In Hollywood, there's a saying that that town is full of the "suits" and the "talent". Today, I spent some time with the talent.
I worked out of our Southwest office in Braintree; this included a few business meetings, a lunch with the regional managers, and a nice informal get together with staff. The morning consisted of home visits and I was the guest of Ann Marie McGuire and Colin Highland. Ann Marie is a nurse and Colin is a physical therapist. We saw three patients
The first, a near 90 year old woman who lives with her sister, is experiencing CHF. She was gracious, vibrant and charming. Her sense of humor and spirit captivated me as I watched Ann Marie expertly enter information onto a laptop's touch screen, check vitals, and converse with her. The second patient, another near 90 year old resident of an assisted living facility, suffers from multiple physical conditions, requiring the expertise of both Ann Marie and Colin. I watched them interact with the patient and each other and was impressed with the hand-off of information between them. Colin and I stopped by the facility's nursing office and I heard from the staff nurse there that she appreciated the professionalism and exceptional communication she consistently receives from VNAB staff. She listened intently as Colin described what had happened with the patient and his recommendations regarding how he can continue to maintain his independence. The nurse told me that VNAB is distinguished from the other home health agencies by the comprehensiveness of its services and the quality of its clinical staff. Finally, Colin and I traveled to a senior residence and met a women recovering from hip replacement surgery. Colin walked with her to pick up her mail and spoke with her in a friendly and comfortable manner. It was obvious to me that this patient and Colin enjoy a trusting and warm relationship. When we departed, the patient thanked Colin and expressed her gratitude for the difference he and his PT assistant had made in her life. With the exception of having to contend with this patient's rambunctious Boston Terrier, it was an enjoyable visit.
I was not all that surprised to see the level of compassion and professionalism that Ann Marie and Colin brought to their jobs. Frankly, I expected that. What I was quite struck by, however, was how they were received by the patients. The three individuals we visited are vulnerable and overwhelmed by the complexity and burden of their ailments and treatment regimens. I saw that both Ann Marie and Colin had well established relationships with these patients and that their level of trust in their clinicians was extremely high. Ann Marie and Colin carefully explained what was happening and what was going to happen next. They described all of the positive observations as well as the concerns. They comforted and they lifted spirits. They offered hope and reassurance.
And I could see the effect of that in three glowing faces.