"We can change lives by just putting a smile on someone's face and showing them that we care."
When Tara praises the work of the cardiothoracic surgery team at UPMC Western Maryland, she speaks from experience.
An employee of UPMC Western Maryland for five years, Tara recently became a patient herself. And she was impressed by the care she received.
"My dad wasn't always able to be in there with me, but my nurses made sure to be there," she says. "Even through the night, I had a nurse and she sat with me all night."
That experience of being a patient helps Tara relate to those she cares for even more than she did before. Tara says every patient who comes through the doors gets the same comforting treatment she received.
“We look at our patients as family, and that is a huge thing because people get scared when they come here," she says. "In our eyes, they're our family. We're taking care of someone we love."
Tara works as a medical assistant in cardiothoracic surgery. She helps to check patients in and out and assists with procedures, among other duties. She is also a volunteer firefighter and works evenings and weekends at an ice cream shop during the warmer months.
Because UPMC Western Maryland is in a small town, she often runs into former patients.
“It's always nice to see everyone, how well they're healing out in public," she says. "They tell you all these stories about now they're hunting where before they couldn't drag a deer. They can go biking. They can climb. So, it's pretty cool to watch."
Seeing patients go from sick to healthy after surgery makes Tara appreciate her job. She says she loves waking up every day to come to work to help people get better.
"We can just put a smile on someone's face on their darkest day," she says. "Because if you're (in the hospital), it's a bad day. So we can change lives by just putting a smile on someone's face and showing them that we care."
At UPMC, Life Changing Medicine means healing people with kindness.
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