Nearing the end of her 12-hour night shift, Lindsey fidgeted at the nurses’ station, when she noticed that he had arrived. Room 11’s husband had just crossed the threshold into her patient’s room, carrying two cups of hot coffee. She smiled as she observed this daily 5:00am ritual. Room 11 was very sick and faced many medical ob-stacles. Her husband’s visits were like a balm to her, providing comfort and compan-ionship along with hot coffee. Lindsey knew he would be back again that evening, this time with flowers or a card, or some other sacramental sign of his affection. The patient, likewise devoted to her partner, dug a little deeper and worked a little harder toward her own recovery. Noticing the impact of non-medical care (think coffee, cards, flowers) expressed in relationship, Lindsey was inspired. “I hope to emulate that kind of love and devotion,” she reflected.
Once a CNA on the floor, Lindsey now contributes to the flow of information within the hospital by working as a secretary in Pathology.
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.”