I recently had to attend an outpatient’s appointment at my local hospital. As I went through the front door, the reception staff gave me a cheery wave as I headed down the corridor towards the clinic. Two people that I passed in the corridor, who were in uniform of different kinds, said good morning to me and, at the entrance to outpatients, I was greeted enthusiastically by someone directing the traffic of patients.
Sometimes at outpatient reception the presentation of an appointment card has been carried out as a wordless exchange but not this time. I was again greeted with a good morning and directed to a bank of chairs. While sitting there a couple of hospital staff came through the area and said good morning to those of us in the waiting area.
Whenever I have been on holiday in France, I have wondered about the French custom of saying bonjour to everyone they met. Even someone entering a shop where others are standing queuing will say bonjour to all those already there. But actually I think the custom of greeting those that you meet acknowledges your common existence and binds us all together.
During my hospital visit I found the experience of multiple greetings and general friendliness a supportive and positive experience. While the cynic in me might think that they were only saying good morning because they had been told to, it was in fact part of their job, and a part that they did well and which made a difference to me as a patient.