Monday, September 28, 2015


Making a stressful time a little easier

When you think about it, one of the toughest jobs in any hospital has to be the staff member who sits just inside the front entrance at the information desk.

There is a continuous stream of people who may be feeling stressed, vulnerable, sick, weak or in pain.

Sometimes it is a concerned family member, neighbor, or friend accompanying a person in need of emergency care. Some people arrive for scheduled tests or surgery. Some have come to visit an inpatient. Whatever the reason, nobody comes to the hospital in pursuit of a fun time.

I asked Debbie and Rose, longtime information desk receptionists at Backus, for some words of wisdom. Both of them are unfailingly helpful, kind, and friendly.

Rose's immediate reply is, "Be assured your family member or loved one is safe. Patient care and safety is truly our No. 1 priority."

Debbie encourages people not to be afraid to ask questions. "We want to make sure your or your loved one's needs are being addressed,” she said.

Staff is always here to help and can address concerns right from the front door, making referrals to auxiliary staff if needed.

Rose was a Patient Care Technician and knows firsthand how hard staff members work to deliver the best care possible. She reinforces that by saying, "My motto is to treat each person walking through that front door as if they were my own family member."

Both have often been told that just seeing a smiling face when they walk in the door has helped get through a difficult time.

Another point they want to convey is, “please re-consider bringing food in from outside. Many people have special or restricted diets and our food and nutrition staff strive to meet their dietary needs."

As Rose says, "Life is a circle — don't be a "C" — complete the circle."

While working in one of the toughest jobs around, they sure seem like they are doing their part.

Alice Facente is a community health nurse for the Backus Health System. This advice should not replace the advice of your personal health care provider. To comment on this column or others, visit the Healthy Living blog at or e-mail Ms. Facente or any of the Healthy Living columnists at

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