More than 25 years ago, Suzanne was on an adventure, rafting her way through the Grand Canyon. On day nine of this fifteen-day trip, she broke her ankle. Not wanting to miss out on any fun, she bandaged it, elevated it when she could, and continued the journey. The only thing she pouted about was having to stay in base camp when everyone else went hiking! Her determination (or stubbornness…she’s not sure which), comes in handy when she is helping patients to rehab. While her own story is uplifting, Suzanne names one of her patients as an inspiration. This woman dealt with cancer for months and also had to come to terms with her colostomy. Eventually, with Suzanne as her motivator, she recovered and even went scuba diving in Belize. Suzanne’s satisfaction shows as she beams, “I still have the seashell she brought back for me!” While her own pain might be negligible to Suzanne, she is deeply affected by accompanying others who are hurting. “I cried my way through physical therapy school!” she admits. All tears aside, Suzanne is willing to work her way through suffering as she keeps the end goal in sight.
Suzanne is a physical therapist on 5South.
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.”