On Valentine’s Day, a lot of people were talking about love at UC Irvine Medical Center, and proving their point with gifts of candy and sweet words. But the heart-felt holiday celebrations were strictly platonic.
Medical students from UC Irvine School of Medicine staged the party, going floor to floor thanking nurses, staff and patients’ family members for their dedication and compassionate care.
The students, members of the School of Medicine’s Gold Humanism Honor Society, were celebrating the Second Annual National Solidarity Day for Compassionate Patient Care.
The students hung “thank you” posters in staff lounges, distributed small boxes of candy and chatted up nurses and auxiliary staff members, thanking them “for all you do each day” in looking after the health, comfort and needs of patients.
In the surgical waiting rooms, where family members pass time awaiting news of loved ones, the medical students brought momentary relief in the form of a warm smile and two boxes of candy—one to keep and one to share. The first Valentine expressed the group’s empathy for the family’s hard times; the second was to be given “to a health care provider that made a difference in your life today.”
National Solidarity Day was inspired by the care given in the wake of last year’s deadly rampage in Tucson, Ariz., which killed six and seriously wounded 13 others, including former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. UC Irvine School of Medicine joined medical schools and institutions across the country in paying tribute to all compassionate care givers, such as Dr. Randall Friese and the University of Arizona Medical Center team in Tucson, which cared for the wounded and dying on Jan. 8, 2011.
The medical students who staged the Valentine’s Day celebration at the medical center are members of the Gold Humanism Honor Society (GHHS), which recognizes individuals who exemplify humanistic patient care. The group, which was formed in 2002, has 95 medical school chapters and more than 13,000 members. At UC Irvine, students are nominated at the end of their third year of medical school; only 10 to 12 members are accepted annually.
In addition to the Valentine’s Day party, the students regularly do charitable work, delivering gifts to elderly shut-ins and staging other events to recognize compassionate care.
“As the honor society adviser and as a practicing physician, I want to personally thank the GHHS members and volunteers for leading this important recognition effort,” said Dr. Laura Mosqueda, chair, Department of Family Medicine.
“In our profession, it is essential to support a caring, compassionate, and collaborative learning environment that translates into a valuable relationship with our patients. I am so proud to be a member of this group.”