Creating a Culture of Caring

by Dr. Jennifer A. Bebee, CCC-A, F-AAA

You’d think that every person who works in healthcare likes to care for others, but that’s not always the case. In my experience in healthcare, it’s sometimes rare, depending on the office. I’m a Certified Business Consultant and I think about culture in the workplace often and what it means to the clients, or in my business’ case, to my patients. The culture of the workplace sets the tone and the expectation for attitudes expressed by employees to each other and to clients. I’m not sure if there’s a more important place to have the right culture in the workplace than in the healthcare industry; you can’t fake caring for others, and you can’t skimp on genuine caring and still have good treatment outcomes.
I’ve thought long and hard about how I want my patients to feel regarding the services and the experience that we offer in our office (and outside the office – my reputation is my biggest referral source); the biggest influencers on our patient’s perception of our office are my employees, not me. They are the face of my company, not me. I don’t answer the phones and provide the first impression, nor do I typically greet the patients at the door, or even get them settled in a waiting room for their appointment (I’m not a total slacker, I’m just busy in appointments with patients), and I’m not even the last person they meet with at the end of the appointment – that would be my employees as well. This means that I cannot be the only one in my company who cares about healthcare, or caring for others, because I rely on my staff to act in accordance to the values of our office. I could be the best Hearing and Balance Doctor on the planet (I’m getting there, give me time), but it wouldn’t matter if my staff aren’t caring and top-notch with me.
My staff care in the same way that I do and that’s not something I taught them; it’s an inherent quality that each of them possesses on their own. I hired them for this quality, not their knowledge of this industry because I can teach anyone any skill given they have motivation and we have enough time, but a mindset of and a heart set on caring for others is just something that I won’t be able to teach. All of my staff are each healthcare providers, concierges, best friends, caretakers, problem solvers, shoulders to lean on, great listeners, coaches, cheerleaders, family, and experts in this field of caring. That is our culture. I’m proud to belong to such a wonderful team and for having surrounded myself with like-minded and collaborative individuals.

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