The first few interactions you have with patients as an Audiology Assistant can undoubtedly make you feel a little uneasy, especially at the beginning. Don’t worry! This is normal! It takes some time to feel comfortable and find your groove when interacting with patients on your own. One of the best ways to get the appointment off on the right foot is with an appropriate introduction. Think about it: has there ever been a time that you’ve met someone for the first time and they didn’t tell you their name? Ever been in a doctor’s office and wondered who someone was? Are they a nurse? A nurse practitioner? A receptionist? Being left to wonder can make an interaction awkward. We’d like our patients to feel welcome and a warm introduction is an easy way to get things started on the right foot.
So, what’s the best way to introduce yourself to patients? I suggest using the KISS method: keep it short and sweet. A simple introduction such as, “Good morning Mr. Jones, I’m Jennifer, an Audiology Assistant here at ABC Hearing Center. What can I do for you today?” will let the patient know who you are and that you are there to help. This introduction easily opens the door for further conversation. It also let’s them know that you are an Audiology Assistant and not an audiologist. This distinction is important for a few reasons. Let’s discuss them.
It Helps Define the Role You Play
As you know, an Audiology Assistant has a lot of responsibilities that have to do with patient care. But, there are certain things an Audiology Assistant can’t do, such as reprogramming a hearing aid. Be prepared to answer questions about your role and to provide information on ways you can help them each time they are in to the clinic. If you can’t personally achieve everything they are wanting to accomplish during their appointment with you, don’t be afraid to tell them so. You can assure them that you will get them scheduled with another appointment where all their needs and concerns will be addressed if you cannot personally do so yourself. For instance, if Mr. Jones has a hearing aid that has feedback, an Audiology Assistant will check the ear canal for wax and clean and check the hearing aid. If both are fine, the trouble may be with the fit of the hearing aid or changes in the ear canal. The fix can only be accomplished with the help of an audiologist or hearing instrument specialist. So how do you help? Make it a point to never say, “I can’t do that for you.” Instead, say “I hear that you’re frustrated that your hearing aid has feedback. I’ve checked the hearing aid and your ear canal and they both look great! That leads me to believe that we need to get Dr. So and So to help. Unfortunately, she’s with patients all day today. But I can get you back on the schedule quickly to get that solved. How does that sound?” Offering a solution, even if it isn’t the one they were hoping for, will make sure to keep your patients happy with the services you can provide.
It Lets the Patient Know You are Trained and Competent
Having a title like Audiology Assistant isn’t just given, it’s earned. Not just anyone can fill this important role. It takes work and dedication to learn the ins and outs of a hearing clinic and how to care for patients with hearing loss. Your first introduction is a way to acknowledge your own skills and competence and let’s your patients know that you have been specifically trained to help them achieve better hearing.
It Sets Up Future Interactions for Success
Like it or not, you’re going to become a superhero to your patients. You will be their go-to person when they are experiencing an emergency with their hearing aids. A successful initial encounter and introduction will help pave the way for those future interactions where patients need a quick response to get them hearing again. You may even find that a patient will prefer to see you over their audiologist because they know you are capable of meeting their needs. Don’t worry, the audiologist will be thankful for your help! When an Audiology Assistant becomes the go-to person for emergent needs, it takes the pressure off the other Providers to always be “the answer.” Being able to provide excellent customer service is the most important goal in any hearing clinic and with your help, the clinic as a whole is a success.
Most importantly, you should be proud of your title. You’ve worked hard to become an Audiology Assistant. Wear it like a badge of honor and confidently introduce yourself using your title. Your patients, the audiologists and other staff value your role and you should too!
How do you introduce yourself to patients? I'd like to hear your suggestions! Leave a comment below.