Imagine Mike, dressed in suspenders, hoisting a chain saw, and living in a trailer in the woods of Montana. Had it not been for the sound advice of two loggers, this would have been the case. After high school, Mike went to work like everyone else. His teenage summer job became his full time employment as he went to the forest to fell trees. The loggers saw a different potential in Mike, however, and shooed him to the city to get an education. Unsure of his footing, his first step was LDS business college where he studied and worked as a janitor. “Ninety percent women and I still couldn’t get a date!” he quips. From there he went on to college and made his money by being a librarian. Not exactly sexy, but hey, he met his wife among the books! Freshly graduated, the next marker on Mike’s trail took him to a position in Human Resources. That makes sense for such a personable guy. “But I didn’t like firing people,” he admits. His real forte is in finance, and he finds the healthcare setting that cares for people satisfying. What would Mike say to the loggers if he met them today? “I guess you were right!” We agree.
Mike is the CFO and Ethics Coordinator 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.”