STEP students support realities of high-quality patient care
Kathleen Sherlock serves as a familiar face in the Carle Heart & Vascular Institute (HVI) lobby. Dressed in yellow, she stands out not just because of her uniquely colored scrubs.
“She has the biggest caring smile and makes all of our patients feel comfortable,” said HVI Manager Suzanne Zercher, RN. “She is welcoming, approachable and offers that personal touch.”
Sherlock spent her summer at Carle in the Summer Temporary Employment Program (STEP), which introduces students interested in healthcare careers to the processes and people focused on caring for local and regional patients. Students work as medical assistants, patient transporters, administrative assistants, technicians and lab assistants, as well food and environmental services workers.
Sherlock assists with check-ins and directions.
“Kathleen is a liaison for the patient,” Zercher said. “This helps us significantly in making sure we are consistent in our customer service.”
For eight to 12 weeks during the summer, 22 STEP workers gained a new perspective on an industry they might not experience anywhere else.
Sherlock learned HVI patients often face serious health issues. So she comforts them and works to ease their anxiety.
She enjoys meeting new people and meeting their needs.
“I like being able to help people check in or just get them a cup of water or coffee,” she said.
During her senior year at Urbana High School, the future pediatrician participated in Carle’s healthcare pilot program with the school. The Butler University-bound freshman plans to major in biology.
STEP also helps departments deal with summer vacation schedule changes and builds relationships with prospective employees.
In addition to the important patient interaction and support, Sherlock enjoys working and developing professional relationships with HVI professionals.
“They are all very wonderful and kind people,” she said. “They are very open to answering questions if I have them. If I need someone to talk to, I know I can trust them.”
Those working with STEP students set high expectations for good reason.
“Our passion for going above and beyond leads to excellent patient care. Patients perceive we are caring because it’s true,” Zercher said. “How amazing that we are creating this foundation, and how we are contributing to students’ growth.
Visit Carle.org to learn more about opportunities for students.