I am working in a hospital pharmacy. At the moment, my time is spent viewing a patient’s profile and preparing to dose vancomycin, an antibiotic IV. The telephone rings, interrupting my thinking, but I must answer.
Pharmacy Department, this is Brad,” is my greeting. Immediately a nurse quickly states, “the patient in 212 PICC line got inserted late, re-time the Zosyn IV, and what time do you have for the Levaquin?”
I needed to call up the patient’s information. Apparently, the RN was perturbed I didn’t have the information immediately available. I repeated her request (something that all of us in healthcare are trained to do). She became indignant. Sure, sometimes there is a great sense of urgency, a person’s life may be at stake, but not this particular instance.
She reluctantly repeated the information. I quickly adjusted times; the whole transaction was completed in less than one minute.
The point I want to make is this: because one person has an issue or task before them that requires the assistance of a colleague does not mean the other person is currently focused on the same concern.
I ‘m sure all of you readers can think of your examples. An attorney is studying a particular case for a certain client on a company merger and gets interrupted to answer a question about a new law regarding a client’s will and living trust. A sales manager is working on his sales forecast when he gets a frantic phone call from one of his reps regarding a shipment to a customer. And again, you can quickly fill in more examples, I am sure.
Allowing the recipient of the phone call to orient themselves, to “switch gears” is being considerate. It will set the tone for a pleasant and rapid exchange of critical information.