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 Photo

Airman leaves AF to pursue college B-ball career

Courtesy Photo Senior Airman Patrick Paul, 56th Logistics Readiness Squadron, shoots a jump shot during a game against the 56th Security Forces Squadron at the Bryant Fitness Center. Paul is finishing out his Air Force commitme...
 
 
140307-F-CB366-007

Airmen shave heads for pilot’s son battling cancer

Senior Airman David Owsianka Airmen from the 62nd Fighter Squadron recently shaved their heads to support a deceased officer’s son who is battling with cancer. Second Lt. Dave Mitchell, former 62nd FS pilot, lost his life dur...
 
 

Three steps to avoid ‘toxic leadership’

Toxic leadership. Sadly, this term has recently become vogue in the lexicon of the Defense Department to describe leaders possessing unfavorable leadership characteristics and whose actions eventually rot an organization from the inside out. Examples of these leaders drape across the weekly headlines and sound bites of newspapers, radio and television. “Leaders” who become drunk...
 

 

Personal improvement, goal setting all part of leadership

In preparation for the changes in regard to officer and enlisted performance reports, and force management issues, it is important to reflect on personal improvement and goal setting. This topic is close to my heart and revolves around leadership. As officers, leaders and mentors, we can all benefit from refreshing our vigilance and attention to...
 
 
Courtesy photo

Instructor pilot selected as Olmsted scholar

Courtesy photo Capt. Daniel Wynn, 56th Operations Support Squadron operations flight commander, prepares to refuel in an F-16 Fighting Falcon during a combat mission over Afghanistan in August 2011. For many U.S. military membe...
 
 

News Briefs April 11, 2013

Base-wide exercise The 56th Fighter Wing will conduct a natural disaster exercise today, which will include military, local, county and state law enforcement, and fire departments. Those traveling on base should expect traffic disruptions, gate closures or delays, and interruptions of customer service operations. Expect to see simulated explosions, smoke, role players depicting individuals with...
 




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=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin