Security officer plays critical role in patient care

Bellingham | June 5, 2018
His name isn’t Joe, but his cool persona was a healing balm for a patient during a traumatic episode

As a chaplain, Andrea Zikakis knows the importance of a calming atmosphere for patients receiving care where she works at PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center in Bellingham, Washington.

She also recognizes and respects those with the ability to reduce the fears and lower patient anxiety levels. She deeply appreciates of all the highly skilled medical caregivers—for their “knowledge, teamwork and staggering capacity (for care).” They know just what to do.

She recalls one incident during a trauma code. While the clinical care team went to work treating the patient’s physical wounds, Security Officer Rick Seigman, was there too, caring for the patient’s emotional state and helping to relieve his fears.

Andrea said Rick’s training and ability to remain cool in what was a highly stressful situation for the patient, helped significantly in reducing the anxiety level.

Rick remembers the episode, noting the patient’s impulse to bolt, “You could see it in his eyes. There was too much going on: too many voices, too many lights, too much movement.”

He locked eyes with the patient while speaking to him in a firm, compassionate tone. It moved the patient’s focus away from everything else and just to Rick’s calm voice. Andrea noted, in just a matter of moments, the patient went from wanting to run to settling in, listening to Rick and agreeing to receive care.

Andrea praised the entire care team, knowing each one’s importance in the situation, but she especially noted Rick’s involvement that made it possible for the medical team to efficiently and effectively help the patient.

Not everyone realizes the role security teams can play in caring for patients. Andrea noted, she's "thankful to be working in an environment where, regardless of our role or title, each of us is invited to utilize our skills and compassion to help bring forth the best care possible. Rick rocked it!"