Can’t we just talk?

I have spent a majority of time this week around hospitals and have had plenty of time to think. One of the things that has occurred numerous times this week is the subject of basic human communication. I would like to start, with my quote of the week. When asked by someone if there was an answer to a question that was asked last month, the reply came, ” We haven’t heard back from our Communications Department yet”

I felt a deep sense of irony and had a wry smile to myself! One of the biggest issues for a lot of people in hospital is waiting times for their appointments. I have seen numerous ways of this being dealt with. Pin boards stuck on the wall with paper messages, hi tech screens giving constant updates, even to patients having bleepers if their appointments are running late.

I completely understand in most instances why appointments run late, this is a hospital after all! But can’t patients be told by word of mouth? I went for an appointment in one clinic which was scheduled for 10,00am. I thought this was a good time, as it would not have been running long, therefore less chance to be late. I finally got seen at 11. 00 with absolutely no explanation at all. At no stage was any person who attended for their appointment told that the clinic was running late.

People have lives to get on with, as well as attending hospital. We totally understand the wonderful service we get, when we do get seen, but there are other factors. People have jobs, children and special arrangements to make. They could also be parked in the money pit known as The Car Park! (Maybe that is the plan!!) This all adds to the pressure of a hospital visit.

Why do we need to rely on technology these days to tell us what is happening? Is electronic communication helping us lose our interpersonal skills. Why do we now need special Communication courses to help us talk to each other? We have more methods of communication these days than we have ever had, but people feel very protected and safe when firing messages from a computer.
Life is very much a two way street. On occasions we are the ones writing emails etc. Maybe applying for jobs? But we are also on the other side of that street with our work. Happy to delete someones carefully worded email, without any thought of the person behind it. None of us like the feeling that we have been ignored, so why do we have this system?
How satisfying is it, when you want to contact a large organisation and you actually get to talk to a real person!!! Wow, I am actually TALKING to someone. Not lost in the ether!! As most of you who know me well, can testify, I spend my life talking! This is so that I can learn more about the people I am dealing with, and I never fail to learn things.
I do find it very ironic that with the amount of information, and methods of communication available to us, that so many things break down through lack of communication.We all get upset by it, but we are all guilty of it. Most offices I see, people judge their effectiveness by the amount of emails they deal with. We are all people, dealing with people. Why won’t the system let us deal with people the way that we would like to be dealt with?
Technology and email certainly has it’s place, and are certainly powerful weapons, but I spend my time in a caring environment, and I never forget that. How much care can be given by a booklet or an email?? We need to interact more, not less. How can we understand what people want unless we ask them??
Please feel free to add your opinions/comments to this post, as this is just my own.

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