Let’s say that you are a scheduler type person. Perhaps for a doctor’s office.
Let’s say that your primary responsibility – or at least ONE of your primary responsibilities, I don’t know your life – is to help patients schedule appointments with the doctors in your office.
Let’s say, then, that you are FULL – just BRIMMING – with all sorts of useful information about the doctors in your office. You know exactly which days they are in various locations and which days they only work mornings and which days they are off and which days they are on vacation. Like I said – you are PLUM PACKED with all these valuable details.
So is it REALLY TOO MUCH to ask that you NOT assume that the patients you are duty bound – or, if not duty bound, at least paycheck bound – to assist ALSO know all these details?
If, for instance, your patient wants an appointment with a doctor at Close Location A – i.e., the location that is NOT a minimum 30-minute drive from her home – and you say, “Sure, the doctor has an opening at 10:00 am on X date” and the patient says, “Oh, that won’t work for me. Can I do it in the afternoon?” is it too much to ask that you explain, straight up, “Oh I’m sorry. This doctor only has appointments at Close Location A between 8:00 am and noon on X day of the week”?
And if, when you DON’T explain that key little detail, and instead say, “No, she can’t do it in the afternoons.” and then the patient says, “Mornings are fine, I just can’t do it in the morning on that day.” Is it too much to ask that you then say, in a voice free of judgment or irritation, “I’m really sorry about that, because this doctor is only at Close Location A on X day of the week, and only in the mornings. Would you like to see her at a different location?” or, at the very least, “This doctor has another opening at Close Location A on X day of the week two weeks later” which would have given the patient a clue that the day of the week was key to the scheduling issue?
And if, when you still don’t explain that key detail, and instead say, with increasing and very blatant exasperation, “Well, do you want to see her at a different location?” And then the patient says, looking at the website, which says that this doctor has office hours at Location B, “How about Location B?” is it too much to ask that you refrain from responding with the slow, clearly enunciated phrasing of someone who is dealing with a person who not only has a hearing difficulty but also an IQ difficulty, “No, this doctor no longer has office hours at Location B. She has office hours at Far Away Location C and Farther Away Location D”?
And if, when your condescension is so thick it nearly clogs the patient’s ear canal, you still withhold the critically important day-of-the-week detail from the patient, and the patient – without calling to attention the fact that your website has misinformation on it, because she knows that is probably not your fault or your job – says, “I’d really prefer Close Location A. I just can’t do it in the mornings of that specific day of the week because of a recurring work obligation,” is it too much to ask that you finally reveal that the doctor is only at Close Location A on the problematic day of the week?
And if, when instead you say, “I don’t know what you want me to do then” punctuated by the poignant sound of throwing your hands dramatically in the air, and the patient, coming – perhaps belatedly – to the realization that the day of the week must be the rate limiting factor, asks, “Oh – does this doctor ONLY have office hours at Close Location A on X day of the week?” is it too much to ask that you not imbue the single word “yes” with the disdain of 10,000,000 teenagers shouting the word “duh!” in their most withering voices all in unison, all with simultaneous eye rolls?
Yes, is the answer. Yes, apparently it IS too much to ask.