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Baptist West turns 1
Despite turmoil in administrator ranks, hospital looks to future

A sense of accomplishment filled the air as Baptist Hospital West and Baptist Hospital for Women celebrated their one-year anniversary Thursday, July 1.

Employees served cake and punch to fellow staff and well-wishers in the still-pristine cafeteria.

“We’ve grown so much,” said Martha Chill, administrator for Baptist Hospital for Women and newly appointed administrator next door at Baptist Hospital West. She was hired and worked one year before the hospitals’ doors opened. “We saw 24 patients our first day. Now we see several hundred daily.”

Part of Chill’s job has been to staff the hospital according to its growth. “In the beginning, we tried to determine how busy we’d be. We’ve adjusted the staff as we’ve grown,” she said.

Chill was able to first hire from a pool of applicants from Baptist Hospital of East Tennessee, located downtown. “Everyone was given an opportunity to apply,” she said. About 20 percent of Chill’s staff transferred from the downtown campus.

Hospital Chaplain Brad Hood was one of them. “They wanted someone here who knew the system,” he said. Hood has been supportive as his fellow employees deal with the hospitals’ growing pains. “We’ve had lots of successes and challenges, many we never saw coming. It was a wild ride of the unexpected.”

Hood credits the staff. “We’ve developed a good group here. The last six months we’ve come together as a family of employees, even families have painful days.” When that happens, Hood said, “I deal with the staff as their pastor and friend. Hospitals are a buzz of crisis. We do our best to provide support.”

Chill said that attitude is expected from all employees. “All employees know we are here to make patients better. Our patients feel like they get a very special kind of care,” she said.

That includes high-tech medical technology, including voice activated surgery suites and digital imaging. Doctors can pull up x-rays on monitors during a surgery or see test results on their home computers.

“It makes care more efficient and easily accessible to doctors,” Chill said. Also efficient is the emergency room, Chill said. “We get patients in and out quickly.”

She notes touches such as a garden accessible to patients, a chapel with a wall-sized stained glass window and live piano music as other subtle ways Baptist cares for patients.

Future additions will depend on patients’ needs, Chill said, but the hospitals have a lot of room for growth.

Barb Wright, volunteer and guest services manager, said she is pleased with how her department has grown but said it was hard work getting started. She was involved in everything from getting furniture in place to putting together her department and remembers thinking, “Is anyone gonna come?” The answer to that question, Wright said, has been “a resounding yes!”

When the hospital opened, Wright said she worked with 30 volunteers. “Now we have 70 adult volunteers and 22 junior volunteers (ages 14-18).” Often, she said, younger volunteers have aspirations to work in health care and have a chance to help throughout the hospital.

Farragut resident Pat Rennie has been a volunteer since the hospital opened. Assisting in the surgery waiting room, she said, “I take my job seriously.”

Ann Delcuze supplied the entertainment for the birthday gathering. It was an extension of her volunteer work. Delcuze plays the piano in the cafeteria every other Wednesday. Patients as well as staff enjoy her music. Farragut High School junior Hunter Caudle has worked for Baptist’s dining services for eight months. Caudle likes his job. “People are nice,” he said.

Darci Hodge has been a nurse for more than 30 years. Her role at Baptist is in infection control and employee health. Hodge said one reason she loves her job is because she has been able to move around in her field. “Here, they are good about letting you expand and grow. They encourage people to move upward,” she said.

Chill is pleased how the two new hospitals have been welcomed by the community. “We delivered four hundred babies our first year,” she said. But she reminds the community that the campuses take all patients. This is not just a hospital for women,” she said.

Baptist Hospital West is a full-service 75-bed hospital that includes the Baptist Heart Institute.

Baptist Hospital for Women is equipped with ten labor, delivery, recovery and postpartum suites and houses the Baptist Regional Cancer Centers.

In addition to the two West Knoxville campuses, the Baptist Health System of East Tennessee includes Baptist Hospital of East Tennessee and Baptist Hospital of Cocke County. Specialized services include: Baptist Senior Health Care Centers, Baptist HomeCare and Hospice, Baptist Home Medical Equipment, Baptist Therapy Center and Baptist Outpatient Radiation Centers.


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