One Saturday afternoon, when he was eight years old, Derek remembers playing in a particular baseball game. He shagged the ball and raced his opponent to tag him before he reached the base. Derek was sure he got ‘em out, but the umpire didn’t see it that way! Our little boy took such “injustice” to heart, and tears erupted. At that, Derek’s coach, who happened to be his dad, marched onto the field. Taking his son to task, Derek quickly learned a lesson in sportsmanship. While grown-up Derek laughs at his own recollection of this story, he is quite serious about the lessons his dad taught him. In fact, the integrity and compassion that his dad modeled still inspire him. “Even though Dad struggled with his health the last few years of his life,” Derek explains, “he was always concerned to make someone else’s life better.” He helped Derek’s brother establish his business building wheelchair ramps. One time, when he sold a van, he turned down the highest bidder and took the lowest offer. “That guy’s family needed it more,” Derek’s dad explained. From the gas station attendant to all of his nine children, everyone mattered to Dad. “Of course,” Derek clarifies, with a twinkle in his eye, “I always knew I was Dad’s favorite!”
Derek is a nurse in the Cath Lab at St. Mark’s.
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.”