I was just about to leave the office for the day and take my leisurely bicycle ride home when my nurse Anna jumped in front of me, half smiling, and said “You really should call Mr. S before you go.”
“Can it wait till tomorrow?”
Come to find out Mr. S was tied up in what I call a “moment of truth,” trying to decide whether he should proceed with a vasectomy or not. Not life threatening, but understandably important. After we spoke, he felt much better and his path was clearer.
There are hundreds of issues, large and small, that work teams need to address daily. A larger one for us this week was how to manage the clinic and operating room schedule in the face of a city-wide power outage. The conference room became a “war room,” flashlights replaced ceiling lights, cell phones replaced work phones and paper replaced electronic records. The staff handled it with aplomb. What a team.
But I already knew that my staff makes a great team. They routinely head off problems before they come to a head. They naturally work hard and they work smart. They have a sense of purpose, a compelling direction. They are specialized yet adaptable enough to turn on a dime. They are trustworthy, reliable and communicate well. And each of them, Anna, Emily, Joslyn, Rachel, Sarah and Victoria, were hand picked for the job from a whole pile of applicants in part because they care.
But these characteristics are essential for any great team in any profession. What really makes our staff so special to me as a doctor is how they click with patients. And not only patients from Los Angeles or San Francisco, but from the around the world. By phone, email or in person, my staff are just plain great human beings with great people skills.
“All women in a men’s health practice?” You ask. Struck me as funny too…in the beginning. But, my friends, this is The Turek Clinic’s secret sauce. Frankly stated, women are more inclined to have what is termed “emotional intelligence,” the ability to use emotional information to guide decisions in a social environment. Yup, while little boys are “noises with dirt on them,” girls are quietly developing this almost Talmudic skill.
In a word, my team possesses what Harvard researchers call “social sensitivity.” To me, they can “see” things that I simply can’t. And that allows me to care for patients in ways that reach well beyond medicine and well into life itself. Kind of important if your purpose is to become a “medical home” for men, don’t you think? In the words of Christian Morgenstern: “Home is not where you live but where they understand you.”