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Patient experience director Gretchen Ramsey’s role has a new twist: Making sure patients and hospital staff feel well-cared for.

As patient experience director, patients have always been the focus of Gretchen Ramsey’s work. But in the COVID-19 pandemic, Ms. Ramsey’s new role has a bit of twist: making sure patients and hospital staff feel well-cared for. 

Ms. Ramsey spends her days coaching and supporting care teams and those staffing the screening tables at the Camp Hill hospital. She also coordinates the delivery of food donations to the staff.  

“I realize I am member of a strong team who can be counted on 24/7 to uphold Geisinger’s standard of care and patient experience,” she says. “So much of my work is geared towards helping our internal teams understand the perception of our patients. In these times, my role has shifted to help our patients and their loved ones who want to visit understand the reality of the situation.” 

Keeping things positive and encouraging

Each day, Ms. Ramsey sends out a “News around the house” email to nurses and employees who work the hospital’s screening tables, Emergency Department staff, security, and other team members to highlight changes in policies around visitation, screening and masking, food donations, and to share what she’s observed during the day. 

She always makes a point to be positive and encouraging, adding a touch of humor to her notes:

  • “Be well and know our teams are so proud of the work you are putting forward to ensure our community is healthy, strong and resilient! You are appreciated and valued!” 
  • “You are all such incredible human beings. Our bodies and minds are being pushed, pulled and stretched — you are thriving through this and helping me do the same.” 
  • “Wear a mask (non-homemade) at work. I know it isn’t easy — trust me! I still applied lipstick this morning and promptly had it all over my face by mid-morning, just in time for Dr. Ryu’s visit…that was awesome!” 

Navigating a new reality

Ms. Ramsey praises the Emergency Department staff with whom she’s worked for the last nine months.  
“Prior to working with this incredible team, I was a lot more frantic in my professional life. These women and men have taught me how to handle life with more intellect, discernment, grace and compassion. I will never be able to thank them enough for what they have imparted on my life. It has made a tremendous difference in how I am able to navigate this new reality.” 
She adds that, before going into a meeting or a difficult conversation, praying helps her to remain calm.
“I ask God to guide my words and change my heart,” she says. 

The importance of a support system — at work and at home

Knowing that her husband, Chris, is running family life at home is a great comfort to Ms. Ramsey.  
“From setting up homeschooling to creating non-electronic activities, he has been the single thing that has made this shift possible,” she says. “He is also the one who listens to my rambling about the day.” 

That support system extends beyond Ms. Ramsey’s home life. In fact, Geisinger's commitment to keeping our communities healthy and safe keeps her grounded. 

“Geisinger is here, staffed and ready to care for you just like we have always been. Our leaders are strong and intelligent. Our care providers are brave and courageous. The rest of the staff is showing up every day with a smile, ready to help in whatever way they are able. You could not come to safer, more compassionate place.” 
When asked what keeps her going, she adds, “You mean other than coffee, the ‘Blood of Christ’ (wine) and beet juice? My incredible coworkers! They are shining through in their ability to critically think and adapt. They are unwavering in their commitment to this health system, and they inspire me to show up better each day.” 
Gretchen Ramsey

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