terri berg team header 1
Terri Berg and her coworkers.
Shayma Salih, University of Utah Health
resilience
How Terri is Moving Forward
Patient relations specialist Terri Berg shares her personal story of heartbreaking loss and struggles from last year, and how the support of her team helped her through it.

Terri, how are you really?  

I

want to talk a little bit about some of my stories during COVID. I'm a patient relations specialist, and I work at the information desk. I’m part of the amazing team that screens people when they come into the hospital. Before the pandemic we visited patients in their rooms, provided customer service, and offered all sorts of amenities and care to our guests. We loved connecting with our patients, and they loved it too.  

Our role has changed a lot during COVID. Because of restrictions, we can’t support our patients in the same ways anymore. Instead, we’ve been asked to deal with COVID screening. Now when visitors come into the hospital it’s our job to make them follow the new protocols, which people don’t always like.  

During the height of the pandemic, when patients were moved from the COVID-surge floor to the MICU floor, I was working at the front desk. I would greet family members and walk them to the patient’s room so they could say their final goodbyes. Even though I’d known a few people who had tested positive for the virus, no one close to me had gotten very sick. Spending time with these families made me realize just how much of an impact COVID could have on those we love.  

"Although the work was hard, I was so grateful that I could be there for these families. I’m a compassionate person, and I felt like I was able to put myself in a good place for my patients and their visitors. "

Although the work was hard, I was so grateful that I could be there for these families. I’m a compassionate person, and I felt like I was able to put myself in a good place for my patients and their visitors. I’m thankful that I was able to support the families as their loved ones were wheeled into the room, but it was so sad to witness these painful moments.   

I also want to talk a little bit about my personal life during the pandemic. Throughout my time at home, I was forced to deal with a failing marriage. I also lost a son to suicide recently, and the bereaved mothers’ retreat I was planning to attend got cancelled. I had involved myself in other events focused on suicide prevention, like the Out of the Darkness Walk, to help me deal with the loss of my son, but those were also cancelled. I’ve missed family dinners and sleepovers with my grandkids as well.  

Overall, I want to thank my team leadership and my supervisors. I appreciate all their support through this difficult time. 

Contributor

Terri Berg

Patient Relations Specialist, University of Utah Health

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