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With theme of flight, BA Day takes off, with laughter

More than 300 business associates, unit clerks, information associates and clerical associates work on the campuses of Yale-New Haven Hospital and many were able to attend the recent Business Associates Day celebration at 55 Park Street.

This year's theme — "taking flight together" — reflected the integration of Yale- New Haven and the former Hospital of Saint Raphael, as well as the nature of the job the business associates perform on busy patient care units. At the celebration, more than one speaker referred to BAs as the hospital's "air traffic controllers" because their central responsibility assures that units run smoothly while avoiding the turbulence of problems.

"This is our first BA celebration since becoming an integrated institution," Renee Vitello, BA, Orthopedics Unit, and member of the BA Steering Committee, told guests in her welcoming remarks. "We are ready to take flight together and the sky's the limit. Now sit back and enjoy the flight!"

And what a flight it was! The BA Steering Committee, which organized the week-long celebration, had prepared a skit which was a simulation of life as a BA on a patient care unit. Kelly Bell and Jan Murphy, both BAs on General Surgery/ Trauma Unit, and Tywana Mitchell, BA, Transplant Unit, answered phones, accepted packages, and showed visitors their way to patient rooms as bells, phones and beepers went off repeatedly. Jomel Collins, BA, Renal/General Surgery Unit, played a visitor who kept asking where to find a patient's room.

With interruptions and noise going on around them, the trio playfully donned ear phones, ear plugs and an eye pad to remind the audience that quiet is the order of the day — and night — for patients' comfort. All of this went on while a nurse — played by Darcy Hennessey, RN, assistant patient service manager, General Surgery/ Trauma Unit — stacked packages on their desk until the audience could no longer see the BAs.

Ena Williams, RN, vice president, Patient Services, associate chief nursing officer, Saint Raphael Campus, took the podium after the skit which had drawn laughter and applause.

"We are all on a mission to provide compassionate care and create a healing environment," said Williams. "Each of us has to find our place on the flight plan because it takes all of us to execute a successful flight plan for our patients. The purpose of why we are here is to make a difference in every patient's life." Sharlene Perry, a unit clerk on the Cardiothoracic Intensive Care Unit on the SRC and member of its BA Steering Committee, told her friends she was looking forward to going to the BA Day celebration because 15 years ago, when her nephew had been a patient at YNHH, the BA on his unit had made an indelible impression on her.

"I wondered whether the BA was still at Yale-New Haven — and she is and she came to the party!" said Perry, who introduced herself to the BA. "I never forgot her because she showed such compassion to my family when our nephew was hospitalized. I told her that I learned from her how important it is to treat families with respect and courtesy when they are in the hospital. I never forgot her and now we're on the same flight, flying together!"

Yale-New Haven Hospital news release

Yale-New Haven Hospital is a nationally recognized, 1,541-bed, not-for-profit hospital serving as the primary teaching hospital for the Yale School of Medicine. Yale-New Haven was founded as the fourth voluntary hospital in the U.S. in 1826. Today, the hospital's two New Haven-based inpatient campuses include Yale-New Haven Children's Hospital, Yale-New Haven Psychiatric Hospital and Smilow Cancer Hospital. YNHH has a combined medical staff of about 4,500 university and community physicians practicing in more than 100 specialties. YNHH's York Street campus and associated ambulatory sites are Magnet-designated by the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

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