A defining characteristic of our health system is our Spirit of Healing, and as a team, guest services plays a key role in our mission and ministry.
Eugenia Tate, a guest services concierge for Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center, embodies that spirit, sharing her gifts and talents for all those who trust us for their care. She provides a welcoming environment with her professional and friendly demeanor to all who enter the hospital through the main entrance.
Having been a greeter at her church for many years, Eugenia’s approach to hospitality serves her well in her current role, which she began in March 2020. She’s continued with our ministry throughout the ups—and downs—of the COVID-19 pandemic, the masking requirements and the fear that gripped our communities.
Much More Than Answering Questions
Although many of the questions she hears each day are directional—“Where is Subway?” or “How can I find the ER?”—Eugenia also finds herself in a position to positively impact patients’ families through listening. She says those guests share stories with her every day.
“We set the stage for the guests when they come in,” she says. “We can make them feel worse than what they’re feeling, or we can make them feel better.” Eugenia chooses better.
Eugenia’s approach to listening is masterful.
“I listen and I take it in, and I reformulate it as how I’m going to help that situation,” she says. While listening, she is deciding whether to offer to pray with them or give a word of encouragement.
“It’s different for each guest who comes in how I will respond. As they’re talking, I’m thinking of the response that will hopefully make their day and change their situation.”
Reassure and Soothe
When a guest has a problem or complaint, Eugenia is especially skilled at diffusing tough situations with listening. “Not hearing, but listening,” she says. “If you can just let them know you’re tuned in to what they’re saying and are listening to their complaints, often once it’s off their chest they feel better.”
A guest who feels better can help the patient they’re visiting feel better as well. “A positive attitude can rub off,” Eugenia says. She keeps in mind that most people walking through the doors of a hospital might feel uncomfortable or uneasy being there. Her goal is to help guests get through the day with a kind word and a smile.
Smiling in Service
Even through a mask, Eugenia’s smile shines through her eyes, and her careful listening can change someone’s whole day. “My motivation is to make them laugh, smile and feel better, confident in the God that we serve and know that he’s in charge of everything,” she says.
Her colleagues know Eugenia can handle tears and bigger emotions when they arise from guests. “I’ve taken loved ones to rooms, stood with them, prayed with them,” she says. “I even sang one time to make them feel better.”
Eugenia sat with a mom who had lost her child, singing the praise song “You Are My Strength.” Later, that patient’s surviving son came and told Eugenia how much that was appreciated and how the song helped ease his mother’s pain.
Although working in guest services can be stressful, as it can be tempting to take on the troubles and worries of those she welcomes and serves, Eugenia says it’s a very fulfilling job through which she’s able to be an instrument of God. Every morning she prays, “God help me to help someone and help me to be able to handle the impact.”
Eugenia is looking toward a future in healthcare in additional ways, as she’s started nursing school at Baton Rouge Community College. We are grateful for her and the many others across our health system who lend this listening ear, providing welcome and hospitality to those who enter our hospitals, clinics and other facilities.
Interested in joining the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System team? Learn more here.