Three lessons from a chiropractic patient

Over a decade ago I had a patient come in. She was probably in her late 60s. As usual, I adjusted her and then helped her up.

This particular day we were pretty busy. People were parked in the field out back and were lined up in the street. An average chiropractor sees 80-100 patients a week. I’ve seen as many as 900 people or so in a week. This may have been one of those weeks.

As I was walking her to the door, she stopped and stepped back for a moment. She turned to me and asked, “Doctor, could I tell you something?”

I’ve been married for a long time, so I knew how to answer that. I replied, “Yes ma’am.”

She said, “Do you know what we patients want?”

“Ma’am?” I responded.

She continued, “I’m going to tell you want we want. We want you to at least act like you care about us. We want you to value our time. And we want to get well.”

“Yes ma’am,” I replied. She reached up, gave me a hug, turned around and walked out the door.

I finished my day and treated all my patients. That night as I drove home, that interaction just kept replaying in my head. What was that patient trying to tell me? What was she really saying?

She was saying three things, and I’ve run my practice based on these ever since, as well as shared them with hundreds of other chiropractors:

  1. Be nice to me.
  2. Value my time.
  3. Deliver a service that does what you say it will do.

Isn’t that interesting? You would think that if someone was in pain, getting better would be their priority. But that was the last thing she mentioned.

In my profession, if you genuinely care and love people, being nice to them is pretty easy. The other two can give you trouble if you aren’t careful. Are you doing all three of those?

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