SOAR: Situation, Obstacle, Action, Result Situation: I once received a call from a patient who had a brain tumor for which he needed a very expensive and hard-to-get medication. In addition, he was having all sorts of insurance billing problems. He was literally driving from pharmacy to pharmacy looking to see which one had the medication in stock, but he had no luck.
Obstacle: I called a couple of pharmacies for him and was able to locate one; however, its satellite link went down, and the pharmacy refused to dispense the medication without successfully billing the patient’s insurance company electronically. Normally we have nurses on call 24/7 for emergencies like this; however, I knew a company nurse would have told the patient to pay the several thousand dollars at the initial pharmacy I had found and seek reimbursement. There is no contingency for patients who don’t have the money.
Action: After a very exhaustive search, I located a specialty drug supplier that agreed to have the medication delivered by private carrier overnight. I gave the patient my personal cell number and asked him to call me if he did not receive his medication within 24 hours.
Result: A day later, I received a call from the patient’s mother, thanking me for helping her son get the medication he needed for his brain tumor.
Another possible formula for telling stories in an interview is what scholars Sandra Morgan and Robert Dennehy describe as “the traditional framework of universal steps displayed in myths, hero stories, classic fairy tales, ethnic stories, and many of your own family stories.” The authors cite these “five sequential components” in a good story: (a) setting, (b) build-up (“trouble’s coming”), (c) crisis or climax, (d) learning, and (e) new behavior or awareness; in other words, “What did you learn?” and “How did you change?”