Professional life

To Be (Your Best) or Not To Be, That is the Question

Marshall W. Ritchey, Manager/Cardiac Cath Lab, with contributions from Piedmont Medical Center Cardiac Cath Lab Staff, Piedmont Medical Center, Rock Hill, South Carolina

Marshall W. Ritchey, Manager/Cardiac Cath Lab, with contributions from Piedmont Medical Center Cardiac Cath Lab Staff, Piedmont Medical Center, Rock Hill, South Carolina

Marshall W. Ritchey can be contacted at

You are being watched! 

I read somewhere that 80% of what we learn is visual. Humans rely on their senses to learn. We mimic behaviors we see. Body language tells us more than we can appreciate or know. Our interactions are heavily influenced by reactions or lack of reactions from those around us. Are they smiling or frowning at what we say or more importantly, do? Did they cross their arms or look another way?  

You, too, are watching others to select your actions and reactions. That is how we learn to do or not to do things. We want to make good choices and decisions regarding our interactions with others. So to help learn about our actions, reactions and expectations, we hope to offer a few good observations and quotations!

To be or not to be, that is the question.

Hamlet, Act III, Scene I by William Shakespeare

Sometimes employees do not understand or follow the most basic workplace guidelines. Below is a list that you may change to make your own. You may make it part of each job description or personnel handbook, and/or post it in strategic places.  

Just because your staff has been around a long time does not mean you know everything. Remember, there are old fools, too! There was a teacher that claimed to have twenty years of experience. His supervisor noted that it was more like he had one year of experience twenty times. He had not developed and grown with his years on the job. He still worked the same way as when he started. Learn, improve, thrive from your experiences, and become more of an asset.

My high school basketball coach often said, “Liability on the basketball court, is an asset on the bench!”  

— Lewis Ewart, Northern Bedford County High School Coach

Never continue in a job you don’t enjoy. If you’re happy in what you’re doing, you’ll like yourself, you’ll have inner peace. And if you have that, along with physical health, you will have had more success than you could possibly have imagined.  

— Johnny Carson

Be prepared.

Be ready to get the job done. Not with just having supplies, but by having the knowledge and skills to meet the demands of your job. “Be Prepared”. Why this motto? It is because, like the other guides, you have to be prepared at any moment to face difficulties and even dangers by knowing what to do and how to do it. 

Be there.

Report to work on time daily. Be ready at your station to begin work at the designated time. Leave promptly for lunch and return to work when you should, unless you’ve made special arrangements with your supervisor. Take breaks on the honor system and do not abuse the privilege. Clock in and out faithfully. Have strong integrity and honesty. Others are watching and your reputation will grow — one way or the other.

Be respectful and respected.

Command respect from the physicians, managers and employees of your hospital by demonstrating total professionalism in the workplace with your dress, your demeanor, and conversation. Represent the business/practice in a way that would make your mother and your boss proud of you. Treat your co-workers as you would like to be treated.

Be communicative. 

Keep your supervisor aware of any problems in your workload, whether too much or too little. Do not expect your supervisor to know if you are falling behind or caught up. This applies to supplies shortages, equipment malfunctions, and even a room that is dirty, or too hot or cold. Pass information around, both up and down the ladder of command.

Be economical.

By not wasting time or supplies or doing sloppy work that must be re-done. Extravagant and messy are not in style.

Be attentive.

Focus on every customer (patient, physician, staff member). Give your total attention, patience and courtesy. Do not assume you know what the customer (patient, physician, staff member) is going to say, but listen carefully to the customer/patient (in-person or on the phone), so you can assist them to the best of your ability. Remember how good it feels to be the center of someone’s attention. Now give that gift to every single person!

Be detail oriented. 

Document all interactions with customers/patients and other businesses/medical facilities to assist your co-workers in knowing what you have done, and document your resolution of the situation to the customer’s satisfaction. If you don’t document it, it didn’t happen! Make it legible. If you can’t read it, then you have a mystery, not documentation.  

Be a team player.

This means both covering for your co-workers and knowing that they will cover you. This means supporting your co-workers to their faces and behind their backs. This means having your workplace goals as your goals, and knowing that your success will be your team’s success and ultimately, the success of the business/practice. When the baseball gets through the infield, the outfield does not say that the problem was the infield’s job and complain that the infield didn’t catch the ball. The outfield is part of the team, runs for the ball and makes every effort to stop the runner’s advance in spite of the infield’s error. 

Be clean. 

Not just clean clothes and body, but clean up your own messes. Act as an adult acts in the workplace: responsibly, maturely, and with thought for others. Accept blame for your own mistakes, knowing that everyone makes them, and that if no one is making any mistakes, nothing is improving. Keep the workplace clean of trash and trash talk. Make it a better place because you were there!

Be positive.

Strive for a positive attitude every single day. Don’t whine. Don’t join in howling at the moon! Count your blessing, not your crosses. Count your wins, not your losses. A positive attitude starts with you.

Be generous.

Contribute to making your cath lab a good place to work. Only you can create a place where everyone enjoys working. Only you can make this place a good place to be. Bring in donuts, cake, or a treat to share with your co-workers. Give three compliments a day!  Share life with others. A man travels fast by himself. A man travels far by going with others.

Be grateful.

Think about all you have and what others don’t have. What have you done to deserve all these blessings? You can see, you can hear, you can talk, and you can walk. Why are you not lying in a bed, writhing with pain and gasping for a breath? Why are you so fortunate? Why are we not thankful for the basics that we have? Safe water to drink, food, clothing, and shelter. Why are we not thankful for the superlatives? No war in our land, no persecution, and we have a job and a purpose. We have automobiles, phones, TVs, computers, large homes, large meals, and more importantly, family and friends. We have much to be thankful for. Stop and smile! Now, don’t just sit around and stew, but get busy and do!

Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.   

— John Wooden

  To be or not to be is not a question of compromise. Either you be or you don’t be!

— Golda Meir

Be all (that) you can be!  

— US Army Slogan 1980-2001

We hope you were able to glean some tools from this article that you may use in your work days.  Be your best.