“There’s this idea that someone has the title, right—Patient Representative. But at St. Clair, every single person in the Hospital is a patient advocate,” Bev Pasko says. “We all have the same goal: to help make sure the patient has the best possible experience they can.”

Her journey at St. Clair began in 1990 as the Patient Representative. For more than three decades, Bev’s work has focused on Patient Relations, with progressive management responsibilities expanding to encompass the Telephone Operators, Guest Services, and operations related to Valet and Concierge Services.

“All of the frontline people are really important,” she begins. “Because they see things that I might not see, and that starts as soon as someone walks in the door as the first point of contact—we’re talking thousands of people each day. Often, they’re able to help take care of issues for patients and visitors immediately.”

Bev came to St. Clair from Presbyterian University Hospital (now UPMC Presbyterian), where she was their first Patient Representative. With a background in nutrition and a Master’s in Counseling, the local resident jumped at the chance to help enrich the advanced care her community received close to home.

“One question I get asked all the time is, ‘What kind of person likes to listen to complaints all day?’ But the thing is, I can spend as much time with the patient as they need to tell me their story, and who else can really do that? I get to step in wherever they are in their journey with no judgment because I’m not involved in their primary medical care, so I can step outside and see their challenges from their perspective.”

In her 32nd year, Bev is still guided by an elevated form of The Golden Rule:

“We say this from orientation onward—treat the patient, whether it’s at registration or at bedside from the nurse or doctor’s perspective—treat them like the person you love the most in the world. Your wife, your children, or even a beloved pet! Whoever it is, treat everyone like that.”

Courtesy. Respect. Kindness. How you say and do things as important as what you actually say and do. “You may not say anything wrong, but do so in a tone that isn’t right for the moment.”

And sometimes, it’s as simple as sitting down on the job.

“I don’t care if it’s only for two minutes—I always step inside the room and ask if I can sit down so we can communicate at eye level. If you are standing over someone that is a position of power.”

Bev credits Leadership’s s caring attitude for her longevity at St. Clair and for the “never-ending support of the staff.”

“If Administration didn’t really get it, then I couldn’t do this job. Most people don’t do it for 30-plus years, but I’m not naive, even I would be burnt out if everyone wasn’t invested the same exact way.”

Bev also lends credence to the fact that no two patients have the same experience or even see things the same way.

“Every discussion is an opportunity to make for a better patient experience at St. Clair. And I love talking to people—trying to help them understand that we really care about what they have to say.”

Patient Experience Week takes place annually, beginning on the final Monday in April. The event, developed by The Beryl Institute, celebrates healthcare staff who impact the everyday patient experience. For more info, please visit their PXWeek page.