Every so often you have the fortunate timing to witness someone who really shines in helping people. This was the case the other day at the main entrance to the hospital. On this particular day Vicki was on duty admitting patients. The morning started out like any other day. Patients came in for medical procedures and then were escorted to the surgery waiting room. All of the routine was about to cease with one phone call.
Anybody that has worked with Vicki knows her voice exhibits compassion and caring. So when the phone rang, she immediately communicated this is the caller. It was at this moment that it became very noticeable that this was not the typical caller. She was confronted with a patient with significant psychiatric issues. This complication turned the phone call into a very lengthy and demanding conversation.
While Vicki talked to the patient, the information desk was like a void. It was as if God Himself came down and ceased all activities except for the phone call. It was also strange that no other patients came through the main entrance during the time she was on the phone. This was a time span of over a half an hour. It was as if Vicki was on stage to be tested by a person with very challenging needs. We could hear her explaining and trying in every way possible to assist him with not only information but also with words of encouragement and acceptance. Those of us at the information desk became acutely aware that Vicki was going far beyond the norm in trying to help the caller.
When she finally finished her phone conversation, she was exhausted and emotionally drained. She didn’t give up and she certainly lived up to “Much More Than Medicine!” As a volunteer, you really feel privileged to work alongside such a person as Vicki. I can also truthfully state that this situation could have occurred with any of our other admission officers and they also would have been excellent. It just so happened that fate had Vicki chosen for this test.
John Haynes, MS, MBA, is a retired school psychologist and a current volunteer at Shawnee Mission Medical Center (SMMC). He served as a Hospital Corpsman at the US Naval Academy and served on the USS Sanctuary Hospital ship in Vietnam. In addition to his volunteer work at SMMC, he's actively involved in the community through the Shawnee Kiwanis Club and the Kansas Trails Council. His interests vary from backpacking and mountain biking to investment analysis and business management. He and his wife have two sons.