“It’s rewarding to know that I can help in any way.”
Although she didn’t come to UPMC until 2020, Barbara has spent much of her life working in customer service. And that experience helps her in her current role.
As a food service liaison, Barbara works with patients so they understand all of the dietary options they have available to them and takes their meal orders for the day. It’s a job that requires a lot of patient interaction, which is something she enjoys as a self-described people person.
“I've worked around people my whole life, and I realize you can't please everybody,” she says. “But people love to eat, and their perspective of hospital food is not very good. But you hear a lot of positive things about our food, and people really love our food. And I just really love to help people.”
Barbara says she especially has a passion for helping senior patients who need extra assistance.
She came to UPMC in March 2020, just as the COVID-19 pandemic was emerging in the United States. To prevent COVID-19 spread, UPMC limited patient visitation – which made the interactions Barbara had with patients even more important.
“Especially during COVID, they’re just there by themselves and they need help, or somebody to talk to, or just somebody to open their straw, or move their tray over so it's comfortable for them to eat,” she says. “It’s just little things like that to accommodate them and help them out. It’s rewarding to know that I can help in any way.”
Because she sees patients every day, she develops a relationship with them — and often with their families, too. Some patients even ask for her by name when they call to order their meals.
She has a strong relationship with her co-workers as well. Many of them are younger than her, and she tries to be a motherly figure and help them.
“I'm proud of my efforts every day because I try to go out of my way to do what I can to help people and to help others,” she says. “On my team, if I see somebody needs help, I go out and help them. I just try to do the best I can. I just love being here, and in this environment, and the patients, and the people. That's what I really enjoy.”
At UPMC, Life Changing Medicine means being a helping hand.
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