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Excellence Can Be Found in Every Act of Kindness

For someone living with cancer, every day can feel like an uphill battle. This is certainly the case for Gail Boyles, of Ashland, who has been fighting her most recent battle with cancer since April.

“Every day, I am just so mentally and physically exhausted. It can be a struggle, but I take what I have day by day and I do the best I can.”

The weekly medical appointments only add to Gail’s fatigue. And if chemotherapy and radiation treatments weren’t enough, Gail now had additional appointments for a vascular issue that developed during her cancer treatments. Gail shares, “My right foot felt like it had been frostbitten—extremely painful. I hadn’t slept the night before because of the extent of the pain I was in. Despite how I felt, I knew though I had to make it to this appointment.”

During one of her visits at TAMC, Gail mentioned that she received exceptional care by Uwe Fischer, MD, PhD and his team, but was disappointed upon learning that she would need to have a CT scan completed before she could go home. “It was going to be a two hour wait before I could have the scan,” recalled Gail. “It was snowing and home was too far away. I knew I would have to wait it out and I was just so tired and in so much pain. All I wanted was to sleep, but I had no place to go.”

Recognizing Gail’s difficult situation, Jordyn Barnes, a medical assistant in TAMC’s surgical office, knew just what to do.  Jordyn quickly scoped out an empty exam room, gathered up a warm blanket, and guided Gail to a cozy napping place.

“I knew what Gail wanted most was a quiet place to rest and perhaps a moment to catch a nap. I wanted to ensure that her experience with TAMC was as comfortable as possible. I am pleased I was able to make that happen for her.” Gail said she rested for maybe five minutes before she drifted off to sleep. “That nap was so needed. Not only did Jordyn provide me with a comfortable place to rest, she checked on me every so often to ensure I was doing okay and she woke me when it was time for my CT scan. Her kindness meant so much to me.”

For Jordyn, she knew it was the right thing to do. “To me, providing good care means doing whatever you can to make your patient’s experience better. If we can do more, just do it. It’s that simple.”

As illustrated in Gail’s story, it doesn’t take a heroic act to make a positive difference in someone’s day. Whether it’s holding the door for someone, saying ‘hello’ with a warm smile, or some other thoughtful act, a simple act of kindness, can brighten any one’s day.

As Greek philosopher and scientist, Aristotle, said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” Delivering excellent service and going the extra mile are part of who we are and reflects our commitment to always putting the patient first. Although we can all sometimes go through the routines of our day, it is important that we are consciously aware of being present for our patients, for our communities, and for each other. We all have a role to play in creating an exceptional patient experience. We all are the essence of EMHS.

We’d like to hear your stories of how you play a positive role in creating an exceptional patient experience. Email us at Your story may just be the next article you see in Pathways!

Jordyn Barnes, medical assistant at TAMC, takes time to check in with Gail during a recent visit.