Olympic Medical Center lauds patient experience staff members

Five Olympic Medical Center staffers were recognized as Patient Experience Champions at a recent board of commissioners meeting.

Healthcare workers nominate their peers for the recognition of Patient Experience Champion for “communicating with courtesy, compassion and respect, empowering patients to learn or cope effectively, contributing to new programs, improving processes, and/or going above and beyond to serve the needs of patients and their families,” OMC officials said in a December press release.

Staff members honored included: certified nurse assistant Sergio Contreras; Christin Deese, central registration supervisor for Olympic Medical Physicians; OMC volunteer Roger Haugen; clinical informatics analyst Laura Little, and Sequim plant operator Deborah McGruther.

Patient Experience Champions are typically celebrated in May; however, because of COVID-19 gathering restrictions, it was originally postponed in hopes they could be recognized in person by the board. Given continued restrictions, the board chose to honor our Patient Experience Champions virtually.

About the champions

Contreras has strong patient care skills, often going beyond expectations, OMC officials said.

“He is genuinely one of the most compassionate individuals and a phenomenally hard worker,” said Jennifer Burkhardt, Olympic Medical Center’s Chief Human Resources Officer and General Counsel.

A co-worker shared a touching moment, she said, when they saw Contreras playing music for a patient and holding hands with him for a “dance,” prompting a huge grin from the patient.

According to Burkhardt, Deese goes above and beyond for the good of patients, looking at situations through the patient’s perspective and using her creativity and innovation to move the bar higher and higher so OMC can exceed patient expectations.

Deese empowers her staff members with transparency, compassion and respect, leading her team by example to achieve quality in all patient interactions, OMC officials said.

As a 10-year volunteer with more than 1,500 volunteer hours, Haugen is a “real-life angel to so many people: patients, friends, staff, neighbors, and anybody who needs help,” Burkhardt said.

Haugen is a member of OMC’s Patient Family Advisory Council and draws from his many experiences as a patient and years of volunteering to provide unique perspectives, insights and valuable suggestions that better patient experiences, OMC representatives said.

Little is always finding opportunities to improve the MyChart experience for patients and has advocated for helpful changes, OMC representatives said.

“As we encourage more people to sign up for MyChart, the foundation that Laura helped build increases in value for a quality patient experience,” Burkhardt said. “Laura is an excellent example of how each employee contributes to the exceptional experiences OMC provides patients, families and employees.”

McGruther is officially the plant operator, but she is also considered a caring friend, confidante and committed employee who lives the OMC mission, OMC representatives said.

“Deb is one of the most remarkable employees one could ask for; a true self-starter who takes pride in caring for the Sequim campus and ensuring it’s in top condition,” Burkhardt said.

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