Last Thursday I started my day by doing something that I really enjoy doing. That is holding a CEO Forum with our employees. This is an opportunity for me to find out what’s on the mind of our staff, and likewise its a great opportunity for our employees to “hear straight from the horse’s mouth” on what’s currently happening. The idea is to head off any rumors early. We had a normal CEO Forum meeting with participation from many employees who were curious to know how the hospital’s finances are doing? what’s up with all of the painting of the building? And updates on our robotics program and our wellness program.
As I was leaving the meeting room, I wheeled the cart out with me and stopped by the nurses station to offer our nursing staff, coffee and scones (or were they really muffins?). It’s nice for me and nice for them, for me to get an opportunity to serve them. After all, they spend all day long serving our patients. Then something really special happened. As I was wheeling my cart back towards the kitchen I bumped into a man in our hallway who was walking the hallways.
I couldn’t tell if he was a patient or a visitor since he was wearing civilian clothing and not a bathrobe. But he had a big smile on his face and so I could not help myself but to offer him a cup of coffee too. He said “I would LOVE a cup of coffee.” So I was delighted to be able to pour him a cup too. But I have to admit, I was VERY embarrassed that I did not have enough coffee left for a full cup. I offered to go to the kitchen and get him a full cup but he said that he didn’t mind a partial cup. That would have been the end of this story, except later in the same day I had a visitor come to visit me in my office.
When I am informed that “a patient wants to meet with me,” I usually expect that its going to be a complaint. Not because we get a lot of complaints (actually we get very few complaints) but because it is usually the unsatisfied customer that we hear from. When the time came for me to meet with the patient, it turned out to be none other than my friend from this morning who was delighted to receive a cup of coffee. For the next 10 minutes, he made my day. He informed me that he has been in many, many hospitals during his time, but never one like this one. Everyone went out of their way to make him feel comfortable and there seemed to be a spirit of friendliness, warmth and mutual support that he had rarely experienced. He said that he would like to come back for a visit sometime and I heartily encouraged him to do so. I even told him that I would buy him a cup of coffee the next time that he comes by. It is days like this and encounters just like this that make me very thankful to be working here at Mendocino Coast District Hospital. My new friend said it, and I agree, we have the best hospital staff anywhere!