Thursday, March 3, 2011

Oh well if your calendar says so...

A patient walks in to the office yesterday more than 2 hours early for their appointment.  In an effort to keep the peace in our waiting room, the receptionist called her to the front window to let her know she was there early in case they wanted to get the hell out of the office a bite to eat until their actual appointment time.

"I just wanted to let you know that your appointment isn't until 2:30.  If you want you can go out to eat or maybe do some shopping until then.  You're welcome to wait if you'd prefer, but there are other people scheduled ahead of you and I can't promise you'll be seen before that time."  She said all of this very politely and with her usual gentle demeanor.

"No, my appointment is at noon."  She didn't even pause before responding and had a little tone to her voice daring the receptionist to argue.

"I'm sorry, but that isn't possible.  We don't schedule anyone between 11:30 and 1:20 to allow enough time for the doctor to have lunch.  According to the schedule in the computer your appointment is for 2:30."

At this point the patient became more agitated.  "Listen here girl, I don't care what that thing says my appointment is, I wrote it on my calendar as noon and that is when I expect to be seen."

Irritated and slightly psycho patients are nothing new in the office and the receptionist has a fuse longer than anyone I know, so she let the patient sit back down and threw her chart into the mix to try to move her along as quickly as possible.

The office has a mostly open floor plan.  Even though there is a window and counter at the front desk, there is no way to block it off from the waiting room so everything said in the waiting room is easily overheard at the front desk.  Especially when the comments are being made by hearing impaired 87 year olds who think whispering is about the same volume as a chopper coming in to land.

Shortly after the receptionist sat back down, she overheard the patient complaining to the waiting room about "that girl" changing her appointment and lying about what was recorded in the schedule.  I believe the word "incompetent" was thrown around as well.

With grace and dignity our long-suffering receptionist quietly got up, grabbed the patient's chart from the circulation pile, stowed it away under her desk and went to lunch.


Mandy said...


For real though... I showed up for a 2 year overdue pap, one day late... felt like a big asshole, and they wouldn't take me in... apologized for missing it (you know, cause single mommas have EVERYTHING under control) went to my car crying because I'd taken seriously precious time off to go and was so mad at myself... 2 days later I foudn the appt card they wrote up... she was wrong, I was right. I didn't bother rescheduling... because I have NO time accrued.. sucks ASSSSS... sorry, phew. I feel better. Rant over.

Estelle Darling said...

Your recptionist handled it like a champ. Way better than I would have. lol