Published: Jan. 13, 2012
Updated: Jan. 13, 2012
It was a team-based experience that won’t soon be forgotten.
In June 2011, thousands of physicians, staff, and volunteers who work at Duke University Hospital came together for the 2011 All-Staff Event to recommit to caring for patients and their loved ones.
For the second year in a row, the event was held at the Durham Performing Arts Center. Based on employee feedback, the theme continued to spotlight teamwork, with this year’s event specifically focused on creating the unique experiences that differentiate the care delivered at Duke University Hospital from the care received any other place in the world.
Duke’s executive leaders showed comparative data to highlight organizational performance and then took the team beyond the numbers, inviting patients to tell their "Duke Experience" stories through video, live expressions of gratitude, and even through song.
And the stories were powerful.
Patient and lifelong athlete Eric Gabriel bent his prosthetic knee for the first time in order to propose to his partner Melissa onstage in front of his Duke family. Michael Bolognesi, MD, who performed Gabriel’s amputation, brought the engagement ring and a dozen roses to the stage to support his patient at the beginning of another important life journey.
Two-year-old Madison Smith, one-half of energetic identical twins, thanked the team in pediatrics for the specialty care that saved the toddler. “Thank you for my life,” she said, blowing a kiss to the crowd.
Nicole Graziano, who has struggled with cystic fibrosis since childhood and dreamed of a career in musical theater, performed the song “Love Like Breathing” while surrounded by members of Duke University Hospital’s team, who sang backup; hospital president Kevin Sowers, RN, MSN, accompanied them on piano. This was made possible because of the heroism of Shu Lin, MD, PhD, and his team, who performed Graziano’s double-lung transplant, thereby giving back her life and her song.
“Each patient has a unique history -- a life story that blends with ours,” one staff member wrote following the event. Another added, “Great motivation; [makes] me thankful to be part of this team!”