After a few weeks of talking back and forth with my supervisor, Denise Chetta, it finally came time to meet her in person and get to know Touro Infirmary. Ms. Chetta had told me that I should expect to hit the ground running, but I was still unprepared for just how much I would have to pick up. From the cultural differences between the Bay Area and New Orleans to knowing the layout of Touro Infirmary’s many departments to supervising 33 high school volunteers, there was so much to pick up. I may have come in overwhelmed, but Ms. Chetta really showed me the ropes. As I toured around Touro Infirmary, I began to appreciate the legacy of a hospital that began in 1852. Touro is truly intertwined in the fabric of New Orleans, only closing once during the Civil War, and has served the city through World Wars, depression, and even Hurricane Katrina. In fact, one of my co-workers, a nurse named Mary, had been part of the team that stayed in the flooded, dimly-lit shell of a hospital that never closed its doors during the hurricane. Although I had a lot on my plate, the hospitality of the people at Touro really stood out to me and made me feel comfortable. At Touro, everyone greets each other in the hallway. Every introduction was accompanied by a hug and a pleasant conversation. It really made me feel like I was part of the team and I wanted to do my best for the people who were treated there as well as the staff who work tirelessly to provide healthcare to the people of New Orleans.
The picture above is just an example of the hospitality shown to me on my first day of work. When I walked in, I found a banner welcoming me to the hospital, as well as an edition of the Gambit, New Orleans’ weekly publication. Overall, I had a fantastic experience. It was great getting to know people and being so warmly received. I really hope to make a positive difference for all the people in Touro, from patients to staff to their families.