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Michigan Medicine

A Minute with Marschall

A Patient Perspective

August 16th, 2021

Compliments and notes of appreciation from patients aren’t hard to come by at Michigan Medicine. Grateful patients often want to share their stories of how doctors saved their lives, how nurses cared for them when they were sick, or how a therapist or social worker took the time to listen to them during moments of struggle. Certainly, COVID-19 brought us so many heroic stories that we couldn’t share them all.  

As a leader within this organization, I hear my share of stories, but there was one letter I received from a patient recently that I wanted to share with everyone. It is particularly meaningful to me because it comes from a long-time patient and community member who speaks not only of having a great patient experience today but of cultural improvements, he has noticed over the past 35 years within all areas of our organization. This makes me particularly proud knowing we are heading in the right direction.

Early in June he experienced what he described as a serious urological problem which required a six-hour stay in the Emergency Department (ED). During that time he said he and his wife encountered the following (in his words):

  • the Emergency valet attendant who was kind, caring and efficient
  • the ER desk check-in process which expedited my prompt placement in a private room
  • the two nurses who were very caring, responsive and efficient
  • the two doctors who demonstrated high levels of knowledge, skill and professionalism

He said whenever he and his wife had an opportunity to engage with any of our employees, he asked them about their experiences and perceptions as employees of the organization.  His words exactly were:

“Without a single exception, all responded with enthusiasm and appreciation for the privilege of working for Michigan Medicine. They all seemed to go the extra mile to try to attend to my needs as fully as possible.”

I know I speak for many in saying that we have tremendous gratitude that these front-line employees, who are the face of Michigan Medicine to our patients, have represented our institution with such excellence, especially when you consider the pressure and intensity within the ED. So many of our other team members, from facilities, to customer service, to ED schedulers, to other support roles, work hard behind the scenes to make this patient experience seamless. A patient may never see or meet these team members, but I believe they are equally as critical to our daily operations and allow us to provide the best patient experience possible.   

The patient went on to say:

“Having lived in Ann Arbor for 35 years, I have memories of many visits in past years and I can assure you, the differences between the culture and tone of the organization and its employees then and now are palpable and inspiring.

“There is no doubt that this change in culture is not an accident. Michigan Medicine is staffed by individuals who value the respect they are shown in many regards and are committed to carrying out the highest quality and standards of care that are Michigan Medicine’s goals.”

I couldn’t agree more. Culture change is no accident. It takes years of dedication and perseverance. I attribute this improved culture towards the patient experience to all of you and our spirit of teamwork. I believe it speaks to our shared mission, vision, and our strong commitment to our core values.

He ended his letter by saying:

“For this, and for the superb high level of service from all employee sectors that we now experience as the norm, we give thanks…to them and to you.”

And I can’t think of a better way to end this blog. Thank you for all you do. Together every one of us, creates the exceptional patient experience we are known for.

For more resources, visit the Patient Experience Website.

Let’s continue this circle of gratitude. Share a thank you in the discussion box below or send someone a message using the online recognition tool.


  • Grateful and Concerned Mom

    I was there with my daughter in the Birth Center. Care was good, staff nice enough, but they were very loud at nurse station and some were not wearing mask. A lot of them were in each other’s face, mask down. The crazy part was when the nice nurse came into our room and when I went to the bathroom, a nurse twice asked me to please wear my mask, they are required. But, they took theirs off. I just want you to know although the care was Wonderful, your standards and integrity has a big question mark. What better way to lead other than by example.

    • I apologize for this confusing and uncomfortable experience while you were in our care. Since the start of the fourth surge, with the Delta variant, we reinstituted masking at all times in both clinical and non-clinical buildings. We will follow up with the Birth Center regarding this issue. Thank you for calling it to my attention.

  • When my father was in his last week of life, having become partially non-verbal, the custodian cleaning his room at U of M was one of the few people that could understand his words. He motioned her over to his bedside and began to speak for her to translate to us. I still cry when I think of the human experience that this exceptional woman chose to bestow upon my dad, and to us as his family.

    • Julie, this is a wonderful and moving story. I so appreciate you sharing this with us. And I appreciate that we have this caring employee who understands how important this moment was for your father, and provided such a memorable patient experience for him and your family.

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