I have been part of the Patient and Family Advisory Council from its beginning and am amazed that I have been privileged to do that. I feel like I am accomplishing something and that my opinion is heard and respected. Patients are fieldstones, not bricks—no two are the same—and so hearing different perspectives is important. I feel it is my responsibility to speak up, and while change may not be as fast as I like I do see progress.
I am very proud of the feedback forums where patients and families get a voice by sitting down with the professionals who worked with them to talk about their hospital experience. Those health care workers cannot know how we feel if we do not get a chance to tell them. I also enjoy partnering in the hiring process as an interviewer and have been a strong supporter of the smoking cessation program. On the social side, I really enjoy the annual Strawberry Socials, when it is nice to see staff interacting with each other and enjoying themselves as a team. I always enjoy seeing them working together. It gives me confidence that they are looking after me, the patient, as a team.
I have been a Patient Advisor for over 10 years. I am volunteering because I care. I am a straight shooter—you do not have to sugar coat it with me. I keep it real and can tell staff exactly how I think. Being a Patient Experience Advisor gives me the opportunity to make a difference. If we all sit in the background nothing is going to change. I feel proud of myself for speaking up when I see change happen after sharing my perspective. I am not a professional, but I am treated with respect and my opinion is valuable. I treasure the relationships that I have built as a Patient Experience Advisor.