When I left Penn in 2000 after working in rehabilitation medicine, my boss at the time, Jim Cavallaro — who has since become my mentor, my friend, and “Uncle Jim” to my daughter — said, “You’ll be back.” In the years that followed, I enjoyed career experiences in emergency medical services and leadership positions at Einstein Medical Center Montgomery and Mercy Health System, but I always knew that Jim was right.

This past October, I returned to Penn, this time as the Director of Patient Experience at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center. Even with only a few months under my belt, I can confidently say that I love my job, and I truly believe that each day offers a chance for us to make a positive impact on those we serve.

Over the years, the patient experience team has evolved from the finder of lost belongings to the department of “how can we help?” While we as employees may be used to walking through hospital doors every day, many of our patients are not. Whether someone is struggling to make an appointment or is worried about being admitted overnight because there’s no one to feed their cat, we can work with various resources to find a solution so the patient can focus on healing. And even if my team doesn’t have the answer, we have access to those who do.

Expanding our volunteer and ambassador programs and making our team more visible will allow patients to more readily recognize who they can go to for help and to see how invested we are in their experience. Looking ahead, I hope to introduce welcome rounds to our medical/surgical units so we can greet our new patients within 24 hours of admission and thank them for choosing Presby. Over the next year, the patient experience team will also be implementing processes that ensure a five-star experience for every patient, every time.

The beauty of PPMC is its people. We strive to ensure we have highly engaged and satisfied employees who are supporting our patients at every touchpoint of their journey. It always gets a chuckle when I show the last slide in my presentations that reads, “If you think Disney is the happiest place on earth, you’ve never been to Penn Presbyterian.” Patient experience is a big job, but it’s also an amazing one. I feel that I’m exactly where I need to be, and I am excited to continue pushing PPMC forward and serving our community the best we can.

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