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What is the Patient Experience?

The patient experience is the sum of all interactions shaped by an organization's culture that influence patient perceptions across the continuum of care. -- The Beryl Institute

The team

The Patient Experience team features a representative from each department. It is a voluntary endeavor for employees.

               Patient Experience Team

Craig Norris, quality management/admin
Angie Cowan and Jennie Littrell, food and nutrition
Ashley Pallone, CVICU
Ashley Sherfield and Jessey Casey, lab
Autumn Sims and Jessica Grossarth, OB
Bonnie Randolph, ICU
Carrie Rodgers, 4E
Charlotte Hall and Katie Simpson, patient liaisons
Courtney Cobb, same day surgery
Crystal Wilson, 6E
Debbie Sandoval, PACU-surgery
Donna Dutton, emergency department
Holly Chieco and Nicholas Tudor, therapy services
Jennifer King, environmental services
Jessica Obenberger, 4N
Johnny Bryant and Steve Randall, security
Katherine Davis, surgery
Kathleen Cavanary, 5E, med surg and pediatrics
Kim McCants, outpatient lab
Rich Williams and Will Huffines, respiratory therapy
Sarah Allen, imaging
Savannah Phillips and Shalane Ragsdale, 6N
Sydnee Mills, registration
Tambra Blackburn, 4N
Shana Gago, customer service manager

The Patient Experience team’s responsibilities include:

Gathering patient and family opinions and information about their experiences at Cookeville Regional Medical Center

Meeting with patients and asking questions that are directly related to the care and services they are receiving. All responses are confidential and patients are encouraged to be open and direct.

Going beyond patient satisfaction scores and having a conversation with our patients about their expectations and experiences.

Sharing patient appreciation for staff members by recognizing staff with Sunshine Award recognition.

Meeting regularly with the Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC) that consists of former patients who can provide “the patient perspective.” This input helps guide organizational changes or decisions related to the delivery of care and customer service.

Sunshine Award winners

The Sunshine Award was created by the Patient Experience Team as a way to honor ancillary and support staff who commit to striving for excellence in their role, consistently deliver exceptional care or service, upholds the highest standards and collaborates with other staff to enhance the experience of our patients, family members and guests.

February 2024

Stacey Garside - Sunshine Award winner

Stacey Garside, cashier, is the latest recipient of the Cookeville Regional Medical Center (CRMC) Sunshine Award. She received nominations for the award that reiterated her positive attitude and attentiveness to improving the visitor and patient experience.

Stacey’s nomination stated, “This employee is always reading and willing to lend a helping hand with a smile on her face. She has a positive attitude and maybe even a great joke. She inspires everyone she interacts with her infectious smile and positive attitude. Unfortunately, like other departments, this employee’s department has been understaffed, but she manages to step up and complete her task and ensure other employees get what they need. She exemplifies compassion and caring. Despite being alone often, she completes her tasks well and ensures that night-shift employees get lunch. With her willingness to step up, many of us would have lunch. I don’t think she realizes just how important to us she is and what a meaningful job she has. She has gone above and beyond by ensuring the cafeteria is available for our visitors and employees. She always does her job with a friendly attitude and a smile. She also remembers who you are and makes you feel as if you have known her your entire life. I hope she knows how much CRMC employees appreciate and value her and the wonderful job she does.”

November 2023

Dustin Petty, Sunshine Award Winner

Dustin Petty, ER registration supervisor, is the latest recipient of the Cookeville Regional Medical Center (CRMC) Sunshine Award. He received nominations for the award that reiterated his positive attitude and attentiveness to improving the visitor and patient experience.

Dustin’s nomination stated, “I came in today for a 1:00 p.m. breathing test and found out I wasn’t on the schedule. This employee was so kind, patient and helpful to me. I was upset as I knew I really needed this test and worried because I missed it. He calmed me down and assured me he would get everything figured out and find a solution. He was so kind and friendly with a big smile on his face the whole time. He made several phone calls and found out that I was given the wrong date from my physician’s office and I should have been here yesterday. Still seeing I was upset and worried, he assured me that he would see what he could do and made a few more phone calls. He was able to actually get me worked in that day. He promptly got me registered in and set-up for everything. The whole time he made me feel like I was his top priority, even after we discovered the error in missing my original appointment.

