Nadine Wint, PCA, carries a letter in her pocket written by one of her most memorable patients. After the patient was discharged, she sent it to thank Wint for her excellent care.
It was a small gesture, but one that left a big impact. Wint, a patient care assistant on Tower 14CD, has held onto the letter since receiving it in 2012 and often reads it when she’s had a difficult day.
“This is one of the greatest letters I’ve ever received,” said Wint as she pulled the folded piece of paper from her pocket and held it in her hand. “This patient’s letter always gives me the courage to keep going. It’s such a joy for me to wake up each morning and come to work to care for my patients. Every day I say to myself, ‘I want to make a difference in someone’s life today.’”
Earlier this month at Schwartz Rounds, a panel of BWHers described by their colleagues as “unsung heroes” shared how they approach their roles and contribute to patient care. They were joined by their managers and directors, who described what makes them exceptional. The Schwartz Rounds series, which focuses on a different topic each month, is a multidisciplinary forum aimed at promoting compassionate care by exploring the human side of health care.
Lauren Wolf, MS, RN, nurse director of 10BA, said highlighting unsung heroes at BWH has prompted conversations about how vital such supporting roles are to delivering safe, high-quality care.
“Recognizing the important contributions of our ancillary staff has also brought a great, positive energy to our unit,” Wolf said. “To have had the opportunity to thank some of our staff in a special way at Schwartz Rounds was important. We are blessed to have staff at BWH who go above and beyond in their roles each day.”
Esteban Gershanik, MD, MPH, MMSc, an attending physician and medical director of 14CD, described the panelists as integral members of the medicine units. Gershanik and Wolf, both members of the General Medical Service, worked together to bring the topic of unsung heroes to Schwartz Rounds. They hope it will inspire staff from other departments and services to begin similar conversations with colleagues about the importance of recognizing these employees.
“Sometimes it’s the smallest things that staff members do for patients and colleagues that make a big difference,” Gershanik said. “We’re really focused on making sure employees know they are valued and respected.”
Regionalization of the General Medical Service has encouraged care teams to work more closely together, resulting in better patient care, Gershanik said.
Carole Molly, of Environmental Services, has worked on Tower 10 as a housekeeper for 17 years. Molly says she’s always happy to come to work and appreciates when patients thank her for cleaning their rooms.
“I’m always smiling when I’m at work,” Molly said. “I feel good when I am here. Patients and colleagues are really kind to me and grateful for my help.”
The best reward for Anna Gielazyn, unit coordinator on Tower 10A, is when patients thank her personally.
“I’ll visit a patient’s room for a few seconds to make sure they are doing OK, and it’s really great when they say, ‘Thank you, Anna,’” she said. “These short, but meaningful interactions are what make my day.”
Julieann Tamayo, operations supervisor for Tower 14ABCD, says she’s proud of her colleagues who go above and beyond their daily responsibilities to make BWH a warm and welcoming place for patients, families and colleagues. When she delivered her daughter at BWH, Tamayo said her entire care team, including the lactation nurse, housekeepers and OB/GYN technician, made her feel well-cared for and safe.
“It’s a privilege for me to be able to spend as much time as I can on the units observing these special moments that affect our patients,” Tamayo said. “Having experienced this excellent level of care myself, I know that we are doing everything we can each day to make patients feel as though they are part of the Brigham family.”
The BWH Schwartz Rounds are open to all hospital staff. They take place on the second Tuesday of each month, from noon–1 p.m., in the Anesthesia Conference Room. The next Schwartz Rounds is June 14. After a summer break, Schwartz Rounds will resume in September.
The Brigham Way Campaign
Did you know BWH has a program for recognizing unsung heroes? Nominate a colleague for the Brigham Way to honor him or her for the many ways, both big and small, they go above and beyond to make BWH a warm and welcoming place. Learn more at BWHPikeNotes.org.