Jody is a caregiver, Summit Club member and a patient
I have been connected to Swedish in multiple ways; as the family caregiver of a patient (my husband), as a member of the Summit Club (Swedish Foundation), as an employee and recently as a cancer patient. The process has been intense, but the people that are involved make it as easy as possible.
Having been an "extreme" caregiver (my husband's doctors literally said he could die at any moment for five years), I understand from the top of my head to the tips of my toes what being a caregiver means. We are all called caregivers as employees of Swedish. What a PRIVILEGE we have to care for people at various stages in their life: birth, death, and everything in between. My husband spent the last week of his life at Swedish Cherry Hill. That was the BEST hospital experience we had in five years! He was treated in a kind, loving way by the staff and when he unexpectedly passed away, the nurses went above and beyond to help me deal with his death. I will never forget their kindness! Ever.
After he passed away, when asked, I donated our Lake Chelan waterfront rental property to a local Seattle company as an auction item for an annual fundraiser golf tournament to raise money for cancer research at Swedish. I had no idea that one day I would cross paths with Swedish again. I donate the property every year to the same fundraiser.
A few years later, I applied for and was offered a job working at Swedish! This is my all-time favorite place to work! I've never worked in a hospital before, but I look forward to coming to work EVERY SINGLE day! Just a few months after I started working at Swedish, I was diagnosed with cancer. My director is kind, compassionate, and more supportive than I could dream of. He has told me repeatedly throughout the treatment process "we are going to get through this together". He asks me continually "what can I do to help"? And his actions have matched his commitment. My work group even donated a month of their vacation time to me when I was in the hospital. Who does that?
Even though I work in an administrative capacity (rather than in caring for patients directly), I know that what I do contributes to the people who walk through the halls of our campus. I run into patients all of the time who need help finding their doctor/clinic, need a word of kindness, benefit from a smile, and just want to know that someone cares about them. Recently I met a man whose father was being treated at Swedish, he was stressed and overwhelmed. I had complete empathy for his experience. He needed a listening ear and a quiet place to relax while his sister spent time with his father. I took him to the quiet area behind the SOI Starbucks so that he could have a quiet spot to drink his coffee and unwind.
My cancer treatment has been top-notch. I have felt cared for and treated with such sensitivity, compassion, empathy, and generosity that I actually looked forward to going to all of my appointments (except the needles....I'm allergic to them!). They are true HEROES in my book!
I feel like I won the lottery! I work for the BEST director in the hospital. At the BEST cancer institute in the area. Helping people who are in the same situation that my husband was in. That I am now in. UNDERSTANDING the role that this hospital plays in the lives of those we serve in our community. I get to see babies in the hallway every day. And I get PAID to do this!
I want to be the President of the Swedish Medical Fan Club!
Karen, RN, supports and empowers diabetes patients
I have been a RN for the last 45 years and have been with Swedish Edmonds as a certified diabetes nurse educator for the last 27 years. I have loved being a nurse and have been so fulfilled in this profession. I have seen resources grow for patients with diabetes, however many patients are unaware of all the services available to them, including access to certified diabetes educators (CDEs).
CDEs help people learn and cope with this disease, so they may come to a place where they do not feel flawed because they have diabetes, but feel empowered and healthy instead. CDEs place great value on individualizing education for the person and listening to their stories to understand first, and then help to facilitate adjustment and good control in their lifetime. We stress small incremental changes being the hallmark of success over the long term.
Sara, RN, found her home in Seattle with Swedish
I have worked at Swedish Cancer Institute twice as a traveler since 2015. I love the people, the patients, my management and the city. I feel that I MATTER here. Last year, when I came for my second contract, I broke TWO bones in the space of one month. Rather than end my contract immediately, Swedish agreed to transfer my contract into oncology research, something for which I had already had an interest in but had not had the opportunity to pursue during the course of my career. Not only was my contract transferred, but the SCI actually collected money to help me during my recovery. My company was astounded, as very few travelers are given such an opportunity after such an injury.
I have told everyone who asks or will listen about just how wonderful this institution is. I am excited every day that I get to come to work and love seeing my patients. I am constantly smiling and thankful that I was able to get a permanent job here at Swedish. On a deeper level, I have struggled to find my "home" in my adult life. Personal losses and struggles have made it even more challenging the last eight or so years. And now, I can say that I have found my home in Seattle and that Swedish is a fundamental part of why that is the case.
I am forever thankful that I get the chance to live and work in the city and hospital that I love.