As Receptionists we all at times have “difficult” customers to deal with. It almost comes with the job. It’s how you handle the situation that is most important.
As a Medical Receptionist you have to take into consideration that patients might be difficult due to many different reasons. They could be feeling poorly, worried, anxious, they could have mental issues or they could be worrying about a loved one. Patients are very different to customers in so many different ways and medical Receptionist are always fully aware of this.
But, there is a limit to the rudeness that a Receptionist should expect to take. I witnessed a patient recently approach the reception desk. The receptionist was very pleasant and approached the patient with a smile saying “good morning” and “how can I help you” She certainly didn’t receive a good morning or a smile back, but instead a very angry and aggressive man demanding, yes demanding that she get a prescription done NOW for him for his heart tablets as he had “run out”.
He thrust his repeat prescription at her and told her to get it done. I could see the smile fixed on her face while politely said “let me see what I can do for you”. The Receptionist typed into the computer and explained to the patient that 3 of the 4 items on the repeat slip where not actually due for another 10 days. The patient flailed up and started shouting at the Receptionist demanding she do the script for his heart tablets. He wanted them NOW.
The receptionist again explained that 3 out of the 4 that he had ticked on the repeat were not due and the computer therefore would not allow her to request them. He started shouting and telling her how useless she was. He continued shouting telling her that it didn’t matter about the “other items” but he needed his heart tablets.
The Receptionist quietly asked the patient which ones where the heart tablets as she explained that she wasn’t medically qualified to know which ones where the heart ones. He then snatched the slip out of her hand whilst stabbing his finger on the slip of paper shouting “this one – it’s this one”.
The Receptionist then entered something onto the computer and said that she had requested the tablets and the doctor would sign the script electronically later on that morning and advised the patient that he could collect it from the pharmacy later on that afternoon.
You would have expected the patient to have given the Receptionist a “thank you” of some kind. No – that didn’t happen. The Receptionist had gone out of her way to ensure that the patient had not gone without his heart medication, ignoring the fact that the patient had not allowed the usual 48 hours for a repeat to be done and therefore putting his own health at risk and instead of a simple thank you as he turned to leave the surgery he shouted how useless everyone was at the surgery and how it had gone down hill recently.
I wondered to myself what it would have taken for this patient to actually have been happy as I felt that the Receptionist handled the situation exceptionally well.
I looked at the Receptionist as the patient left the building, she looked deflated, and almost ready to burst into tears.
Yet had she had said one wrong word to this patient, let alone explain that he shouldn’t have left it until he had run out to request his repeat I suspect she would have been hung drawn and quartered. She was in a no win situation.
Another patient came into the surgery and the Receptionist smiled and carried on……….
So, for all you Receptionists that go over and above your call of duty to help difficult patients and keep smiling – well done.
Anyone that has ever thought that a Doctors Receptionist has a “cushy little number” should read this article. It’s extremely well written and from the heart.
Every single Doctors Receptionists will agree, read this and say “that’s exactly how my day goes” There is never any let up.
I have said it before and will say it again, Doctors Receptionists are worth their weight in gold and so much more. They often work long hours for more often than not the minimum wage – but the love the job keeps them going.
Fantastic article and well worth a read.
I was approached by another national newspaper last week The Daily Mirror to do a piece on the bad publicity that GP Receptionists are getting recently in the press lately.
As anyone that reads my blog will know that I am not only passionate about good patient care, but also I am very protective of the Receptionists who do a very difficult and at times very stressful jobs.
The reporter more or less took me through what she wanted to write and for most of this she wrote what I had said correctly all apart from point no 2. DON’T PHONE JUST TURN UP.
I didn’t quote this and I never would. I even had a lengthy conversation with her stating that this was not an ideal solution as someone coming and presenting themselves at the surgery would not get them an appointment over someone who telephoned. If the Receptionists have appointments they will offer them – if they haven’t got any appointments free then someone standing there in front of them will not magic one up out of thin air! This would then annoy the patient and this is where they can often get the bad publicity from.
Every surgery have their own system in place for appointments, but I am confident that there will be very few if any that would suggest that patients turn up for emergency appointments rather than telephone.
The two articles I recently did for two national newspapers I did was purely to stand up for all GP Receptionists.
I never receive any payment for these articles I did it purely to stand up for all GP Receptionists and the great jobs they do, often going over and above their job description to help patients.
Here is the article – which again is a great support for all GP Receptionists across the country but again I would like to point out that I did not quote No 2.
Sadly because of this I will feel very reluctant in the future to do any more articles.
The Daily Mail Newspaper run a story last week sharing patient stories about rude and unhelpful Doctors Receptionists are and how patients couldn’t get appointments. Any Doctors Receptionist will tell you how difficult their job can be. Lack of appointments, demanding patients wanting prescriptions without waiting the required 48 hours and often working short-handed due to staff holidays or sickness.
Along with making appointments and dealing with prescriptions, patient enquiries, requests from the doctors and hospital requests they are often dealing with a death of a patient, sometimes a child that they might have dealt closely with on a daily basis. A bereavement of a patent does have a big impact on the Reception team. They also deal with terminally ill patients ensuring that their needs are et.It can indeed be a very tough job.
In response to the article some of the Receptionists have given their “side” and tell how often they take abuse from the patients. This does happen as I have witnessed it myself and have had many receptionists sharing horror stories with me about the way they have been treated.
Every Receptionist deserves the appropriate training when it comes to dealing with some of these issues.
Here are some of the issues Receptionists are faced with on a daily basis. Follow the link below
We have all been shocked by the sad news of the nurse Jacintha Saldanha in London who sadly took her life after a hoax call.
Many Receptionists and Nurses have no doubt thought of the sad incident and run through their mind how they would have dealt with such a call. I know I have.
We all know the importance of patient confidentiality – it is vital that patient information is protected and only shared with those on a need to know basis.
But, many of you reading this will think back to an incident whereby it has been difficult to deal with such a call – but it is how you deal with it that is the most important – and more importantly is how you have the knowledge and ability to deal with such calls. This comes with experience, training and support from the organisation that you work…
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A friend of mine had to go for an X-Ray yesterday at his local hospital. The hospital is in the process of going through some building work and many of the departments have been moved around – so finding the X-Ray department was somewhat of a challenge.
He followed the temporary signs to the X-Ray department and upon arrival asked the Receptionist if he was in the right place.
He was quite surprised by her attitude, he was made to feel as if he was a nuisance, and an inconvenience for being there. She replied quite abruptly that he was, took his referral letter and told him to take a seat.
At no time did the Receptionist give him eye contact, smile or show any signs of any customer care.
He sat and waited. There were another 4 people in the waiting room.
A nurse came out and called his…
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