The Customer is NEVER Right - A Nurse Practitioner's Perspective
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Spoken like a true administrator!




The comment above was made to advertising of the book on LinkedIn and after reading the comment my reply to the LTC was, “Spoken like a true administrator. Sir, you have just made the point for which I wrote the book. Thank you, Jose.”

Those who, unlike the LTC, have read “The Customer is NEVER Right” know the theme of the book is about administrators, just like the LTC, who, in this case, walked through the door with a huge smile and waving his hand up high as if to state, “Here I am.” If there were a sign to make it any clearer the LTC would have worn it. The first indication of deserving such sign was not having read the book yet reaching a conclusion! Then repeating the same script of administrators I mentioned in the book. All in all, a Bill Engvall moment, “Sir. Here is your sign.” As in the book, my intention is not to demean but to debunk idiotic ideologies (idiotology), on that note, the LTC is but one of many for whom the book was written.

The LTC’s performance, which I have witnessed so many times, then continued, “Doctors, the organization, our health care [sic] colleagues, visitors, etc., are also our customers.” To which I say, “No! They are not customers.” However, in an attempt to justify patients being customers healthcare administrators and healthcare pundits have created this delusion to fit their story, that the environment we work in is just like any other service industry and because of that it has many customers. I disagree. Doctors and healthcare colleagues are neither customers nor the competition up the street, as some administrators describe those colleagues. The organization we work at, or for, is not a customer either but a place of work or an employer. A visitor may be a potential customer, and why healthcare administrators shake in their boots, however, visitors are not customers either, but visitors, and are there for the patient not healthcare workers.

Here is a very good example of that. As I write this, I am sitting at an airline gate at the airport and there are no visitors here. At the gate we are all either airline customers or airport employees as the visitors were all left on the dirty side of the TSA checkpoint. Because on this side, unless you have an airline-boarding pass or an employee badge, you are visitors and not allowed access to where the customers are.

Another “Here is your sign” moment and evidence that administrators are well aware that, “Yes we have patients that are demanding, ignorant, or just manipulative…” Yet administrators insist healthcare worker must accept those behaviors as part of our jobs and although I am okay with some being ignorant I say, “NO!” to demanding or just manipulative behavior. As I know the same administrators would not accept that misbehavior from their child at home and much less from their co-customer (employee) at work, although administrators imply we are all customers to each other.

Having clarified that, let me make something else as clear, being manipulative is never as simple as “just”! And in my same direct tone, being demanding or manipulative is never “for the wrong reasons” but instead for nothing but all the wrong reasons. Meaning, there are never right reasons to be either demanding or manipulative and efforts to diminish their intent or significance are for the wrong reasons. As those impotent conflict resolution and aggression management policies only undermine healthcare workers and leave them vulnerable to healthcare directed violence.

I must add and give the LTC credit, as I could not have said it better myself, that everything we do is for the patient, yet, we are not obligated to having to be everything for them. My version not as politically correct, “Our profession is that we must provide timely and quality healthcare and bending over to accommodate exaggerated unrealistic emotional expectations is not healthcare.”

As for the comment regarding the “Patient’s Bill of Rights” I say, “Sir, do not hide behind that rhetoric as customer satisfaction has nothing to do with patient care but instead, like in the other service industries, it is all about increasing sales, profits, product loyalty and other returns.” Allow me to paraphrase James Mapes comments quoted in the book, “My brother is not always right. My neighbor is not always right. My parents are not always right. Neither the Pope nor the President is always right. And as much as I love my wife, and as much as I hate to admit it, neither of us is always right either. So how is it possible the customer is always right? Makes no sense.”

Lastly, as said by one of my Infantry Command Sergeant Major in the Army, “Before you put your foot in your mouth try not to step in bullshit.” So before commenting, read the book and you will learn that “The Customer is NEVER Right” is not about patients but about healthcare administrators who have taken healthcare, the only industry genuinely dedicated to helping others, down the wrong tracks with your politically correct scripts, impotent policies and idiotology. Again, all the above not intended to demean but to debunk and as I shared with soldiers as a squad leader, “I said it loud enough, not so that you can hear me but so that you will remember. Because sometimes it takes a significant psychological event to trigger behavior changes.”

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