By Trisha Miller, Corporate Educational Services Department, Recruiter and Clinician Onboarding Liaison
This story was past submission for the Celebrating Our Team Contest. The contest encourages non-clinical team members to share pictures and stories of what they love most about working at TeamHealth. Visit www.teamhealth.com/celebratingteam to upload a photo and tell us your story to be entered to win weekly prizes throughout the month of June!
After working for TeamHealth for more than 18 years, previously as a healthcare recruiter, I have been in my fair share emergency departments—touring, interviewing, etc. However, on June 10, 2013, my visit to Buffalo, New York, changed the way I view emergency departments forever. For the first time, I found myself in unfamiliar territory. I became the patient, and I was 900 miles from home facing surgery. I was alone and honestly scared.
Earlier that day on the flight to Buffalo, I felt a little queasy, but being the strong-willed person I am, I found my way to Duff’s for dinner anyway (only those in Buffalo will understand that statement). Around midnight, I became acutely ill, and I laid down in the hotel bed debating whether I should go to the emergency department. However, minutes later, I knew I had to either drive myself to the hospital or call 911. At the time, I had only been to my seven Buffalo assigned facilities once prior to this visit. But as I found myself in excruciating pain, I was not thinking clearly and had no idea where to go. For some divine reason, though, I had bookmarked all of my TeamHealth Northeast facilities in my smart phone.
On the elevator, I clicked each site bookmarked until I found the closest hospital. Sisters of Charity St. Joseph Campus was only five miles away. When I arrived, I was greeted by a nice security guard who, after I spoke, immediately knew I was from out of town. We bypassed check-in, and I found myself surrounded by excellent nursing staff who had telemetry on with IVs in and had me ready for an ultrasound within minutes. The care was outstanding.
When the doctor came in the room, I read his name badge and tears immediately began to swell in my eyes. The provider, Dr. John Carter, was a physician I spoke with on the phone days before when I called to introduce myself. We hadn’t met in person. When he explained that I would need surgery, my heart felt like it would explode. My family didn’t even know I was in the hospital, and I was scared and alone.
Seeing that I was visibly shaken, Dr. Carter came and sat on my bed and asked me what I was doing in New York when I lived in Kentucky. I told him I was there to have dinner with the medical directors and to meet him and his colleagues in person because I was their new TeamHealth recruiter. He said, “You are the Trisha Miller that I have gotten calls from.” When I answered yes, he placed his hand on my hand and said, “You do have family here. We are your TeamHealth family, and I will take care of you.” The tears fell.
I knew then that my job as was far more important than I ever realized. The physicians I placed in emergency departments make a difference for thousands of patients and families. And, that night, Dr. Carter made a difference for me. Recruiting is so much more than finding a doctor. It is finding the doctor that you would want at your bedside at 2:00 a.m. when your family is miles away and you’re being prepped for emergency surgery. I’ve always known it, but that night I lived it. Recruiters do hold the key to making a difference in every TeamHealth facility.
Lastly, as this even breaks my heart to write, Dr. John Carter passed away in 2016. He and I formed a bond after the ER experience that night and we kept in touch. What we do really does matter, and so do the friendships formed along the way. Pictured in the photo below are Trisha Miller and Dr. John Carter.
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