A hospital is more than an edifice. It is a place where people seek care and comfort when they are at their most physically or mentally vulnerable. And a hospital cannot succeed in its lifesaving mission with without dedicated staff.
People like Shawn Maynard.
For nearly 40 years, Shawn has slept, eaten and breathed Windham Hospital.
His success is this hospital’s success — and it is based on his personal and professional mission to be in the moment, attending to one patient, one cause and one caring interaction at a time.
His work is being recognized this year: He will receive a Healthcare Hero award from the Connecticut Hospital Association at its 99th annual meeting June 14 in Wallingford.
His beginnings were humble: he started at the hospital in 1978 as a per-diem switchboard operator, displaying superb patient relations skills, keenly attuned to the “patient experience” long before it was a healthcare buzzword. These attributes opened up a career in hospital communications, administration, volunteer services and philanthropy. Today, he serves as executive director of the Windham Hospital Foundation.
But that’s just a fancy title for what he’s done for decades. His achievements are many.
In 1993, Shawn was instrumental in creating a volunteer service credit program designed to help uninsured patients ‘‘pay-off’ their hospital bills. Each hour volunteered at the hospital was given a dollar value, or credit, that could be applied toward outstanding balances. The program was well recognized within healthcare circles, and garnered national media coverage.
One program participant recently told Maynard that her participation in the volunteer service credit program encouraged her to become a CNA, an LPN, and ultimately an RN.
Inclusion at-risk populations in the healthcare process has been a hallmark of Shawn’s career, as highlighted by his work in the 1990’s to draft guidelines for the provision of appropriate communication services for the deaf/hard of hearing, a legacy that remains in place today.
Yet it is his work in the area of philanthropy and volunteer service where Shawn’s positive influence on Windham Hospital and the community truly shines. Here are just a few ways Windham Hospital patients have benefitted from Shawn’s ability to find funding for to provide crucial clinical programming, often for at-risk populations:
- Screenings for uninsured or underinsured women
- Cardio/pulmonary rehabilitation
- Diabetes education for Spanish-speaking women
While he’ll modestly tell you that it’s all part of the job, he continuously goes above and beyond ensuring what money is found for essential programs. In this time of budget cuts and uncertainty at the state Capitol, Shawn’s “can-do” attitude has given hope to staff with programs that might have otherwise lost funding or seen it reduced.
Even if the funding cannot be obtained, Shawn is generous with his own time for such endeavors as planting flowers at each hospital entrance – the money for the flowers coming from his own pocket.
“We’ll find some money somewhere,” he’s often heard saying with a sly smile. More often than not, he delivers.
Windham Hospital, the community of Willimantic and the patients of our area are all the better for having Shawn Maynard’s dedication can caring within our building to help achieve our mission of quality care for eastern Connecticut.