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Vision and Voice

Patient Care is Everyone’s Job

Licensed clinicians aren't the only ones who provide important patient care at UVA Medical Center. Our multidisciplinary teams of colleagues who work in hospitality and support services also play a significant role in promoting healing and contributing to an outstanding clinical and patient experience.

The work of our environmental services team, for example, cannot be overstated. Maintaining our care environment in a clean and sanitary manner prevents the spread of hospital-acquired conditions and other serious infections, keeping patients and caregivers safe. But these team members also do so much more in the way of providing direct care and compassion.

With the frequency and level of interaction our housekeepers often have with our patients, they become an important extension of our care team. They form personal connections with our patients, look out for them, and often provide our clinicians with useful information about those with whom they interact. The same can be said of the food and nutrition services team members who engage with our inpatients multiple times per day. The nourishment they provide comes from more than just the meals they deliver.

Take, for example, the actions of Myra Lee, one of our patient dining associates, who recently received the UVA Health Good Catch Award. She was taking a meal order from an inpatient whom she noticed didn't look like herself. She immediately alerted the patient's bedside nurse, who then called a stroke alert. Myra's awareness and quick action were important to the positive outcome for this patient.

This diligence, warmth, and kindness extend to our patient and volunteer services teams as well. From valet parking to entry screening to the information desk and beyond, these individuals provide the first impression many patients and their families have of the Medical Center. Their work has been more difficult amid the pandemic, having to enforce visitor restrictions and mask mandates. But our hospital and clinics wouldn't be able to operate safely without their efforts and the meaningful interactions they have, even if only briefly, with all those who come through our doors.

Late last year, as part of the UVA Health Bridge Plan, we made some important changes to our service line structure to create more consistency, clarity and opportunity for collaboration in our organization. We did something similar outside the clinical realm to enhance efficiency and coordination among designated administrative areas impacting patient experience. This includes the teams I've already mentioned — environmental, food and nutrition, and patient and volunteer services. But it also includes facilities and capital planning, patient experience and e-security, and University Police and security. Together, these team members create a solid foundation and stellar care environment in which our clinicians can do their work without distraction or delay. And now, they're working together and having a greater impact on our patient-care mission than ever before.

So, this week, I encourage all my "Vision and Voice" readers to thank these hospitality and support services team members when you see them around the Medical Center. They're our housekeepers, cafeteria workers, greeters, security guards, bus drivers, and so much more. They all play such a critical role in our success and have gone above and beyond the call like so many over the past year and a half. 

Take care and be well!