He is a huge asset to this hospital. I can’t thank him enough not only for helping get me the test I greatly needed but for the way he made me feel during the interaction. He has an infectious smile. He showed me that I was important and that he cared. He could have easily dismissed me and moved on to the next person. I hope he knows the impression he makes on us patients as we come in. I hope this hospital knows what a true asset he is. I want to say thank you to him for the kindness and compassion he showed to me.”

October 2023

Sunshine Award James Thompson

James Thompson, Patient Care Associate (PCA), is the latest recipient of the Cookeville Regional Medical Center (CRMC) Sunshine Award. He received nominations for the award that reiterated his positive attitude and attentiveness to improving the visitor and patient experience.

James’s nomination stated, “This employee is the perfect example of what it means to be a team player. He checks in on his coworkers and always asks how he can be of assistance. He always has such a positive attitude, and no matter how tired he is, he transports patients quickly while making sure they have a great experience with every ride. He takes the time to have a personal connection with his patients. I have heard multiple times from several patients and family members how great he is. Recently, one patient stated he was one of the most memorable people during his entire stay. When I ask what makes him so memorable, they always respond with things like “his attitude,” “how caring he was,” and “how he really did his best to converse with me to make me feel comfortable.” He is one of the most positive people I have ever met. He is a constant smiling ray of sunshine that strives to deliver the safest and highest quality of care possible. Every shift you work with him, you will be hard-pressed to find somebody who doesn’t say how much they appreciate him or how much better their night has gotten just from his positivity. Every patient he comes in contact with loves him.

Recently, an elderly patient was going up to the floor, and he had his wife with him. They had not had a night apart in over 40 years. They were nervous, but I assured them we would take great care of them. The patient’s wife was approved as an overnight visitor, but she told me she had trouble keeping up. When her husband was transported to another floor, the wife said that he offered her a wheelchair and he offered to get her on a separate trip, but she declined. Even after she declined the wheelchair, he told her to walk with them as he transported her husband to make sure she didn’t feel like she was being left behind. The patient and wife both said nobody ever takes time to walk with them; everybody just rushes past them. So, to have somebody take the time to deliver such quality care and literally walk every step alongside somebody going through such a hard time meant the world to them.

September 2023

Sheree Wright, Sunshine Award Winner

Sheree Wright, Human Resources receptionist, is the latest recipient of the Cookeville Regional Medical Center (CRMC) Sunshine Award. She received nominations for the award that reiterated her positive attitude and attentiveness to improving visitor and patient experience.

Sheree’s nomination stated, “This employee exemplifies the principles of the Sunshine Award. She treats everyone she comes in contact with- with kindness. She always has a smile on her face and a willingness to help others, many times even if it is outside her responsibilities. How great this organization would be if many more people treated others the way she does.”

Another nomination stated, “Recently, we had a patient that had multiple visits to the emergency department (ED) without relief of his symptoms. The patient left the ED very upset. Not knowing who to call, the patient called human resources.  She could tell he was very upset and needed immediate resolution to his concerns. Rather than simply forwarding his call or telling him to call another extension, she compassionately listened to the patient and assured him that someone would follow up with him immediately. She took detailed notes of his previous visits, providers, etc., and contacted customer service so they could follow up. The patient agreed to return to the ED for additional treatment. It was discovered that the patient needed emergent intervention, which he received, and an urgent referral was made for a specialist. Without this employee listening to the patient and being empathetic to his concerns, he may not have received the immediate attention and care he needed. The patient said, ‘she was so nice when he called, and she listened to everything he had to say and promised me she would get me someone who could help to call me back. I don’t know what would have happened had I talked to someone who didn’t care or said that wasn’t their job.’ For those that know this employee this comes as no surprise as this is just one of many examples of how she shines.”

