‘A ray of sunshine’ for older patients
When Sam Levin was assigned to work on the acute care of elders (ACE) unit at UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital, he expected to stock supplies, help organize work areas and clean.
Interns such as Levin, who are part of the transition program called Project SEARCH, spend a year rotating through hospital areas to gain independence, learn new skills and grow as people.
But after meeting Levin, Brenda Vega, patient service coordinator and Levin’s supervisor, recognized Levin had a skill that would come in handy on ACE.
“Patients on ACE can be lonely and have extra anxiety,” said Vega.
“And I am very talkative,” said Levin, 19.
Vega encouraged him to chat with patients and help keep them company.
Levin took her advice seriously. Very soon, he knew everyone’s name. He knew which sports teams they followed, their family members’ names and what they liked to talk about. Patients began requesting visits with Levin who loved talking about being a triplet, his work with the Global Down Syndrome Foundation and his future plans. He got patients water and anything else they needed.
“They all like me,” said Levin. He bonded with one patient, in particular, even texting Vega on his days off to see how he was doing. This same patient was also fond of turning off his bed alarm and hopping out of bed.
Vega taught Levin how to check and make sure the bed alarm was on and how important it was for the patient’s safety.
“The patient tried to turn off the alarm on several occasions, but Sam was able to redirect him every time,” said Vega.
As Levin has taken ownership of his role, he’s made checking all the bed alarms part of his routine. His commitment and attention to detail kept many more patients from potential injuries.
Sarah Kabat is not surprised Levin made such a fond impression on the unit. He helped deliver packages to her department and often popped into her office for the occasional piece of chocolate.
“Sam is a ray of sunshine,” said Kabat, vice president of patient coordinated services and advancement. “He cares so much about everyone he meets and he always goes the extra mile.”
Levin is working in the emergency department stocking and cleaning. He’ll be there for a few months. After that he’s hoping to leverage his experiences to apply for a job with a local sports team or at Ball Arena. Maybe he can talk the players into long winning streaks.