In one of my previous blog posts, I covered what I consider to be some of the most important tricks of the plastic surgery trade. But I saved the best for last. It is the holy grail of running a successful plastic surgery practice.
The secret is no surprise. It is plainly and simply: kindness. Taking care of your employees and patients beyond how you benefit from them. It’s actually giving a flying F.
If you’ve been around our practice much, you’ve noticed a fairly high turnover of employees. Certainly, we have higher standards than most and many just don’t make the cut. Aside from requiring a freakish amount of dedication, one of the biggest challenges is cultivating employees that stand for the same kinds of values your practice represents.
I’m going to share one of Larry’s favorite stories. I’ve never actually verified its authenticity, but it’s a good one nonetheless. Almost a decade ago, our clinic was expanding and we were searching for a new Head Nurse. Then Sarah walked in, all tall, blonde and gorgeous (that detail was irrelevant, but stay with me). Larry asked what she was looking for in a job. Allegedly, she responded, “I’m looking for a home.” Sarah was hired and the rest is history. Her husband helped me buy my first home. We drank Fireball from the same bottle. I watched her become a mom…twice. She’s seen me naked…maybe more than twice.
We try to treat our patients in this same way (minus the seeing me naked part). Surely, we’re a business and we need to keep an eye on the bottom line. But aside from the numbers, good old-fashioned customer care is a value we strive to uphold. Plastic surgery is far from perfect. There is no perfect surgeon or perfect surgery. Things happen. The question is, regardless of fault, will you do right by your patients when things don’t go as planned? Surgery in and of itself puts patients in the most vulnerable of states. When things go awry, their fears are exacerbated and it’s up to us to figure out how best to remedy the problem – while at the same time, making them feel cared for.
When you go skydiving, you sign a waiver that basically says the company is not liable if you get hurt. It’s a risk you’re knowingly taking when you choose to jump out of a plane. You sign the same form before a plastic surgery procedure. It says, “these are the known complications.” But, if one of those things actually does happen, what will you do? Tough shit; you knew this could happen? Hope they make bras for uniboobs. OK, so that was an exaggeration. But do you default to what’s easy; or do you do what’s right?? Therein lies the difference between a good surgeon and a great one.