Even as he agrees to sit down and tell a story about himself, Guy comes across as ra-ther quiet and shy. He is soft-spoken and seems content to unobtrusively do his work in the background. However, Guy is carefully paying attention to the environment around him, and actively notices the unspoken needs of visitors to St. Marks. He pur-posefully extends himself to be of service to them. If someone on the elevator looks anxious, he greets them to put them at ease. When he sees a couple nervously glanc-ing around, trying to find their way through waiting rooms and hallways, he offers to personally show them the direction they need to go. When asked where this inclination originates, Guy hesitantly explains. “A few times I had a need that I was too private to talk about. But someone noticed and without my asking, reached out and helped me. Now I try to do the same.”
Guy works in Environmental Services.
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.”