In health care, no two days are alike.
That sentiment holds even more true in health care security, especially when you oversee a mountain hospital like UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center in Steamboat Springs.
“Our team is different from other security teams with UCHealth due to the beautiful benefits that come from a mountain town,” said Michael Bostock, security manager at YVMC.
Four-legged benefits, that is. As in bears and moose, along with the occasional deer, elk, mountain lions, porcupines, skunks and raccoons.
Word spreads like wildfire when there’s a critter on campus. Most of the time, they tend to mind their own business, nibbling on a few willows or trying to sniff something within a locked dumpster as they mosey along. But that doesn’t mean they don’t require a watchful eye.
“The primary objective is to monitor the movement and location of the animals and ensure staff and patients are aware of their presence and are alerted before coming too close,” said Bostock. “My team is trained in safely escorting people around the animals or closing areas as needed so the animals can pass through. This requires teamwork, something that is a strong suit of our team at YVMC.”
In addition to wildlife monitoring, Bostock and his team ensure the overall safety and security of the facility, from active patrols and monitoring the entire campus, to responding to emergencies and general requests of staff, patients and visitors.
“A typical day could include door unlocks, verbal or physical disputes across the campus, fire alarms, medical codes, etc.,” he said. “The majority of the time, however, we’re typically around the emergency department. The ER brings its own unique characteristics. It’s everything from upset family members and patients having a bad day, to patients experiencing a mental health crisis and just needing that extra set of ears and understanding to properly cope and move forward.”
Bostock entered health care security after years of structural and wildland firefighting, EMS work, and other law enforcement and security work in areas ranging from hotels to armored trucks.
“I wasn’t sure what to expect on a day-to-day basis, and most days I am still unaware,” he said. “But, health care security has easily become my home as it is a combination of my prior experiences and passions.”