What is the hardest part of a Century Bike Ride? If you can answer that question, then you might be able to connect with Cindy, who feeds her own soul through connection with her patients. The challenge is to cycle 100 miles in less than 12 hours. She did. After a hip replacement. Then again, Cindy is used to doing hard things. The oldest of eleven children, she sought independence after high school and made her way in the world as a nanny, a bartender, and eventually the owner of her own cleaning business. Add motherhood and college. When hip surgery knocked her off her feet, she landed back in her childhood home, leaning on her parents for support. Her hip was not all that healed. Mom and Dad offered the nurture and caregiving that Cindy had missed growing up in a household bursting with kids. Cindy’s experience informs her career, but it is her tender heart that connects her to her rehabilitating patients. “I know their fatigue and their fear,” she explains. “I tell them, ‘It’s just temporary…you will get through this!’” What inspired Cindy through her bike ride? “I carried a picture of one of my patients with me,” she glows. “He was bent over his walker like an L, but he never gave up!”
Cindy Rogers is an Occupational Therapy Assistant at St. Mark’s Hospital.
St. Mark’s Hospital Chaplain Saundra Shanti wanted to connect patients to their caregivers and employees to each other. That’s why she created the Healing Hands portrait series, featuring black and white photographs and stories of St. Mark’s employees at all levels.
“Our patients and families who go in and out know that this is a nurse, and this is a housekeeper, but they don’t know them as people,” Saundra said. “I wanted to humanize our healthcare community to one another and to our families and patients.”
Each photo is accompanied by a story; some biographical, others are anecdotes of experiences that led employees to become caregivers and healthcare professionals. Twelve portraits are currently displayed throughout the hospital, but a total of 36 photos will be rotated throughout the exhibit for the next two months.
By highlighting personal, inspiring and real stories about the staff who will be caring for patients during what can often be an emotional time, the exhibit builds a sense of community. Patients and families will be able to view caregivers as real people with real stories whom they can relate to and connect with, making the hospital experience more personal.
“When we humanize each other, we care more for one another,” Saundra said. “I wanted our employees to be recognized as valuable human beings apart from their professional titles. I wanted to cultivate interaction and respect across our departments and services.”