How being a waitress will make me a better clinician
I started drafting this post over a year ago, and never got around to actually writing it, outside of finding this stellar waitress photo. Today I had an interview for a serving job at a small, independently owned restaurant in the suburbs. Yes, I was actively seeking a serving job.. But only for two nights a week, don’t worry Mom.
I sat down with the manager, a twenty-something like myself; bubbly, sweet, etc. The place was empty save one elderly regular, yet everyone was smiling - even the cook who only had one pan on the stove. And I imagine they’d all have the same smiles on their faces if the place was packed and every single employee was in the weeds. (Long story short, I got hired. But I digress.)
Could you imagine any clinical setting where everyone is smiling regardless of how slow things are, or how busy they might get? It’s a lose-lose. If there aren’t any patients, providers can’t bill for any services, thus they’re unhappy. If there’s a flood of patients, providers feel rushed and often claim they’re unable to keep up. I don’t think I’ve ever actually heard a physician say they were “in the weeds,” but I’ve definitely witnessed my fair share of flailing.
What if physicians worked for tips? There’s certainly an element of people-pleasing that goes on in healthcare, in fact, many providers rely on referrals. But come on, if you knew that making your table laugh with a snide “so I guess you didn’t like it?” at an empty plate or two would add a few bucks onto your gratuity, you’d totally bite the bullet and cheese it up.
The service/healthcare industry metaphor could go on and on, and I’ll likely revisit it time and again being that restaurants and hospitals are probably the top two places I spend my time. Starbucks comes in a close third.. followed by my desk chair, naturally.
Until next time..