This is the third instalment of my blog series, introducing you all to the wonderful staff members at the Cosmetic Surgery Clinic. You’ve already met our scrub nurse Patti, and our operating room manager and circulating nurse Ange. Today the spotlight is on Tina, our senior front desk manager and receptionist.
There are a variety of entry points for a patient to contact us at the Cosmetic Surgery Clinic. Some patients write to us via the “contact us” link on our website. Some patients reach us through Facebook or Instagram. Sometimes, people even try to initiate a surgical consultation with me while I’m shopping at the local grocery store! But most of the time, patients pick up the phone and call us. And when they do that, most often, the first person they speak to is Tina.
If you are reading this blog, then there is a good chance you already know Tina. After all, Tina has been with us full time at The Cosmetic Surgery Clinic for the last five years. Still not sure who she is? Tina is the always-smiling face you see as you walk through our front doors. Tina is the one with the friendly voice who greets you by name, asks after your well being, and welcomes you in.
The job of the front desk receptionist might seem simple at first glance; say hello, check the patient in, and offer a coffee or tea. But that description does not even begin to scratch the surface of what Tina does for the team and for our patients every day.
Remember those hilarious performers from the variety shows and talk shows in the 60s and 70s? One of my favourite acts was the plate spinner. Check those ones out here! They laughed, smiled, entertained, and kept an impossible number of plates spinning on sticks without a single one crashing to the ground. Tina is the expert plate spinner for the Cosmetic Surgery Clinic.
Tina coordinates the schedules for two very busy plastic surgeons, Natalie, our Laser Beauty Nurse, Sarah, our laser/skincare specialist, and for Majid, our talented nurse injector. Tina also coordinates all the post-surgical follow up visits for Lauren, our clinic nurse. Doing all this means working with about 80-100 patients a day!
As if doing all that was not enough, Tina has to manage it all while the phone on her desk never ever stops ringing: It’s a new patient calling, wondering where to park upon arrival. It’s a referring doctor’s office calling, needing to send us someone with a routine problem. It’s the lab calling with an urgent test result. It’s the HVAC maintenance crew calling to schedule our spring checkup. It’s another patient calling to reschedule an appointment. It’s the hospital emergency department calling about someone who accidentally ran their hand through a table saw. And on and on it goes.
Of course, not all the phone calls Tina manages are incoming. Throughout the day, I might ask Tina to set up an appointment with the hospital cast clinic. Or ask her to get some information from the hand therapist seeing a tendon repair patient of mine. Or call the pathologist to put a rush on the skin cancer specimen I biopsied.
Over the years, Tina has become a magnificent phone call juggler. Not only does she manage all the calls, all the schedules, and all the patients standing at the desk in front of her, but she does it all with a thousand-watt smile.
When not dealing with patients, fixing the schedule, and answering the phone, Tina is dealing with the 30-40 new patient referrals that come by fax every day. Each one of those needs to be read, distributed to the appropriate person, and then triaged based on the urgency of the problem. That happens all day, every day. Tina is at the centre of that vortex as well.
While you all know that Tina is warm and welcoming and perpetually smiling, there may be a few sides of Tina you don’t know about. Let me fill you in.
As you all know, we take our coffee seriously at the Cosmetic Surgery Clinic. Tina is the self-appointed guardian of our beloved Jura Giga 5 espresso machine. Every morning before our patients arrive, Tina has cleaned the machine, filled it with fresh water and fresh beans, put the milk in the refrigeration unit, made sure the filter is functioning properly and the machine is ready for the 50-75 americanos, espressos, macchiatos, lattes and cappuccinos for ourselves and our patients to enjoy every single day. And then, at the end of her long day, Tina does the whole thing all over again in reverse. She cleans the machine and puts it to sleep for the night. Think of Tina next time you are sipping a delicious coffee at The Cosmetic Surgery Clinic.
If you have any questions about your appointment time, or how to get to the Cosmetic Surgery Clinic, or where to park, of course you know you can ask Tina. However, you may not know that if you have questions about baseball, you can also ask Tina. As a result of having two talented kids who have played baseball at very high levels for many years, Tina can talk to you intelligently about batting averages, earned run averages, fielding percentages, slugging percentages, on-base percentage and the proper technique for a right-handed pitcher to throw a hard breaking curveball to a left-handed power hitter. If I’m not careful as her employer, I may lose her to the Blue Jays as a pitching coach.
Those of you who have spoken with Tina well know that she has an excellent command of the English language. However, I have noticed that there is one word that she does not seem to know because I’ve never heard her say it. That word is “no.” When any of our team members ask her if she can stay a little late to help them, she says “yes”. When I say, “Tina, I have an urgent project that needs completion today, can you get it done?” She says “yes”. When our office manager, Heather, asked Tina to take the lead to train Karen, our new front desk associate, Tina smiled and said “yes”. When we needed someone to work a Saturday, Tina said “Sure, I can do it.” I know when I ask Tina if she can help me or any of the team members at The Cosmetic Surgery Clinic to do just about anything, Tina would say yes. And she wouldn’t just say it, she would mean it.
When Tina isn’t busy spinning plates for us at The Cosmetic Surgery Clinic, she can often be found paddling a canoe through the beautiful lakes of Ontario. Tina is an avid camper who never shies away from an adventurous portage trip.
I am so proud to have Tina be the first voice our patients hear, and the first face our patients see when they make contact with The Cosmetic Surgery Clinic.