Friday, February 06, 2009

The Big Desk

I've written about various doctor experiences in Switzerland before, but I realized I've always forgotten to mention one important thing--the big desk. Every doctor in Switzerland has one. Apparently, it's a requirement. When you are first greeted by any doctor in Switzerland, (who usually takes the trouble to come to the waiting room to greet you personally), after shaking hands, you are immediately asked to have a seat opposite them at a big desk in their office.

Never mind if you speak the same language, somehow, with bad English, bad German, and a few token gestures or maybe a random French word, you will discuss your name, occupation, and what brought you in.

Some doctors have special rooms just for this big desk while others combine them with a more typical examination experience. Anyhow, the whole desk phenomenom is just another way to show how much more formal Swiss society is than American society--In Switzerland, the doctor actually sees you fully clothed before they see anything else.

Think about it. How many of you Americans have ever gone to see a doctor in the U.S. and actually seen the doctor before being in some state of undress? Sure, maybe you saw the nurse and receptionist while you still had some pride left, but a U.S. doctor would never take the time to talk things over with you fully clothed. At least this is my experience.

So in some ways, I appreciate the whole Swiss doctor visit. If only the whole language barrier thing was a little easier.

7 comments:

MrsTina said...

I definately appreciate being able to talk in their office instead of being handed a paper towel to wear! I only had that pleasure once in the US - and it was my "woman" doctor. :)

Swiss Miss said...

Yes, Swiss doctors seem much less rushed. Not sure if they just have fewer patients or what, but it's nice.

cadiz12 said...

something about sitting there in a gown made of what barely qualifies as paper makes me forget all things i'm supposed to ask the doctor. every time. i'd love to be able to chat over a big desk like they do in the movies.

Amanda said...

Wow! I totally took the big desk for granted (as well as being greeted in the waiting room). I wrote a post about all the other things I loved about my doctor's visit, but it didn't even register that I got to talk to my doctor fully clothed!!

Swiss Miss said...

Yeah, it took me over two years of visiting various doctors in Switzerland to really digest the greatness of The Big Desk. I will never take being fully clothed in front of a doctor for granted again.

Ritsumei said...

I too have only met the Big Desk a few times - also at the ob/gyn's. Still, I'd never appreciated it. Now I do.

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