A recent hospital visit reminded me of a few things and how important it is to observe so that we can both learn and confirm.
The first example came after I had decided to visit the cafeteria for a hot cup of coffee. A seemingly considerate, young gentlemen that worked at the hospital was passing me in the hall and politely asked 'how are you'? My pre-conditioned response was simply ... 'good, thanks' and then immediatley my mind recalled the story of the dad on the train with the three young children who were running around, yelling, screaming, and the dad just sat in a daze staring at the subway tunnel lights not seeming to care at all about his unruly children. A few fellow 'caring' passengers made eye contact and traded looks of disgust at this parent who didn't care about the way his children were acting.
One of the 'concerned' passengers finally couldn't take it any longer and sternly asked the dad if he was going to get his children under control as they were disturbing several other passengers. The dad snapped out of his daze and apologized for his lack of attention and poor behavior as they had just left the hospital that afternoon where their sickly mother had passed away. He collected his children up and held them close as the deeply embarrased, 'concerned citizen' shrunk into their seat, lowered their head, and stared at the floor.
So, this young polite gentlemen had really asked me a loaded question ... 'how are you'? He was intending no ill will at all but here I was in a hospital, and he having no idea whatsover of my current circumstances. Thankfully, my hospital visit is merely for my wife's minor surgery and all has gone well.
A good reminder to me that it's important to understand the circumstances before assuming a position.
My second observation was in the cafeteria itself. Gossip can be such a cancer in anyone's life and especially at work. We work hard at InteractRV to promote a no gossip policy. negative's should always go up and positives should always go down. A group of nurses were sitting next to my table and I coudln't help but listen into their conversation, believe me I didn't have to strain my ears too hard at all. 75% of their conversation was about other people or their working conditions and I'm pretty confident that none of them was hte 'supervisor' so their concerns weren't going up. Made me grateful for my team and their desire to keep gossip out of their conversations.
My last observation came from the processes during surgery to make those in the waiting room comfortable and confident with how their loved one's surgery is going. When I arrived at the waiting area I was greeted by a receptionist who took our info and promptly handed me a pager to carry with me that worked anywhere in the hospital and was a way to reach me if I was needed at all before, during, or after the surgery. So about 30 minutes after my wife headed to the OR my pager goes off summoning me to the desk where I have a phone call from the OR nurse letting me know she fell asleep fine and the doctor is about to begin.
An hour later I get another buzz, summons, and again over the phone the OR nurse lets me know she is being moved to recovery and the doctor will be out to give me an update soon. Needless to say I was impressed. Was it completely necessary? Did it probably increase my health care costs? Do either of those questions matter when a loved one is in surgery?
A good confirmation and reminder to me that the little things we do for our clients, even if they cost a little more, are worth it.
I truly didn't expect to learn anything this morning at the hospital, but that's what I get for observing ... we should all try it a little more:)