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    How ‘the buck stops here’ can impact the bottom line

    Controlling the practice atmosphere is important for patient satisfaction, business


    Take home

    Controlling staff members’ attitudes may not seem important, but it is to patients who attend your practice. Make sure the overall atmosphere and experience for them is highly important or they will go elsewhere.


    President Harry Truman uttered this saying—“The buck stops here”—to define how all decisions and responsibilities during his administration fell directly under him. As the commander-in-chief, there was no way he could, or should, lay blame to someone else for his decisions or deeds. It fell squarely on his shoulders.

    These are very powerful words. Managers worth their salt should pretty much agree with this concept. Yet, rarely are we solely responsible for all clinic and/or staff actions and deeds.

    I can’t control that Kathy in Room 4 is having a really bad day after her car would not start, her ATM card was “eaten” at the gas station and she has no money for lunch, or that she has a parent-teacher conference at 5 p.m. regarding her son’s F in home economics. So when she snaps at Mrs. Tucker at 8:47 a.m., I wasn’t even in that clinic to be responsible!

    But, ultimately, I am responsible for her actions, because I am her boss. The patient will call me. The clinic lead will call me, and the physician will call or e-mail me because Mrs. Tucker took his ear off. Guaranteed he will talk to me as if he were letting Kathy know his great displeasure in this event.

    I can appreciate why they are all irritated with me—I don’t enjoy it, but I can appreciate it. As Kathy’s boss, most people don’t take it out on the person they are mad at. They tend to practice a kick-the-dog mentality and I am the commanding beagle within reach.

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