Listening most important part of serving

Wednesday, February 25, 2015 - 1:28pm

Mary-Anne Klus’s job is to listen; at least that’s how she sees it. As a community physiotherapist for Continuing Care, Mary-Anne provides support to clients who want to live at home as long as possible. To help them do that, Mary-Anne’s first priority is to hear what they need.

“I try to tap into what folks are telling me and what their strengths are,” says Mary-Anne. “Instead of approaching the client with a ‘to do’ list, I really listen to what their issues are and focus on what I can do to help.” That help could include doing exercises to address the client’s mobility concerns, providing suggestions for moving around more safely and easily, or pointing them to other available resources.

Sometimes clients are fearful that Mary-Anne is there to tell them they can’t live at home anymore. “I reassure them that I want them to stay home too,” she says.

Mary-Anne’s focus on service extends to her colleagues as well. After all, providing service to Continuing Care clients is a team effort. “You can never communicate too much to the colleagues who are involved in a client’s care. You really do need to take the time. Ultimately, the clients will benefit.”

Can someone who is already so focused on service take anything away from the Communicate with HEART® customer service training Capital Health is offering? When Mary-Anne attended the first training module, START with Heart®, her first thought was, “Do we really need this?”  In spite of that, she did take away a new realization. “One of the biggest things is listening and I’m a good listener, believe me. But I realized I wasn’t listening to my colleagues all of the time.” Mary-Anne is now more conscious of listening to her colleagues with the same attention she listens to her clients.

Jill Robbins, director of Continuing Care, says Mary-Anne’s approach to service benefits everyone. “She is positive, objective, personable, fair, compassionate and respectful in her approach with clients, caregivers, partners and the students she mentors.”

What keeps Mary-Anne going as she strives to provide exceptional service to clients and colleagues? “I really enjoy what I do,” she says. “Every interaction I have inspires me, whether it’s with a colleague or a client. Clients are so inspiring. When I see the challenges some clients face, I don’t know that I could do it with as much grace and humility as they do.”