When it comes to taking care of patients, hospital teams need a deep bench to make sure they deliver the care that’s needed. In this story, we meet a pair of team members who work in patient transport.

Serenading soles

Michael Terry has never had a problem getting his steps in at Novant Health Forsyth Medical Center.

As a team leader in the patient transport department, he averages 12 miles a day on his feet, and even more now during the coronavirus pandemic. The patient transport team consists of more than 80 team members and works round the clock to help patients get to where they need to go in the hospital.

The majority of Terry’s escorts involve transporting patients to various diagnostic testing locations within the hospital. And he says that it’s during the “waiting for results” time, that he has learned the most about people.

“Everyone handles stressful situations in different ways,” he said. “I’ve learned to make pretty quick assessments and to try to provide encouragement where I can.”

One of the ways he does that is by singing Adele songs – his mother’s favorite – while transporting patients.

“No one looks forward to going to the hospital,” he said, “But I’ve found that singing is something I can do to brighten days and encourage others.”

And with coronavirus now on everyone’s mind, he says that positivity is needed now more than ever. “I want to do my part,” he said. “And I am proud to try to spread some joy where I can.”

Dual job-description

Manouchka Philippe a patient transporter at Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center
Manouchka Philippe helps transport a patient at Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center.

As a patient transporter for Novant Health, Manouchka Philippe has two job descriptions. There’s the official duties, of course.

But here’s what the job is really about: “We’re here to put a smile on everybody’s face,” Philippe said. “That’s the biggest part of this.”

And day after day, for the last 13 years, she’s been doing just that, even with patients who may not have a lot to smile about. On a recent day she was chatting up a silver-haired gentleman being treated for cancer at Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, everyone around him was wearing masks. And Philippe herself had to have her temperature taken before going into the cancer center, an extra precaution to protect patients whose immunity system had been compromised.

But she greeted the patient with a quiet smile at radiation oncology and soon the two were chatting about his illness, his home in the northeast, and hospital life during a pandemic. They were both smiling the whole time. She’s always looking for a way to connect. There’s a secret to her job that not everyone understands. When patients are anxious, “Small talk is very important” Philippe said.

“She just puts everyone at ease,” said Melissa Crank, assistant nurse manager. And that’s especially appreciated among team members when stress is running a little higher, Crank said. “Manouchka keeps everyone informed, from the nurses, to the techs, about where she’s going and when patients will return.” When the entire team is in the loop, things just work better in a hospital. That’s one more way Philippe puts a smile on everybody’s face.

Top photo: Michael Terry transports a patient at Novant Health Forsyth Medical Center.

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