John Beeson, M.D., Vice President, Medical Affairs
St. Mary’s Hospital & Medical Center, Grand Junction, Colo.
Mission Centered Care
My first job in health care was as a surgical orderly at St. Francis Health Center in Topeka, Kan. At the time,the mission of the care site read: We will, in the spirit of the Sisters of Charity, reveal God’s healing love by improving the health of the communities we serve, especially those who are poor or vulnerable. Truly, the mission was not a mere abstraction, but was borne out in the dedication of the sisters and hospital staff in caring for everyone who came through their doors, regardless of the ability to pay. This sense of shared mission resonated with me and drew me to a career in health care. I naïvely assumed that those values were broadly shared across the entire health care sector.
Unfortunately, it was not so. As I completed my schooling and training and worked at various other hospitals and facilities, I began to recognize the difference a mission makes. Not all health care organizations are able to prioritize caring above all else. A blessed few are able to treat those who cannot pay.
After many years of working outside of faith-based health care, I returned to the SCLHS at St. Mary’s Hospitalin Grand Junction ten years ago. Even in this turbulent time in health care delivery, I am proud that our mission of caring for those in need is ever-present, grounded in the courage and tenacity of the sisters who cared for our communities before we did.
There is no substitute for the feeling of centeredness that comes from working at an institution with which your values are aligned. Our work can be energizing, validating and comforting when a sense of shared mission is present; on the other hand, a lack of alignment can cause stress, disconnection, and undue fatigue. I now recognize the gift of a shared mission as invaluable for my own wellbeing. As we seek to put our values
increasingly into practice in our daily work, I hope that your spirit is continually renewed, and that you share my gratitude to be part of something much greater than ourselves.