Healthcare tends to attract people with a passion to care for others and a desire to give of themselves. The realm calls for sacrifice, selflessness and a mission-driven sensibility, so it’s not surprising that we count scores of veterans among our family. A recent, unofficial survey showed more than five centuries of service in the United States Armed Forces among our ranks at Swedish.
Earlier this year, Curtis Camp, a quality program manager at Swedish Cherry Hill, organized an effort to recognize the military veterans among the Swedish family. Camp spearheaded the design and distribution of a pin our caregivers can wear on their employee ID badge or uniform. A 28-year veteran of the U.S. Army, Camp said the gesture was a way to help veterans (and their service to our country) feel seen.
“People enter the service for such a wide variety of reasons and come from so many different backgrounds,” says Curtis, who trained in the Army as a Licensed Practical Nurse and has been at Swedish for five years. “But one common bond is the desire to serve others and to serve a mission greater than yourself. And on a practical level, healthcare and the military rely on similar skillsets rooted in adaptability, resilience and the ability to plan.
“In the military and in medicine there’s a shared experience that binds us all together,” says Chris Dale, M.D., chief medical officer of acute care at Swedish and a U.S. Navy veteran. “The culture rubs off you; it’s not about being a star.”
Swedish Seattle Chief Medical Officer Chris Chisholm, M.D., who is a veteran of the U.S. Navy, agrees.
“Doctors and nurses and other healthcare workers don’t go into this work to be called heroes, and veterans don’t join the service for accolades,” he says. “We do it because we believe in the idea of serving an ideal greater than ourselves.”
This Veterans Day and every day, we are grateful to the veterans among us for their service to our country, and especially to our Swedish veterans for their continued dedication to our patients.