Monday, June 9, 2008

A Bit 'o Beta

I’ve arrived. I’ve finally reached the pinnacle of my career. There’s nothing else I want to accomplish. I’ve gone as far as I can.

Last week I got to write 200 words about a fish.

Not just any fish, of course. Mr. Snorkles is a beta fish who lives in the office of the Medical Imaging Department of Fauquier Hospital. He is a pet therapy fish, and exudes a calm, relaxing aura that the staff in the office find comforting. He floats contentedly among gently waving leafy fronds; Mr. Snorkles’ deep blue hue is a beautifully feng shuied contrast to the bright green plants.

Last time I was over there, I asked him how it was going. He turned to me as if to say, “swimmingly, thank you.

”Why was I asked to write about this most amiable aquatic athlete? Don’t tell anyone, but Mr. Snorkles has been nominated for an award. (When he heard, he was giddy to the gills.)

Here is my prose about Mr. Snorkles. (I know I keep repeating his name. It just tickles me to write it … Mr. Snorkles … Mr. Snorkles … Mr. Snorkles…)

“Mr. Snorkles is a male beta fish who currently resides in the front office of the Medical Imaging Departmet. His home is a graceful vase with rocks that have been gathered during the travels of one of the staff members.

“Mr. Snorkles greets staff and patients in the morning with a smiling tail and appears to appreciate everyone in the department. He is here volunteering 24-7. When he first arrived, he was shy and hid behind his plant, but has since become more of an extrovert. Many medical imaging staff members, including techs and radiologists, have been observed chatting with Mr. Snorkles. He is always kind and understanding and never causes conflict. He provides a sense of responsibility for those who feed him and tidy his home.

“Mr. Snorkles has made working in the front office just a bit nicer.”

One of the many things I love about working at Fauquier Hospital is exemplified by this little story. The senior management and the staff realize that thoughtful touches -- like having a beta fish in the office -- do matter. Patient-centered, superb-quality health care is the top priority of course, but the small details that make life better for patients and staff have an important place in the day-to-day planning.

It’s all standard operating procedure: Cold drinks for family members wait in the refrigerator of the ICU; every patient room has an extra bed so that a friend or relative can stay overnight if they want to; a soothing environment exists for healing that includes art and music in the hallways and common areas; Fauquier Health System’s patient concierge visits each new admitted patient to ask if they need anything; room service from the Bistro on the Hill is available; and friendly, helpful attention for patients and family members is offered at every turn.

And although Mr. Snorkles is doing his part to cheer the folks in medical imaging, the health system’s auxiliary operates a larger (and less wet) pet therapy program that brings gorgeous, loving dogs to visit patients. I’ve seen the faces of those the dogs come in contact with. Their wagging tails and gentle attentions are welcome gifts.

Fauquier Health System offers up-to-the-minute, state-of-the-art facilities and top-notch doctors; the little touches combine with the big ones for a very impressive facility.

So if you find yourself in the Medical Imaging Department, be sure to wave a fin at Mr. Snorkles – just for the halibut.

No comments: