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Entering the hospital looks different these days, but this team works to maintain experience

By Josh Jarman
Novant Health

CLEMMONS — The words “Stay positive, work hard, make it happen” adorn a chalkboard sign in Jamie Vogler’s office. The sign was there before COVID-19, but the words take special meaning now.

As the manager of guest and volunteer services at Novant Health Clemmons Medical Center, her team has been on the front lines since the very beginning of the pandemic, greeting patients as they enter the hospital.

‘I like to make things better’  

Before starting in her current role, Vogler, a native of Lewisville, started working in patient partnership at Novant Health in 2016. In that role she learned how to address patient complaints and grievances.

“I know that sounds like a terrible job, but I didn’t see it that way,” she said. “I like making things better and we learn the most from our patients.”

Over the years she has helped implement a proactive approach to patient engagement. Across Novant Health, and each day at Clemmons Medical Center, hospital leaders take time to round or check in on patients.

“I often round with our pharmacy supervisor,” she said. “I like it when we pair up because he picks up on any clinical needs and I listen for the emotional needs and heart stuff.” 

Finding new ways to care

When COVID-19 hit, Vogler had to make a lot of adjustments on the fly. Patients now have to be screened before they can even enter the hospital.

Aubergine “social distancing” dots now line the walkway to the screening table, where Vogler’s mask-wearing team conducts quick coronavirus survey assessments and forehead wand temperature readings. The goal: safely triage patients and get them to the right area of the hospital for care.

“I’ve learned since all of this started that it’s OK to build on what you know each day,” she said. “We’re constantly updating our work flow and I’m so proud of how our team has been able to adjust.”

Due to visitor restrictions, Vogler’s team no longer has the support of her dedicated volunteers. To fill that void, team members from across the hospital are working together to help greet patients and escort them where they need to go.

“It can be intimidating to enter a hospital these days when you see all of us lined up with masks on,” she said. “But I hope our patients can tell by our eyes that we are still smiling.”

‘We are lifting spirits’

Vogler’s team is also active in the parking lot. Again, because of visitor restrictions, some family members choose to wait in their vehicles and receive phone call updates while their loved ones are in the hospital for a procedure.

“Waiting is hard no matter where you are,” she said. “But to help lift spirits we have started carrying a cooler with snacks out to the parking lot on a regular basis to offer some much needed refreshment.”

Sidney Yates, a fellow guest services representative, recently took it a step further by creating homemade cards of encouragement and placing them on each team member’s windshield.

“I don’t know how else to put it, this team thrives on making a difference,” said Vogler.

Perhaps it is because they see something special in their leader. Vogler often comes in early and stays late. Last weekend was one of her first weekends “off” and she came in any way to surprise a team member with a birthday cake.

Heather King, chief nursing officer and director of professional and support services, said that during this time of great uncertainty, Vogler has been a true bright spot and led with compassion and courage.

Around her badge Vogler wears a purple band that reads Novant Health Clemmons Medical Center Strong. The band, much like the sign hanging on the wall in her office, serves as a symbol of her unwavering commitment to helping others.

“It’s not a job to me,” she said. “This is my heart.”