WITH WILLIAMSON MEDICAL CENTER
For Lori Orme, ensuring that patients receive the highest quality of care is all in a day’s work.
As Chief Nursing Officer at Williamson Medical Center (WMC), Orme spends her days making sure the nursing staff has the resources and support to care for their patients. Offering encouragement and understanding has always been a vital part of that responsibility. But, according to Orme, it’s grown even more critical in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Healthcare providers have essentially been in a trauma situation for two years,” Orme said. “Similar to the stress of triaging patients during an emergency, healthcare providers have had to take care of a much sicker population while constantly adjusting to the latest guidelines and treatment standards, learning new protocols and working more shifts per week than ever before.”
That sounds all too familiar for KC Mincey, nursing director for WMC’s critical care unit.
“When staff left the hospital to get some rest, their sleep was often interrupted by thoughts of the day or worries for their own health or that of their family members,” Mincey said. “With the long hours, continually evolving symptoms and increased death rates, there’s only so much you can take before it starts taking a toll emotionally and physically.”
For these reasons, the WMC team has been working diligently to find creative ways to uplift the staff. From partnering with local restaurants to provide special meals to creating a COVID reflection wall, visits from therapy dogs and opening a new meditation space, the hospital is committed to restoring, encouraging and supporting staff members emotionally, physically and professionally.
“Our staff is here to take care of our community, and it’s important to us to take the necessary steps to take care of our staff,” Mincey said. “At WMC, we want to continue to reassure and build up our team members who show up every day because they are passionate about providing exceptional care to our patients.”
WMC is also committed to cultivating a culture of kindness throughout the hospital and the community. The hospital recently launched “Kindness Matters,” a campaign designed to promote mutual respect and compassion among healthcare providers, patients and staff, ensuring WMC remains a space for health and healing.
Orme explained that the campaign is yet another way to offer support to the hospital staff. One of the most surprising and disheartening obstacles that healthcare providers globally have been experiencing is a sharp increase in the level of contempt and hostility directed at hospital staff by some patients or their family members. At the beginning of the pandemic, healthcare workers were viewed as heroes. Unfortunately, over time the pandemic created exhaustion, anxiety, frustration and sometimes even aggression directed at those same frontline healthcare heroes.
“Our nurses, technicians and physicians are here because they want to help each and every patient get better,” Orme said. “They are here serving others – day in and day out, and we want to create an environment where it’s possible for them to continually do their best work.”
For the Williamson Medical Center administrative team, this means reminding everyone who comes through the doors that mutual respect, compassion and teamwork are essential in the healthcare journey. “We hope this message resonates,” Orme said, “and that the community will join us in reminding their friends, family and neighbors that Kindness Matters — always!”
Orme also hopes that a commitment to kindness and care is something patients and visitors recognize from the first moment they step inside the hospital. “WMC is a family,” Orme said. “Our patients and their loved ones, our physicians and nurses, and every staff member is a part of that family. When we treat each other with kindness and respect — when we work together as a team — it truly allows us greater capacity to care for our patients.”
In addition to joining the “Kindness Matters” movement, local residents can help cultivate a culture of thanking and celebrating hospital staff members through the WMC Foundation’s Heroes of Hope program. Please share your story about one of our dedicated team members or donate at williamsonmedicalcenter.org/heroes-of-hope.