Roland de Vega, Academic Affairs Coordinator at Bridgepoint Active Healthcare, screens employees, patients and essential care partners for COVID-19 symptoms
Every day, our hospital screeners stand on the front-lines to greet incoming patients, essential care partners and employees. Screeners have the important job of helping ensure a safe environment for everyone by issuing masks, assisting patients with finding their way, and asking if visitors and employees have COVID-19 symptoms.
Early in the pandemic, we began re-deploying a number of our people at Mount Sinai Hospital and Bridgepoint Active Healthcare from their usual roles to screener shifts. Roland de Vega, Academic Affairs Coordinator at Bridgepoint, admits he had some reservations about being re-deployed at first. “There wasn’t a wealth of info available on COVID-19 and things were changing so quickly. I thought about my family’s health as well as my own.”
Ultimately, Roland knew the role was important and one that he would be good at as a “people person”. Additionally, his experiences as a former Project Coordinator for the Changing Care initiative, a project dedicated to supporting family caregivers helped him prepare for his work as a screener. During the project he learned how to put himself into the shoes of the patients and families visiting the hospital. Roland was awarded a Service with HEART for his positive attitude and work as a screener.
Like Roland, Iona Watson, a Registered Dental Hygienist at Mount Sinai Hospital, found herself in a new role as a screener.
“It’s been an amazing experience and I’ve learned so much,” says Iona. “I’ve worked at Mount Sinai for over ten years but I’ve never met most of the other screeners before. The relationships and friendships that have developed have been phenomenal.”
Iona says screening is all about good customer service. “The pandemic has been an adjustment for everyone and many care partners have never even been to a hospital before. Screeners are their first point of contact and can ease anxiety, whether that means explaining a new policy or helping people get where they need to be.
One of Roland’s favourite moments as a screener came from his efforts to put visitors and employees at ease during uncertain times.
“I enjoyed being able to make people laugh every morning,” he says. “We started to ask silly questions as a way of checking if people were truly listening to the screening criteria. One morning, we asked if pineapple was an acceptable pizza topping. That one brought out a lot of debate amongst everyone.”
And for those who may be wary of visiting a hospital, Iona shares her perspective.
“Personally, I feel safer here than in a store or restaurant.” says Iona. “The hospital is a very safe, controlled environment and you’ll be looked after well.”
To learn more about visiting Sinai Health during the pandemic and how we’re keeping patients safe, see our COVID-19 Information and Resources page.
What is Service with HEART?
The Service with HEART model empowers everyone to provide an exceptional service experience at every point of interaction by understanding that the role in creating positive patient, family caregiver or colleague experiences is greater than the tasks associated with the job. The training provides practical tools needed to build rapport in relationships and proactively respond and resolve service concerns received from patients, family caregivers and each other. Managers are given stickers and pins, which they award at their discretion to people who consistently demonstrate Service with HEART principles.