Voice: Good and bad medical staffs in Valley

May 04, 2001

Having been an office manager in medical offices for many years, I have always been empathetic with the quiet suffering of the many people who must spend countless hours in waiting rooms to see a doctor for all too often a very few moments.

For the last three years, due to serious family illnesses, I have found it painfully necessary to wait among these ailing souls for a chance to improve the health or ease the pain of family members, friends and even myself. I admire the endurance and patience of these fellow patients and understand the looks of resignation on their faces.

I am acutely aware of the importance of a good office staff; friendly professional people who realize their dual purpose is to put patients at ease while providing a comfortable working environment for the doctor.

I have observed attitudes among staff members ranging from abominable to top-notch. One of the most unpleasant staffs I have witnessed began with a receptionist behind a closed and locked glass partition that sported a sign instructing patients not to knock on the window. Everyone had to stand patiently at the window until she decided to slowly unlock and open the glass barrier. She was always sparing with her smiles and had a look of condescension as she answered questions or conducted business, after which the window was again closed and locked.


Experiences with the nurse were not any more uplifting. Smiles were often short-lived as she maintained a manner that was all too often aloof and distant.

At the end of each visit, the doctor, whom we considered loving and caring, would always tell us to call if we needed him. Yet each time one of my family members became seriously ill, requests for access to the doctor were met with any number of excuses from these women. Promises to consult with the doctor and return my call were never kept. The final straw occurred when these two women, who probably have little more than a high school education, essentially made a medical decision to withhold our access to the doctor until my husband's life was placed in danger and the paramedics had to be called to the doctor's office with an ensuing trip to the emergency room. Had we been allowed to see the doctor three days earlier as I requested, the emergency would never have occurred.

There is, fortunately, a far brighter side to my story. There are indeed office staffs here that represent the opposite end of the spectrum. From the time one enters these offices until one leaves, the staffs help the patient feel welcome with warm friendly smiles, caring attitudes, pleasant banter, and, most of all, professional conduct.

Mind you, these are my opinions, but please allow me to express my deep gratitude to and appreciation for such offices. They include: Julie, Pat and Laura in Dr. Teske's office; Grizelda, Rosa and Mrs. Singh in Dr. Singh's office; Gabby, Susie and the twins in Dr. Robles' office; Pat, Martha and Mrs. Thomas in Dr. Thomas's office; and Cruz in Dr. Ng's office.

All these ladies are the cream of the crop! I know their bosses are proud of them, as they should be. I am sure there are other fine staffs in the Valley, but these are the ones with which my family has been blessed.


El Centro

Imperial Valley Press Online Articles