What’s your ‘why’?

Monthly updates from the Office of the Patient Experience

Excellence Every Time participants reflect on their ‘why’: Why they work in health care

Why do you work in health care instead of another field? What motivates you to come into work every day?

At the most recent Excellence Every Time event that focuses on the importance of safety, quality, and the patient connection, nearly 1,000 participants filled out a card explaining their “why”—why they choose to work in health care, whether it’s in patient care, support services, education, or research.

These are now on display in the Colloton Pavilion Atrium (Elevator F, Level 1). Come check them out for more inspiring words!

Keep your eyes out in Noon News for future dates of Excellence Every Time. Participants said of the event:

  • “I enjoyed hearing the first-hand accounts from patients in person. I think we can learn a lot from their experiences, and I thought it was very interesting to include a patient’s family that didn’t have the most positive outcome. I feel this will help us to work on being all around better to our future patients, and communication is always something we can improve on.”
  • “Thought that this event/training was great! It was interactive, interesting, and heartwarming. All of the people involved staff or patients, were amazing. This training made me even more proud to say I work at UIHC.”
  • “I think this session was good. I like that you brought in real patients and they were able to described their experience with the UIHC. It was nice to hear from both the good and bad experiences. This was a great way for all of us to learn from past mistakes.”
  • “I work mainly off stage so keeping a high level of on stage awareness to me is very important. The event helped remind me of that.”

Patient education specialists improve understanding of health information

October is the 20th anniversary of Health Literacy Month! Janelle Hansen and E. Adriana McMullan are the two patient education specialists for UI Health Care. It is important that education given to patients is readable and understandable. UI Health Care’s policy is that all patient education read at a 6th grade level.

Hansen and McMullan can help staff find patient education, such as handouts or videos, from approved vendors as well as create or revise current education. They can assist with creating any staff, graduate, or IRB project materials. The patient education specialists have been trained on copyright and ADA accessibility, with these principles incorporated into their process. They have also completed UI LGBTQ Safe Zones training.

In 2018, the patient education specialists created 370 new patient education documents for a total of 1,621 pages.

Requests can be submitted on the Patient Education SharePoint site.

Recent patient comments about explanations by staff


  • “Amazing job putting in the IV, very thorough detailed explanation—knew exactly what to expect, relieved my worries.”
  • “Radiology technicians are very sensitive to patients’ anxieties and need for privacy and respect of one’s body during mammograms. Good explanations are given even though I am a healthcare professional.”
  • “Wonderful doctor and staff received my results of biopsy a couple days later, and doctor called me herself to explain results in a way I understood.”
  • “The physician and their PA’s students, etc., were very helpful and spent time as needed to answer questions and give explanations.”
  • Most contact & explanations were made in presence of my mother.  She felt very informed – etc., ICU.
  • “Meds came in a timely fashion with thorough explanations.”
  • “All physicians on transplant team wonderful to work with. Easy to talk with. Great explanations on where we are going and why.”
  • “The nurse was very kind and clear about her explanation. Whenever I could not understand some terms, she explained very kindly.”
  • “The nurse who started my daughter’s IV was amazing. The team kept her so occupied she didn’t feel a thing. The explanation was kid friendly and thorough.”
  • “I had three appts. in one day and everyone was highly professional, thorough in explanations. Should be very proud of your staff.”

 Missed the mark

  • “ER should be much more responsive to their patients & not just let them lie there without any explanation of why or how long they will be waiting.”
  • “The nurse that was discharging me, gave me my release papers and told me to read them. No explanation of anything.”
  • “Did not get explanations prior to treatments, or at least not adequate ones. No one explained results of tests/treatments to me.”
  • “I waited for 30 minutes in the exam room with no explanation for the delay.”
  • “The lack of information was the issue. No explanations other than making me fearful about dire complications.”
  • “I’m disappointed in the communication process. I asked several times for a detailed explanation of the surgical procedure before hand. I got nothing.”
  • “Post procedure, no results have been posted on my chart. I was told to pick up prescriptions at my pharmacy. There were 3 new meds, no explanation about the meds. or the reason they were prescribed.”
  • “Only issue was lack of explanation regarding parking ahead of time.”
  • “Waiting room was very hot; no one explained how I was going to be processed; I was just told to go here, then go back there, with no idea of what the next step was going to be.”