Don't Apologise For Running Late!

As chiropractors, we’ve all run behind at some point in shift. You have assistants sending you little messages which start from little memos of inspiration;

“You can do it!”😀

“You’re doing great!”👍

These then slowly evolve to that of pictures that reassemble a poop emoticon💩- indicating you’d better pull your finger out!

Perhaps you’ve had an acute patient come in that required more time that was allocated. Perhaps you’re tired from having a sick child at home and you’ve lost sleep. Perhaps you just haven’t got your head in the game! Either way do not apologise for running late! Please let me explain.

Saying “I’m sorry” makes it about you feeling better and not them! .. Saying “I’m sorry” says that what you have been doing is of little importance you have wasted both your time and theirs. Saying “I’m sorry” means that one day- should they ever be acute- you will also waste peoples time while working with them.

“If I can’t say I’m sorry what can I say?”

Try this;

“Thank you for your patience!”

This makes it all about them. They say that “Patience is a virtue” and you thanking them for demonstrating it will give them a warm fuzzy rather than an excuse. Let’s reward them for good behaviour shall we?

“Thank you for your patience” says “I acknowledge that for various reasons you have been inconvenienced however I appreciate you trusting that we do not waste your time lightly.” 

We are dealing with people. People are different and have different needs and whilst good procedures will assist you in managing a good many people there will be exceptions and we need to allow for that.

Having said all of that, if you are running late all the time, you’re abusing the relationship and you need to review your procedures and approach to clinic. There is an old saying that when patients are in your waiting room they are counting your sins!

If you are running late all the time try these;

  • Get to clinic early and have any reports already done before the shift starts.
  • Don’t look at the appointment book- it won’t help you run on time- rather it will just make you drag appointments out and run later! Don’t knock it until you try it!
  • Do whatever it takes to allow you to have Present Time Consciousness (PTC)- remove any distractions and place a blanket ban on computer and mobile phone use on shift.
  • At the end of every shift allow a couple of minutes to debrief with the staff about “what worked and what didn’t work.” Over time these simple two questions will improve your practice’s systems and procedures.
  • Consider a coach- you will find it almost impossible to identify ways to improve when you have created the problem you find yourself in. A coach becomes a sounding board and a facilitator to identify areas where you can improve AND have the experience to support you make the changes you need to make.



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