Little secret, big problems

Little secret, big problems

Dear Roger
Feb 01, 2006

A co-worker told me in confidence that he was looking for a new job. I encouraged my friend to tell the doctor he wasn't happy and to try to work things out, but he quit instead and took a job at a rival practice. Now the doctor is mad at me. He says I'm not loyal. I disagree. Who's right?

—A discreet team member

Dear Discreet,

Roger Cummings
I believe you took exactly the right approach. Tell your boss that your co-worker spoke to you in confidence. He asked you not to divulge his unhappiness to the doctor and you respected that request. Then explain that you encouraged him to speak with the doctor directly about his feelings.

If the doctor still acts miffed, tell him that you would be equally discreet if he asked you not to share a conversation. You might say, "I am loyal to the practice. I won't divulge things that are told to me in confidence. I believe that shows that I'm very loyal and trustworthy."

Chin up, and remember: You did the right thing.

Roger Cummings, CVPM, is a Firstline Editorial Advisory Board member and a consultant with Brakke Consulting Inc. in Dallas. Do you have a practice problem that's hurting your heart? Send your questions to "Dear Roger" at
or write to Dear Roger, Firstline magazine, 8033 Flint, Lenexa, KS 66214.