Providing human connection of comfort and kindness
The first thing that Dr. Natalie Rochester, a skilled obstetrician-gynecologist in northern Colorado, does before patients before go under anesthesia in the operating room is show kindness.
She stands at a patients’ bedside and takes a few moments to hold their hand. It’s a compassionate, gentle gesture that comforts and reassures patients.
Those who work alongside Rochester in the operating room know that before any procedure, Rochester comforts her patient.
“It’s a very kind and caring gesture,” said Melinda Molina, OR specialty coordinator for perioperative services at UCHealth in northern Colorado. “I am guessing it’s often remembered despite the drugs our patients are on just before induction.”
It’s a personal touch that would make her “mamma proud,” Rochester said.
“If a patient needs a hand, I let them hold it. If they need a hug, I offer a hug. If they need prayer, I pray,” she said. “It’s really about realizing that people need medicine, they need surgery, and they need to be comforted.”
Holding the hand of her patient has been rooted in Rochester’s routine since her days in residency.
“I had a great attending physician who was an amazing surgeon, but not a great person. His patients never knew if he scrubbed in or was there or not,” Rochester said.
A keen observer, Rochester knew that lack of human connection could make patients anxious or feel more vulnerable.
So, as simple as it is, Rochester begins each surgery with a warm gesture, holding a hand.
“It’s about me letting my patients know I’m there.”