In This Issue
Robert E. Byrd, FACHE
Alamance Regional Medical Center
Christine L. Sternjacob
Novant Health – Triad Region
Paul A. Jeffrey
Wesley Long Community Hospital – Moses Cone Health System
Pamela M. Sinclair, FACHE
High Point Regional Health System
Samuel B. Seifert
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center
Message from the Regent - Winter 2009|
by Fred T. Brown, Jr., FACHE
Service Up and Beyond
What a year 2008 was! Gas at $4.25 a gallon, the market in turmoil, companies that we all thought were rock-solid failing or requiring massive government bailouts. We are fighting a major war on terrorism around the world and particularly in Iraq and Afghanistan. Unemployment is growing and for the first time in my career, I am finding that healthcare is not recession proof. We elected our nation’s first African American President and his and our challenges are daunting.
Due to uncertainty of the country’s financial future, businesses, including hospitals, are canceling or delaying capital projects. We are seeing evidence of graft and corruption as some of the trillion dollar stimulus/bailout programs monies are being used in ways that will not help anyone except the leadership in these companies. Many companies are not hiring, Americans are not consuming, and we probably have good reasons to feel sorry for ourselves.
I caught myself falling into this kind of blue funk over the holidays. I found myself wondering if my young grandsons could look forward to their lives being as full as mine has been, with potential for success almost guaranteed if you sought education and worked hard enough. What could I do as a citizen to help get our country back on track?
I volunteer in the local USO a night a week. It is located in the Charlotte Airport and literally thousands of young military men and women transit through every year. Fort Jackson, SC, Paris Island, SC, Fort Bragg, NC, Camp Lajeune, NC, Shaw Air Force Base and several other installations are located in North or South Carolina. Many of the volunteers at the USO are veterans from Vietnam, Korea and even World War II. One of those WW II veterans (who once spent 5 days in the Pacific before being rescued when his cruiser was sunk) opened my eyes last week when I was complaining about the bleakness of the nation’s current situation.
“What we need, he said, are Victory Gardens!” Sure, I thought. I can see my wife letting me dig up my front yard. He quickly said that what he meant by this was every one of us has to pitch in like Americans have always done. More people need to volunteer their time. More of us do need to think more about our energy consumption so America can be more energy independent. Knowing that I am in hospital work, he also said that if more of us were as trim and got regular exercise like the troops we hosted in the USO, we would not need to spend so much of our economy on healthcare.
Those of us whose work is providing healthcare usually think of ourselves as being in a “service” industry. We all work hard to do all we can for our customers and patients. If you believe my WWII friend, however, this is just not enough to get our nation heading onward and upward. His point is that we all need to go up and beyond what is usually expected.
I urge you to consider using your skills, experience, education and training in other ways that contribute to society. Volunteer with Habitat for Humanity. Work with the Red Cross. Think about “Meals on Wheels”. Volunteer to help tutor in the public schools. Find something that you can do that makes our society a bit better.
Healthcare organizations, by their nature, are often leading employers in their communities. The leaders of these organizations; you; are already in community leadership roles. Set the example, recruit others and see if you don’t feel better not only about yourself, but what our collective effort can do to insure a positive future for us all.
One more thing: when you see a Soldier, Sailor, Airman, Marine or Coast Guardsman in uniform in the airport or anywhere, stop and thank them for what they do.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
5:30 pm - Wesley Long Community Hospital - see article