Leeds Area Chamber of Commerce High School Diplomats Tour Ascension St. Vincent’s East

Leeds Area Chamber of Commerce High School Diplomats Tour Ascension St. Vincent's East Hospital

Article by Darcy Phillips, Photos by Dona Bonnett – January 19, 2023

Last Wednesday, the Leeds High School Chamber Diplomats attended a tour of Ascension St. Vincent’s East in Birmingham. This visit consisted of an in-depth explanation of the hospital’s history, the progress it has made throughout the years, current improvements to the working environment and advanced technology, a Q&A session and of course, a tour through five of the eight main units in the hospital. We learned that St. Vincent’s East has the second busiest Emergency Department in the state after UAB and has the busiest robotics use in all Ascension hospitals throughout the Southeast. East added its first orthopedic robot, named Rosa, in 2020 and is now evaluating for its third. This year, St. Vincent’s East is planning to open an entirely new and renovated floor dedicated to the Cardiology unit which has been designed to best treat people with serious or acute heart problems. St. Vincent’s East is constantly expanding and innovating in order to handle the large number of patients it receives.

During the Q&A, some tough questions were asked of our tour guides, one main question being how the hospital handled issues throughout Covid including short staffing. In response, an effective business-like model of how to bring employees together and the means in which they are supported was shown to us. St. Vincent’s East makes sure to let its employees know they are valued and often plan bonding opportunities, even doing small things like having themed t-shirt days. This was incredibly valuable to us Chamber Diplomats as our entire organization is oriented around business and efficient business strategies. Throughout the Pandemic and now, if Covid numbers are high, the hospital ensures that its medical professionals are not given more than they can handle, having a deep understanding for the pressures and stress of the medical field. It was proven to us that St. Vincent’s East cares deeply both for its patients and its workers.

On our guided tour we were shown the chemical lab, the ICU (intensive care unit), the Emergency Room, the Radiology unit (imaging), the upcoming Cardiology floor and the education center. Each different sector was explained by either our tour guide or the individual unit manager, and throughout the tour, it was evident that they had a wide range of knowledge and appreciation for their job and colleagues. Another aspect that was clearly proven through the tour is that the technology used in this field is constantly evolving and improving thousands of patient and worker lives. Almost every unit tour guide noted that the technology used throughout the hospital is incredibly beneficial, making tasks that took up a lot of time and resources 15 years ago as simple as riding a bike. Something that I found particularly interesting is that St. Vincent’s East provides constant education and improvement for its workers. In the educational center, nurses, PCTs and any other worker can practice a variety of skills without feeling the need to impress anyone. It is a low stress environment meant for the benefit of medical workers. Overall, this was an incredibly enlightening experience and an inside look into what it means to work in a hospital from all different perspectives. Though the medical field is incredibly demanding and taxing, working at a hospital like St. Vincent’s East will make the experience all the more worthwhile.

About the Writer - Darcy Phillips is a Leeds High School senior and member of the FBLA organization at her school among other accolades.  Darcy is also a 2022-2023 Intern with Everyone Leeds.