October 01, 2013

Compassionate cheerleader named Employee of the Year

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Diana Florence, administrative support specialist in Rheumatology and Osteoporosis, has been named Employee of the Year.

Diana Florence fFlorence was chosen from the 12 Employee of the Month award winners named this past fiscal year. An invitation-only presentation ceremony and reception honoring her with the highest non-academic employee award will be held later this fall.

Did she see it coming?

“Looking around at my co-workers — knowing what hard workers they are — I was astounded to be singled out. I am very humbled and moved,” said Florence, who is assistant to Sarah Morgan, M.D., director of the Osteoporosis Prevention and Treatment Program. “A team is like a puzzle with interlocking pieces. Our duties interlock. I am a piece of the puzzle, and I enjoy having the skills and the ability to help wherever and whenever I am needed. We all help each other.”

Florence was honored for many reasons, but it’s the compassionate care she gives to patients and the effect she has on morale and camaraderie in her department that distinguishes her.

“I don’t know if anyone knows just how thorough Diana is and how conscientious a person she is with her work,” said patient Debbie Gallik from Starkville, Miss., in a letter written to Morgan. “She is very good as your ambassador, and she is a compassionate, humorous, caring individual who works very hard to ensure that no one feels they were left behind.”

Patient Nora Gilchrist said, “She listens well, is engaged and shows genuine interest in the patient. She is not one to rush through with a simple solution to go on to the next task. She is thorough and someone who represents the UAB community with pride.”

The patients she works with appreciate her attention to detail when they come to the clinic for appointments. But they also appreciate her on a personal level. “Thank you for always, always talking to me. It is a comfort to know such a caring person is there for me, especially since I live a hundred miles away,” said patient Ann Clark.

Florence is admired by her co-workers, too. She takes her position seriously, and often is asked to take on additional tasks, which she accepts with a smile on her face, said division Director Louis Bridges Jr., M.D. 

“Ms. Florence epitomizes dedication to work and collegiality, two strong pillars of those essential values desired at any place of employment. These virtues ensure success of tasks at hand as well as foster a work environment that positively influences activities in the surroundings, too,” said Nivedita Patkar, M.D., a research associate with UAB CERTs.

Patkar also praised Florence’s ethical conduct, can-do attitude, commitment to her responsibilities and collaboration with others.

Then there’s the fun. Florence also is the office party planner.

“Come party-time occasions such as birthday’s, festivals, we trust Diana to arrange the most fun events — with excellent food, decorations and balloons. She is our nominated cheerleader,” Patkar said.

As dedicated as she is to her job, she has a pretty exciting life outside UAB.

“I am the grandmother of seven amazing grandchildren and love organizing events for my family. I am a volunteer, certified firearms-safety instructor and participate in two different shooting sports. I enjoy our four horses, growing things, ’60s and ’70s rock and roll and classic cars and trucks from the ’30s to ’60s.”