I love to ask people to share their most memorable healthcare encounters. When I ask them to share, I leave it open for them to determine whether their story is a positive or negative one. In doing so, I typically get a mix of both. Some are amazing tales of service, compassion, and kindness, while others leave me shaking my head in horror and disbelief. I’ve gotten amazing stories from doctors, nurses, executives, and community members.
The bottom line of this exercise is that when patients and their families come in contact with our organizations, we become part of their story. Every day, in millions of interactions, we have the opportunity to shape those stories. A simple touch, a smile, words of reassurance, and efficient competence are all things that will shape a positive story while impatience, aloofness and disarray will shape a completely different story. If I could instill one thing to each and every person working in healthcare, it would be that every encounter and every choice they make related to the patient and family will shape their stories. And it’s up to them to make it a good one.