When you stop and think about it, we would get so much more from our doctors if we did some very simple things to be more accommodating. If we gave a little more, went the extra mile for our doctors and each other, too, we would reap the benefits.I once wrote an article on the "pet peeves" of chiropractic assistants ["Office Pet Peeves," Dec. 17, 2007]. Although it was funny to read and oh so true, it really was accurate. In fact, I got many calls from both doctors and CAs telling me that the article really put things into perspective. Chiropractic assistants laughed because they could relate and doctors wondered how I had hit the nail on the head with so many of the things they do to annoy the heck out of CAs on a daily – yes, daily – basis.
Of course, we do things that annoy chiropractors, too, and after all, without them we wouldn't have a job, right? So, let's get into what we as CAs can do on a daily basis to let our doctors know that we get it! What can we do to get them to understand that we know what we are doing, and that when we do not, we will find out or ask for help? Let's discuss some strategies for moving forward so we can give more to our doctors and our teammates, making each and every day better than the day before. The following comes from doctors I have spoken with or worked with recently. I am sure that both doctors and their assistants will relate! CAs, please keep an open mind.
Keep It Consistent
I cover this first because as you are well-aware, if you do anything at all and it is not done regularly and with follow-through, it may as well not be done at all. To all doctors, this may actually be on the top of their priority list. If need be, make a To-Do list for opening and closing the office, or for whatever may be lacking in the consistency department, and follow each step until is it mastered to perfection.
A common example might be that we know that if recalls are done haphazardly, we will not be successful. However, if time is spent in the early evenings on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays (or whatever days you choose) and it is done consistently, the chances are much greater that you will schedule more reactivations. It takes 21 days to form a habit, so start forming!
Learn From Mistakes
You are going to make mistakes – but try not to repeat them! Take the time to reflect on what you did wrong and think about how you'll respond differently in the future. Is the mistake something you should build a system around to prevent a future occurrence? For instance, if a new patient calls to make an appointment and they have many questions that you may not be able to answer, invite them in to meet the doctor and let them no that there is no cost just to speak to the doctor. That way, instead of potentially losing them, you get them in the door and your doctor will have the chance to get them to convert to a new patient.
Maximize Your Time
Our doctors despise it when they see us wasting time. There are many ways that we waste time in their eyes. It's not always easy to stop wasting time. Decreasing time spent might just mean saying no to other people. Saying no is a good habit to develop. Most people don't like to say no because they are afraid that doing so will have negative repercussions in their lives. They don't want people to be upset with them, so they spend their time doing things that are not important to them.
Utilizing a time management sheet can be helpful in chunking down your daily responsibilities and actually seeing what is most important and how long it may take. This is a great thing for each staff member to know and own. You must consider your responsibilities, but also strike a balance. Activities may be cut out without remorse if they are not important or urgent. These items are easier for one to identify as time wasters. Again, what is a waste of time for one person may be important to another.
This may actually top the list. One of chiropractors' biggest pet peeves is when they catch us on the computer, not doing office work. Yes, this is an accurate concern: We all check e-mails, shop, check weather or do something on the computer that really should not be done during office hours. Statistics show that personal Internet use is a major time-wasting endeavor by employees in all job sectors. I know some of us work long days, but please, we all know right from wrong.
Cell phones are another big pet peeve. Vibrating or ringing phones is extremely distracting during office hours. In the case of an emergency, if someone must reach you, they can call the office. Some of the offices I travel to actually have doctors and staff put their cell phones in a basket in the break room, and retrieve them at lunch time and then at end of the day. Long and short of it, we all know time is precious and a lot can be done when we are focused.
Don't Be Tardy
If you're not early, you're late! We hate it when our office hours start at 9 a.m. and the DC comes walking in at 9 a.m. or five after; so why should you be able to do it? Everyone should be at work about 15 minutes prior to their shift to prepare for the day. Punctuality is really about consideration. Four simple steps for not being late: 1) accept that you have a problem; 2) don't try to do too much; 3) surround yourself with clocks; and 4) fine yourself for every minute that you're late and put the money in a piggy bank. Help yourself to change your behavior.
Most successful chiropractic offices have some common traits. Having an open-door policy in regard to staff is one. That means communication is extremely important and doctors realize that if they have team meetings as well as consistent one-on-one meetings with staff, there tend to be less problems. Pet peeves can be discussed openly before problems are created.
Organization is crucial for a busy, growing practice and although situations always come up, when talked about, it is easier to find solutions. Every practice should do their best to work together as a team, respecting each other, establishing good working rapport and developing positive attitudes. If you want to have some fun, at you next team meeting, play the pet-peeve guessing game. Ask doctors and staff to blurt out a pet peeve and guess who needs to own up to it: doctor, chiropractic assistant – or both!
Click here for previous articles by Michelle Geller-Vino, CA.