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True Short Story Inspires Personal Development

This true short story by Jurek Leon reminds us that the opportunity for personal development is available with every encounter, every moment, with every person, every day. It is always up to us to rise to the challenge... or not.

Patient Observations

by Jurek Leon

During a recent spell in hospital there were two tools that I kept close to me at all times. My little pocket notebook and pen, and my dictaphone. This meant that whenever I had an observation or thought it could be recorded. And if I wasn't up to writing anything down, as soon as the nurses or other staff were out of earshot, I could say it into my dictaphone.

As a result, I gathered quite a few patient observations while in hospital.

I'm going to share one with you that has implications for every organisation large or small.

On day 4 or 5 the various tubes stuck into the front and back of me were removed. It was great to be up and about with my tubes out and fascinating to see what went on outside my room.

All the sounds that I'd been hearing now had more meaning.

Walking round the two corridors in my ward and the ward next to mine, I noticed something happening (or failing to happen) on both the morning and the afternoon shift. At reception and in the corridor as I shuffled along, I would be met with eye contact and smile by any member of staff who previously had been in contact with me. If they didn't know me... blank.

Actually, looking back, that's true of the nursing staff and doctors but not of the support staff. On every occasion I was met with eye contact and a smile by support staff as they went about their work.

Doing the rounds ever so slowly in a true softshoe shuffle on my first walk by myself, I had three different nursing staff blank me out. One actually had to swerve to avoid me as she rushed round a corner, yet there was still no acknowledgment.

Then in the lounge waiting area situated outside the lifts I noticed there were some plaques up on the wall; the sort that organisations put their mission statement and other grand corporate statements on. One of them had wonderful words. Here's what it said:

Every Encounter Is An Opportunity

Every interaction with patients at any stage in their journey provides us with an opportunity to exceed their expectations.
  • Every encounter.
  • Every moment.
  • Every person.
  • Every day.

Now, I don't know if this was one of those typical things that senior management put together at one of their corporate love-ins or whether or not the staff were actively involved in coming up with these wonderful words. Either way, quite a number of people weren't living them on a daily basis - which is sad not just for their customers, the patients, but also for themselves. Sad because living these words would help them to feel better about themselves and certainly help their patients and colleagues feel better about themselves too.

Words are just words until we choose to live them.

Jurek Leon is a storyteller, trainer and customer experience designer. Subscribe to Jurek's FREE monthly 'Terrific Tips' e-newsletter at www.terrifictrading.com. Alternatively, email: info at terrifictrading.com

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