BY AMY COOK
After working at an organization for more than 38 years, most people would feel quite comfortable. Leola Hart, UF Health Managed Care associate PSA account manager, has a different perspective.
“Each day I come to work, I pretend that I’m a brand new employee and I have to prove myself,” Hart said.
One afternoon, an opportunity to practice this mindset came about when a man passed by Hart’s office in the 1329 Building looking for the GatorCare office. Instead of simply pointing him in the right direction, Hart rose from her desk and asked if she could walk him to his destination. It wasn’t until they arrived that she learned he was David S. Guzick, M.D., Ph.D., who at the time was our senior vice president for health affairs at UF and president of UF Health. Even if she had known who she was escorting, Hart wouldn’t have done anything differently.
“I didn’t realize he was the boss of the bosses,” Hart said. “But it doesn’t matter to me who somebody is or what position they have. I treat all people the same. I treat them the way I want to be treated.”
Guzick showed his appreciation for Hart’s kind behavior by commending her at his celebration reception when he stepped down from his executive role. Hart was touched by the recognition — and she was also surprised. She goes out of her way for others each day without expecting acknowledgment.
Serving others through excellent hospitality is one of Hart’s top priorities. She feels that it’s necessary to lend a helping hand because everyone needs assistance sometimes, no matter their role. Her motto, “Together we’re better,” demonstrates her belief that people from all positions are needed to get the job of our academic health center done effectively.
“Each day I come to work, I pretend that I’m a brand new employee, and I have to prove myself.”
Hart attributes much of her hospitality skills to UF Health, especially because of her long career here.
“I am continually encouraged to better myself while working here,” Hart said. “No matter who we are, we can always do better. UF Health has built me up in this area, and has even more since we implemented the Hospitality program.”
Hospitality and Service training rolled out to faculty and staff across UF Health Shands, UF Health Physicians and the UF Health College of Medicine in fall 2014. The goal of the hospitality program was to create a culture shift and serve as the framework for thoughtful and respectful customer-focused standards of behavior used by everyone who provides or supports patient care. Since its inception, approximately 11,500 faculty, employees, housestaff and volunteers have completed 30,000 hours of training.
Shortly after, ‘Hospitality Huddles’ were introduced to keep the momentum moving forward.
Hart aims to give back by practicing what she has learned about hospitality and by supporting co-workers from all areas of the hospital.
“I believe in doing whatever I can to help everyone,” she said. “We need to support each other — regardless of job descriptions — to get everything working beautifully. Together we’re better.”
Learn more about Hospitality and Service and our monthly Huddles on the UF Health Bridge at Bridge.UFHealth.org/hospitality