Posted by: Duke Raleigh Hospital | December 19, 2019

New Program Allows Patients to Show Appreciation for Care

Derrick Thornton and Savannah Boardman alongside Laura Allen

A program championed by Duke Raleigh Hospital’s Patient Experience team has created a new way for patients to show their appreciation to hospital team members with something sweet.

“I have an acronym for CARE, C is for compassion, A is for active listening, R is for responsiveness, and E is for empathy,” said Derrick Thornton, a patient experience ambassador. “I don’t necessary let the patient know that’s what I’m looking for, but as I’m listening to their stories, a lot of the time, it fits. So, if the patient wishes to, I take a small sentence or paragraph from their story and put it in a candygram.”

Duke Raleigh Hospital has held events around holidays like Valentine’s Day or Halloween that allow team members to send candygrams to each other, but it was Thornton who seized the opportunity as a way for patients to show their gratitude.

Duke Raleigh Hospital team members sent candygrams to each other for Halloween.

“The whole point of me putting this program into place was, first, to make sure team members get acknowledged, and second, to help reinforce those CARE characteristics,” said Thornton.

On the Fourth Floor, Duke Raleigh Hospital patient Laura Allen was receiving such good care, she decided to give out two candygrams, one to nursing assistant Savannah Boardman and another to nurse Beverley Gooden-Louden, RN, BSN, CN II.  

“I’ve never gone out of my way to give praise for any staff member at any hospital anywhere,” said Allen. “But, this hospital is just top notch to me. The people here, they care about you. They don’t just do their work, they care about you, they really do. It feels great for me to let them know someone thinks they are wonderful.”

Allen says it was Boardman’s commitment to keeping her word that really stuck out.

“If you asked for something, she would go and get it and bring it right back. If you needed assistance, she’d stay right there and help you right then,” said Allen. “It’s the little things that matter the most.”

“[Boardman] doesn’t put anything ahead of the patients,” she added. “The patients are the most important thing and she always makes certain the patients are taken care of.”

Allen feels the same about Gooden-Louden.

“Her compassion here, not just to the patients, but to the staff as well, stood out to me,” said Allen. “She’ll help anybody, she’s there for everybody. If she can help you she will.”

For team members Gooden-Louden and Boardman, it’s nice to be recognized.

“Even though nurses and other team members say thank you, when you have a patient that recognizes you and they know that you actually care, that’s different,” said Boardman. “That’s real and special.”

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