If there was one key to happiness in love and life and possibly even success it would be to go into each conversation you have with this commandment to yourself front and foremost in your mind, “Just Listen” and be more interested than interesting, more fascinated than fascinating and more adoring than adorable.
Sometimes I see a quote like the one above, I write it down and then email it to myself and stick it away in a folder in my email account. That’s exactly what I did with the quote above.
I was reminded of the importance of the quote just last week. Part of my role within the organization is to field and respond to patient concerns. Note that I didn’t say complaints. I’ve found over time that more often than not patients have concerns, not complaints. The service we provide is very technical, it’s confusing and quite often our patients are anxious. They are either sick, in pain or recovering from a test or procedure. Even when we do our best to help them understand it’s easy to see why things get lost in translation. After all, they have other things on their mind, things like the health of themselves or a loved one.
I had a patient in my office last week and she was voicing a concern. After talking with me for several minutes she smiled and said “Thank you for listening, I feel better all ready”. I asked her what I needed to do to follow-up on her concern and she said “nothing, I just needed to talk to someone”. I shook her hand, gave her my card and asked her to call me if there was anything else I could help her with. I also asked her for her contact information and she gave it to me.
The next day I called her to tell her I appreciated meeting her and to see if there was anything else I could do for her. She proceeded to tell me a story about her father who passed away one year ago yesterday. She said that he had received care at GVMH during his illness and the care was great but it has been hard for her to visit the facility since because it brings back memories of his illness. She acknowledged that the concern she shared with me the day before was really a result of the difficult day she was having on the anniversary of her father’s death. After she shared her story she ended by saying “thank your for listening”.
A few days later I received a card in the mail after opening it I found it was from the same patient I’d spoken with on the phone a couple of days earlier. Here’s the message she wrote to me “On a day when I needed someone to talk to you were there for me. Thank you for listening. I will never be afraid to visit GVMH again because I know there’s someone there who will listen to me when I need to talk”.