Healthcare — writing samples from “Stories of Excellence”
Scheduling dozens of meetings a week and trafficking thousands of phone calls a month are tasks Greenwich Hospital’s administrative professionals take in stride. Although it’s all part of the service, their coworkers recognize what a day would be like without them. They are the backbone of service excellence.
Executive Secretary Stacey Marron says service excellence is the gold standard that distinguishes Greenwich Hospital. “It is something that’s automatic when it comes to our patients, to those that we serve in the community and at Greenwich Hospital. Most importantly, we represent our organization in a professional manner.”
Providing such great customer service, says Patti Stegmann, administrative assistant, begins with “an understanding of our customers’ expectations in every situation and respect for our patients, families and friends.”
Respect begins by anticipating a patient needs, agrees Joanne Bellantoni, staffing secretary. “It was only my second week at the hospital when I saw a patient looking lost. I asked if she needed help, and she smiled and said, ‘I remember you.’ ”
It turns out that she was at Greenwich Hospital last year when she developed a problem with her pregnancy. “She needed to go to Labor and Delivery. She was alone and waiting for her husband who was on his way from New York City. “I took her upstairs to L&D, and stayed with her until she was comfortable. The woman said, ‘I told my husband you were my angel. I will never forget you. Every time I’ve been here since that day, I always looked for you because I wanted to thank you.’ ”
Bellantoni adds, “Wow, that made my day.”
Nancy Ulrich, office manager of Nursing Administration, has worked here for 10 years. “When I first started, I was amazed at how everyone was so perky in the morning and always cheerfully said ‘good morning’ with a smile. It only took a day or two before I was greeting everyone with a big smile, too. It is amazing how contagious it is.”
Ulrich remembers a man who would stop by the office while visiting his wife in the hospital. He initially came in to inquire about the nursing caps that were displayed nearby in the Watson Pavilion atrium. “He said his mother was a nurse and was curious about the display. Over the next few weeks he stopped into the office often, whenever his wife was sleeping or having a treatment. I told him he was always welcome. I was glad that
we were able to help him in any small way that we could.”
Hospital physicians also benefit from the work of administrative professionals who serve as “Communication Central” in the Medical Staff Office. “We’re the behind-the-scenes people who keep the doctors up to date on everything from the daily on-call schedules to ensuring they’re in compliance with credentialing requirements,” says Patti Yacavone, manager.
Assistant to the President Diana O’Marra sums it up best: “Service excellence seems to be just what we do every day. It’s hard to put into words what comes so naturally. It’s the smile when you greet someone, or the friendly, unhurried tone when answering the phone. It’s making people feel as though they’re more important than anyone or anything else at that moment.”
Weight Loss and Diabetes Center
Weight loss is hard. No one knows that better than the Weight Loss and Diabetes Center. Directed by Dr. Chris Mosunic, a psychologist and dietician, the center’s nine employees take a customized approach to each person’s needs, because losing weight, they say, is different for everyone.
“Each one of our patients is treated uniquely,” says Dr. Mosunic. “We don’t have a cookie-cutter methodology to assist them. Instead, we have each team member meet individually with the patient to find out what the patient’s needs are. We then work as a team to deliver what the patient prioritizes. Service excellence is when you put patients first and work around them.”
Started in 2010, the department has already helped approximately 200 people lose weight, many with Type II diabetes. Through its 12- to 16-week program, the time it typically takes to change behaviors, the department helps people understand that weight loss is a combination of factors – psychology, endocrinology, sleep, diet and exercise. “Nutrition is only part of any weight loss program,” said Dr. Mosunic. “Obesity and diabetes are multi-factorial problems and need multi-solutions. If you try to treat just one factor, it won’t work.”
The department encourages and helps people to embrace a change in lifestyle, and understand that it only takes walking seven minutes a day to start to lose weight.
It also supports patients in making the right food choices. Gavin Pritchard, the chef-dietitian, even made a customized cookbook for a patient.
Says Dr. Mosunic: “One morning a patient came in and placed a huge binder in front of me, saying, ‘I’d like to go over this book of recipes with you and see what you think.’ I asked her, ‘Who is the author?’ She looked at me as if I had two heads and said, ‘It’s your chef-dietitian Gavin Pritchard. He wrote about 50 recipes for me and I wanted to make sure they met your approval.’ ”
Dr. Mosunic said he was pleasantly surprised. “I almost fell off my chair that Gavin had taken the time to write a book of recipes just for this one patient. I was blown away that he had made such a big effort to ensure that this patient was going to receive the best assistance he could offer. Talk about going above and beyond.”
Another example: “At our weekly rounds meeting it came up that Valerie Pisano, our department secretary, had been working assiduously and had recently resolved a complex billing/insurance problem that I had not even heard about,” he says. “I really have an amazing team.”
Dr. Mosunic is often stopped by patients and complimented.
“After giving an evening talk at the Noble Conference Center, an audience member came up to me and said thanks so much for doing this. I answered that I was happy to give talks and she then corrected me. ‘No,’ she said, ‘thank you for opening a weight loss and diabetes program for us. It’s going to help so many people here. A hospital can only change people’s lives if the community and the hospital work together.’ ”
“Greenwich has an amazing partnership with the community,” he adds, “and we are going to be more helpful than I had ever imagined.”