By Sandra M. Edson, MBA
Most of us have heard the phrase, “If we believe that we can, we’re much more likely to succeed.” That belief is what I attribute to my accomplishments and journey this past year. Over a year ago, I found myself facing a number of changes and embarking on new opportunities. It was a little scary at the time, transitioning from my employer of fourteen years to a larger imaging department, a new community, new executive team, and over 140 employees on different campuses. However, with the inspiration of my mentors, family, and friends, the thought of change became more of a reality and I started looking forward to the challenges ahead.
Change comes to us in all aspects of life, and how we react can have a significant impact on our success. Norman Vincent Peale stated, “Change your thoughts and you can change your world.” A year later, I can say my world has changed. I’m thankful for the opportunities that crossed my path this past year. I’ve had the ability to work with a tremendous team of professionals who care for the most vulnerable patients 24 hours a day. Being the largest trauma center in our county means working in a high paced environment. While enduring the same regulatory and customer service challenges, our staff is also faced with the emotional demands a busy trauma center can require. It’s important to have inspirational people around us to help us along the way. I’m lucky to have found an individual I work with to serve in that capacity.
I’m amazed at the dedication and support this individual shares with her colleagues, especially while she undergoes her own personal health challenges. I’ve learned so much from her. Lupe is an employee who has worked with our organization for fourteen years. Four years ago, Lupe was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. During her initial diagnosis and treatment she also lost her husband, who suffered his own health issues. Lupe’s faith, teamwork, compassion, and balance provide her with the ability to stay positive. She is the heart of our department, often volunteering her time to support others who face health challenges. She’s the positive voice representing her co-workers. She looks for opportunities to participate in committees and improve the work environment and is respected by her peers. Even while undergoing chemo, she supports and leads our physicians and staff through change. She’s grounded and constantly reminds me of the importance of a balanced life, positive energy, and that nothing is too difficult to tackle. She’ll remind us to toss out negative thoughts that enter our mind and replace them with positive ones.
If you don’t already have a friend, co-worker, or mentor in your life to count on, look around; you may find an individual like Lupe. Without these individuals in our lives, it’s easy to let negative thoughts enter our minds while undergoing change. Had I let my fears or insecurities take over my mind a year ago, I would have lost so many opportunities, including meeting the incredible team I work with. Because of them, our department has achieved many successes including improved employee engagement participation and “favorable” scores; improved point of service collections; and increased volume. It’s the result of teamwork, communication, positive attitudes, and sometimes a little friendly competition.
While many staff participated in the solutions along the way, Lupe is one individual who I feel influences my life on a daily basis, probably without her knowing the impact she plays. It’s certainly been a pleasure to work alongside her.
So as I continue to celebrate my journey, I’d like to thank all of you who have influenced me along the way (you know who you are). For those reading this article, I encourage you to see change as an opportunity and look for those individuals who bring inspiration to your life.
Sandra M. Edson, MBA is the director of imaging and women’s wellness center at St. Joseph-Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo, CA. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.