As a nurse practitioner with a focus on community health care, Susan Wedgwood worked for several years in Oregon with the Multnomah County Health Department, caring for people in the county`s clinics, jails and alcohol detox program. These were people who faced many challenges in their daily lives and who often had limited access to health care or predictable support systems.
Now retired, Susan has watched with great admiration what health care workers have endured through the pandemic. She hears stories first-hand from her son, Josiah Wedgwood, who is a nursing director at Virginia Mason Medical Center (VMMC).
“Being a nurse is incredibly rewarding, but it’s not easy. I hear from Josiah how his team has been impacted by the pandemic, and how hard they have worked to maintain giving everyone the high-quality patient care that Virginia Mason has always provided,” she says. “He also talks about how much the team is committed to each other.”
In support of all nurses, Susan made a gift to Virginia Mason’s Fund for Excellence, which fills crucial gaps and supports new emerging needs. She believes the best way to preserve a high standard of care is to ensure providers have the resources, training and staff to give that care.
“Through the pandemic, we’ve innovated — designing new processes and establishing systems to keep patients and staff safe,” says Josiah. “We’ve held each other up both personally and professionally. I’m incredibly proud of all of our teams for their ongoing commitment to providing exceptional care.”
Both Susan and Josiah value Virginia Mason’s patient-centered values at the hospital and at Bailey-Boushay House (BBH).
“Bailey-Boushay House fills a unique need for our community here in Seattle,” says Josiah. “I give to BBH because I know that our providers serve some of the most vulnerable patients in our community who may have nowhere else to go.”
Susan is amazed that a place like BBH opened its doors at the peak of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, when many health care workers were afraid to be in the same room with people who were HIV positive.
Having seen other health care systems grow to focus on the most profitable areas of care, she’s impressed with how Virginia Mason has kept BBH in the forefront of their vision and expanding their reach to people with all types of needs.
“Knowing you have a place to go for care and not be judged is what everyone deserves. Life is already hard enough when you’re sick,” says Susan. “We need more health care systems to follow in Virginia Mason’s footsteps.”