As a Professional in EHS, I would hope when a worker comes to us with a question that we took the time to value their voice; stepping back and letting them fully explain their thoughts, ideas and perspectives without jumping in with our own professional assumptions or fix.
Most importantly that we "tune in" to really hear what they are saying to us.
However in recent events in my personal life, I quickly realized the struggle of being heard by a professional who believes they already know the answer before they are finished listening.
This story has nothing to do with EHS specifically, but everything to do with how professionals treat those not within their profession.
A while ago I went to the doctors with symptoms of numbness in my arms and feet. I was told by the doctor and physiotherapist I am sleeping the wrong way.
They then both clearly explained to me how I should be sleeping, and be positioned while sleeping.
Listening to the professionals, I took notes and implemented the prescribed regiment starting that night.
I walked away with high hopes that it would all be resolved!
Unfortunately, the symptoms did not get better only worst.
Back I went to again see the professionals, who then insisted I must not be sleeping right.
Suggesting that in the middle of the night I was lying on my arms which is why I have numbness.
This communication struggle went on for a bit, with doctor visits every several months and amazingly no tests despite requests.
After their many suggestions of how to position my pillows, not use pillows, and try the floor I decided it was time to "make that change".
The professionals were just not working out for my needs.
Being one who does not believe repeating old patterns will get new results, I changed it up and went to a different doctor.
This person was suggested with the forewarning that the doctor is known to be highly meticulous in their practice.
She listened carefully, read my file, asked questions, then listened more, preformed her own tests (sharing how she prefers to investigate everything her self to be sure), shared her findings, listened, and then ordered several tests and x-rays.
In addition, she prescribed me to write down everything I eat and all activity (including sleep) for a week.
It took longer, yes.
In fact my whole day off was about doing tests as she collected her needed information for the investigation into my health.
After she reviewed all the collected data, she shared her results. Not to my surprise, they had nothing to do with my sleeping position.
In fact, she suggested I should sleep more!
I finally have an answer to resolve my health issue. More importantly I learned a great lesson during this journey.
Being a reflective personality, I began to think back to the service workers I used to work with in the Retail industry. Recalling their frustrations when they tried to share their safety ideas and concerns. Repeatedly they voiced how they were not listened to by those perceived as the "professionals" in the business.
I am sitting here thinking about the critical information lost daily, by "Professionals" not taking the time to step back and listen to their front line service or production workers.
I would be interested in hearing other peoples stories about life lessons learned.