Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Life...in general => Topic started by: Morticia on February 01, 2013, 08:21:38 AM

Title: Polite Spine?
Post by: Morticia on February 01, 2013, 08:21:38 AM
I am currently sitting in a waiting room. I had a 9 am appointment so I could get to work in a timely fashion. They open at 9. I have been told she is "just finishing up" with someone else. How can I politely express my displeasure with their lack of respect for my time?  This is not the first time, which is why I specifically booked the first appointment.
Title: Re: Polite Spine?
Post by: Oh Joy on February 01, 2013, 08:28:02 AM
What kind of service is this?
Title: Re: Polite Spine?
Post by: Hmmmmm on February 01, 2013, 08:44:58 AM
I would go to the desk and ask "For future reference, what is the first appointment of the day?  I had made my appointment for 9am so that I could make work on time but the delay is impacting my schedule."

Once, I was going to the doctor and the nurse took my blood pressure and commented "Your blood pressure is reading on the high side."  My response was "Yes, having to wait 30 minutes past my appointment time seems to have that effect on my blood pressure." 
Title: Re: Polite Spine?
Post by: Morticia on February 01, 2013, 09:02:17 AM
What kind of service is this?

Physio
Title: Re: Polite Spine?
Post by: oceanus on February 01, 2013, 09:11:04 AM
Honestly, I don’t think anything you say will make a difference.  By that I mean regardless of what you say, you’ll be given an excuse, maybe an apology, and you’ll be known as ‘difficult’ and ‘impatient’.  Or they will check and come back to tell you it’ll only be a few minutes.  Yeah, right. ::)

In your situation – where waiting beyond a few minutes creates a problem for me – what I’ve done is go up to the check-in desk or whatever and said “Apparently X is running behind schedule.  I have to leave.”  Then reschedule, or find another provider and don’t go back.
 
Title: Re: Polite Spine?
Post by: Alpacas on February 01, 2013, 09:17:05 AM
Honestly, I don’t think anything you say will make a difference.  By that I mean regardless of what you say, you’ll be given an excuse, maybe an apology, and you’ll be known as ‘difficult’ and ‘impatient’.  Or they will check and come back to tell you it’ll only be a few minutes.  Yeah, right. ::)

In your situation – where waiting beyond a few minutes creates a problem for me – what I’ve done is go up to the check-in desk or whatever and said “Apparently X is running behind schedule.  I have to leave.”  Then reschedule, or find another provider and don’t go back.

Not always. Sometimes telling them (or the Doctor responsible) about this, will help.  (Story #1 in my first Post on this forum: http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=113957.msg2672919#msg2672919 )
Title: Re: Polite Spine?
Post by: oceanus on February 01, 2013, 09:20:39 AM
Quote
Not always. Sometimes telling them (or the Doctor responsible) about this, will help.

Maybe sometimes, but usually not and certainly not always.
Title: Re: Polite Spine?
Post by: Lynn2000 on February 01, 2013, 09:57:10 AM
If you took the first appointment slot, at 9am, how could they be finishing up with someone else before you? Not doubting you, just saying that strikes me as an odd excuse to give--not very credible.

Although they should make every effort to keep the appointments going on time, I personally never set my schedule such that I need to be in and out quickly. There's just too much potential for delays, I think. I always think to myself, "Well, I want them to take their time with me, so I can't blame them for taking their time with others." That is just me, though; I don't blame others for being irritated, letting appointments routinely run late is unprofessional, and not everyone has a flexible schedule.
Title: Re: Polite Spine?
Post by: TootsNYC on February 01, 2013, 10:04:29 AM
Quote
Not always. Sometimes telling them (or the Doctor responsible) about this, will help.

Maybe sometimes, but usually not and certainly not always.

I remember once I waited half a day for a surgical follow-up--so did a whole bunch of other people worse off than me. it was awful--we were scared to leave to get lunch. The woman handling the appointments wasn't helpful at ALL. I offered to come back on another day; she said no, just stay.

When I finally got into the doctor's office, I told him about the troubles. And he said, "You have to talk to her about that." I said, "We did--it wasn't helpful. Aren't you her boss? I expect you to care about how your patients are treated by the support staff at this medical center."
Title: Re: Polite Spine?
Post by: Morticia on February 01, 2013, 10:10:30 AM
If you took the first appointment slot, at 9am, how could they be finishing up with someone else before you? Not doubting you, just saying that strikes me as an odd excuse to give--not very credible.

Although they should make every effort to keep the appointments going on time, I personally never set my schedule such that I need to be in and out quickly. There's just too much potential for delays, I think. I always think to myself, "Well, I want them to take their time with me, so I can't blame them for taking their time with others." That is just me, though; I don't blame others for being irritated, letting appointments routinely run late is unprofessional, and not everyone has a flexible schedule.

I gather they double booked the slot, and took the other appointment first because mine would take longer.  I have decided to solve the problem (they don't seem to believe this kind of tardiness is a problem), by booking the rest of my appointments for this run after work. I'll bring something to read, and expect to wait. Sadly, going somewhere else isn't an option.
Title: Re: Polite Spine?
Post by: Adelaide on February 01, 2013, 10:17:32 AM
The clinic I used to work at was open at 7 or 7:30 every day for people who needed lab work done and nothing else. They didn't start seeing patients for general appointments until 9. I'm not saying that's a good excuse, but a doctor could have been stuck talking to a lab patient.

