Day 6: Equity in the Waiting Room

Today I spent my Friday night sitting in the emergency room with my wife and 17 month old…everyone is OK! My child has had a fever and it spiked to a number that we thought should be seen by the professionals. I have nothing but great things to say about Orangeville Hospital, but that is for another blog post.

Tonight was unique in the sense that there was a lot of rushing, then waiting…waiting…waiting. I normally am equipped with a phone or iPad to avoid having to interact with humans in situations such as these…but in the rush I left it in the car with a useless 5% battery charged. It turns out I was able to reconnect when I was disconnected.

One of the few places where all members of society are treated equitably, the waiting room. Assessed and evaluated based on current needs and prioritized accordingly, the waiting room doesn’t discriminate against age, sex, gender, culture, economic backgrounds. If you are really sick, you get to go first.

Abigail was kinda-sort-of-really sick, which translated into an hour and a half of waiting. During this time I people watched and dropped an ear in on complaints and critiques of this waiting room heirarchy. The one boy by the door kept looking to see who was coming and going, he was keeping score. He realized that his leg injury was of little currency compared to that of the man with chest pains. I started to make connections to the and the waiting room and the classroom.

I know both systems are not perfect, but they are systems that function to serve the needs of a large diverse group. As a primary teacher I feel that we are the first ones to “triage” and assess the needs of our students. We accommodate and modify was we strive to ensure equitable access to quality education. This continues as students progress through the grades, building data and sharing the history with incoming teachers.

Both systems are designed in a way that will work towards but never achieve perfection. We will never have enough resources, manpower, or capacity to meet all the needs at the specific time with the exact requirements.  This is where customer service really plays a part on the true value of the systems. Let’s call this a cliffhanger. More on this (customer service) tomorrow, besides today is almost finished!



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