THE BLOG

A Message of Appreciation to Healthcare Providers

02/28/2013 11:34 am ET | Updated Apr 30, 2013

My lifesaving medical team at Prince George's Hospital Center

When you are a patient in the hospital, I personally find that teamwork allows progress to take place. Everyone is in it together and within the healthcare atmosphere the people around you become a new kind of support system, or even in a lot of ways, a new family that understands the pain and frustration you feel. This new family is not traced back through genetics, but rather through life experience.

I know that healthcare providers share their experiences with their patients, coworkers, faculty and staff, and also with their administration. They care for these people that they meet and work with on a daily basis. And with each day, through a smile or a handshake, a bond forms that develops into friendship, which then leads to a sense of teamwork and ultimately to a sense of accomplishment when various goals are achieved.

When you are in this atmosphere as a patient, you are depending on others to help you and assist you. To share in your triumphs and tragedies, to understand your background and beliefs, and to support you through various degrees of sickness and in health.

The power that healthcare providers have is extraordinary. On a daily basis they are not only caring for the health of their patients, but they are also creating reasons to smile, making living conditions suitable and pleasant, and forming connections with their patients who not only need them, but depend on them.

At a very young age I found out what it really means to depend on others. At the age of 18, I wasn't living the normal life of a high school graduate, instead I was pretty much reborn. I had to re-learn how to blink, move my fingers, talk, eat, tie my shoes, shower, and do everything in my own strength to live independently again, at least somewhat close to the way things used to be with a lot of help from those around me.

Within each person, whether said or not, the challenge remains an internal battle, conducted within our own private self, both for the patient and equally for the healthcare provider as well. Victory is measured in the smallest achievable increments, like blinking, or moving a finger, but most importantly, victory is being achieved no matter how big or small the achievement through the work that healthcare providers do.

I know that I'm not a doctor, nurse, physical therapist, or work in hospital administration. But my perspective is based on being a former intensive care patient and also a healthcare advocate. I have traveled the country and visited and spoke to dozens of medical groups, healthcare organizations, and state hospital associations. My knowledge is based on personal experience and I know that working in the field of healthcare can be a challenge sometimes because there are goals that have to be reached, and things that have to be financially managed and accounted for.

But when all is said and done, the impact that is being made is not just affecting numbers, it's affecting people. And these people have backgrounds, they have families, and they have lives. That body on the hospital bed is a person, and it's so important to remember this when the numbers and financial goals are being discussed in the media. Healthcare providers do not get the credit they truly deserve because what they are doing is saving these people, saving hopes for the future, saving families, and saving communities. And that is the result of their hard work, their expertise, and their dedication to what they do.

As a former patient who has been transferred throughout the many divisions of the healthcare system, I would like to say thank you to all healthcare providers for all that they do. When you work in the field of health care you are responsible for either bringing people back to life or making them comfortable for the rest of their life. Yes some days are better than others, but everyday is a great day when you help others in need, especially when they depend on you to not only live, but to enjoy life too.

And, with this gift of life that I have been given, I have made it my goal to take my medical background and help others, and do my very best to make a positive impact by working with patient safety and quality of care. And with the support that I have received over the years, I have been inspired to also become a healthcare professional. I am currently studying in the Certificate of Public Health program at Johns Hopkins University, and will be applying to the Master's in Public Health program later this year. I believe that this is the ultimate form of gratitude that I can show to the men and women who helped me during my recovery, and to those who have chosen to help bring aid and comfort to others as well in the healthcare system.

This is a message of appreciation to healthcare providers, and in whichever part of the hospital that you work in, thank you for choosing this path in life, and for all that you do on a daily basis for your patients and their families.