August 2023

Katie Simpson, Sunshine Award Winner

Katie Simpson is the latest recipient of the Sunshine Award. She received multiple nominations for the Sunshine Award. Here are a few excerpts from her nominations.

“This employee sets an example for how all employees should strive to be. She is always willing to help any and all staff with anything they need. She always puts her patients and their needs first. They remain her top priority. She is always willing to go above and beyond to help any of her fellow co-workers no matter what that need may be. From assisting families to delivering a meal tray to many other task she is always willing and able to jump in where needed. She inspires those around her with her continued positive attitude and willingness to help. She truly wants to make sure she leaves those she meets better than they were.

One particular act of kindness and compassion that is a great example of how she shines is during a recent rotation her department was made aware of a patient who had a terminal cancer diagnosis. This patient had no family or visitors. She visited with the patient many times on each of the days she works. It didn’t stop there. This employee despite the fact that after a long stretch of work days came in on her days off and continued to visit with the patient. She even brought him food from his favorite restaurant as the nursing staff had been having difficulty getting him to eat. During her many visits with him she learned that the patient had a dog that he loved very much. She made arrangements with the patient’s landlord to be able to FaceTime with him so that the patient could see him again. Again, she did all of this on her own time, with her own money, without anyone knowing. Not to mention while she was off on PTO to move into the new house she and her Finance had just purchased. She took time out to visit with this patient until he was discharged home to hospice. It didn’t stop there she then began working to find the patient’s dog a forever home. This is a great example but only one of many that shows how this employee truly shines and is so deserving of the Sunshine Award.”

July 2023

Eric Damato, EVS Floor Tech, poses for a photo

The recipient of the July 2023 Sunshine Award is Eric Damato. Eric serves as an environmental services technician.

He received multiple nominations for the Sunshine Award. Here are a few excerpts from his nominations.

This employee is an outstanding employee. He is always so courteous and considerate. He greets everyone that passes; staff or visitors. He is always offering to help others and looking for ways to improve and make things better. On a regular basis he goes around with a trash bag and collects everyone’s trash that is on their lunch break and having lunch on the balcony. This is such a great act of kindness that doesn’t go unnoticed. On many occasions he has been witnessed stopping what he was doing, acknowledging a guest or visitor and helping them. Never once acting like it is an inconvenience to him. Since he has been working on the entrances you can tell a huge improvement in the way they sparkle and shine.

He has a can-do attitude and supports his fellow co-workers, even those not in his department. Anytime there is a special event, he makes sure that everything is tidy and in order, many times before he is even asked to. This type of “above and beyond” customer service is appreciated more than he knows. He shows heart and compassion in the way he interacts with others on a regular basis. He is willing to help in any way that he can, even if it means extra work to his daily schedule. He wants this place to be the best it can be.

This employee exemplifies the description of what it takes to win this award. From the way he interacts with everyone, his work ethic, the pride he takes in a job well done and details he puts in to it, he is truly deserving of this award.

April 2023

Trey Sandoval, perioperative tech in the OR, is the recipient of the April 2023 Sunshine Award.

He received multiple nominations for the Sunshine Award, including a mention from a patient’s mother.

This employee is newer to our department. Since he has been here, he has always been willing to learn and help whenever and wherever he is needed. I want to share a story from a few weeks ago. On this particular day, we had a special needs patient coming to the surgical department for a procedure. This patient is well known to some of us as he has been down here for various procedures recently as he is battling cancer. The patient and mother have a blog site that they post to daily regarding his life and his battle with cancer. The patient typically has a lot of anxiety with procedures and today was no exception. This employee was transporting the patient to the room this day and did a tremendous job. He took time to talk with and get to know the patient prior to coming down. He then made paper airplanes for him to play with, helping to form a rapport with him. Needless to say, by the time they got down here the patient was much more relaxed and cooperated well with everyone. I noted that later that night that not only had he left a lasting impression with the patient but the mother as well. She had posted a nice comment about him on the blog site.

