Commentary

July 12, 2013

Getting details right matters

Col. LAURA PLACE
56th Medical Group

“If we can’t get the simple things right – patients worry about the rest of care.”

My Medical Corp Chief, Brig. Gen. Daniel Wyman, spoke those words at a quality and patient safety meeting several years ago, and the words continue to resonate with me.

In the Air Force medical service our patients’ health is our priority and providing first-rate health care is our mission.

However, it is difficult for our patients to know if they are getting high quality medical care as they are not typically familiar with the latest medical research or clinical studies. Our patients trust that the medics will get it right, and they use whatever means they can to validate this trust.

Do we greet them sincerely at their appointment? Do our medical technicians take their vitals and review their history diligently? Are the exam rooms clean? Do the providers listen attentively to their concerns? Are their consults available at the time of the appointment? Does the staff call them back when they say they will? And on and on. If we don’t excel at the routine tasks, how can our patients trust us with the big things – the life or death issues? First impressions matter. Details matter.

These words speak not just to the medical community but are also applicable to Airmen. Substitute the words maintainers, logisticians, food service workers, and pilots, and the meaning is the same. If I can’t trust you with the small, seemingly unimportant, tasks, how I can trust you with the big?

I was recently reviewing resumes for a civilian position that we are looking to hire. In today’s economy with good jobs difficult to secure, one would expect that significant time and attention would be paid to a resume. And yet, more than one of those resumes had typos and grammatical errors. If these men and women couldn’t get it right on something presumably that was important to them, what kind of work can I expect out of them in the future? Will this lack of attention to detail continue in their new job? Is this behavior a pattern for them or an unlucky mistake? First impressions matter. Details matter.

Lastly, Lt. Gen. Robin Rand made a similar analogy during his remarks at an officer’s call here a few weeks ago. He noted that it becomes a slippery slope when you overlook small instances of unprofessionalism or lack of discipline. These seemingly little issues become new standards by default and allow unwanted behaviors to escalate.

He was relating a lapse in standards by some as a contributing factor to the current sexual assault problem that we have in the military, but I would argue that the same could be said about more mundane problems as well.

Details matter not just to individual Airmen but to supervisors as well. We are continually sending messages to peers, bosses, and customers by the way we act, speak, and conduct ourselves whether intentional or not. What first impressions are you making with your work and attitude? Are you sending out the message that you are trustworthy and ready for the next big job? As supervisors, what standards are you allowing to flourish by your action or inaction? Can your Airmen count on you to enforce discipline in both big and small ways?

Details matter.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Courtesy graphic

Fitness center gets Xtreme makeover

Courtesy graphic Above is an architectural rendering of the changes to the outside of the Luke Air Force Base Bryant Fitness Center. Renovations also include a remodel of most of the interior. The project will take place over t...
 
 

People — Air Force’s greatest asset

As I reflect on almost 25 years of military service, I find it easy to remember my assignments, the multiple jobs I’ve had and duties I have performed. I have served on four continents and for four presidents. Within that same time period, our nation has been in numerous campaigns ranging from operations Desert Storm...
 
 

Character, good or bad, will be passed on

Your character is who you are when no one is watching. At the same time, your character is who you are when everyone is watching. Your character is the sum of your morals and values and the quality of your character is of the utmost importance when leading others. In addition to your own values...
 

 
Senior Airman 
JAMES HENSLEY

History gets paint job

Senior AirmanJAMES HENSLEY James Bridges and Hayden Yager, civilian contractors, prepare the F-104C Starfighter static display for painting Aug. 12 in the Luke Air Force Base Airpark. The static displays in the airpark will be ...
 
 

News Briefs August 29, 2015

Base-wide exercise The 56th Fighter Wing will begin an active-shooter exercise between 8 and 10 a.m. Thursday. It is expected to continue throughout the day. The exercise will include military and local, county and state law enforcement, and fire departments. On and off-base residents should expect traffic disruptions, gate closures or delays, and interruption of...
 
 
Tech. Sgt. 
BARBARA PLANTE

944th Airmen live life as military couple

Tech. Sgt.BARBARA PLANTE Staff Sgt. Adam Jenkins and Senior Airman Cassandra Jenkins, 944th Logistics Readiness Squadron, are a dual-military couple and work together as maintainers in the refueling vehicle maintenance shop. St...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>