Chairs, a few magazines, maybe a courtesy telephone and, less likely, a coffee bar. This is pretty much the typical waiting room in an average physicians office in the United States.
No matter how much time we spend in these waiting rooms, we’re never happy about waiting. In today’s busy life no one has enough time. We expect everything to be quick, if not instant. Not only do we often complain about waiting, but sometimes we even threaten to leave.
Some waiting rooms are an exception to the rule—they’re spacious and offer more than what you expect. Like the Mayo Clinic.
Each time I visit the Mayo clinic I make many mental notes…the cleanliness (I mean spotless), the number of elevators, the kind staff, the commitment to excellence, the most up-to-date technology, the on-time appointments and the waiting rooms. Large, roomy, comfortable chairs, courtesy telephones, a business center where you can work, magazines and… a generous table with four to six chairs, offering a community effort puzzle.
For years I’ve looked at these tables and the puzzles they hold. Some of which have only a few pieces together, while others are almost complete.
Each time that I look at these tables I think, how many hands have touched these puzzles? Were they clean hands or did they carry germs? Of course, they had germs—everything we touch is covered with germs—some worse than others, as they can be pathogenic. So, why offer community puzzles here, whereby nature there are more sick people than healthy ones that often sit next to immune suppressed people.
The truth is, that unless we live in a bubble we touch germs all day long—we can’t prevent the obvious contact with germs. However, we could, and should, reduce the risk of infection transmission by washing hands before we touch our mouth, eyes, and nose, or any portals entry. Best practice is to have alcohol-based hand rub in your pocket.
It’s not only the puzzles. Look around you. Telephones, money, keyboards, door handles…everything is covered with germs.
Germs are everywhere—you don’t have to get infected by them!
Don’t be puzzled—reduce your risk of infection!