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Staying Professional In Emotional Health Situations

Emotion is not the first word that comes to mind when we think about the Notary process. However, it is something we need to be aware of and consider, especially in a healthcare setting.

As you know, Notaries serve as impartial witnesses, and it is imperative to act objectively when called upon to notarize documents. However, we must be prepared for emotional situations which can accompany a healthcare-related request. It is important to treat signers respectfully in these situations, but also be careful because an emotional situation can get to you, too. Document signers expect and deserve kindness, respect and professionalism when dealing with difficult situations. We, as professional Notaries, must always perform in a way that conveys those things.

One type of notarization that always affects me is adoptions. I always attempt to be completely professional and impartial while in the presence of the document signers, but when the transaction is over, I often find I need some privacy to compose myself. Another area which can be hard to deal with is interacting with signers dealing with end-of-life issues. It can be extremely difficult to notarize a power of attorney for a person who is in the active stage of dying. You are dealing with family members, caregivers and the document signer who may all be expressing varying degrees of stress and grief. Again, it’s important to stay calm and composed while with the signers to ensure the notarization process is handled with dignity, respect and professionalism. Be careful not to let your feelings about a situation lead you to make an unintentional error or compromise proper practices.

The next time you are called upon to notarize a document in a difficult situation, remember that the document signer is expecting your expertise and impartiality. You will be that professional presence which gives them the confidence that their transaction is being handled in a quality manner. Just don’t forget to tuck a few tissues or handkerchief in your bag, just in case.

Carol Salter is a Notary Public Administrator for Banner Health at McKee Medical Center in Loveland, Colorado, and serves on the Advisory Panel for theHealthcare Professionals Section.

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