It takes a special person to work in customer service, especially when
your customers are patients needing hospital services. You must be detail-oriented
and efficient, while maintaining an abundance of patience and empathy.
Fortunately, the Southeast Georgia Health System
Patient Experience team members possess those qualities and more.
“I liken this profession to that of a teacher, missionary, or social
worker. A heart for people and helping others is a must,” says Natalie
McBride, director, Patient Experience. McBride and coordinators Tammy
Box and Valencia Thomas collaborate with health care providers to identify
and act on opportunities for improvement. “We investigate and manage
grievances from patients and families for both the Brunswick and Camden
campuses. We also compile statistics and analyze trends related to patient
satisfaction and complaints,” explains Thomas.
In an age where customer service can lack accountability, McBride, Box,
and Thomas stand out. They encourage feedback from patients, families,
and individuals representing patients. “We like to hear about your
experience and love to recognize team members who exemplify our standards
of excellence. We also like to hear if there’s an opportunity for
improvement,” McBride says.
Professional Becomes Personal
For McBride, the Health System isn’t just an employer. “I
was born at the Brunswick hospital and have lived my entire life in one
of the counties we serve. I want the Health System to be the best it can
be. I love being able to give back to my community by being part of our
health care system.”
Thomas says McBride often transcends her administrator’s role. “Natalie
has provided a shoulder to cry on as family members watched a loved one
pass away. She has provided warm blankets to patients and family members,
as well as an open ear and heart. She’s a strong example of a great
leader, always willing to go above and beyond for patients, families,
and the team she supervises.”
McBride is the first to admit she couldn’t perform her job without
her co-workers. “We are three separate individuals, but work together
as one. I am blessed to be a part of a great team.”
Delivering Relief in Difficult Times
Anyone who has ever tried to resolve a problem with a large organization
will appreciate Tammy Box. As she reviews, investigates, and resolves
complaints, one thing sticks firmly in her mind. “The most meaningful
aspect of my job is bringing a sense of relief to anyone with a grievance,
by assuring their concerns are heard and reviewed, not just ‘swept
under the rug.’”
Box believes knowledge is power and should be used to help others. When
senior citizens struggled to navigate the Health System’s online
COVID-19 vaccine scheduling webpage, Box says her co-worker stepped up
to help. “Valencia takes great care explaining and assisting individuals.”
Reflecting on her team’s pandemic response, she recalls her director’s
contributions. “Natalie did whatever was necessary for patients,
families, and team members, especially in our critical care units. She
also spent endless hours coordinating visitations and providing much needed
nourishment to our frontline workers.”
The admiration is mutual. “Tammy has a wealth of experience navigating
the intricacies of health care and uses her knowledge to answer questions
and explain processes in a way that is easy to understand. Both Tammy
and Valencia have the gift of empathy and a heart for the community we
serve. It shows in how they interact with patients and families,”
COVID Hits Home
COVID-19 touched the lives of Health System team members as it has so
many Americans. While none of the women have contracted the virus, and
all three have now been vaccinated, Box watched her husband struggle through
it. McBride’s poignant vaccination milestone is one many people
can relate to. “After my dad and I were vaccinated, I was able to
eat a meal with him for the first time in a year!” All three women
say they leaned on their faith to endure last year’s difficulties.
Tapping into that source of strength helped them adapt at work, too. Interactions
with patients and families changed radically during the pandemic and safety
protocols intensified. With hospital visitation limited, the team delivered
items to patient rooms and helped patients and families communicate through
FaceTime and Google Duo.
A Steady Presence
Despite faith and teamwork, being on the receiving end of complaints is
taxing. “You must be strong in mind and spirit to process whatever
the day presents. The reward is knowing you helped many people on many
different levels, whether it’s walking someone to their destination
or arranging for a physician to contact a family member,” Box says.
Appreciation for the Health System sustains the women through challenging
days. “We are the largest employer in Glynn County, yet we feel
like a small family,” McBride says.
The Patient Experience team members remained steadfast throughout the turmoil
of the past year and will continue to do so. “We’re still
here, ensuring that every concern is heard, reviewed, and addressed. We’re
here for compliments and kind words as well!” Box says.
To support your community hospital, call Southeast Georgia Health System
Foundation at 912-466-3360.