Midnight Rounds: Bridging the Aloneness


There’s an entirely different feel to the afternoon and midnight shifts in a hospital.

During the “normal” working hours of the day shift, much of the activity in a hospital centers on patient diagnosis and therapy (the processes of care).

And doctors are in abundance in the halls and the procedure rooms. 

For the most part, there’s a shift after hours to the on-going maintenance and care of the patients through the hospitalization process: fewer doctors and people, but still a lot of ongoing processes of care.

There is an “aloneness” that one feels in the halls of a hospital, especially after normal visiting hours are over. 

Being removed from the usual day-to-day communication and involvement of management, off-hours staff are curiously more interactive, more social, and much more eager to talk with the management about quality, safety, pay and even rumors.

Some areas of the hospital actually are more bustling in the off hours. 

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Midnight Rounds: We All Play a Role in Patient Care


During my first midnight rounds as CEO, I got to see our “after hours” staff at work. 

In this post, I want to highlight a unique group of our hospital staff: Employees from environmental services – housekeepers and other maintenance and facility personnel.

They are often the unsung heroes of the hospital.

Every hospital requires extraordinary cleanliness and these are the people who make it happen.

Their work is a reflection of the institution and they’re a vital part of the health care team.

So when I spoke with the housekeepers during my midnight rounds, I told them an anecdote that I’m quite found of:

A housekeeper in the Johnson Space Center in the 1960s was once asked by a reporter, “What is your job?” And he responded: “My job is to get a man on the moon.”

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