I'm with the others who say that if you express irritation you'll be seen as somewhat difficult to deal with, even if you're as polite as possible. If you have to leave just say what oceanus said. In reality, telling a receptionist whose name the doctor probably doesn't even know won't solve the problem. The receptionist would go to her manager with any issues and the manager would deal with you and smile and look polite, but it would stay within the "business" staff and probably not get around to the actual medical side of things unless you said something directly to the doctor, which is always an option, but might not go anywhere in particular.

Again, it's not a good excuse but a lot of times there are abnormal results and/or patients that take up more time than is planned for, which can cause everyone to get behind.
Title: Re: Polite Spine?
Post by: m2kbug on February 01, 2013, 11:59:43 AM
I think the best thing you can do is not put to too much emphasis on running on time.  Doctors never run on time.  If the wait is this long, consistently, find someplace else to go if you have a choice.  Usually they try to run on schedule, but I have found that between waiting room time and then the "teaser wait," when they put you in a room, you're easily behind schedule by 15-20 minutes.  I have had to wait longer and have also been seen very quickly.  I have expressed that my time is valuable too, and we know they know this and surely they do their best to remain on schedule.  I have asked the receptionist if this long a wait is typical.  I can certainly find another doctor if this is how they generally run their practice. 

Not too long ago, I was in the waiting room for more than an hour.  They asked me to be there a half an hour early for the paperwork process (quite a bit of it).  Then I waited another 45 minutes to be seen.  I did ask the receptionist if this type of running behind schedule was typical, to which she replied that no, it was not, and this has held true.  Again, I expect a delay, but I have no intentions of having to sit 45 minutes past my appointment time with any regularity.   
Title: Re: Polite Spine?
Post by: Redneck Gravy on February 01, 2013, 12:26:08 PM
A lot of times I think you have to know the background of the practice... double booking for example.

If you are seeing a physician that has morning hospital rounds they will frequently be running late to their office,

If someone tells a patient to be there first thing in the morning they will "work" them in, you may be held up,

Any specialist that is on call for emergencies may have to run out the door just prior to your appointment or an obstetrician may have to run deliver a baby, etc.

I am the first to say it is very frustrating and once billed a physician's office for an hour of my time - which they credited to my account. I asked if they were running late when I arrived and specifically asked if the doctor was on site.  The doctor called me that evening and apologized saying he had been called away for an emergency, I asked why didn't your receptionist just say so to begin with? 

I hope if I ever have an emergency (which I have) and my physician has to be summoned to the hospital (which he was) that others understand - like I do, that is why they are called emergencies.   

Patients are customers and physicans are providers of a service, common courtesy is expected by both parties IMO.   

Title: Re: Polite Spine?
Post by: DottyG on February 01, 2013, 01:18:56 PM
Quote
The doctor called me that evening and apologized saying he had been called away for an emergency, I asked why didn't your receptionist just say so to begin with?

True.  And this is the key point.  Just be HONEST with us.  If the doctor has been called away for something, that's fine.  Just be honest with me and tell me that.  I can then make the informed decision to reschedule or wait.

And this applies to all doctors.  I have a wonderful vet's office.  Not long ago, I scheduled an appointment for one of my cats during the day.  The vet wasn't on time for the appointment.  But someone came in to tell me that she was running behind because another animal had come in after something happened (I can't remember now exactly what it was, but it was absolutely an emergency type of situation).  By all means, go take care of that animal.  Please!  That's priority, and I can wait.  I really appreciated the fact that they were up-front with me in just letting me know what was going on.  It really is that simple.  Respect us as you expect to be respected BY us.

Title: Re: Polite Spine?
Post by: oceanus on February 01, 2013, 01:20:26 PM
Quote
the "teaser wait," when they put you in a room,

I find this irritating.  Once you’re in a room, you’re told “The doctor will be right with you” or “It’ll just be a few minutes”.  These phrases just roll off their tongues.  It’s always longer, sometimes a lot longer.

While there have been times when the wait is short, my experience has been it’s usually a lot longer than what they say it will be. 

Sometimes it’s better to try to schedule late in the day – i.e. be the last patient instead of the first.
Title: Re: Polite Spine?
Post by: mmswm on February 01, 2013, 01:34:20 PM
Quote
the "teaser wait," when they put you in a room,

I find this irritating.  Once you’re in a room, you’re told “The doctor will be right with you” or “It’ll just be a few minutes”.  These phrases just roll off their tongues.  It’s always longer, sometimes a lot longer.

While there have been times when the wait is short, my experience has been it’s usually a lot longer than what they say it will be. 

Sometimes it’s better to try to schedule late in the day – i.e. be the last patient instead of the first.

