The old adage, “Your momma doesn’t work here,” applies to most of us. There’s not someone walking behind us picking up our trash or dirty (or clean, as was sometimes the case at my house) clothes or making sure the dishes are put in the dishwasher. At UMMC, you have to take care of your stuff yourself.
Most weeks, I block out a little time to step out of the office and walk around campus. I enjoy seeing all of the many, disparate areas of our vast operation and I especially like running into and getting a chance to speak with many of you.
When I was a medical student and then a resident here, I knew (or thought I knew) every back stairwell, nook and cranny and every shortcut at UMMC. A lot has changed since then and new buildings, renovations to older ones and relocated operations have forced me to relearn some of those once familiar connections and pathways. I manage pretty well: Only once have I gotten stuck in a locked stairwell and had to call for help. It happens to the most experienced of us, I guess.
It is such a joy to walk through our new facilities – all of them fresh and beautiful – and to see them in full use. We also have some older, more dated buildings that need renovations or to be replaced. There are plans to do just that with many of these spaces, but in the meantime, we must continue to fully use these areas - spaces that I like to say have been “well-loved.”
As I am out and about, I see a number of things, large and small, that fill me with pride. However, I also see some things that cause me to cringe a little.
Examples in the “cringe” category include dirty windows and carpets, building exteriors in need of pressure washing, overflowing trashcans, cracked and damaged sidewalks, cabinet doors hanging crooked, walls in need of painting, patient care and family/visitor areas with ripped and torn furniture and the list goes on – you get the picture.
I mention this to say I need your help. Appearances matter, whether our own, professional appearance (more on this in a future column) or the appearance of our grounds and facilities. While I wish I could wave a magic wand and make all of our campus buildings brand new and sparkling, we all know that isn’t possible. The reality is, we have some older spaces we must live with for the foreseeable future and we need to do what is necessary to maintain them.
All of our areas, no matter the use, can be clean and cared for. I recently had a number of conversations with Dr. Jonathan Wilson, UMMC chief administrative officer, Daniel Enger, operational improvement director, and Rodney Gause, environmental service director, about the need for increased attention to our workplace environment. I have recruited Julie Kelley, a manager in emergency services, to, for now, be an extra set of eyes, paying attention to the image we present to the public. These people frequently walk the Medical Center’s halls, especially in our main patient and visitor areas. However, they can’t be everywhere all the time. This is where your assistance is needed.
First, please do your part to keep your area clean and help keep the common areas presentable. If you see something that needs to be picked up, pick it up. Don’t leave it for the next person.
Second, notify Environmental Services (via email at HospitalHousekeeping@umc.edu), Physical Facilities (via phone at 4-1400) or the correct department whenever there is something that needs to be repaired, cleaned, etc. It’s not complicated.
We want to maintain a welcoming, attractive environment for our patients, visitors and each other. It will take ALL of us to accomplish this goal. Let’s take an extra ounce of pride in our environment. It matters and is a foundational step toward A Healthier Mississippi.