Below is Part 1 of my “Lessons” series. Don’t worry, there’s no test afterwards!
ANEL – ANYTHING ELSE?
When I visited my dentist’s office for the last time before leaving for medical school in San Antonio, I was just about to graduate from college.
Dr. Estes was a highly respected, kind, and gentle man who practiced dentistry until he was just past his 90th birthday. When he finished cleaning my teeth that spring day, he asked his assistant to escort me to his personal office.
In my more than 40 dental exams over the last 20 years, I had never even seen his office. I waited nervously. I marveled at his many accomplishments shown in his certificates, awards, and plaques.
When Dr. Estes finally entered the room, he sat in his large leather chair behind his desk and said, “Sandra, I want you to do something for me.” I wondered what I could possibly do for him.
He said that he had heard I was accepted to medical school. He knew that I would get very busy and have limited time as I progressed through my career.
Dr. Estes then said something that has stuck with me until this day. He said, “At the end of your encounter with every patient, please, please, ask one simple question: ‘Is there anything else I can do for you today’? Then pause and listen.”
I can honestly say that I often think of Dr. Estes and his words of wisdom, and I have tried to follow his advice throughout my career.
I believe that this simple, but powerful phrase allows patients and their families to feel heard. It has allowed me to build rapport with people quickly and effectively.
Key Point: This is the first lesson that I share when teaching with each healthcare professional: Pause and ask your patients if there is anything else that you can do for them today.
So that’s the meaning behind ANEL – ANYTHING ELSE? Please read next week’s blog to discover the meaning behind AVNI – AVOID NILISISM…