Rush Guest Relations: More Than Taking Temperatures

Meet Antwan McHenry, a guest relations associate at Rush
Antwan McHenry

When you think of what guest relations encompasses, images of people handing out masks, taking temperatures and issuing visitors badges are probably the first things that come to mind. However, it's much more than that. When visitors come through the doors, we are the first people they interact with, and we set the stage for their visit. Treating everyone with compassion and respect is key to helping them onto the path of healing. 

Often, guest relations associates must be a jack of all trades, as we are supposed to have a lot of answers. We help colleagues who may need assistance with various information regarding visitor policies or information on how to access a location that they have not been to. We must have the ability to be team players, because we are not limited to just working with the people in our department. Juggling personalities is a skill that we exercise daily. Sometimes people just aren't having a good day, and a guest relations associate must have the emotional intelligence to understand that and help navigate through it. 

Winning visitors' trust

Guest relations associates often need to be the eyes and ears of other departments and be detail-oriented. Something as little a restroom needing tidying up for a guest might seem like a minor thing, but to visitors it is major. Often times, it is guest relations associates who report these issues to the proper parties.

When visitors are having challenges that they feel have not been addressed, it's the guest relations associates who they speak with. Doing things that are not always in our job description is a normal part of work life. Sometimes we may need to push a wheelchair, grab something off a printer or be the crutch for someone to lift themselves up because they don't have the strength. 

​A servanthood mindset is needed when working in health care,​ and the guest relations associate plays a key role in serving those who enter the doors of Rush. One of the most important aspects of helping and serving people is winning their trust. The workday of a guest relations associate is filled with challenges and variety, but all give you an opportunity to learn and become a better person.

Discovering Rush

My road to Rush was brought about by a major life change. I had been an office clerk for an elementary school for 14 years. Due to a reorganization, my service there ended, and I was in the job market again. I jokingly tell people that I have given the end of my 20s, all my 30s and the beginning of my 40s to the service of youth. Change is often unwanted and uncomfortable, so starting over was a big challenge. When I received the call for an interview at Rush, I wasn't sure about taking it, but figured I would give it a shot. Growing up, I always said that I wanted to help people, and working at a hospital would fall into that realm.

At its height, the school I worked for had more than 800 students, but that is no comparison to how big the Rush System is. I felt like I went from a tiny fishbowl to a massive aquarium. I did not know what role I could possibly play coming from an elementary school setting or if it would be a good fit, but I knew that it would be a fresh start. In the beginning, I was intimidated by the size of the facility, the new information system I would have to use, and of course learning the ins and outs of the job, but I was assured that I would be able to handle it.

I am grateful to those coworkers who I learned the ropes from. The lessons that they taught me combined with the skill set that I had gave me the foundation that I need to push toward the level of excellence that Rush delivers.

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