Cynthia Persily, PhD, RN, FAAN
Every once in a while, you come across something that reminds you why you do what you do every day. And for me, those reminders often come in the words of patients and family members who tell me how much we were able to help them regain their mental health. Today, more than ever, as we wonder about the status of health care in our country going forward, I needed a reminder. And I found it this morning as I was reviewing our Patient Satisfaction results for the final quarter of the year.
Each time a patient leaves our organization, we ask them to anonymously respond to a series of questions about their stay. These questions include whether we met their emotional needs, whether they feel that they were treated with respect, whether we taught them about their diagnosis and medications, and whether our staff were professional. Two sets of comments in our quarterly report impressed me more than anything I’ve seen recently in our questionnaire results and I knew I had to share them.
First, there were a series of comments from a variety of units about one particular housekeeper. I won’t mention his name as I don’t want to embarrass him, but patients called him by name and said that he was so kind and courteous, and that he made their stay better. These comments reinforce what I tell new employees all the time—every one of us has a role to play in helping our patients get well, and every one of us has a role to play in helping us to meet our mission of providing quality services in a caring environment. I am so thrilled to see this mission being lived out at every level of our organization.
The next comment was the last one on a multi-page quarterly report—and I am so glad that I read through to the end (which of course I always do!). It was from a patient discharged from our Highland Health Center detox unit. I’m not going to quote all of it, as it was quite lengthy, but this patient started by apologizing for disrespectful behavior at the beginning of the stay when the patient was very sick from detoxing. I know that our staff certainly appreciates those apologies, but doesn’t expect them—it’s a part of the process. But the patient goes on to say words that give me goose bumps, and here’s where I have to quote. This patient says “I would like to thank you for your hard work and dedication…..your genuine support and huge hearts are very much appreciated. Thank you for your loving efforts in helping those like myself who struggle with addiction……You’ve helped me a tremendous amount over this time here and never gave up on motivating me to start a phenomenal journey in my recovery”. Now that’s why we do what we do… every minute, every day, and every year.