BRMMC | News Article
Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Sarah Burgoyne is site supervisor at Piney Flats Urgent Care. Her Patient-Centered Care Moments revolve around picking up the spirits of patients and showing they have someone who cares about them.
PCC Moment: 'You've got a friend'
By Doug Janz
One thing to remember about our patients is that they need not just medical care but emotional care, too, even if it’s just someone to relate to, or for them to feel like somebody is on their side and sympathizes with them.
Sarah Burgoyne, site supervisor at Piney Flats Urgent Care, has had many occasions to do that in her various roles with MSHA. These two examples support Patient-Centered Care Guiding Principle No. 1: Care is based on continuous healing relationships.
Happy birthday; you’ve got a friend
Everyone at Mountain States strives to make a difference with each and every patient we treat, whether it’s clinical or non-clinical care. Although we all see an abundance of patients daily, everyone has those patients who simply make us smile.
I have worked with Blue Ridge Medical Management Corporation as a referral specialist, and before that I was an access rep in Main Admitting at the Johnson City Medical Center and also as an ED access rep at Franklin Woods. While at JCMC, I was working down the list of patients who needed to be registered for either inpatient or outpatient procedures. I clicked on my next patient who was an elderly woman in her upper 80s who was slowly making her way to my booth. As she came around the corner to sit down, I greeted her with a smile. I then asked her name and proceeded to register her as a direct inpatient admit to the hospital.
As I finished her registration I noticed her birthday was the next day and proceeded to tell her “Happy early birthday!” To which she replied “Happy birthday? What’s happy about it? I’ll be spending it in the hospital. My husband passed away a few weeks ago and my entire family lives miles away, so I never see them.” I could see the sadness in her eyes. I told her I was working tomorrow (on her birthday) and I would not let her spend her birthday alone and without even so much as a birthday card. She smiled slightly and told me that it was a nice gesture but I see so many patients that I would probably forget all about her, to which I responded, “Not a chance.”
Normally after we finish a patient’s registration we call for transport to come get them and escort them to their room, but this patient I took upstairs myself. The entire way we discussed her husband, family and some of the things she liked to do. When we arrived at her room she thanked me dearly, and as I turned to leave I reminded her that I would see her the next day for her birthday.
The next day I waited until we were slow in Main Admitting and then quickly ran up to my elderly patient’s room and as I entered she came up with a huge smile. I said “Happy birthday!” I handed her a homemade birthday card and said, “I told you I would not forget about you.” She smiled and I saw a tear come to her eye as she said, “Thank you.” I sat with her for a little while and then before I left she gave me a hug. I had such a heartfelt feeling of goodness after I left her room. I believe this story shows the importance of creating relationships. When you go the extra mile and make the patient feel as though they are not only a patient but your friend, you are truly creating that patient-centered care atmosphere.
I feel that healing is an all-encompassing measure. In order to truly heal a patient you must heal their mind, body and spirit. After working in Main Admitting I transferred to Franklin Woods and worked as an ED access rep. Although I checked in a variety of patients, I always tried to make every patient feel welcome, comfortable and even joked with some of them if the mood allowed. Many times while checking a patient in or completing their full registration I would make small talk with them and their families. A lot of times this improved the patient’s mood.
One patient was having a situation where her husband had left her and she was confused, depressed and scared. She was not sure of her next turn. I had checked her husband in a few times in the past and was familiar with the family. I sat in the room with her and simply listened to what she had to say. I attempted to offer positive advice and help her focus on the positives. She told me she had not eaten in days, so I got her a meal from the fridge and periodically walked by her room, smiled and said, “I’m watching you. Next time I come back that sandwich better be gone!”
She always smiled or laughed when I came by. It reached the point where it was time for her to leave and she smiled at me and said, “Thank you. I know you’re busy, but the time you spent in my room listening to me and trying to make me laugh meant a lot to me.”
This made me feel as though I was completing the MSHA mission of providing truly patient-centered care with each and every patient.
Whether it’s by getting a patient a blanket, telling them a joke, listening to them or helping them understand their insurance plan, everyone has the chance to make a difference in the life of another. The important thing is recognizing when the moment exists and doing all you can to make the MSHA difference.
Sarah said the entire staff at Piney Flats Urgent Care follows the philosophy of treating every patient as if they’re special, almost like a member of the family.
If you see a Patient-Centered Moment, submit it to our PCC Department’s “Caring Moments Sharing Center” by clicking here.