Routine Does Not Mean Ramble

My daughter sees a dentist who specializes in treating children. Walking into his practice is like walking into a play zone, with a large screen TV in front of real rows of theater seats, a rainforest motif in the lobby, and a huge jungle tree in the back treatment area. Oh, and on the ceiling of the surgical suites, another TV playing kid friendly shows. Its amazing kids ever want to leave the place!

So it was determined that my daughter needed a couple of her baby teeth extracted to make room for the adult tooth to descend into the proper place. Like many of this dentist’s young clients, she would be taking a valium prior to the visit to take the edge off, and receive nitrous oxide during the ordeal. Even with my medical background, or maybe more because of it, I was aware that there was a need for more stringent monitoring and protocols for this type of sedation dentistry.

The technician prepared to go over all of the forms with me before I booked the appointment for the extractions, and I listened intently (after we sent my daughter along to watch TV in the lobby; there was no need for her to hear all the “gory” details).

The technician began to speed-read the forms to me, going so fast that the words slurred and I could barely understand all she was saying. She delivered the instructions in the most “ho-hum” manner, like she had delivered this same talk a hundred times. Well, she probably had delivered this a hundred times, maybe more, but I had only heard this spiel once before and I wanted to absorb the details. Her tone of voice was, well, monotone. Her facial expression, blank. Her interest level, nil. My irritation, growing by the minute!

It occurs to me that we are often asked to deliver the same information to our veterinary clients for what may be the hundredth time ourselves, and I wonder, do we do a better job of appearing interested and relaying the importance of what we are saying? In the Compassion Satisfaction and Fatigue Survey by Robert Roop, it was determined that difficult and noncompliant clients are the No. 1 stressor for every position in the practice. I can understand the “difficult” part, but it’s also important to understand the “noncompliant” part.

We have a very small window in which to positively affect the life of a pet. We may have 10 minutes a year, if they come annually, and we have a lot of important information to deliver during that short time. If we do a good job, and alter the care given at home to that pet, then we will have a positive effect on that pet’s entire life and whole wellbeing. If we take that small window of time for granted, rattling on about flea control or heartworm prevention without really seeming sincere or genuine, we risk making little or no affect on that pet’s wellbeing.

Tune in, watch your tone of voice, and deliver information as if that pet’s very life depends upon it…because it does.


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