QUITE RECENTLY I had an unfortunate family emergency and a relative had to be taken by ambulance to the Accident & Emergency [Department] after a vehicular accident.
I had the privilege of travelling by ambulance with the family member to the hospital and was most impressed with the service rendered by the two emergency technicians. They were very professional not only in their handling of the patient but in their attitude and mannerisms. Kudos to those two gentlemen, for indeed their service was excellent.
On reaching the Accident & Emergency [Department] of the hospital we encountered a male nurse who I can say was nothing short of being downright ill mannered and hostile.
I was taken aback by the remarks of this short, dark male nurse to the technicians, and I quote, “Put she off da bed and put she in da chair there, you hear me?” His body language was far from becoming and his attitude left much to be desired.
I was left wondering, is this the kind of service expected when one is sick or injured and is taken to a medical facility? As the saying goes, “one bad apple spoils the barrel” and his service was far from excellent.
As the afternoon progressed and our wait grew longer, we were met by a pleasant, well groomed female nurse who provided a personal touch. She ensured the comfort of the patient and reassured us that our wait should not be very long. Her smile and warmth gave me hope that all is not lost at this medical facility.
These situations caused me to reflect on the service rendered in all sectors of society and I concluded that there is indeed a problem with service excellence in this country. My thinking carried me from the private sector to the public sector and one thing they had in common was the absence of “service excellence”. In my opinion, many people do not know those two words or do not understand them.
It is sad that some people providing a service believe that they are offering a favour and not performing a job. As a result, they offer crude, ill-mannered, unfriendly and unkind attitudes.
Parents need to teach their children from their formative years the importance of good manners – you’re welcome, thank you, pardon me. They must also teach them that a smile goes a long way. One should not wait until one is in the workforce to be taught good manners. No boss or company should have to invest money and time to teach workers basic courtesies they should have learnt when they were children.
Furthermore, parents should teach their children the importance of communicating effectively and being productive while they are young so they can transfer these skills to their working environment when they become older and this will enhance service excellence.
• Rhonda A. Blackman is an educator, National Development Scholar and former president of the Early Childhood Association of Barbados Inc.; email [email protected]