How do you say “We care?” in Italian?
Teresa Small is a Dietetic Supervisor at St. Catherine of Siena Hospital in Smithtown. Part of the Food & Nutritional Services Department, Teresa supervises the inbound call center, which fields requests for the meals served to patients and their families at St. Catherine.
Teresa loves her work. “You have to remember that no one wants to spend too much time in the hospital,” she says. “So the thing patients really look forward to each day are the meals. Our call center works to make sure we get their orders just right and that they are pleased with the interaction.”
“Terri,” as her friends colleagues call her, has been part of St. Catherine of Siena for three decades. “My uncle was a doctor here, my dad was a cook here for many years, it’s where I met my husband, and it’s where I delivered my babies. St. Catherine is truly my home, so I always treat the patients like our guests.”
Do patients ever have unusual food requests?
“Oh sure, we’re used to that. But we always aim to please,” says Terri. “If someone asks for something that’s not on the menu, we’ll figure a way to improvise. I’m Italian and food is so central to our culture. We associate it with enjoying life, so I’m always up for going off-script to make the patient happy.”
Terri gives the kitchen particularly high marks with the paninis and pasta Bolognese. She’s also fully able to converse to patients from the “old country” in her ancestral language.
Since being promoted to Supervisor last summer, Terri now spends a good amount of her time training new staff, showing them the ways in which all Catholic Health employees can live our I-CARE values.
“Once you internalize our way of engaging, you see how easy it is to provide a positive patient experience. It also helps to produce a more congenial work atmosphere. It’s just the Catholic Health way.”
So just how do you say “We care” in Italian? “Ci preoccupiamo,” says Terri with a warm glint in her eye. “And we do!”
That translates into a wonderful patient experience.