Respect is a necessary component of any high-performing organization. It contributes to creating a healthy environment where patients are treated as individuals and members of health care teams are engaged, collaborative, and dedicated to service. People perform better, are more innovative, and are more resilient in a respectful culture. On the other hand, a lack of respect stifles teamwork and undermines individual performance. It can also lead to poor patient interactions.
Picture this…You are at a medical office. You’re sitting in a crowded waiting room for 30+ minutes, and then you get called back only to wait for another 15 or so minutes. The provider comes in only to spend 5-10 minutes with you, and most of that time, her face is on the computer, not on you. You leave feeling like a number, not a person. We’ve all been there.
Now picture this…You arrive for your appointment, the first face you see is your provider, and she brings you back right on time (sometimes we do need a few minutes grace). She gives you her undivided attention for a minimum of 30 minutes. You leave feeling heard and with a plan.
I don’t know anyone who would choose the first scenario over the second.
What do you look for in a healthcare provider? How do you know that they genuinely care about you?
While I don’t want to discount expertise and knowledge, trust and connection can mean more to your outcomes when it comes to health and wellness. When a client comes to see me, I first want to hear about their history and importance. I don’t immediately jump into treatment because I need to understand you and establish that I genuinely want to help. That’s not what you typically see in the healthcare setting. I share my cell phone number with my clients and follow up the next day or 2.
I know what it’s like to feel like a number in a medical office. I switched providers late during pregnancy because I was tired of seeing multiple physicians. I had to repeat each visit because it was either someone new or didn’t remember me. That doesn’t make good healthcare.
Respect for our patients is equally, if not more important.
One of the most frequently mentioned forms of disrespect by patients is simply failing to attend to their needs, either by leaving them unattended or ignoring them. Consider how this affects how patients are greeted by your front staff, treated in the emergency department, or appear lost in the halls. All patients deserve to be treated with dignity and to have their worth as individuals recognized.
We demonstrate respect by considering our patients’ time (e.g., striving to provide timely service and apologizing when we fail to do so). The physical environment that we create for patients reflects our regard for them. Our ability to maintain privacy, cleanliness and a quiet environment speaks volumes. When we ask for permission to enter a patient’s room, ask how they want to be addressed, and explain who we are and what we plan to do, we respect them as individuals. Respect also includes expressing gratitude to our patients for entrusting us with their care. A simple thank you can go a long way.
Treating others as we would like to be treated is a substantial competitive advantage and the right thing to do. We are all responsible for ensuring that our healthcare settings exhibit the utmost respect, collegiality, and professionalism at all levels. This necessitates a zero-tolerance policy for inappropriate behavior and holding one another accountable.
The staff here at Anchor Wellness Center pride ourselves on making our clients feel important and heard. Our treatment model allows us to spend the needed time with our clients. You are a person, not a medical record or a $.
About the author:
Chelsea Walter, PT, DPT is a Doctor of Physical Therapy with a special interest on treatment of spinal conditions. She graduated from Saint Louis University in 2014 with her Doctorate of Physical Therapy and completed undergraduate work at the same institution. From 2018 to 2019, she was a post-graduate resident with the McKenzie Institute where she achieved certification in the McKenzie Method of Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy (MDT) and board certification in orthopaedics (OCS). Chelsea enjoys working with clients who are active in the gym or with recreational sports. She has led an active lifestyle from early on in life and enjoys hiking, travel, and spending time with family.
Growing up with a mom who’s a fitness professional, exercise was a very normal part of her life. She spent her younger years going to the gym with her Mom and playing sports. As she grew older, she enjoyed volunteering her time to work with younger kids with disabilities introducing her to the world of physical therapy. It seemed to be the perfect fit for her. Once she was in PT school, she figured out she was better suited at working with teenagers and adults, and the rest is history.
Chelsea love treating clients with back and neck issues, especially when clients have tried a lot of other treatments without much success. She love working with clients who want to avoid more invasive procedures and are invested in their overall health.
Her mission is to keep people active and pain-free and spread the word about what the profession of physical therapy can do!