The surgery department consists of, in total, the polyclinic staff, the nurses on the ward, and the surgeons. By working closely together, they always endeavor to be as welcoming as possible to their patients. The employees of STAPS, the Steering Committee for Professionalism and Service of General Surgery, are motivated to stay focused and go the extra mile. A conversation with some members of this working group.

Frank Blom, Surgery Department Manager, believes in the positive approach of STAPS: “We work together in a field that often has to deal with complex situations, so you need to take care of each other. That makes it easier to go to work with enthusiasm every day. You must also dare to hold each other accountable for your own responsibilities. Once you have your uniform on you are, in the eyes of the patients and visitors, ‘the Catharina Hospital’. What you do, or don’t do, defines their experience here.”

The details make a difference

For polyclinic assistant Dyanne Verhoeven, it’s the small things that make a difference: “A smile, the way people are open to each other; it all contributes to a positive atmosphere. We want to make as many colleagues as possible enthusiastic about the fact that you give people pleasure if you yourself have a cheerful outlook. In this regard, we do our very best every day.

By going for it together, organizing meetings, and by stopping to think about keeping each other focused’, adds polyclinic coordinator Joyce Walschots, that that also requires good judgement: “You want to do everything from A to Z so that a patient is treated well. And each step has an impact on the next. We must consider this carefully with the patient and the family. Everyone’s stay here is different, so even your choice of words can have a significant impact.”

Fond memories

Managing the expectations of the patients and their loved ones plays an important role for Kim Hommeles, Surgery Team Leader. “Which information you give when, and how long you let someone wait for answers. You sometimes ask for a lot of patience from people. We need to anticipate better in this respect. Better explanations of what we do, as that gives clarity and usually also immediate peace of mind.” And the results that we achieve with STAPS is what it’s all about in the end. Dyanne sums it up nicely: “If you color outside the lines a little bit, then you add something. An appointment or operation is normal here. That’s what a patient expects. But just a little extra attention, that makes a difference. It adds warmth to people’s memories. Even if you come here for something really awful.”

Dutch Happiness Week runs from 13 to 17 March in Eindhoven.  Leading up to this week, E52 will run a series of stories about the different aspects of happiness.