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    Applying rules of engagement to real-life scenarios

    From military to clinic, lessons learned can provide valuable experience for future directives


    After writing my rules and giving them a decreed set number this time, I went back and reviewed Gibbs’ Rules. They weren’t so different, except that I am in the medical field and he is in the crime-fighting field. They fit – and for me they flow.

    Here are my top “go-to rules” that might apply to your office.

    Rule 1. If you’re not going to do it right, don’t do it at all.

    Nothing irritates me more than employees who go into a task knowing they are not going to give it their best. You can see it as they enter the room—the “When’s lunch?” look on their face. They know the rules and they know the skill, but instead they perform at 75% because they are not into it. If they are going to sleepwalk through the day, send them home. They are not helpful to you or the patients and may even pose a danger by performing incorrect tests/procedures.

    Rule 2. Never take your eye off the patient while doing the exam—even if you think they are perfectly normal. Those are the ones to especially watch.”

    On one particularly busy afternoon at the hospital, we were all fried. I went to the waiting room and called a patient. A “business woman” stood up, smiled, and entered the room. I thought: Relief, I finally got someone who’s not talking to the ficus tree in the waiting room, or threatening to sue the clinic because we won’t let them watch “Dr. Phil” on the TV.

    We sat down, and I began to review the chart. My guard was down, she was talking to me and telling me what her concern was, and even laughed once in a while. Then I began my routine by saying: “Let’s see what we can do for you today. Okay, how old are you?” That was the last thing I remembered.

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