Living Our Values: Reverence

Earlier this summer, during a Safety Huddle*, Nursing Supervisor Valerie Stray informed leadership that a patient in her unit was dying and that the family had limited time to spend with their loved one. The construction noise of drilling and hammering was disruptive to a somber experience, and Stray wondered if something could be done to shift or stop construction.

“There is always someone on Mercy [Health] staff who can call and let us know we have to stop construction because there is ‘a situation,’ and we don’t need to know what the situation is,” said Amy Sullivan, senior project manager, The Christman Company. “While what we do is very important, it’s not as important as what’s happening on the other side of the wall. There are people’s lives in the balance, and they deserve respect.”

Gary Allore, president of Mercy Health Muskegon, and Lon Morrison, senior director, facility services and capital projects, didn’t hesitate to say they’d ask for construction to stop. Construction was halted within the hour, allowing the family to say goodbye and begin to process their loss.

The quiet was a gift to the family and to the staff during that emotional time.

“I know that each construction delay affects the entire process, which is why it meant so much that whatever comfort we could give to that family became a priority over construction goals,” said Stray. “When we call ourselves ‘Mercy,’ we bear all the responsibility that name implies.

On that day, as on so many others, our health care organization lived up to its name — with mercy and reverence toward our patients and their loved ones.

*Definition of Safety Huddle (Source: Greenville Health System): A brief meeting (e.g., “huddle”) of hospital leaders and key team members at the beginning of the day or shift to build teamwork through communication and cooperative problem solving while ensuring common understanding of the focus and priorities for the day.

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