March 2015

A key component to Middlesex Hospital’s mission is to provide the best experience possible to our patients. Above and beyond the high quality care and innovative technology the Hospital offers, it is critical that patients feel well cared for and receive the personal attention they deserve while they are in the hospital. The "Mission Moment" column is meant to demonstrate the special ways the staff at Middlesex Hospital often go above and beyond to provide a special experience for our patients, their families and the community.

"They care about you as a person."
"All of my questions were answered."

Again and again, Kathryn Smith used these words and phrases as she recounted her experience facing cancer while undergoing treatment at Middlesex Hospital. Well over a year after her initial diagnosis, the comfort and care she felt was palpable in her choice of words and the warmth with which she spoke.

Having navigated the medical and pharmaceutical worlds in her career as a pharmacologist, Kathryn was confident in her ability to know what questions to ask when facing a medical crisis. But even she has encountered barriers within medical systems, making it difficult to gain access or get questions answered. As a new patient to Middlesex Hospital, Kathryn described her experience as "refreshing."

"It all felt very supportive and patient-centric. The team was not just looking at me as this disease or that disease but as a whole person. Not just recommending surgery but diet and exercise and other types of rehab. I think we’ll see more of that as the medical field evolves but that is relatively new and novel from what I’ve seen, and shows that Middlesex Hospital is on the cutting edge with a whole therapeutic approach to medicine."

Kathryn was referred to Middlesex Hospital’s Surgical Alliance, a team of specialized cancer surgeons, to treat her cancer. Each meeting with her surgeon included a nurse navigator who helps patients with all aspects of their cancer treatment, care and survivorship.

"My surgical team was wonderful and very accessible. The nurse navigator is really fantastic from a patient’s point of view because you feel like you always have someone to call about anything and that you will get your questions answered." Kathryn shared. "I realized that I wasn’t exactly sure when I would know the results of my surgery and whether or not I’d need other types of treatment, so I called the nurse navigator. She got back to me with step-by-step details."

And the caring continued throughout Kathryn’s hospital stay and into recovery: "On the day of my surgery, everyone on the team came in, introduced themselves and told me what their role was. It was clear that we were a team and that they were here to support me. When you’re facing a fairly major surgery, this is very comforting. After surgery, I stayed at Middlesex Hospital in a lovely room. It didn’t look like a hospital room, it looked like a hotel room. The nursing support was great. At one of our check-in calls, the nurse navigator told me about the survivorship program. Even though I felt lucky to have only needed surgery [having a cancer diagnosis] is still an adjustment, and the emotional and mental aftereffects went on after the physical recovery. To have a visit a year later was really a good thing to discuss how I was feeling, what adjustments I needed to make."

Today, Kathryn is cancer free, working from home and enjoying the outdoors where she lives along the Connecticut Shoreline.

The information contained within is not meant to substitute for the advice of your physician.