Armed with roses in a rainbow of colors, a large box of handmade cards and a stack of yellow buttons and stickers, nearly a dozen School of Medicine students took time on Friday, Feb. 13, to spread some early Valentine’s cheer to patients at Truman Medical Center and promote compassionate care.
The students are members of the School of Medicine chapter of the Gold Humanism Honor Society. This was the third year in a row members of the organization have delivered roses and Valentines to patients. This year, they also handed out yellow stickers and buttons to hospital staff that proclaimed “Solidarity for Compassionate Patient Care.”
“It feels good to do something like this,” said Maria Uloko, one of the Year 6 students. “It’s kind of lonely being in the hospital. So on a holiday like Valentine’s Day, it’s fun to do this for the patients.”
Before heading to the hospital to visit the patients, Carol Stanford, M.D., the chapter’s faculty sponsor, also handed out a stack of 11-by-17 sheets of paper and markers with instructions to ask the patients a few questions about themselves. The students were to write down their responses then post the sheets somewhere nearby were hospital staff could read them and know a little more about their patients.
“Our goal is to find out more about our patients,” Stanford said.
With that, the students paired off in teams of two and began delivering the flowers and cards.
The broad smile on the face of Valerie Nevels, one of the patients, showed how much patients at Truman appreciated the gesture. “This really brightens my day,” she said.
Nevels said she is usually the one visiting someone else at the hospital and having the students stop by with their special gifts and kind words helped her feel as if she hadn’t been forgotten. Then she looked at the card she had just received and read the message: “Smile!”
“They must have known that I love to smile,” Nevels said. “This is very much appreciated. When I get home, this rose will be frozen and the card is going to be framed.”