Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Goodbye to Woodland!
Went by this evening for one last visit to my old place of employment. It was sad to see it almost empty and boxes being packed up everywhere. Made me think of my friends and coworkers and how much I will miss them and this place. Above is a shot of the people I work with or have worked with in the lab in recent past. We got together a week ago to get a group picture since some of us have already left for our next job.
My years at Woodland began in 1981 when I was a lab student doing my 6 month internship. There were no openings at the time I finished so I looked elsewhere and was hired at Huntsville Hospital. After only a couple of weeks, the lab supervisor at Woodland, Suzanne Porter, called me to say that one of techs had decided to leave and to ask if I was interested in a position. Of course I said, yes, as it meant not having to move to Huntsville or keep on with a longer commute. So as the story goes, I've been there since January of 1982 as an employee. The company I worked for has changed several times over the years. At first I worked for what is now Labcorp, but was then called Medlab. The hospital subcontracted the lab services at that time. Medlab was bought by Roche and that is who I was working for when the hospital decided they would make more money by running the lab themselves. I had to either transfer to Birmingham to stay with Roche or begin working for Woodland. Since my girls were small, I opted to remain at the hospital. Woodland has been under the ownership of several corporations. Not sure I could remember the names of all of them.
Emily was born in 1983 and then Holly in 1985. While they were young it was great to have a job this close to home. I worked for 7 years on 3rds while they were growing up to allow me flexibility in my day schedule so I could do what I needed to as far as attending school functions, ballgames, etc. I could stay up and sleep later in the day or get up earlier in the afternoon depending on what was going on. After a while I got physically tired and switched back to day shift for several more years. That was until the layoffs last year and then I went back to 3rds again.
I've put in a lot of years at this hospital. Perhaps one reason I've been here so long has been because I don't like change. My friends and family will verify that statement! But it seemed like about the time I felt like I needed to move on, I would be able to change to a different shift or negative job situations would change for the better. I also saw over time that people would leave Woodland and then come back because they missed it so much. It really was like a family. We may have fought and bickered among ourselves some(but not too much) but if someone else messed with one of our coworkers we would stand behind them like you would a sister or brother. As a matter of fact, if I find out anyone is not treating one of friends right now at their new jobs, all they have to do is call and I'll be there to take up for them!
This camraderie we enjoyed enabled us to work together to do the best job we could in performing our work and taking care of our patients, and we did see them that way, OUR patients. Some of our anguish in the hospital closing has been about who is going to take care of these patients now. There were many who came in as outpatients for labwork that we became close to over time. It was not just a job where these patients were a test or a number or a dollar sign. They were real people with needs and worries who we really cared about. This leads me to my other pictures.
Right before Woodland was sold a little over a year ago, while it was still CHS, there was a lot of money wasted initiating a program to inspire us as workers to provide better service. I mean there was a LOT of money spent on training executives and supervisors, books, CD's, computer programs, etc, etc. by a company that was about to sell us to another company? Go figure!?! It was a waste of time and money also because the employees of Woodland were already providing an excellent level of care. We didn't need pillars erected in the front entrance area to tell us what to do. My apologies if any of you read this that had do some of this stuff. I know a lot of you were just doing your job and had to do what those higher up the corporate ladder told you to do. But if any of you read this that made these decisions, I would like to let you know how it made me feel as an employee. I felt insulted, not inspired, and angry that so much money was spent by a company that would turn around and ask me to take time off without pay to save money near the end of the year so that budgets could be met and bonuses be paid. Then in turn you sell us to a company that then turns around and sells us again to another hospital who closes us down. All this was supposed to be done for the better of the community, the people. Below are some closeups of a couple of the "Pillars of Excellence" that were installed at the entrance to the soon-to-be-closed Woodland Community Hospital. In the end, you have to ask yourself, what was most important, the people or the finance?