On Pleasant Behavior And Being A Patient in the Hospital
…A lone doctor listening to some highly experienced and capable nurses, reflecting on their work:
“If the patient’s nice, it’s a lot easier to want to go back in that room with them. Their reputation travels at the nurses station. But if they’re mean, well, it’s not as easy to go back in there, so I might not stop by as often.”
“I agree, it’s easier to catch flies with honey than vinegar.”
Words to live by.
My first take: He and the nurses are right, of course: If you’re pleasant and courteous, nurses (and doctors, and physical therapists, and aides, and cleaning staff…) are more likely to spend time in your hospital room. The maxim applies in many realms.
But let’s take the conversation to the next level. What if the patient’s in pain? Sad, or maybe even crying? In that case, are the hospital staff less likely to enter? Probably so, but health care workers are a diverse bunch.
There are many nurses I’ve known who’d spend more time with an unhappy soul, or someone in pain. As a doctor, I think the same holds.
Maybe some people are grouchy because they’re uncomfortable, worried or lonely and just don’t have it in them to smile. They may lack insight or simply lack manners. They might be very upset, say, that a son or daughter hasn’t visited, or another unmentioned disappointment.
Perhaps it’s the professional’s job to see beyond the smile, or the anger.
Not an easy job –