Community Rounds Blog by Kim DuBrul: Observing Beauty & Excellence at Fletcher Allen

kimI have a great appreciation for beauty and excellence – so much so that sometimes, I can be a very tough person to please. What I can say, after visiting Fletcher Allen Health Care, as part of their Community Rounds program, is that I was very pleased. I saw beauty and excellence in a challenging setting, one rife with illness and sickness. 

As a “community intern” (yes, we got to wear white coats!), I visited with a number of doctors and patients across Fletcher Allen. On my first day of rounds, I met Dr. Annis Marney, an endocrinologist. I observed as she took care in each patient conversation, answering questions and explaining concepts. Her patients were there with a range of medical issues. She made each person feel as though he or she was her one and only patient. She was both skilled at asking questions – and listening. I have to admit that she even answered a slew of questions I had! What I observed was excellence abounding in this doctor’s office.

On my second day as an “intern,” I met with Dr. Robert “Bob” Oppenheimer, a radiologist at the Breast Care Center at Fletcher Allen. He, too, was only too happy to answer the plethora of questions I posed to him. He had us engage in some radiology work: we were provided with an anonymous case and asked to determine whether the patient had breast cancer. He asked me if I could see anything cancerous on the x-ray. I failed to detect it, but, instead of being disappointed, that only made me better appreciate the work that Dr. Oppenheimer and the team of radiologists at Fletcher Allen do. They are at the top of their game. 

The two days were full of other inspiring experiences, like learning about how Fletcher Allen and the UVM College of Medicine partner to provide our community not only with a state-of-the-art, cutting edge academic medical center, but incredible new doctors. You know what I learned? That on their first day of medical school, students are taught about the power of personal reflection and tools to keep themselves healthy and thriving. That resonated with me. Then, we visited the Clinical Simulation Laboratory – which I never even knew existed and where I was able to perform my first (and likely last!) simulated colonoscopy. At the Lab, they train on everything from surgeries to customer service – like how to greet a patient when he or she walks through the door. 

At the end of my two days as a community intern, I felt incredible pride to be but the smallest thread in the fabric of this organization – and was so proud of the hospital’s national rankings in patient safety and infection prevention, among other accolades.

What I saw was beauty and excellence, and I was not just pleased, but joyful in finding these things here. 

Kim DuBrul is a business, life, and mindset coach at Your Year of Transformation. She lives in Shelburne with her husband and their two children.