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Raising the Bar in Rehab

Are You Kind or Clever?

Published September 13, 2012 10:21 AM by Lisa Mueller

My mom forwarded me an article from the Harvard Business Review called "It's More Important to Be Kind than Clever" by Bill Taylor, written just last month. I couldn't tell if my mother was calling me kind, clever, both or neither, but the article was actually a very interesting read. It reminded me of something my fellow blogger (Janey) would like.

The article tells a few stories highlighting the rarity of true kindness in businesses and how those stories, when told, result in more appreciation from customers than any business model or financial plan ever could. We live in a world dominated by numbers -- productivity, reimbursement, profit, "likes" on Facebook, Twitter followers -- all quantitative data that businesses live and breathe. Even in physical therapy we regularly utilize numerical data like lab values, pain scales, distance ambulated, range of motion and strength values to validate our progress. We use professionally worded sentences dripping with healthcare vocabulary to document our progress and how our patients benefit from physical therapy intervention. We are clever, but are we kind?

Do we stay late to meet our patients' schedule needs? Do we go outside of our normal routine to provide our patients with what they need -- either a glass of water, or as far as buying clothes for our patients, like Toni blogged about? Do we go out of our way to get answers from physicians for our patients? Part of our job is to help our patients feel better and improve their quality of life, but do we pay attention to the finer details of our patients' needs?

Like Taylor writes, efficiency should never come at the expense of humanity. Sure, it's fun to be witty and sarcastic, to have smart conversations and keep up with the pace of the world today. But, we need to be kind. We need to remember our patients are humans and the policies of our practice can never interfere with providing excellent care.

How are you kind? How do you practice kindness on a regular basis?

2 comments

Dean-

That is a wonderfully kind idea.  I can imagine your patients enjoying the efforts of your staff to maintain the tea station.

Lisa

Lisa Mueller September 13, 2012 5:16 PM

One of the practices I found shocking when I first started working here in the UK, was the provision of tea and biscuits for patients in the waiting room of the clinic where I work. The manager explained that many of the frail elderly we were treating may not have any other social contact that day or that week. This gives them a chance to relax and have a chat whilst waiting and is a little reward for not cancelling the appointment. Yes, it takes a little more time but the patients do appreciate it and our failure to attend rate is one of the lowest in the trust. Small things make huge differences.

Dean Metz September 13, 2012 12:17 PM

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