When the Department of Radiology began distributing comment cards to patients more than a year ago, the department received more than 50 patient comments praising Christine Poe-Vasquez, a radiological technologist, for her compassion, kindness and professionalism.
“She motivates and inspires everyone she comes in contact with,” says Bryan Latham, supervisor of the 2011 Gail L. Warden Employee of the Year.
Poe-Vasquez is responsible for performing diagnostic X-rays and bone density scans, but for her, the job involves much more than performing tests for patients. It’s also about focusing on patients to understand and respond to their needs.
“When I approach patients, I observe their body language and ask how they’re feeling,” she says. “If they’re in a hurry for another appointment, I try to expedite the test. If they’re nervous, I try to slow down and explain every step of the process. I also keep the family members informed and involved.”
Her passion for making patients comfortable has motivated Poe-Vasquez to find ways to improve the patient experience. She persuaded the department to install a courtesy desk in its waiting room after observing patients juggling a courtesy phone mounted on the wall while trying to write notes. “I wanted it to be more comfortable and convenient for them,” she says.
Her dedication to work and patient care extends beyond her job to the overall well-being of her department, colleagues and the Medical Center as a whole. Since 2010, Poe-Vasquez has served as the radiology department’s cultural diversity leader. In this position, she informs all areas of radiology about diversity issues and keeps everyone apprised of upcoming diversity-related events. Poe-Vasquez created bulletin boards for the department so that everyone is aware of diversity initiatives within the Medical Center.
“I agreed to be a cultural diversity leader because it was an opportunity for me to learn about different cultures and to share what I learned with others,” she says. “It’s been a lot of fun. I didn’t know Rush provided diversity-related services like prayer rugs for Muslim patients.”
Poe-Vasquez feels a personal connection with her patients that motivates her to make them at ease and improve their experience. “I love our patients. I love hearing their different stories,” she says. “It keeps me trying to improve what I do every day and find ways to make it better for them.”