She complimented “the very nice young man” and explained that he made her son some cool paper airplanes and told him he could have a cool blue hospital shirt. She was especially surprised when he brought the scrub top back with her son’s nickname written on it. She went on to say how much it meant to her and her son. Trey’s small acts of kindness and compassion made a huge impact and lasting impression on this family. This was truly a great patient experience during a very vulnerable time.

March 2023

Pat Anderson, food and nutrition, is the recipient of the March 2023 Sunshine Award.

Pat received multiple nominations for the Sunshine Award, not to mention 16 Caught in the Acts in the year-to-date. Here are a few comments from those nominations:

She is such a great employee and person. She is always smiling and cheerful and makes everyone feel like they are special and she is happy to help them. I have witnessed her on several occasions lift up her fellow coworkers and staff who do not even work in her department. She doesn’t realize the impact she has on her team and coworkers who interact with her during their lunch period. She is inspiring.

Recently, I witnessed her as she was going on her own lunch/break stop what she was doing and assist an elderly couple. She never appeared in a hurry or aggravated. Instead, she had a big smile on her face and made them feel like they were her one and only priority. Watching the interaction, you would never have known she was very busy on a short-staffed day and on her own time. She put the patient’s family first and was happy to do it.

Another time there was an employee from a nursing unit who was having a really bad day and was visibly upset. She took the time to ask her how she was doing, talk to her and give her uplifting words of encouragement. She gave this employee more than just the meal she requested for that day — she gave her a little hope and support. These are just a few examples of how she shines on a daily basis. To know her is to love her. I wish more people could be like her. This world would truly be a better place. She is so deserving of the Sunshine Award.

January 2023

Liam Hatfield, 4E PCA/unit secretary, is the recipient of the January 2023 Sunshine Award.

He received numerous nominations, saying he never hesitates to assist his co-workers and works hard to cheer everyone up. He goes above and beyond what his normal responsibilities are and is very compassionate to his patients. One noteworthy contribution to his dedication and passion to patients occurred recently when an individual who was being discharged who was sure his shoes had been lost. Liam took it upon himself to go to his car and get a pair of his own shoes and gifted them to the patient, who was very appreciative. He gives 100 percent every day and keeps a happy demeanor which makes all of his co-workers very happy to be at work at the same time he is. Congratulations, Liam!

December 2022

Therapist Rey Cabarlo is the recipient of the December 2022 Sunshine Award.

He received multiple nominations, with the majority of those nominations saying he is a ray of sunshine. He always greets not only his patients but his coworkers with a smile and friendly hello. He’s truly a team player, willing to lend a hand when needed. The way he interacts with his patients is so inspiring. One way he shows inspiration is through paintings. Back when COVID was hitting hard, he captured a poignant moment of a husband and wife who were in ICU and died soon after. He is so pleased and seems honestly excited about each new painting and gets pure joy out of sharing the progress of each painting.

November 2022

Levi Garrett, medical laboratory technologist, is the November 2022 Sunshine Award winner. He received nominations from staff as well as a provider.

This employee is always willing to help others. He always considers the patients first and then his co-workers second. He is a true team player. He is willing to help where help is needed even if it is outside his normal responsibilities. He is compassionate about his job and the role he plays as a medical laboratory scientist. He has a great mind and an exceptional desire to help others. His drive and commitment to our patients is an inspiration. Even though lab never sees a patient’s face, he still plays a vital role in diagnosis and discoveries that ultimately can save a patient’s life. Here is an example:

He was reviewing lab reports and discovered a patient with acute leukemia. He then immediately called me (the provider) allowing me to diagnose the patient in blast crisis and needed immediate medical attention. This was a great catch! His knowledge and dedication to his job and the important role lab plays helped to save this patient’s life.

