A Patient's Gratitude: Appreciating the Value of Teamwork

Carlos Cruz is not in the habit of writing letters to companies he feels have provided impressive customer service, but a recent stay at University Hospital caused him to put pen to paper to share his experience with Beth Houlahan, Senior Vice President, Chief Nurse Executive:


"I wanted to touch base with you regarding the nursing staff on the Medical Nursing Unit (D4/4)," Cruz wrote to Houlahan. "Their care, compassion, counsel and genuine interest in my recovery combined with their inclusion and warmth shown to my family, was more than one could hope for."


A recent stay at University Hospital caused Carlos Cruz to put pen to paper to share his experience with University Hospital's Chief Nurse Executive."It's usually only when there's exceptional service that I go out of my way to write something," admits Cruz, a human resources professional. "So this was a rare thing for me to do. But I got excellent care at the hospital, and I was just compelled to write."


When a trip to the emergency department for a diabetesrelated foot infection last Memorial Day weekend turned into a ten-day hospital stay, Cruz quickly learned that the nurses on the unit were exemplary caregivers in every regard. "I spent 10 days in the hospital... and the last few days I was thinking, ‘You know, the nurses have been outstanding.' And I wanted to share how I felt about the nursing staff."


"Early on in my stay there was a lot of uncertainty as to what the prognosis was, what was going on and what the next steps were," Cruz remembers. When he finally found out that he would need surgery, he learned the true value of his nurses' skills and expertise. "I went in with what I thought was a simple infection, and it blossomed into something a lot more."


"I was in uncharted territory," he says. "I didn't know how to digest the information." Because of that, Cruz needed a lot of counseling, support and understanding, which he got from his devoted nurses. "The nurses are the front line, so they get all my questions, and if they don't know the answers they go find the answers, or find someone who knows the answers. Never once did they say, ‘Oh, we don't have time for this,' or, ‘That's not my job.' It was, ‘I don't know the answer; let me get you someone who does.'"


After surgery, Cruz's needs changed, but the nurses' care didn't. "There was very much hands-on care," Cruz recalls of that time. "Wound care, a lot of IVs, a lot of antibiotics, changing the dressings every day, every other day. I'm a dialysis patient as well, so it wasn't just taking care of the wound in my foot, but making sure I got to the dialysis center for treatment every other day, getting me to the MRIs and what have you."


Now, six months after his hospital stay, Cruz is still appreciative of the care he received from the D4/4 nursing staff. "The care team on D4/4, truly worked as a team. My job involves teambuilding, developing team relationships, and to see it in action was really special."