Have You Ever Had One of Those Days?

By Daniel L. Mannen, OD, FAAO April 25, 2014

Have you ever had one of those days?

Running late, splashed coffee on my new shirt…oh well, off to work.

Started a little late, but the first exam was going great until the slit lamp bulb burned out. I found a new one, wrong size. Thank goodness, I found the last correct replacement bulb in the back of the drawer. I am now 10 minutes late and a little harried, but back on track.

Mrs. Jones just arrived with pictures of her newest grandchild. He’s a cute kid; she had a long story, and now I am 20 minutes behind.

Server just crashed, going to reboot. It shouldn’t take longer than 10 minutes. While waiting on the computer, I spot new muddy footprints in the dispensary and was informed that my assistant was heading home to situate a sick child. I just started my 11:10 patient at 11:55, but who needs lunch anyway.

The afternoon started promptly at 1:10, right on time. We seem to be hitting our stride. Whoops, we double booked the 3:10 appointment. That meant that Mr. Jackson was going to have to wait a bit. He is not very patient and reminded me of that several times during his exam. My heart rate was returning to normal as I finished with the last patient and began to recount my day.

I was clearly pooped out, hungry, and feeling a little sorry for myself. It had been a long day.

But that is when my perspective changed. My assistant turned to me as she was leaving and said, “I think our patients really appreciated us today!” Wow, what a statement!!

I always tell my kids to look for the positive…how about if I practice what I preach and recount the positives of my day?


I woke up in good health, in good spirits, and patient care is one of my favorite things to do.

I got there a little late, but my excellent staff had things ready when I arrived. I did burn out a bulb, but had a replacement. Mrs. Smith got a kick out of me changing the bulb and my lack of dexterity provided entertainment for her. I do wonder what the other bulb was for.

Mrs. Jones has referred many patients to our practice. In fact, I think we take care of her whole family. It is an honor that she wanted to show me her family pictures.

We did have to reboot, but miraculously the computers returned. I think I will look for my next miracle in the cloud. Muddy footprints, yes, but take it from an outdoorsman, it is a sign of activity…and that is a very good thing.

I truly believe that Mr. Jackson enjoys needling me, so his delay actually provided him with new material for our interaction. Mr. Jackson pre-appointed for next year.

Oh yeah, and my assistant's child is feeling better.

Here is a partial patient score card:

  • Zero no shows!

  • No walking Rx’s; in fact, two patients returned to fill their prescriptions after checking around.

  • We saw three new patients, two of which scheduled their husbands for appointments before they left.

  • We saw eight diabetic patients, all of whom got a good report. Four of them knew when their next appointment should be before I could tell them.

  • We fit an excited little girl who was -8.00 with contact lenses.


Every patient encounter provided us with an opportunity to serve and make a difference. And to top it off, one patient told me that she liked me a lot better than her last eye doctor. Unfortunately, I was her previous eye doctor.

As I See It, it is all about perspective. When the focus was on me, the daily screw ups dominated my thinking. When the focus returned to my patients there was no question, we had a great day because we positively impacted their day! I believe that keeping our focus on the positive is the key to excellence in patient care and practice fulfillment.


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