Section: Saint Barnabas Medical Center News

Saint Barnabas Medical Center Employees Honored for Humanism in Healthcare


Pictured, from left, at the 2017 Humanism in Healthcare Award Ceremony from Saint Barnabas Medical Center are Stephen P. Zieniewicz, FACHE, President and CEO; honorees Caitlin Ridge, BA, CCLS, Child Life Therapist, and Rosann Kravetz-Toma, PT, DPT, Physical Therapist; and Céu Cirne-Neves, CPHQ, FACHE, Vice President.

Two Saint Barnabas Medical Center (SBMC) employees received the prestigious 2017 Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey (HCFNJ) Lester Z. Lieberman Humanism in Healthcare Award on July 17. The recipients were selected for their dedication to living SBMC’s mission -- to provide compassionate care, healthcare excellence and superior service to our patients and their family - so much so that they were mentioned in letters from patients and family members.

Rosann Kravetz-Toma, PT, DPT
Physical Therapist, Saint Barnabas Medical Center

Nominated by Jill Wing, PT, DPT, Physical Therapy Supervisor

There can be no doubt that Rosann Kravetz-Toma exemplifies the compassion, respect, empathy and sensitivity that is reflective of the Lester Z. Lieberman Humanism in Healthcare Award.

An exceptional clinician, colleague and caregiver, Rosann has successfully transitioned from an inpatient to an outpatient physical therapist providing treatment to patients with vestibular dysfunction, balance disorders and concussions. With these diagnoses, her patients often experience frustration, misunderstanding and/or psychosocial impacts due to recurring symptoms and the significant functional impact on their lives. And, as the physical therapy treatment often reproduces a patient’s symptoms, it can be a challenge for them to understand, tolerate and trust the process. In spite of this, Rosann’s patients continue their treatment with excellent compliance, largely because she demonstrates a caring approach, treating each patient with true interest and dedication to their well-being at every visit.

One of Rosann’s patients praised her ability to listen and understand how he sees the world with a vestibular handicap to tailor a treatment plan for his issues. “Rosann's physical therapy sessions are not just a checklist of prescribed standard therapeutic exercises. I've been through those, mostly with marginal results. Rosann's focus is on how the symptoms affect the person. She expands, stretches, and manipulates the sessions through her ingenuity, creativeness, insight, and a heaping helping of upbeat attitude and good humor to conform to a patient’s specific needs.” He credits her approach with improving his vestibular weaknesses and ability to remain independent and active.

Rosann is endlessly patient and strives to work at the pace of her patient's tolerance; never rushing, but always providing support. She is empathetic to their needs and works tirelessly for their comfort. Sensitive to the specific needs of each individual during and after their sessions, she adjusts her treatments accordingly. She regularly follows-up by phone with her patients and their caregivers as a testament to how invested she is in their welfare. She quickly and easily develops a rapport with all her patients, no matter how difficult their case can be. While Rosann works tirelessly to motivate her patients, the real reason they are so compliant is because she is genuinely respectful of their needs and concerns and listens to them with true empathy.

As an established expert, Rosann is equally committed to her colleagues and the community. She is regularly asked to consult with inpatient therapists on complex patients and is always available for students and staff when they request observation time, co-treatments or have clinical questions. Rosann also makes extraordinary efforts to educate our community with the same compassion and sensitivity she dedicates to her individual patients. She participates in community educational sessions at regular intervals and acts as the hospital's representative for the entire balance program.

As you can see, Rosann is the definition of compassionate care, healthcare excellence and superior service.

Caitlin Ridge, BA, CCLS
Certified Child Life Therapist, Saint Barnabas Medical Center

Nominated by Claudia M. Zaleski, Operations Supervisor

On a daily basis, Caitlin Ridge’s colleagues, her patients and their family members witness her dedication to Saint Barnabas Medical Center’s mission of providing compassionate care, healthcare excellence and superior service.

Since joining the Emergency Department staff four years ago in the newly created role of Certified Child Life Therapist, Caitlin has become an integral part of the team. She has imparted staff with her practices and knowledge in providing patient centered care to our pediatric emergency department patients. Her colleagues would not think of doing an invasive or complex procedure without her, knowing her psychosocial interventions make everything better.

Caitlin shows respect by listening to the needs of our patients and concerns of their parents. She gains their trust by explaining, often though medical play, how a hospital visit or a medical procedure does not have to be scary. She visits the inpatient pediatric units to check on the patients that have come through the Emergency Department to ensure they are doing well and adapting to the hospital setting.

Caitlin’s loving care extends beyond the Emergency Department. As a founding member of Saint Barnabas Medical Center’s Special Needs Ambassador Program (SNAP), she helps train staff throughout the hospital on how to understand and support special needs families and serves as an expert resource for colleagues. In addition, she spends time helping the children and grandchildren of our sick patients understand the situation and treatment plan while diverting their attention with special activities. As part of community outreach, Caitlin provides grade school programming to reduce the fear children often associate with the hospital, organizes Teddy Bear Clinics, and presents at professional symposiums.

Caitlin’s enthusiasm, empathy, compassion and respect is evident through the lasting impression it leaves on our patients and families. It isn't uncommon for a staff member to hear a child or parent ask if Caitlin is available because of a previous, positive experience. Parents remark how their children made her a card, called her their friend, said they loved her and, most importantly, how she made their visit bearable regardless of the situation.

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