I Owe it To My Mother. Improving The Patient Experience.

I have been through a lot. Sometimes I feel like a walking medical experiment. Cancer twice, and the loss of my mother who also had cancer. Hundreds of appointments, blood tests, and procedures and enough radiation to light up the sky.

Please do not misunderstand, I am not complaining (ok sometimes I do complain of my aches and pains like anyone else) but this isn’t about that. I am lucky. I am living an active and normal life.

When I left my career to raise my children, I knew I needed to find a way to use my professional experience and health experience to do something to give back. I did some work volunteering for various cancer organizations but it wasn’t until my mother was diagnosed with cancer and passed away that I became passionate about taking my experience as well as hers and working to improve the patient experience. There were so many ways my mother’s experience could have been better if doctors had actually talked to her, listened to her and understood what was most important to her. She didn’t see things the way I did as her generation was taught “the doctor knows best” and not to question or explore alternatives. But the truth is we should question and shouldn’t feel guilty about asking the questions. After my mother’s death, I was pretty fired up and began to explore ways I could lend my voice and make a difference.

My blog has led me to do other writing and my first article was published this month in the Beryl Institute’s PXJ (Patient Experience) Journal. I talk about using Human Resource policies and procedures to improve the patient experience and I hope my observations and suggestions create a dialogue for reflection and maybe even change.

Here is the link to my article

Why human resources policies and practices are critical to improving the patient experience


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Check out the Beryl Institute


About Shari

I am a two-time cancer survivor and patient advocate. Diagnosed as a young adult, at age 25 with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, I had to quickly face the reality of life’s curveballs. My treatment offered a potential cure while at the same time, underestimated the long term side effects including a secondary cancer (breast cancer) nine years later. Shortly after my breast cancer treatment ended, my youthful, seemingly healthy mother was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer and passed a year later. I have lived the cancer experience as a patient and a family member/ caregiver and understand both sides. Life after treatment is often challenging emotionally and physically and there is a gap in providing needed support. I don’t consider cancer a gift as it is not something I would ever want to give to someone. Rather, I view cancer as an opportunity; one I received at an early point in my life to live intentionally, understanding how things can change at any moment. I live without regrets, fully understanding the gift and fragility of life.
This entry was posted in cancer, patient centered care and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to I Owe it To My Mother. Improving The Patient Experience.

  1. hudsonww says:

    Beautifully written and presented, Shari. Congratulations on being published.




  2. leannegfs says:

    Great! Congrats on the article!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Shari says:

    Thank you LeAnne!


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