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April 21, 2009 8:59 AM   Subscribe

What can we do to thank some extremely helpful Emergency Room staff?

My boyfriend had to go to the ER late last night for a dislocated shoulder. The staff had a ton of patients to deal with and they were all genuinely pleasant and helpful and upbeat (on the graveyard shift on a Monday, no less!). What can we do to properly thank these wonderful doctors and nurses? Is it okay to bring them a few dozen donuts, or something like that?

We caught most of their names and are planning on writing a glowing letter, but who would we address it to? The board of directors, their supervisors, the chief administrator? What kind of information should we include?

And there were lots of staff that we didn't directly interact with that probably deserve thanks as well.

This is Howard Univ. Hospital in DC.
posted by troika to Society & Culture (11 answers total)
We have sent large baskets of food to the nursing station, and it seems very appreciated.
posted by jquinby at 9:01 AM on April 21, 2009

The glowing letter will be much appreciated. Maybe you can call the facility and ask for the ER manager's name? That's a good person to direct it to.

Anything beyond that really isn't necessary, but I can tell you that if you should decide to bring some food - every scrap will be gleefully (and gratefully) consumed.
posted by arachnid at 9:09 AM on April 21, 2009

I once took a fruit basket to an ER that took care of me. They loved it. I even got a couple of hugs. Agree with arachnid about finding out the Administrator's name. That is the person who can influence performance reviews.
posted by netbros at 9:12 AM on April 21, 2009

I would personally address it to the Board of Directors or CEO, send it c/o the ER Administrator, and cc each person you name in the letter. That way it gets visibility all the way up the chain, and each person has a copy they can include in their performance reviews.
posted by TheNewWazoo at 9:41 AM on April 21, 2009 [2 favorites]

I would send a letter to the ER Manager, Board of Directors and each individual you have a name for (for future recognition) as well as bring in donuts/fruit/something yummy to eat. I am the daughter of ER staff and either would have been greatly appreciated--but both really drive the point home.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 10:30 AM on April 21, 2009

I baked cookies and dropped them off at the desk, at the same time as when I was last there (3:00 am.) Most of the same people were around....
posted by fluffycreature at 11:45 AM on April 21, 2009

Nthing sending the letter to whatever "higher-ups" you can find on the hospital's web site, from the CEO to the head of the ER to the director of nurses. Mention the date and time you and your boyfriend were in the ER so that all the appropriate staff that were on-duty at the time will get their due kudos (in case you don't have the names of all the doctors/nurses, etc.) I once had a medical emergency while at work, and the EMS was called and they took me to Detroit Receiving Hospital. Quite often, emergency medical response time in Detroit leaves a lot to be desired, but in this particular case the EMS unit not only arrived in a timely fashion, one of the techs was well-versed with problems relating to Lupus (his wife has it) and after hearing my symptoms and medical history, gave a lot of very helpful info to the admitting people at the hospital (I heard him giving them detailed info as I lay on the gurney), and he suggested to them that it may be a stroke. Because of my youngish age at the time, it's doubtful they would've immediately considered the possibility of a stroke without his informed opinion, but thanks to him (because I was having trouble speaking by that time) they ordered a battery of specific tests, including the one that found a small blood clot in my brain.

I wrote a heartfelt and glowing letter of gratitude to the EMT and sent a similar one to his supervisor (the tech's name and badge number was listed on my paperwork). The EMT actually phone me about a month later to see how I was doing, and then added very shyly at the end of our conversation, "Um, if you ever want to send another letter to my boss, please feel free. I mean, if you remember any other good things you want to tell him about..." Obviously my letter had made enough of an impact that he phoned me to thank me, in his own way.
posted by Oriole Adams at 11:52 AM on April 21, 2009

At many hospitals thank you letters have a direct impact on annual merit raises. All healthcare staff love snacks of any kind brought by the unit as well. It's perfectly ok to drop off donuts or any food. Letters to department heads copied to staff are great for merit reviews.
posted by dog food sugar at 11:59 AM on April 21, 2009

When I was basically living in a hospital for 6 months with my infant daughter, many times we brought muffins, or snacks, or a tray of sandwiches in for the staff. The night staff at two different hospitals told us that they don't get this often at night, which is a bummer because the cafeteria is usually closed, and they really appreciate it.

So, I think you should do both - taking the time to write a letter AND dropping off some food. Night staff at hospitals have struck me as some of the hardest-working, kindest, selfless but also under-appreciated people.
posted by bunnycup at 12:03 PM on April 21, 2009

I worked in an ER for a couple of years. Food is always, always appreciated.
posted by Ugh at 1:04 PM on April 21, 2009

In addition to a letter to higher-ups, thank-you note(s) to the actual staff are nice as well.

And food.
posted by radioamy at 3:28 PM on April 21, 2009

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