RRMC operators know how to connect

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 20, 2011

By Kim Robinson
For the Salisbury Post
ěÖDonít know why youî said ěgoodbye, I say hello Ö hello, hello …î
I struggled over whether to use the above Beatles tune to begin my article, or the ever-popular phrase, ěTheyíre baaaack!!!î Either way, there are a lot of happy people at Rowan Regional Medical Center because our own switchboard operators are back in business!
Last week was a trial run of combining our local hospital switchboard with the one of a larger parent hospital. As with most system mergers, it meant job changes. Even though everyone knew of the merger of systems and why it was taking place, it didnít make saying ěgoodbyeî or moving employees any easier. Change is part of growth and growth fosters stability. Itís just a fact. I truly believe change is a God thing, no matter how it presents itself.
With that said, our ladies of the switchboard are an icon. On a personal level, they have answered my calls from home when my children were little and needed stitches or had croup; whenever I was at the hospital working and needed anybody ěstatî; whenever my pager failed; when I wasnít sure where I was going (when the new tower was built); and whenever I needed to know who was on-call, like when Mom fell into her green garbage can. (Yes, she really did, and we were glad it was so clean.) Whatever the task, the switchboard was and still is always there! It never has mattered what the request is; they help in any way they can. Hospital emergencies and patients are always taken care of first, of course. But wow, they were, and still are, creative.
Once, when our kids were small, a group of employees and families went to the beach together. Going out to dinner was a disaster. One would think with all those degrees that one of us would have gotten the othersí cell phone numbers, so we could stay together in traffic on the way to the restaurant (this was 10 years ago, when cells were sort of an after-thought, for some). We got separated on U.S. 17, with no way to find each other. We had hungry, sun-drenched babies in the car, it was Saturday night, and it was biker weekend. It was an emergency, of sorts. So, who did we call? Margaret.
From Salisbury to Myrtle Beach, Margaret Faw paged one of the dads in the other cars. We soon caught up with each other, and the rest is history!
You get the idea here Ö above and beyond. There is nothing they wouldnít do for you, priorities considered. They can connect you to the medical world (whereever it may be) and always have quickly, and happily.
I feel as though Margaret and Judy Bernhardt raised me, literally, from the hospital basement where I messengered and drove a delivery truck, through the first part of nursing school, to the floors where I care for patients now. Then and now, there are days that their steady, ěSouthern belleî voices elicit a sigh of relief. (Only Margaret and Judy can say my first and last name with six syllables)! Itís difficult to describe their voice and diction, heard throughout the hospital; but they are precious ladies ó gems to behold. The whole switchboard group works as a team to create a good first impressions and deliver excellent care to every person, in every dimension, every time.
Ladies, youíve out-done yourselves. I thank you all, for every task, serious and funny, and now we will not miss you, and we hope you are here to stay! ěHela, heba, helloa!!!î

Kim Robinson lives in Salisbury and is a nurse at RRMC.