Customer Care for the Sick

I am sitting at my desk fighting a fever for the past day and a half filling up a waste basket with used tissue while thinking about what I should blog about.  My latest encounter with customer experience happened yesterday at the local urgent care center.  Some people may think that customer service is not necessary in a health care setting.  You are sick, injured, whatever and you need their services, so you wait forever in a room full of other sick people only to be shuffled into another room where you wait some more. These people would be incorrect.  With all of the choices for doctors and clinics you would think that there is no better setting to showcase your customer service talents.

Yesterday, I thought I may be experiencing the bad kind of service because after waiting in the lobby for about 1/2 hour, I was brought into a room where I was told that the attending physician was with a patient, then he had lunch scheduled, then 3 other people to see before me. Normally I wouldn’t be phased by this because I could make a choice whether or not to stay but in my condition, choices were limited.  With pain in my voice and a tear in my eye, I asked the nurse if she was serious because I had a fever, hadn’t been able to drink or eat anything since entering the center and didn’t feel as though I would last another hour and a half.  At this point the nurse, took my temperature (101.5degrees) gave me a glass of water, two ibuprofen and a blanket and tried to make me comfortable during my wait.  True, I would have rather seen the doctor earlier but in reality I understand that people need to eat and that I wasn’t the only patient waiting for him. The nurse’s small acts of kindness completely changed my attitude towards the experience and I went to sleep for the next hour.

Sometimes it is small things that make a difference in one’s experience.  It is easy to get stuck in the notion that you are doing your job and that niceties are extra work, but remember that next time I or another family member gets sick, I will remember that they were concerned with my comfort at this center and will return when necessary.



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