I grew up with a nurse mom, so I understood how special healthcare workers were from the start. (Except for the days she gave me my flu shot; I’m an incorrigible patient and unrivaled wimp.) I was born in the very hospital where my mother worked so the milestone was also kind of like “Bring Your Child to Work” Day well ahead of its time. Even in that respect, my mom was an over-achiever (she’d had twins).
At G&S, we are honored to serve as a communication partner to several healthcare organizations. While they offer different services, they all focus on providing excellent patient care – and they truly do care, on the clinical level, for their staff and for their communities. You’re no doubt seeing and saying a lot of thanks to them right now. And in my opinion, it will never be enough.
My mom held several impressive titles over the course of her nursing career, spanning pediatrics, the NICU, OB clinic, high risk antenatal, employee health, infection control, surgical liaison, patient care coordinator, patient and family educator and more. But some of her most valued contributions were never officially part of her titles. She worked countless overnight shifts, expertly swaying swaddled newborns to sleep in the infamous “cry corner.” This tiring work on her end granted the babies and new parents precious rest (she did the same for me decades later when my children were born). She sat with waiting families while a loved one was in surgery. She knew who to approach to secure a better room for someone who needed it; she’d stay after the doctor left to gently repeat caregiver instructions if a family needed more time to process. When I came with her to work, everyone knew her name (and vice versa), from the parking attendants to the executives touring her office. She literally held many hands and figuratively held that entire hospital in her heart.
I polled my fellow G&S healthcare colleagues to identify other unsung healthcare heroes they’ve seen in our work and in their lives and here are just a few: the greeters who remember our faces and hope everyone who exits will feel a little better than when they entered; the patient transporters who ensure we get where we need to be; the pediatrician who recognized my colleague in the grocery store and asked about each of her family members; the EMTs and paramedics who are there during some of life’s scariest moments; the engineers who make these vital systems work; the janitorial staff who sterilize spaces and dispose of hazardous materials safely; the telehealth experts ensuring access even while we’re at home; the lab professionals who build bridges between diagnosis and treatment; the cafeteria workers who offer a meal, coffee or candy bar when we need it most; the mental health professionals who support patients and staff; the clinicians who are treating patients and advancing the field of medicine in the face of a pandemic; the volunteers who give their time so generously – and so many more.
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Few people ever want to be in a hospital. But during COVID-19, we’re seeing clearly the heroic contributions that our hospitals and healthcare workers make on a daily basis. They are providing excellent care in every sense of that word. It’s an ever-changing Rx of compassion, bravery, empathy, scientific innovation, communication, organization, teamwork, technology and grace.
It’s our job as communications professionals to amplify their voices and share their vital messages. This week, #NationalHospitalWeek, it’s our privilege to thank them. Thank you to every one of our hospital healthcare heroes – especially you, Mom.