We’ve all had the frustrating experience of counting the minutes as we sat and waited much longer than anticipated to see the doctor. The remedy for how not to wait at the doctor’s office? Mandi Randall, office manager at the Toledo Clinic, offers the following tips for all patients who struggle with losing their patience, starting with scheduling doctor’s appointments in the first place …
1. Be realistic
Think: Society in general tries to cram thirty hours of work into a twenty-four-hour day. Patients often schedule appointments on top of other appointments and then become frustrated if something gets thrown off track.
Do: Always leave enough wiggle room for the unexpected wait between appointments. What to do with that occasional “extra” time? Remember to bring time fillers: read a book, write bills, or even better, compose a long overdue thank you note to someone.
2. Don’t wait until the last minute
Think: People frequently wait until the last minute to call for an appointment or prescription refill and then become frustrated when they are not accommodated accordingly. From an office standpoint, extenuating circumstances are understood. However, it is very frustrating when a patient calls last minute with a request that should have or could have been addressed sooner.
Do: Write on your daily/weekly calendar prompters to call far in advance for both new appointments and refills on prescriptions.
3. Be understanding of others and their situations
Think: It is difficult when someone is in pain or in a hurry to think of other people, but patients need to realize that doctors often run behind because they have had an emergency add-on or someone else needed a longer appointment. If patients can step back and understand that somebody else was in greater need on that particular day, it would ease tensions all around.
Do: Don’t presume or assume; ask an office staffer for an update. When you better understand, it’s easier to wait with good grace.
4. Communicate with courtesy
Think: Common courtesy and honesty goes a long way (as in life in general). Unfortunately, some patients think being difficult is what works most efficiently. While this may produce a one-time desired immediate result, it is not worth the long-term compromising of one’s relationships and reputation as a reasonable patient.
Do: Picture yourself in the professional’s place and offer them the same level of respect, goodwill, and graciousness you’d hope others would extend to you.
At day’s end, we can’t rest easy knowing we’ve traded caring communication for getting what we wanted in our time, our way, and at any cost. Commit to communicate carefully in these situations, and you may discover how not to wait at the doctor’s office.