Dr. Greer: If an employee does this, they are told about it immediately and firmly. The employee is given a warning by management, and a note is placed in their personal record. A second occurrence is grounds for dismissal. This type of behavior cannot be tolerated, and it should be made clear to the employee that it cannot occur again.
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Explore This IssueOctober 2015
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Dr. Oberstein: It’s important to highlight the need to keep voices low to protect personal health information. The need to speak concisely and discreetly on the phone should be a protocol in any healthcare setting. When you explain the basis of your suggestion to speak softly, the employee should easily understand your reasoning and correct her behavior.
Ms. Berger: Again, use the sandwich approach. Start with something positive, such as, “You’re enthusiastic and speak so everyone can hear you, but often, we don’t hear ourselves, and you may not realize that your voice carries—becoming quite loud. Could you try to be conscious of this and lower your voice? Sometimes this happens to me as well, and I have to make a mental note to keep a low voice.” Close by thanking her for her efforts.
Scenario No. 6: Limiting Smartphone Usage
You work in a small office with some occasional downtime. Several staff entertain themselves and each other with their smartphones during this time. In fact, they bring you into the conversation, showing you cute pictures on Facebook or funny videos on YouTube. You don’t want to be rude, but you find this unprofessional.
Making the issues seem more like an enhancement toward improved work flow & less accusatory will improve receptiveness.
Dr. Greer: We have an office policy that proscribes the use of smartphones, Web surfing and texting during office hours. Our employees sign this agreement when they are first hired so they should know upfront that this is not an acceptable behavior. If we observe this, either my manager or myself will remind them that this is not to be done during work hours. Usually, we overlook minor offenses, but repeated offenses are placed in the employee’s personnel file. Employees have been dismissed for doing this excessively.
Ms. Selby Long: It’s important to set a policy regarding this. Explain your reasons for implementing the new rule, such as that “Patients want to see their healthcare team 100% committed to their health.” Ask employees to put themselves in the patient’s shoes. Imagine being in severe pain and your caregivers are distracted and laughing over a cat video. Then, reinforce the rule with a smile and maintain consistency in enforcing it.
Scenario No. 7: In the Hot Seat
When the tables are turned and an employee gives you constructive criticism, what are some professional ways to respond?