Waiting and Waiting and Waiting

man-sleeping-in-waiting-roomWhy is it that waiting has become such an integral part of our society?  Hurry up and wait.  It almost doesn’t matter what you’re talking about: waiting for the cable guy to show (between 8:00 and 12:00, yeah right more like 5:30), waiting at the DMV, waiting for a bus, train or plane and of course waiting for the doctor.  As a physician who is, let’s just say, mildly impatient I can’t standing waiting.   So I try my best to not let my patients wait.  If I am running late I try my best to apologize for my tardiness.  But how many physicians do that?

My wife recently took our son to the ophthalmologist.  He’s 6 and has been wearing glasses since he was 3 so the appointments are very important.  When she got there they were made to wait 1 hour (remember my son is 6).  Then when called back to the exam room, no apology.  Not only that but the doctor wanted to dilate my son’s eyes which meant another hour to wait!  Why she didn’t get him in immediate, dilate the eyes then have them wait the hour I’ll never know.  This all makes the assumption that my wife has endless time on her hands that can be used frivolously by anyone.  She doesn’t so my son’s exam wasn’t completed.

But it is a two way street.  I can’t count the number of patients who make me wait.  Late for their appointment, late to arrive for surgery, late on payments etc.  And how often do I get an apology for their lateness?  Maybe 1% of the time.

So why is there such a problem? Respect or rather a lack of respect.  When you make someone wait for you that says “I don’t respect you and I am more important than you.”  You’re not I assure you.  We are all people who put our pants on the same way.  No one person is any more important than another.  We all have our place in life and need to be respected.

So here are some simple rules to follow: 1.  Work backward.  If you know you have to be at a place at a certain time work backward in time to figure out exactly how long it will take to get there then leave a little extra time for unforeseen circumstances.  2.  Call if you’re late  and ask if it would be more appropriate to reschedule  3. Apologize for being late.  It really does go a long way.   4.  Remember that you don’t like to wait so put yourself in the other person’s shoes if you make them wait.

So my plea goes out to all physicians and patients, let’s have a little more civility and respect each other more by being on time.

See Pricing & Financing703.752.6608