I began my service as a volunteer in the Food and Nutrition department with the task of providing direct patient assistance with the information and completion of the menu. No more than two weeks after I started, while walking down the hall looking lost, Micaela Whoolery stopped me, introduced herself and after giving me the directions I needed, stated how much she appreciated what I was doing and how meaningful it was to the patients. Every time I see her, she greets me with a warm smile along with an enthusiastic, “Hi, how are you?” This has given me more confidence and inspiration to do my best for the patients and staff not because of who I am, but who they are.
Approaching the word “Transition“ to a patient it seems would take a special kind of nursing professional and Micaela is that special professional. While I know it often has positive connotations, to the elderly (like me) it is not a word that we want to hear. On several occasions, we have been assisting some of the same patients. On more than one occasion I have had an opportunity to overhear a couple of her interactions with patients and their families regarding the transition process. These were done with the utmost compassion for the difficulties and emotional trauma that these issues present to everyone involved. More than merely giving information and guidance for these transitions, Micaela listens. When the patients/families are upset, she listens. When patients have dementia and clearly cannot completely understand, she listens.
When I go in a room to help with a menu and I see the patient transition form on their table or counter I know that the patient has seen that same warm smile and enthusiastic “hello” that I received, and they were listened to with a caring heart. Over the past few months I have come to view the hospital not merely as a place where medicine is performed, but a medical facility that resides in a healing environment, which is operated by a caring community. Micaela is a leader in that community.