Ruth the Host: Coming to A Practice Near You

Welcome Mat

My husband and I went to our favorite restaurant for Father’s Day last week and had an unusual, but delightful experience when we were visited by Ruth.

We had been to this restaurant a number of times since we moved to Cary last fall, but had never met Ruth. A petite, grandmotherly woman with a heavy German accent, Ruth came to our table soon after we settled in. My first impression was that she was the owner of the restaurant. She chatted with us for a moment, then asked if she might sit down at our table. We welcomed her and she explained her job as the restaurant host.

Ruth visits with the restaurant patrons, getting to know the new ones and catching up with those she’s met before. She makes sure that everyone feels welcome, is cared for and is thanked for choosing the restaurant.

As we visited, Ruth told us a little bit about herself and about coming to the United States from Germany when she was 24 years old. Three days after she arrived she was taught about money and placed in a restaurant as a cashier. When they realized she could not speak English, she was moved to the coat room. She was appalled to be a “hat check girl” because in Germany, only old, old ladies were assigned to the coat room! Her stories were fascinating and funny and we thoroughly enjoyed her time with us. We know now what nights Ruth works at our favorite restaurant and you can be sure we’ll return on a night she’s working.

What if medical practices had hosts? Someone to make sure patients in reception areas are not forgotten (it happens in every practice). Someone to talk to the patients whose visit to the doctor is the highlight of their week. Someone to spread the word about the doctor being late, or that flu shots are available, or that the diabetes support group venue has been changed.

Who can resist someone who’s glad to see you? Whether it’s a restaurant or a medical practice, we all crave being known and being welcome.

Image via Wikipedia

Enhanced by Zemanta

Teaching Staff to Be Welcoming to Patients

Welcome Mat?

Many years ago when I started in healthcare I noticed a certain attitude of the staff toward the patients.  It was as if the physicians, nurses and other staff were bestowing an honor upon the patients when they provided them with care.

It was not until later that I realized that exactly the opposite was true.  It is we who are privileged to earn the trust and confidence of the patients who allow us to serve them.

Someone once explained it to me this way:

Imagine you are the host and you have invited several guests to your home.  You’ve cleaned the house and prepared everything so that your guests will be comfortable.  You’ve turned on all the lights and placed a welcome mat outside the front door.

Your guests have arrived at the front door and have rung the doorbell.

You open the door, see your guests…and slam the door in their faces!

This essentially is what you do when you open your doors for business, then treat your customers poorly.  You have invited them to do business with you, then have not been welcoming and appreciative when they accept your invitation.

If you have staff who don’t understand how important it is to form relationships with your patients beginning with a warm welcome, help them to envision each patient as arriving with an engraved invitation in their hand.

Image by LexnGer via Flickr