Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Nine Rules of Waiting Room Etiquette

He's cute, but a bit much if the person sitting next to him in the waiting room is there to see someone about chronic headaches!
  1. Respect the privacy of others: This is the primary rule of etiquette for doctor's office and therapist's office waiting rooms, and with good reason. It is no one else's business, but your doctor's or therapist's, why you are there. Never ask other people why they are waiting there – regardless of how friendly or happy they appear. Most people do not really want to make small talk with you before they see their doctor or have a therapy session. If you happen to meet someone who does seem to be open to small talk, you may be in for more than you bargained for. Saying, "Hi. How are you today?" may not get you a simple, "Fine, thanks. And you?" but a 30 minute dissertation on everything that is ailing them, physically, and or, emotionally. And please refrain from trying to "network" with others. Keep your business cards to yourself.
  2. Keep your mobile phone calls to yourself and your phones silent: The annoyance known as "cell yell," phone calls of a personal nature, and foul language are not welcome in the waiting room. Those waiting around you do not want to listen to your phone call. Step outside if you have a call of an urgent nature. Otherwise, make your call as brief, and as quiet, as you can.  Better yet? Text.
  3. Please don’t eat in the waiting room: Not all offices have daily janitorial service. If you spill food or beverages, the office staff will have to clean it up most likely, making you an unwelcome sight upon your next visit. Most all waiting rooms have signs now, forbidding foods and beverages. Then again, some offices are a bit more tolerant. I once watched a very pregnant woman politely, and cleanly, wolf down two burgers and a large order of fries in an OB/GYN's office waiting room. In fact, at my yearly visits there, someone was inevitably eating a meal of some sort. The office staff, aware that pregnant women are eating for two, didn't seem to mind in the least, as long as it was done without a lot of mess, noise or smell.  
    Most of us are animal lovers. We'd appreciate a bit of notice if you'll be bringing a service animal with you, when you are scheduling your first visit at our office. We want to be prepared.
  4. Make yourself comfortable: Just don't feel it is okay to make yourself too comfortable. That means you may not have your feet propped up on the furniture, nor may you rearrange the furniture. And please keep your shoes on!
  5. Please do not try to sell anything: Not to the staff, nor to others waiting to see someone. We know your kids are cute. We know that schools, churches and clubs often have fund-raisers when your kids need to sell something. Many of us have kids who have something to sell too. We promise not to pester you to buy anything from us while you wait. 
  6. The waiting room is not a play area: If you must bring your child with you, unless you are in a pediatrician's office waiting room, the waiting room is not equipped to act as an entertainment or recreation center for your child/children. If they have a device to keep them occupied, make sure the sound is silent or the volume is set at a very low level. We really like kids, but we like them to be quiet, and generally well-behaved.       
    Most waiting rooms do not look like this one above.
  7. Be willing to move: If you see a couple come in together, or a parent with a child in tow, and there are only two seats left available, one on either side of you, it is most polite to move over one seat and let them sit together. Also, your purse, bag, laptop or whatever you have brought in with you, does not need a seat of its own. If the professionals are running behind and there is limited seating, slide whatever you brought under your seat, or keep it in your lap.
  8. Do not take waiting room magazines into our restroom with you: You may have a cute sign in your bathroom at home, announcing to others that it is your "library" or "reading room" but it is highly unsanitary. Do not rip articles or recipes out of our magazines either. We generally will be more than happy to make you a copy of whatever it is you want to take with you and finish reading when you leave. That way, you can read it at your leisure, even in your "reading room" when you get home.
  9. Please mention service animals: Please give us a "heads up" when booking an appointment, if you need to bring your service animal with you.  We want to be prepared and want you to be happy.

The Office Staff