Last week, while working with team captains for another walk with the Alzheimer’s Association, the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, I had the opportunity to stop by the office where my dad is a physician, which is also an office of Holston Medical Group. Although many of the nurses and receptionists know me based on the fact that my dad is a doctor there, his office recently hired many new employees that I have yet to meet. While making my rounds through the offices of HMG, I decided to stop by his last so that it would be near the end of the day and I would be able to say hello while there. Once I entered the office, I introduced myself as an intern for HMG to one of the women working at the front desk and asked to speak with their team captain for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s. Rather than asking why I needed to speak with her, the women abruptly stated, “What about it?” At first I was taken aback by this response, but then realized I might seem like another pharmaceutical representative that she has to deal with daily. She then further questioned me and almost made me feel as if I was in the wrong office until finally she went and grabbed the team captain for me, who I knew previously. The team captain, who is also a nurse in the office, greeted me warmly and we went over the questions I had for her. After our conversation was over, I asked if my dad was free for me to say hi. With this, she turned to the woman I first spoke with and introduced me as Dr. Samuel’s daughter. Her facial expression immediately changed. She instantly became red and suddenly spoke to me more kindly. It was this moment that placed me in a dilemma.
After going into the office and talking with my dad for a few minutes, I began to think about whether or not I should tell him about what happened out front. On one hand, I did not want to be the “doctor’s kid” who complains about everything and have the receptionist’s job on the line, but on the other, I knew what occurred was not right. I was in a predicament and had to think fast about which decision to make. Finally, I decided to tell him for a number of reasons. The first, and most important, is the fact that everyone should be treated as the physician’s daughter the moment they walk in the door, even if they are a pharmaceutical representative. I knew I had someone to complain to should the situation go as poorly as it did, but then I began to think about the actual patients. Who would they reach out to if they were in a similar situation? Overall, are they being treated as such, as well? Was this the culture of the office? It should not have mattered who the receptionist thought I was; myself and others should all be treated with equal respect and kindness. In the end, the office manager had a conversation with this receptionist. Although I am unsure as to how it went, I have to report to the same office again next week and am interested to see if there is a different or similar reaction.