Think back to the last time you had to go to a hospital or had an appointment in a clinic you’re not familiar with.
Were you nervous? Maybe even a little scared?
Sandra Mahoney knows how anxious some people can get.
As the secretary for the Adult Mental Health Program at Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC), she’s seen a whole range of emotions.
“We can sometimes become complacent about how anxious, bewildered or afraid a patient may be. We have to be mindful of that.
“There’s also stigma, unfortunately. In movies and books, mental health has been portrayed as a ‘secret’, ‘alone in the doctor’s office’, or ‘if I’m seen, people will think I’m crazy’. It’s exceptionally unfortunate. That’s why I believe in leading with kindness and compassion, especially for those patients who are coming in for the first time.”
Mahoney has been one of the friendly faces of the program since 1986.
Her experience and knowledge of the services along with her calm, reassuring voice are her secret weapons to help ease some fears.
“It’s great to work with patients and see their positive progressions. It’s important to make clinics run smoothly.”
Not one for the limelight, she says everyone with the Adult Mental Health Program does tremendous work and are dedicated to their patients.
“I think we all have a tendency to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes. We hear such sad, debilitating things that people have gone through. Some are exceptionally heartbreaking.
“I enjoy the people I work with, they’re exceptional professionals and I’ve learned so much from them.”
And others have learned from Mahoney.
Not only with the Adult Mental Health Program, but across KHSC.
She’s been with our organization for almost 43 years – wow, right?
She’s also worked with our environmental services and admitting departments.
No matter what role Mahoney is in, one thing’s for sure, she’ll not only support patients, families and her colleagues, but she’ll also do it with compassion.