Welcome to our newest blog series, “Five Questions With…” In this series, we will highlight the unsung heroes that make healthcare work. From guest services to the phlebotomist, the pet therapy volunteer, and the environmental services workers. These individuals enhance our experiences when we are getting care and highlight human connection and support. Thank you for all you do!
Today we feature Linda M. Jefferson, Patient Coordinator at the Penn Medicine Department of Radiation Oncology. Linda has been in this role for eight years.
Tell us more about what you do to support patients.
I schedule the patients to see our palliative radiation oncologists. I obtain their records from outside facilities, their discs with their DICOM and treatment planning records, and I upload their CDs with their radiology studies from outside facilities.
Is there one particular story that sticks out in your head about a patient you can share?
Yes, there was a patient last February whose husband had an appt with one of the palliative physicians. It was an in-person visit, but it was a very bad snow day, he was 78 years old and was not feeling well. She was transferred to me and asked me to ask the doctor if he could do a telemed visit instead, so I asked him and he said yes. She was so appreciative to the point that she wanted to meet me in person, asked for my number, asked for my address and she sent me a mug telling me that in case I did not know how amazing I was, she was letting me know that I was. Her husband passed away last July and she continues to send me messages telling me how grateful she was that she had met me.
What is the most challenging part of your job?
Obtaining records from outside facilities for our patients. The palliative patients are extremely sick and maybe on hospice so it is critical that I obtain these records ASAP.
What is the thing you love the most about your job?
When our patients do well when they receive treatment to the point that it gives them more quality time with their families.
What is a job accomplishment that you are proud of?
The one thing that I am proud of is when things seem difficult or impossible, I seem to manage to do the “impossible” to accomplish things for the patients that seem impossible, like obtaining records from another facility without signed consent. I give them my word that as soon as I get the signed consent, I would fax it to them and that I need the records ASAP since it is a STAT request, and guess what, they send it to me. Sometimes I think that the physicians that I work for think that I am a “magician.”
Do you want to nominate a staff member, volunteer, co-worker, or friend for us to feature in “Five Questions With…” Go to oncolink.org/feedback and let us know!