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Updated: Oct 31, 2023

As I sit in a waiting room for my own appointment, I’m drawn to think about the waiting room experience, and how it can differ from person to person, and place to place.

These days a waiting room is commonly a place where one can catch up on some phone time - emails, scanning their social media news feeds, or read about the latest gossip or recipes in the available newspaper/magazines, perhaps look around the room and review the information or art on the walls.

Sometimes we are able to engage with others in the same situation as ourselves, but depending on the environment this may sometimes be discouraging (eg. Getting too close to the nearest person coughing and spluttering into their handkerchief).

Ultimately we are only in this holding area for a short period, but occasionally this runs longer than expected. Some prepare for this by bringing along some material to pass the time - a book, some knitting, etc. But how long should one be expected to wait?

An emergency department may have a waiting period several hours in length. We hope and trust, someone behind those big doors is in greater need for immediate health care than us, and we can't get the help anywhere else, so we wait.

In a smaller waiting environment, sometimes we are the only one sitting in the waiting room, and seconds feel like minutes.

In our office, waiting times can vary due to several factors. Sometimes the person just before you has had a serious change in their health that requires my immediate attention. Other times it may be that several people have had 'that thing that's been bugging me - could you take a look at it?' and it may take some time to catch up with the flow of the appointment book for part of the day.

In the end, all businesses try to minimise wait times where possible, and we must trust that whatever reason we are waiting, that we utilise that time productively. If you are compelled to use your phone, try to maintain good posture while you are sitting, and minimse the screen time where possible.


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