October 2022

Miranda Ragland, patient representative at Urgent Care, received multiple nominations. Here are a few excerpts from those nominations: This employee radiates care and compassion to everyone she encounters. She inspires us all with her happiness and compassion. She always makes everyone’s bad day better just by how she treats everyone. She actually makes the rest of us want to do better. She goes way above and beyond for everyone one of her patients, never giving up until everything is taken care of. For example, due to a couple of providers retiring, we have seen several patients who are out of medicine until they can be seen by a new provider which unfortunately is taking some time. We had a gentleman come in about his elderly mother who is 95 years old and is on anti-seizure medication that will soon run out. But due to the patient’s age and other health issues, it would be extremely hard to get this patient out for multiple appointments. She never gave up on this patient and made multiple calls to assure this patient was taken care of. She managed to not only get the patient in to see her new PCP much earlier than they were originally told but also made sure the patient had the medicine she needed until her appointment. On another occasion, she spent extra time helping a patient find a procedure date from another facility and made sure to call him with the correct info. to make sure he didn’t miss it. She also makes sure patients are seen regardless of ability to pay even if it means paying from her own pocket. These are only some of the many above and beyond things she does for the patients at Urgent Care. “It’s the way we care” is not just a slogan, but a way of life for her.

September 2022

Rebecca Perron, emergency department technician, is the recipient of the September 2022 Sunshine Award. The nomination states: “My brother was recently a patient in the emergency room. He is non-verbal and has dementia. His dementia is getting much worse. During this ED visit my brother was alone in the room until we could get there and he was up against the bed rail crying. He was very anxious and scared and was not being very cooperative with the nursing staff. That is when this staff member came into the room and approached us. She stated that she had a family member with special needs and asked permission to help. She began talking with my brother and even though he is non-verbal she continued to talk with him and connect with him. She treated him like a person. She talked to us about his favorite song and could we all sing it to him. We all began to sing and she talked to him in such a soft and caring tone. She showed so much empathy. He stopped crying, began to relax and started nodding at questions she was asking. He relaxed his arms and they were able to take his vitals and draw his labs. She didn’t have to come in and try to help him but she could see how scared he was and she wanted to make it better for him. If everyone could be as kind and understanding as she was, it would be such a better world. She showed us there are people who still care in this world. She made sure my brother was taken care of and that he had what he needed. I think she should be in charge of giving all the staff training on how to treat patients like my brother. This was a traumatic experience for him until she came in and helped. I want her to know how much our family really appreciate her and what a difference she made!”

August 2022

Martha Blackmon, PCA/unit secretary on 5East. She received multiple nominations. One includes her interaction with a Spanish speaking patient who had been on the floor a while. This patient did not have visitors and was not progressing. Martha made sure to visit with him regularly, sit with him and let him talk, encouraging him in his progress and helped him walk the halls. She noticed he wasn’t eating, so she, without being asked, took it upon herself to go home after work in the evenings and cook for him. He started to eat more and more. It is believed her role in his care played an important part of the patient’s recovery.

June 2022

Albert Hawco, environmental services. He went above and beyond for patients on 6E when he was waxing the floors. He answered call lights and took patients what they needed, putting their needs first, along with the safety of the nurses and other staff.

May 2022

Cheryl Rivera, interpretive services coordinator. She (anonymously) donated items to families in need, such as diapers and handmade hats and blankets for the new babies.

April 2022

Brent Davidson, RRT. Honored for saving the life of a co-worker who was choking.

Nominate an employee!

Did an employee show a positive attitude and demonstrate professionalism in the workplace?

Did they demonstrate excellent skills and teamwork with peers and co-workers?

Nominate that person for a Sunshine Award! This award acknowledges non-nursing, patient care techs and support staff who provide compassionate, high quality care to patients.

Who can nominate? A patient, visitor, co-worker or director/manager can nominate a CRMC employee for the Sunshine Award. Fill out a form here or ask any employee for a copy and turn it into customer service.

Sunshine Award nomination

Nominate your healthcare worker today!

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