minutes, total, between the waiting room and the exam room. I might also mention that there are only 5 exam rooms, and the clinic is in a school. The nurse lead me into the room, and seemed extremely flustered. The bed had no paper on it, so after she told me to sit in the chair, she rushed out to find some, only to come back a few minutes later, her arms laden down with 4 rolls of exam paper. She threw 3 of them under the counter, and quickly put one onto the bed. She ran right back out of the room, again. She didn’t return for about 10 minutes, then proceeded to ask me the same questions that I had been asked last time I was there. I kinda took exception to the mental health questions, which are subtly buried in your regular health questions, but…I answered them all truthfully. Then, she said,
“The Doctor will be here in a minute!” yelling cheerfully, as she ran out the door.
All of this took, maybe 15-20 minutes – still abnormally long. I pulled out my iPhone, and began to read the book I’d started the day before. I was so engrossed, I didn’t really pay attention to the time, until about 30 minutes later, I happened to look at the clock, and no one had come in to see me. About that time,the nurse stuck her head into the room to see if it was empty, so she could get it ready for the after lunch rush. She started to leave, when she saw me in the corner. Surprise was on her face.
“Are you still waiting???” Her voice kept rising into the treble clef.
“Yes. I’m still waiting,” I answered.
“I have no idea what happened! I’ll get someone in here!” And, she left.
I heard one of the Drs. Speaking to a patient in the next room. I realized that it was the woman who had come into the office 10 minutes after I had. Now, it is possible that her appointment was earlier than mine, but if so, she was horribly late. Finally, I heard the Dr. leave, and I thought for sure, he’d be in my room next. So, I began to read again. After another 15 minutes, I really needed to go. Her face was even MORE shocked that I was still in the room.
“I am so, so sorry! I have no idea what happened! He’ll be with you in a minute!”
So, I used the facilities, and shuffled back to the room – only to wait another 10 minutes, before he finally showed his face. Just before he did show up, I had decided I had to leave to get to work. I was losing my time and money attached to that time! So, I was going to go to the receptionist, tell her that I needed to reschedule, but that I had already paid my $35, and had been sitting in the room for 1 1/2 hours, and they could just use that co-pay for the reschedule. (Yeah. Right. We ALL know that would happen!)
While he didn’t apologize, he was the most subdued I have ever seen. My Doctor talks up a storm! Loves to shoot the bull! I needed to get back to work.
So, how valuable was my time? About less than 9 minutes worth, because that’s all the time the At Dr. was with me. I had sat for 1 1/2 hours – mostly in the exam room, in a Dr’s. Office with only 5 exam rooms, forgotten, and then, no apology? I guess he thought the nurse apologized, so that was enough.
After I grabbed a quickie lunch, I drove to the office, luckily not speeding. Oh, but I wanted to speed! I was stewing over the fact I had not only sat and waited and been forgotten at the office, but no apology by the Dr.
So, over the weekend, I began wondering…Just WHOSE time was more valuable? Is it the person who keeps their appointment on time? Or is the doctor’s more important, because he has a title after his name? What about the person who keeps their appointments on time in any venue, but because the person they may be seeing has a title after their name, they feel it entitles them to keep you waiting as long as they want just because of that title?
What is the answer? The correct answer is: It depends on who is the person and who is the professional. Which one is the late one? If the person is late, then it is the professional’s time. If the Professional makes so many appointments, they cannot get to the person’s appointment on time, it is the person’s time. Being a professional with some kind of title behind, or in front, of your name, does not mean you are entitled to do whatever you want to whoever is your appointment. It does not entitle you to make the person “wait” just because of “who I am”. Likewise, the person is not entitled to be late to an appointment, only to demand to be seen on time.
The old argument that “well, the professional went to school for years to learn his business” does not fly in the face of R U D E. If the person cannot get there on time, then either leave early, or reschedule.
If the professional cannot get to the appointment on time, then do not keep the person waiting forever! That person may be an hourly employee, and is losing THEIR money and THEIR time!
And, for goodness sakes! If an employee of yours goofs up, just admit it and apologize!
So, on Friday, I figured up my loss against the Doctor’s gain.
- Doctor made $35 = 9 minutes of work after forgetting I was there
- LK LOST $55 = 3 1/2 hours of work I missed because I was forgotten
Apology is all that is needed, but if you are so high up on your own self-pedastal that you cannot show simple common courtesy and respect just because someone doesn’t make as much money as you do, then you shouldn’t be in business at all.
So, back to the time…my time is no less valuable than my Doctor’s time. When I am at work, my patient’s times is no less valuable than my own time. Lesson over.