“Maybe I’m just too nosy,” Rut wonders. She is always asking people about themselves, interested in taking in more. Learning, especially about people, is a passion for Rut. Perhaps that evolved from her own life experience, getting to know herself as she adjusted to a new culture. When Rut was 12 years old, her dad accepted a position in Salt Lake City that would move her family from Costa Rica. “People ask me if learning English was difficult,” she reflects. “I honestly don’t remember!” Of course not. She was too busy meeting new people and delighting in new holidays, such as Thanksgiving or St. Valentine’s Day. Shortly after she was settled, she began to assist other immigrant teenagers, many of whom were refugees, to acclimate to their new school. She wanted them to feel welcome to “this great nation.” Exuberant and extroverted by nature, she showed them around and created camaraderie at the lunch table. Now Rut welcomes people to the St. Mark’s community. Once a personal assistant to a CEO, she relishes the opportunity to sit at the front desk and greet patients who come through our door. Elections are not far off…too bad we can’t vote for Secretary of State. We would have a winner in Rut!
Ruth works in Registrar 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.”