Friday, March 23, 2012

Caring for patients – in every sense of the word

HERE TO HELP: Levasseur in the White Lobby during one of her greeting shifts.

A PATIENT COMING to meet with an MGH physician about the pain in his chest enters the revolving doors of the White Lobby. He was given the physician’s office location a week earlier, but he’s overwhelmed with worry about his health. Standing in the middle of the lobby – hallways extending in every direction and surrounded by a multitude of signs – he suddenly feels lost.

This is where Jeri Levasseur, an administrative assistant in Research Management Administration, comes in. Levasseur volunteers each week at the White Lobby information desk greeting patients, families and visitors as they arrive at the MGH. She is one of many employees who submitted a written example of ways they demonstrate the service principles shared with all MGH employees in the educational video, “Excellence Every Day for Our Patients and Their Families.” Here is an excerpt from what Levasseur wrote:

“I love greeting because I want people to feel like they are coming to my home, warm and welcomed. I am so proud of MGH and all that we do. I know this feeling comes through when I talk to our patients. People who work at Mass General are used to the sounds and smells of the hospital, the enormity of it, and the masses of people moving through the halls. This can be very intimidating to someone coming here for the very first time, especially if they are in great distress with a new diagnosis … If I can ease someone’s distress with a warm hello and ‘welcome to MGH’ or assist someone with a wheelchair or extend a simple kindness, then I know I have created a lasting impression of our great hospital. What could be better than that?” All employees – no matter what their role is – can make a difference in helping patients and visitors feel truly cared for and welcomed at the hospital. Key items to remember are to always wear an identification badge; offer assistance if patients or visitors look lost; make eye contact and say hello to them; listen carefully to their questions or concerns and make every effort to address them; yield to patients, stretchers and wheelchairs in the hallway; offer to help, even if it’s not your job; and always choose the attitude of “I’m here to help.”

The Service Improvement Division thanks all who viewed the video and submitted their stories. To share a story of service excellence, email mghmission@ For more information about Service Improvement, contact Rick Evans at 617-724-2838 or For more information about becoming a greeter, contact Michael Stone at

Read more articles from the 3/23/12 Hotline issue.


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