My first day at Kaiser Permanente was my 22nd birthday. One of the Emergency Department doctors I worked with told me, ‘As long as you do right by the patient, you can’t do wrong by the company.’ Over the years, I’ve had a lot of opportunity to reflect on what ‘doing right’ means to me. I think it all comes down to choices. When I was 16, my parents died, and I watched how differently my older brothers and I handled their deaths. I’ve come to realize, even if we weren’t doing it consciously, we were making choices with our grief. So now I try to make my choices conscious ones. Working in the Emergency Department, I frequently see people on the worst days of their lives. They’re dealing with pain, fear and grief. I can relate to that, so the first choice I make every day is my attitude. I choose to have a positive outlook. I choose to take that extra step. To be patient and empathize with people. That’s how I put my heart into my work, with my choices.
Bianca Ruff, Emergency Department clerk, SEIU-UHW (Northern California)