Today was Dr. Rodney Smith’s final meeting as Chairman of Chippenham & Johnston-Willis Hospitals’ Board of Trustees. He has been on the Board for decades and served as Chairman for a number of those years. He is an inspirational leader who always found the best in people and this organization. He leaves behind a lasting imprint through the work he did both as a pulmonologist and as Board Chairman. I am personally thankful to have served under his leadership. During his last Board meeting he shared some poignant words that I asked him to share for all to read. Here is what he said:
“On this occasion of my last meeting as a CJW Board Member, I would like to let you, my colleagues, know how honored and privileged I feel to have served on and with this Board. I’m not sure exactly how long my tenure has been, but I believe that Tommy Johns was the Chair and Wyke Lyne was the Administrator when I was first asked to serve, probably in the 80’s. I could bore you with the musings of an old man as I look back over all those years, but I won’t. Some of you have to go to work. But I would like to say a couple of things.
First, let me say that, although I haven’t served on many Boards, I can’t believe that I would find any with more committed and engaged members. I marvel at your insights and diverse perspectives which continue to allow this body to maintain its relevance and importance to CJW and HCA. Thank you for what you bring to this table where hope is restored, healing offered, and comfort dispensed.
Second, it has been interesting to witness the evolution of the business of medicine over the past few years. And from what I can see, keep your seatbelts on, for as Confucius would say, we are just starting to live in interesting times. We live quarter to quarter with our investors. We live one to five to ten years out as we strategically plan for the future, endeavoring to assure our financial viability and trying to anticipate what needs our community will have as we age and change and get sick in new and challenging ways and, dare I say, how we might react to our competitors’ strategies. We live day to day, operationally. Do we have enough medicines, blankets, bread, heat, nurses, etc? The business of medicine is complex and critically important, but we, and now you, as a Board must always remember that our primary and only useful function is to provide a platform upon which, and an environment in which, the practice and profession of medicine can take place. It’s about people and their families and their hurts and their illnesses and their fears and their struggles at the most vulnerable times of their lives. And they come to us. And we gather at the bedside, and sometimes we cure and sometimes we heal and sometimes we can’t, but we can always comfort. People come to us assuming competence and quality of care. It is up to us, all of us around this table, to, not only confirm that faith in our competency, but to pursue and assure and deliver excellence of care in each of those encounters. What we do is difficult but what we do matters, more so than anything else we could do in this life that does not involve eternal destiny. Serious business, but aren’t we blessed to be a part of this all? Thank you for the part that each of you plays in this noble endeavor.
So just when that last metric or guideline or spreadsheet threatens to suck the last drop of life out of you, retreat to the bedside and observe what’s happening and who is there and what you are a part of, and perhaps the Joy that is such a part of this season of the year will touch you and lift you and sustain you.”
I welcome you to share any thoughts you have about Dr. Smith’s impact on CJW as a reply on the blog.