Yesterday I went to the Chiropractor and was greeted by a plump woman sitting behind a fancy plaque that says… Receptionist.
The Receptionist, lets call her “Miriam”,since that’s her name, says hello to me, hands me my regular treatment card and a new fancy bright orange laminated piece of paper. She then points and says “go ahead to room 2 or 3, whichever one he isn’t in”.
As I walk down the hall, hoping not to pick the wrong room and interrupt someone, I read the fancy orange paper. It says: “Help the doctor run on time” and then has the following list of things I need to do to help my chiropractor:
1. Turn off your cell phone- Okay no problemo, an understandable request and one I am familiar with at a variety of offices.
2. Empty Your Pockets and Remove Your Belt- also a completely reasonable request. The man twists and pushes on you, if you have keys in your pocket there is the real potential you could sever your femoral artery.
3. Place Treatment Card in Clip Outside of Exam Room – This one gave me pause. At this particular office they have clips, rather than bins, that your file/card goes in. The doctor picks up the card before he enters so he can be “ready” to see you. In my general practitioners’ office, before they went to computers, this file was placed there by the nurse/receptionist. They usually put that there when they walked me to the exam room.
4. Change the Paper Sheet on the Exam Table- Another incredulous pause since, again, this is a job that, in normal doctors offices, is done by the same person who puts your card in the clip.
5. Lie on the Exam Table on Your Back and Wait for the Doctor. – Now this is just ridiculous. The man is a chiropractor, he never wants you to be on your back when he gets in the room. He needs to examine you first and if you are on your back you are lying on the exact body part he needs to see!
So I read my list and I think about the tasks I’m being asked to perform. I think about the request at the front door asking me to remove my shoes when I enter in order to keep the carpets clean. I think about the sign in the waiting room asking me to place all magazines back in the bin I got them from to help keep the place tidy. I think about my new bright shiny orange laminated list and I wonder aloud, what exactly does this bitch DO?
Well, lets see: She answers the phone, which I have never heard ring but know it must because I call there to make appointments. While I can’t speak for all his patients, whenever I call, she usually manages to answer with “Doctors Office” but has, in the past, answered with “Hi there”.
She books appointments… more or less. I have only been booked at the same time as someone else twice. A minor detail she did not realize until we both showed up, and a fact that caused her to exclaim, “Darn it! Now he’ll be behind and we’ll be here late, again”
She hands me my treatment card, and takes it back from me after my treatment. I have to say it has almost always been my card! The one time it was someone else’s card barely deserves mentioning!
She tells me roughly what room to go to and uses her pudgy little finger to point in the only possible direction for you to go from her desk. On this I do have to point out that she is usually wrong. I’m not trying to be nit picky here but there has never, not once, been a time when she has said “room 3” and room 3 has been empty.
Finally, after my treatment, she is ready and waiting to take my payment. This is a feat she seems to be able to accomplish without complication.
On this particular day I was also presented with the new fee schedule. This of course caused me to note that now, not only am I doing more of this dumb bitches job, but I’m also paying more to do it!
Now I don’t want to be mistaken here, I am perfectly capable of putting my card in the clip and changing the paper sheet on the exam bed. These are not difficult tasks, hence why, maybe it wouldn’t be such a stretch to think that they would be done by the lump sitting at the front door? I am paying for this service, should I just crack my back hand you some cash and be done with it?
I have to think maybe Miriam does not know her job description? Or Does she know it but is choosing to roundly ignore the shit out of it? Or maybe it’s me? Perhaps I am misunderstanding the role of a receptionist? Maybe she shouldn’t walk me to the room, change the paper sheet and put my card in the clip! Maybe she is already doing far more than she expects!
Maybe the next time I call for an appointment, there will be a recorded message asking me to physically come to the building where there will be a sign up sheet on the door and I can book my own appointment. I could rifle through the treatment cards until I find my own and then randomly choose a room to go in. After the treatment I could run my own debit card through the machine and staple the receipt myself. On my way out the door I could tell Miriam to have a great day, hopefully not interrupting her too much while she works away polishing up her fancy Receptionist plaque.
All in all it would be a pretty efficient system. You won't catch me suggesting it though, since I'm absolutely certain that, that kind of personalized service would most certainly cost me an extra 10 bucks a visit.