With my sons' hip/leg ortho, I always liked to be the last before lunch break.  The man is tireless and takes all the time we need for both boys, regardless of who's appointment it really is, and doesn't mind if it pushes into his lunch break.  I also don't mind if he eats while we wait for x-rays or other scans, so it works out for all of us.
Title: Re: Polite Spine?
Post by: m2kbug on February 01, 2013, 01:35:10 PM
Quote
the "teaser wait," when they put you in a room,

I find this irritating.  Once you’re in a room, you’re told “The doctor will be right with you” or “It’ll just be a few minutes”.  These phrases just roll off their tongues.  It’s always longer, sometimes a lot longer.

While there have been times when the wait is short, my experience has been it’s usually a lot longer than what they say it will be. 

Sometimes it’s better to try to schedule late in the day – i.e. be the last patient instead of the first.

Yes!  I can't stand the teaser.  Sometimes I feel ill in those little rooms.  I don't know what it is because I'm not claustrophobic and I worked in a small animal hospital for years and never had any problems in the small rooms.  I'll open the door on occasion.  It annoys them.  I feel like I get my just desserts on that.  >:D

Know what I hate more?  The appointment "lie time."  They tell you your appointment is at 2 p.m. but it's really not until 2:15.  They do this to assure you arrive on time, if not a little early, especially if there will be paperwork.  I've gotten to where I ask, is my appointment really at 2 or is it really for later?  That last appointment I mentioned, they set up my appointment for 1:30.  The receptionist then informed me that my appointment wasn't really until 2, but the paperwork was lengthy, so we're going to say 1:30.  "Thank you!," I exclaimed, for being honest with me!  Generally I try to get there early anyway, and it doubles the wait time when they lie about the time. >:( 

Sorry to go off on a tangent there.  Back to the regularly scheduled Polite Spine.
Title: Re: Polite Spine?
Post by: Slartibartfast on February 01, 2013, 02:00:56 PM
We picked our pediatrician because she will work a sick kid in first thing in the morning, no questions asked.  It does mean her office often runs late, but it also means contagious kids are mostly there before the healthy kids come in for well visits, and it also means we don't all have to suffer through a miserable child for days until the next available appointment.  So even if you were the "first" appointment, that doesn't mean you were the first one there that day.
Title: Re: Polite Spine?
Post by: Outdoor Girl on February 01, 2013, 02:20:25 PM
I think all of these are good arguments for doctor's offices but physio is different, in my mind.

The physio I used to have scheduled her appointments very close together, like 15 minute intervals.  That's because she would do about 15 minutes of treatment then set you up doing weights or muscle stim or some other activity that was part of your treatment but didn't need her to be there.

OP, if you'd waited no more than 5-10 minutes while the physio set someone else up, I would say that was normal.  More than that?  The office doesn't properly schedule their appointments.  It is unfortunate that you don't have another option.  I think your idea of going after work and taking a book or craft you can do is a good idea.

I once made a doctor's appointment for an annual physical for 8:00 am, the first appointment slot of the day.  At 8:30, the doctor still hadn't arrived and there was no explanation or ETA from the receptionist (I don't think she knew).  So I re-booked and left, since I normally start work at 8:00.  And was really annoyed because I would have to be late again another day.  One other time, I had an appointment with this doctor and the receptionist came out and announced to the large waiting room crowd that he'd been called to the hospital and had no idea how long he'd be.  We could wait, if we liked, or we could reschedule.  That was ideal - I could make an informed decision.  And one time, I was in the waiting room and he called me in about 5 minutes after my appointment time.  I blurted out 'You're on time!'  The entire waiting room cracked up.  But boy, was I embarrassed about my foot-in-mouth disease.  I did end up changing doctors because I was sick of always waiting at least 30 minutes for every appointment.  My new doctor apologized if you waited more than 15 minutes.
Title: Re: Polite Spine?
Post by: artk2002 on February 01, 2013, 05:11:55 PM
Quote
Not always. Sometimes telling them (or the Doctor responsible) about this, will help.

Maybe sometimes, but usually not and certainly not always.

But that's not a valid reason to not take action. So what if saying something only gets a result 10% of the time? If you never try, then it's 0%, guaranteed.
Title: Re: Polite Spine?
Post by: kitchcat on February 01, 2013, 05:39:23 PM
My mother is an doctor and I was sick a lot as a kid, so I can understand both sides of the situation. It's really frustrating to make an appointment and constantly have to wait far beyond that time. On the other side, my mom gets overwhelmed all the time because the receptionists at her clinic book schedule appointments that only allow 15 minutes per person (including the time the nurse has to prep the patient). Basically, it's virtually IMPOSSIBLE for her to stay on schedule and she is a very punctual person. It's just that she can't listen to the patient, order tests, diagnose, and write prescriptions in the short window of time she has.

The advice my mom always gives to friends is to treat your appointment more like que. If you have a 2pm appointment, it does not mean you get seen at 2pm. It just means you get seen before the person with the 2:30pm appointment. If you have other important things to do, just plan to not do them on the same day. It's unfortunate, but that's just how it is.
Title: Re: Polite Spine?
Post by: Wordgeek on February 01, 2013, 06:52:14 PM
Since the majority of the discussion is not coursed on etiquette, thread closed.