OSWEGO, New York – Kevin Cullinan works the late shift as a new customer care representative at Oswego Hospital. His job is to help patients find their way to the emergency room or other areas of the hospital while construction is under way. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s his job description anyway, but what he actually does, goes well beyond giving directions.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“When people come into the hospital, they are often overwhelmed by the situation that brought them here,Ã¢â‚¬Â Cullinan said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I find myself talking with patients as they wait for services that are often very emotional and want someone to talk with. With the emergency room seeing more and more patients, a little personal attention can go a long way.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Karine Jalbert, a customer care representative at Oswego Hospital during the day shift, agrees with Cullinan about the personal approach their role takes on with the patients and families that they meet on a daily basis.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re really the eyes and ears of the hospital,Ã¢â‚¬Â Jalbert said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“We provide a helping hand to the patients and their families, and personalize the clinical service they come to the hospital to receive.
The customer care representatives at Oswego Hospital are stationed 24 hours a day at the temporary emergency room entrance at West Sixth and Oneida Streets.
Oswego Hospital hired eight customer care representatives just before its $18 million first floor project began. Much of the project centers on improvements to the emergency room and will include private patient rooms, the best technology and an expanded waiting area.
Emergency Room Clinical Manager David Ramsey, R.N., has seen demand for patient care and emergency service increase recently due to several factors. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Before we started construction this summer, we would typically see about 45 to50 patients each day in the emergency room,Ã¢â‚¬Â Ramsey said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Now we are consistently seeing between 70 to 90 patients each day.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The increase in patients can be attributed to the downturn in the economy, which has left many without health insurance, the closing of A. L. Lee Memorial Hospital in Fulton, and the reorganization of health care facilities in communities like Phoenix and Central Square.
Oswego Health President and CEO Ann Gilpin said providing quality care is paramount and that the customer care representatives were hired as part of an overall program to improve the delivery of care. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Along with the community members who regularly use our services, we realized that we have many new people seeking care at Oswego Hospital,Ã¢â‚¬Â Gilpin said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“As we undergo our construction project, we wanted to offer a helpful friendly hand to assist community members in finding their destination in the hospital. While the customer care representatives just joined us a short time ago, the public has let us know they appreciate their work. Once the project is completed we will continue to maintain the services of the customer care representatives.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Jody Allen, director of patient safety and outcomes, said, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Providing customer service to our patients and visitors is very important at Oswego Hospital. The newly hired customer care representatives are just a part of our plan to continue to improve our facilityÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s customer and patient friendly services.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Clinical Manager Ramsey said he has personally seen the benefit from the representatives and knows once the project is completed they will continue to benefit the organization. Ã¢â‚¬Å“The ER is very busy and our nurses, physicians and other clinical staff are delivering quality care 24 hours a day, seven days a week,Ã¢â‚¬Â Ramsey said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“By having the customer care representatives help patients to their cars, to the ER, talking to them about their concerns, it puts the patient more at ease, makes our job easier, and improves patient satisfaction.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Construction on the project will continue through late 2010. A new temporary emergency room entrance at West Sixth Street for both walk-in and ambulatory service is now available.
The Oswego Healthcare system includes the Oswego Hospital, The Manor at Seneca Hill, a skilled nursing facility; Springside at Seneca Hill, a retirement living community; an urgent care center in Fulton; as well as health services centers in Mexico, Parish and Phoenix. For more information on Your New E.R., call (315) 349-5500 or visit www.oswegohealth.org/yournewer.cfm.