Shepherd Center Co-Founder Cites Employees' Pivotal Role in Hospital's Culture of Relentless Caring
By James Shepherd
Co-Founder and Chairman of the Board, Shepherd Center
Every once in a while, I like to reflect upon the culture here at Shepherd Center. In my reflection, I immediately call to mind our dedicated staff, volunteers, donors and board members, who are responsible for underpinning what I call a culture of relentless, intentional caring for our patients and their families.
When I speak with staff members – whether they are in environmental or food services, nursing, occupational or physical therapy, finance or another department – I realize they have full plates in their personal lives, many raising children or caring for aging parents. Despite their personal responsibilities, these staff members show up at Shepherd Center every day with a professional attitude and genuine concern for our patients, their families, the services we provide and our outcomes. Our success happens intentionally, thanks to the commitment of our staff members to do what they are supposed to be doing and what, I believe, they truly love to do.
This culture of caring is evident in every single success story we feature on this website and in our publications. Whether it be in stroke or brain injury rehabilitation, the Spinal Cord Injury Unit, Neurospecialty Unit, outpatient clinics or the MS Institute, our teams throughout the center function on a grander scale as one, large team for the ultimate goal of returning patients to fulfilling daily lives.
A lot of what we do is also made possible by the work of our board members and donors, who provide us with special opportunities for staff education, cutting-edge equipment, and special programs and outings for our patients. Without their dedication and gifts, Shepherd Center would not be the reputable and premiere facility it is today.
The remaining piece of the puzzle that helps create our unique culture is the dedication of our numerous volunteers, who fill so many different roles throughout the hospital. Some feed meals to our patients, others greet families and visitors at our welcome desk, and some work with our numerous sports teams. I am also appreciative of the work of Midge Tracy, our longtime director of Volunteer Services, who retired in April. We tip our hat to her for organizing our volunteers and managing the numerous programs that have helped them become such an integral part of our staff and culture.
As you read our stories online and in our publications, please remember that behind each of these stories – from the rehabilitation of our young stroke patients to the achievements of our Shepherd Center alums – there has been a team of clinicians, volunteers, donors and board members that has played a role in helping these patients succeed. It is the same team that helps make Shepherd Center great each and every day!
Shepherd Center, located in Atlanta, Georgia, is a private, not-for-profit hospital specializing in medical treatment, research and rehabilitation for people with spinal cord injury, brain injury, multiple sclerosis, spine and chronic pain, and other neuromuscular conditions. Founded in 1975, Shepherd Center is ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top 10 rehabilitation hospitals in the nation. In its more than four decades, Shepherd Center has grown from a six-bed rehabilitation unit to a world-renowned, 152-bed hospital that treats more than 740 inpatients, nearly 280 day program patients and more than 7,100 outpatients each year in more than 46,000 visits.