Terrific Tami

Most surgical waiting rooms I’ve visited have been trash strewn purgatories where anxiety-laden loved ones await news of patients’ surgical outcomes.

Not so Wichita’s Wesley Hospital’s Family Surgical Waiting Area. Checking in prior to my 84-year-old auntie’s surgery, we were greeted by the friendly and professional Tami. She wasn’t perky, as that may have been inappropriate if a patient’s procedure was risky. She had just the right mix of professionalism with pleasant care.

My cousin and I introduced ourselves and gave our auntie’s name. She recognized it and quickly found her on the multiple-page list of surgical patients. She asked our names, cell phone numbers and gave us the latest on our auntie’s situation. Auntie was in pre-op and we were welcomed to go visit her for a few minutes. Tami invited us to have some of the complementary water, coffee and cookies in the waiting room.

When we returned from our short “We’re here for you” visit with Auntie, Tami noticed our return and where we were sitting. She came over to inform us of the time the surgery started and said she’d tell us when it was done.

An hour later she did just that. She told us the surgeon would be in to talk to us shortly. After he left, she informed us what room Auntie would be in and in how long.

I marveled as I watched her do this with dozens of other family units ebbing and flowing from the waiting room. She knew who was with which patient, and showed them patient, gentle, kind attention and information.

Having a loved one in surgery is nerve wracking for most of us. This is exasperated when it is hard to get information or the staff is terse or officious. Tami’s manner and follow through helped us relax knowing we could get accurate information in a timely manner.

Savvy hospitals realize their customers are not just the patients, but the families. Word of mouth travels quickly and family members sometimes have a choice of which hospital to be taken.

Kudos to Tami, Wesley and hosptials like it who work to make the patient experience better for all concerned.

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