What is wrong with waiting?

            If I have a blemish that I would like to have checked out I call my dermatologist for an appointment.  It is not unusual to be told that they are booked two to three months.  Is that a long time?  It depends, if I have something that is itching or causing discomfort then that is a long time to wait.  Other times it is something that is not changing or a simple skin cancer screening and waiting a few months is fine.  I could probably go someplace else and not wait as long.  But is the dermatologist I can see tomorrow going to be as good?  If a doctor is booked out months in advance then she must be talented and is worth the wait, as long as the wait doesn’t leave me scratching till I bleed.

            I work at a practice that does not book out months in advance, but this is a time of year where the schedule can fill up a few weeks in advance.  We have emergency slots that we open up in the morning for the ill patients, and when those slots fill we will find a way to see more sick patients if necessary.  But what I don’t understand is the upset client who calls for a wellness visit and is asked to schedule a few weeks down the road.  There are some clients who call and even though everything is fine have to be seen within the next 24 hours. 

            Why does a client feel they are entitled to be seen within 24 hours but yet wait 3 months to see his dermatologist?  What is it about our profession that has engrained in clients the on demand mentality?  Is it the history of our profession?  I got my foot in the veterinary door working for a veterinarian that graduated in the 1950s.  He also happened to be a volunteer fireman and his practice was conveniently next door to the fire station.  He could be in the middle of an appointment and when those sirens came on he was out the door and jumping on the truck.  Clients (at least his clients) would wait two hours until he returned to resume his exam. 

            Is it respect?  When in a social situation one of the top three questions I am asked is, “Isn’t it harder to get into veterinary school than medical school?”  For which I answer, “I know a few doctors who did not get into veterinary school, but I have yet to meet a veterinarian that did not get into medical school.” 

            Is it competition?  How many times does a client say, “I know of a practice around the corner that is half the cost of you,” or “there is a clinic just down the road from me that I can go to if you can’t get me in today.”  When I have been faced with a two month wait to see my dermatologist I wouldn’t know what other options I have.  Their signage is minuscule; the offices are tucked away in medical villages or on the 5th floor a heavily windowed building. 

            We want our doctors to be as accommodating as possible.  But when things are going well, having to book a wellness visit a few weeks off is probably a sign that quite a few people or pets are in good hands and with a little patience the next client can be as well.


  • Our "typical" client is going on vacation, and didn't realize that their pet was over-due for prenentative care the kennel requires until THAT WEEK!

    Therefore, in the client's eyes, it certainly is an EMERGENCY if they can't get a well-visit in TODAY because they are leaving THE NEXT DAY (or in the next 2-5 days) for their vacation.

    And, if it is an EMERGENCY to the client...then it ought to be an EMERGENCY for us...or so we are told and taught in trying to increase the quality of our client services.

    Heck, we had a client pitch a snit with us just this past weekend because we asked that they schedule 45 minutes from the time they called.  We were 3-cases deep when the client called, and the next opened time period was a meer 45 minutes away.  The client snottily told the doctor, "I guess I'll have to find someone else!"

    Really!?  Hell, by the time you got yourself and your pet in the car, drove in Saturday traffic to our hospital, and filled out the admittance paperwork...your appointment time would've arrived, and guess what..THERE WOULD HAVE BEEN NO WAIT BECAUSE WE WERE RUNNING ON TIME!!

    If the client had come down "Right Away" as they wanted too, they may have showed up in the middle of case #2, and have had to stand around the lobby waiting while we completed case #2 and #3 ahead of them, as where #2's and #3's scheduled time.

    And then, they'd've pitched a fit over having been made to wait!

    Damned if ya do, damned if ya don't.

    NWinkler, 2 years ago | Flag

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