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March 5, 2012
Healing Starts With a Relational Sense
 
My wife, Dawn, is home now, after 12 days of recovering from a stroke and carotid artery surgery at the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, in Hershey, Pa. The health challenge has been a huge ordeal for her, but the response to it has been an enormous blessing. Not just the medical and surgical techniques, but the obvious personal regard shown her by her doctors and nurses — the public relations of medicine, if you will.

From the attending stroke doctor, whom Dawn met in the emergency room, to the vascular surgeon, to the nurses and the anesthesiologist and others, no doubt, in the operating room — they all responded with concern and empathy that showed they knew what their patient was enduring. They walked in her shoes. And they're making her well.

Now, you might say, this is what a good hospital does. Yes, but it doesn't happen automatically. It takes awareness, resolve, and regard for people with pressing needs; it takes, most of all, a strong relational sense. Maybe that comes with medical training, or it's what leads young men and women into medicine in the first place. (And, behind the scenes, there are managers who keep a hospital setting as functional and inviting as possible.) 

Yes, this is good medicine, but anyone in business can learn from considering what makes health professionals so attendant to their patients. Similar relational vibes occur in business and government settings everywhere. Prospective customers have needs, not of the life-threatening sort, but ones that lead them to seek help. Business people who step into the shoes of customers and clients and help them succeed will be rewarded in many ways. It all starts, first, with preparing to be of service, then with listening and picturing needs and possible solutions. That takes a strong, other-focused relational sense. One that's genuine and, thereby, effective.   

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Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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