“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

This Maya Angelou quote is hanging on the 4th floor wall of the East Wing of Wesley Long Hospital in Greensboro, NC.

I pass it every day going back and forth to the room where my dad has been since last Saturday (7 days, not that I’m counting.)

My mom is in mid-stage Alzheimer’s and I am the only living child, so I feel both an opportunity to give back to my dad what he’s done for me for 41 years, but also an enormous responsibility to be his eyes, ears, and voice.

All of the nurses have been really great. They are responsive and competent, and everyone of them has met my high expectations so far.

And then there’s Jennifer.

Jennifer is popping into my dad’s room a little more often. Jennifer noticed that the Tylenol wasn’t quite nailing the pain in my dad’s legs, and she asked the right questions, in the right ways, to get my genteel gentleman father to articulate his pain in a way that allowed her to move him to stronger pain relief. (The difference in my dad’s demeanor after the new medication was marked.)

Jennifer noticed that my dad wasn’t feeling as well today as he did yesterday (which in itself would not have required much), but she noticed his increased anxiety as a result. She was back with a Xanax dose immediately – there’s just no need for him to worry, she said. Leave that to us.

She calls him sweetheart, and cutie, and pumpkin, and he is eating it up.

I don’t think Jennifer’s attention to my dad is taking a whole lot more energy than the other nurses. And this is not to put down the other nurses – they are all very nice and attentive. But wow, Jennifer is delightful. As a client of hers, I am delighted. My dad is delighted.

She is an example of what it takes to get from good to great.

Makes me wonder what I might add to my repertoire, to my efforts, to my leadership and caring for others, that I might have an impact like Jennifer has had on me and my dad…

2 thoughts on “Good to Great, in Light Blue Scrubs

  1. Valerie Swan says:

    You are absolutely right to celebrate any extraordinary care received in a hospital… the importance and difference one nurse/caregiver can make cannot be overstated, in my experience. The norm is that they are understaffed, overworked, and often have no qualms about expressing this frustration with patients, while loved ones sit helplessly by. It is essential in these types of systems for patients to have an advocate by their side, chasing down staffers to make adjustments, check machines & fluids, empty, measure, change, and the like, and to field the many questions that are the inevitable part of navigating an illness where there are many more unknowns than certainties. Good, attentive care is unfortunately such a rarity that not only do we not take it for granted, but when we or our loved ones are the lucky receipients, we are moved to sing their praises from the rooftops, in hopes that perhaps it will catch on…

  2. Valerie Swan says:

    You are absolutely right to celebrate any extraordinary care received in a hospital… the importance and difference one nurse/caregiver can make cannot be overstated, in my experience. The norm is that they are understaffed, overworked, and often have no qualms about expressing this frustration with patients, while loved ones sit helplessly by. It is essential in these types of systems for patients to have an advocate by their side, chasing down staffers to make adjustments, check machines & fluids, empty, measure, change, and the like, and to field the many questions that are the inevitable part of navigating an illness where there are many more unknowns than certainties. Good, attentive care is unfortunately such a rarity that not only do we not take it for granted, but when we or our loved ones are the lucky receipients, we are moved to sing their praises from the rooftops, in hopes that perhaps it will catch on…

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