Welcome to our newest blog series, “Five Questions With…” In this series, we will highlight the unsung heroes that make healthcare work. From guest services to the phlebotomist, the pet therapy volunteer, and the environmental services workers. These individuals enhance our experiences when we are getting care and highlight human connection and support. Thank you for all you do!
This week we feature Francisco Castro. Franciso works in Guest Services at the Ann B. Barshinger Cancer Institute Lancaster General Hospital.
How long have you been in this position?
This July will be 9 years. I have been here since day one. (ABBCI opened in July of 2013).
Tell us more about what you do to support patients.
I assist them by getting them a wheelchair if they need it, by giving them a ride to their cars, or by transporting patients that have appointments in another building. If I take them to another building, I will also pick them up when they are finished with that appointment. I escort patients to where they need to be in the building, I don’t always just point them in the right direction, but rather say, “follow me” and I show them the way.
Is there one story that sticks out in your head about a patient you can share?
Not one in particular – it just feels good when patients come every day and I get to know them and they get to know me. One patient nominated me to the American Cancer Society, and I was taken aback by that because all I did was talk to her, kid with her, and joke with her. I was honored to receive that award.
What is the most challenging part of your job?
I know people come here and they are scared. The “C” word, cancer. I want to make the patients feel at home and let them know there is nothing to be scared about and that I am here with you. I want to tell them that I am here every day, if you need anything…give me a call. I do see that after some time patients become more at ease once I talk to them. I tell them to stay positive and hope for the best.
If someone was applying for a similar position, what would you tell them about the work?
You have to be flexible and open-minded. It is different from some jobs. Here everyone is different. You are going to meet different people: some are grumpy, some are open, and some are quiet. It’s a challenge to adapt to each patient and sometimes I succeed and sometimes I fail. You just have to make them feel welcome and at home. When patients are done, I tell them…I will see you at the mall.
What is a job accomplishment that you are proud of?
I am a three-time healthcare hero recipient. When a patient is done with their treatment, they fill out a survey and some patients choose to make donations to the LGH Foundation in honor of someone. I have had this honor three times. Considering what all the patients have gone through to think that they took the time to nominate me, warms my heart.
Do you want to nominate a staff member, volunteer, co-worker, or friend for us to feature in “Five Questions With…” Go to oncolink.org/feedback and let us know!