When patients arrive in the Emergency Department, during their initial RN interview the nurse asks about their military status. Veterans and active military members get a special “Thank You” magnet posted on the white board in their room (with their permission). That gives providers and staff an opportunity to thank individuals for their service. As an additional show of respect, veterans are asked how they’d like to be addressed – by name or rank. Patients are welcome to take the magnet home.
Two veterans are behind the new program: Debra Maestri, Director of Emergency Department and Outpatient Clinics, and Emergency Department Medical Director Jennifer Fischer, MD. They were in Washington, DC for a conference, and while walking together through Arlington Cemetery, “we thought, ‘What more can we do to care for our veterans and active military?’” Dr. Fischer recalls. “We’ve always taken extra time with our veterans. This is just extra recognition.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re voluntary or drafted, an officer or enlisted – once you’re in the military, it changes you forever,” Dr. Fischer says.
“It’s a very special connection, and it lasts your whole life,” Maestri adds.