ASQ - Team and Workplace Excellence Forum

August 1998 / Special Feature : An Issue Of Trust

An Issue Of Trust

In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash

All You Ever Really Need To Know About Trust You Learned In Kindergarten

Furnishing Trust And Empowerment

Eight Organizational Strategies That Build Trust

Trust In Whom

by Peter Block
Trust Columns
John Schuster

Cliff Bolster
Joel Henning
Dan Oestreich
Felicia Seaton-Williams
Trust Interviews
Trapeze Artist
Emergency Room Physician

Air Traffic Controller
Police Officer
Park Ranger


Brief Cases
Business News Briefs

Book Review


Emergency Trust
An ER Physician Stabilizes Trust

For Charley Buckley trust represents the difference between life and death. A 23-year veteran emergency room physician, Buckley works in an environment where trust is a necessity, not an option. When seconds can save or shatter a life Buckley must create trusting and open communication between patients and colleagues. Employed at Exempla Lutheran Hospital, Wheat Ridge, Colo., Buckley has learned that a moment of building trust can make a lifetime of difference.

What is your definition of trust?
The patients I see should expect to trust me, without knowing any of my background. The patients are in no position to take time to make judgements when they come into the emergency room.

How does trust apply to your profession?
Trust is a huge part of my profession. Obviously there would be many problems if the people that came into the emergency room didn’t trust me. I encounter trust issues daily. Many times there are things about a patient that not even their family members are aware of. It is my responsibility to treat these people. I need to establish a trustworthy relationship with them in order for them to give me vital information so I may treat them quickly, correctly and effectively. For example, oftentimes teenage girls come into the emergency room. There is a possibility that they could be pregnant, but the parents may not know and I have to make sure that the patient will trust me and share that information with me. If I don’t have that information, a dangerous, even more serious situation could result.

Without trust, what situations/consequences would you face?
Without trust I can’t get the correct information I need in order to treat my patients. If patients don’t trust their doctors, doctors won’t get honest answers and the treatment of the patient is at stake.

How do you build trust?
I’m in a situation where I don’t have a lot of time. Because I’ve never met or seen these people before I have very little time to prove my trustworthiness. If I have the opportunity to demonstrate that I can be trusted, I certainly do that, but in most cases there isn’t enough time. The most common example of this is individuals entering the emergency room high on drugs or alcohol that need to be restrained in order for us to treat them. To show them that I am capable of treating them and that I can be trusted I tell them that if they don’t act up for a given period of time, the restraints will be removed. If, after that time, they have behaved, I will remove the restraints. This shows that my word can be taken seriously and I am someone they can trust.

Can you repair trust? If so, how?
In my profession you don’t have time to repair trust. It’s a one shot opportunity. If I lose trust starting out, it’s done for that encounter.

August '98 News for a Change | Email Editor

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