Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
Thoughts on Respect

Thoughts on Respect

Kathleen McPherson, TTP-Dermatology administrator, submitted one of two winning articles about respect in our ongoing series of articles about our SPIRIT values.

At an early age I was taught that respect was something that you earn, not demand or expect. When you demand or expect respect just because you feel that you deserve it, you may be disappointed over and over again. It is true people should be respectful of one another and their differences, but there are no guarantees that anyone you come into contact with will respect you.

I often tell teens, staff and family that you sometimes have to look in the mirror to see if you reflect a person worthy of respect in any given situation. Teens sometimes demand respect because they feel like no one is listening to them, either because they are young or because they believe they are part of the new, wiser generation. Some adults believe they should be respected just because they have experienced life for a certain amount of years. Others believe they should be respected because they have achieved a particular goal in life like education, financial wealth or a career.

I agree there is a level of respect that should be paid to each, but again, the level of respect could heighten if people carry and interact with others in a way that earns respect. Sometimes, regardless of how you carry yourself or interact with others, people will disrespect you because of who you are, your ethnicity, jealousy, a lack of understanding, or a lack of desire to try to get to know you. For some they choose to hide behind how they were raised, or a bad experience that they may have had with someone similar to you or someone in authority. There are also those who will disrespect you because they believe you will never be on the same level as they are because they have placed themselves on a personal pedestal.

At Texas Tech Physicians I have seen respect bestowed on people at all levels because they have carried themselves in a manner that has earned them respect. I know from personal experience that my respect was earned by the physicians and staff long before I became an employee. My most important experience with the physicians here was when my youngest child was seriously ill. Because of the care that she received by the physicians and the staff here and at UMC, she has been able to accomplish so much. My other experience involved my current department. About 30 years ago, a New Mexico doctor referred a family member to TTP-Dermatology. During the evaluation the doctors and staff were kind, attentive, great listeners and, in the end, straightforward with the diagnosis. The condition that the person was being treated for was not really a skin condition, but it was one that I could tell they were familiar with. My relative was not happy to hear his or her condition was actually related to their mental health. Since then his or her condition has resolved and they continue to come here when they have a skin problems. In both cases the physicians and staff here and at UMC earned my respect for the caring manner in which they treated both of my family members. It is because of the respect that was earned from both of these situations that I decided 26 years later, after I returned to the Southwest, to apply for employment here. It did not matter what my position or title would be. I just knew I wanted to be a part of Texas Tech Physicians.

It is with great respect and pride that I tell people I work for Texas Tech Physicians — especially the department of dermatology. Dermatology has always been a department that strives for excellence, providing the best atmosphere for patients and staff, while meeting financial goals. No organization is perfect but if we continue to respect one another and each of us do our part, we will continue to earn the respect of our patients, employees, community and others watching to see how we perform as an organization.

Kathleen will receive an autographed copy of Dr. Berk’s book “Anatomy of a Kidnapping.” Submit your articles about innovation to brent.magers@ttuhsc.edu by 5 p.m. Friday for inclusion in next week’s contest.Note: Because of a scheduling conflict, Kathleen's photograph will appear in next week's Spirit 5.