Monday, January 5, 2009


I was at a Queens, New York diner yesterday with some family from out of town. We were enjoying conversation but my cousin, who has been known for her bubbly personality, noticed that the waiter or the busboy would just come by and take things away without asking or, in one case got her order wrong because he may have assumed, she wanted something a certain way. I was surprised that bubbly doesn’t mean outspoken because when I suggested she bring her concerns to his attention, and ask for what she wanted, she wouldn’t. “It’s not that important” she told me.

Earlier in the day I heard a sermon from an out-of-town minister tell about her experience as a waitress and that people would wave their cups of coffee at her and she couldn’t possibly tell them that theirs was not her table. There needed to be enough waitresses at all times to respond to each waving cup of coffee.

I put this in some perspective of how we envision our healthcare system. Would the same people who would allow a waiter give the customer the wrong order also allow the wrong medication to slip though? If a customer is not outspoken enough to call attention to slow service at a diner, how are they going to speak up about a slow response in the hospital?

The culture may be for these people to be polite but given the appropriate tools for communication, everyone gets their needs met. We just haven’t found that tool for communication? Or have we and we are just not all using it? Visit and see what PULSE is doing about communication.

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