Green’s commitment to excellence sets tone for division

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Marcia Green takes issue with getting an automated message when she calls a business.

marcia_green_webPress one for this and two for that — it’s too confusing, says the administration support specialist in the Division of Gerontology, Geriatrics and Palliative Care. And, more important, it’s not personal.

That’s why she’s more than happy to be a voice patients hear when they interact with the division. It’s her only real contact with patients, but Green sets the standard patients can expect to receive when they come to UAB. In addition to displaying a gift for talking and comforting sick patients and their families, co-workers say Green is a valuable asset to everyone in the division, including medical fellows, residents and students.

Because of her kindness and commitment to excellence, Green has been selected as April’s Employee of the Month.

Green says comforting patients is something that she really enjoys, adding, “I like people.” She says the main thing she wants to impart is that someone cares about them and their struggles.

“I’m the age of many of the people who call us, so I understand some of the issues they are facing,” Green says. “I’ve experienced the death of my mom, and my dad is 90. I know all about this geriatric stuff first hand. I just hope talking with them helps them or lets them know there is somebody friendly out there who wants to help them and cares.”

Green often has to get essential health information from patients, find the appropriate professional to manage it and follow through on the delivery of care. She does these things with great care, compassion and thoroughness, says Patricia Goode, M.D., the Gwen McWhorter Professor of Geriatric Medicine.

“I have often said that Marcia takes a more appropriate and succinct medical history than many doctoral-prepared, health-care providers with whom I have worked or trained,” Goode says. “Patients with whom Marcia has interacted on the telephone often ask to meet her when they come to clinic. They want to put a face with the very pleasant and helpful voice on the phone.”

Green’s role in the division goes much further than helping patients.

She oversees the geriatric physician call schedule and juggles a group of 17 physicians. She is responsible for developing the geriatric learning schedules each month for an annual total of 45 internal medicine residents and 25 or more other interdisciplinary learners.

Green also sorts through more than 100 options for half-day clinical blocks each month, collaborates with the geriatricians and ends up with excellent geriatric learning experiences for each person — this is despite faculty going on vacation, taking maternity leave and traveling.

“Marcia always finds a suitable learning experience for each person, sometimes at the last minute in extenuating circumstances,” Goode says. “She also never fails to get these schedules completed in time. These two big areas demonstrate Marcia’s excellence in accountability, collaboration, can-do attitude and service.”

Green also has to interact with the students and residents, and many of them never hesitate to call her if they have problems. She always is able to help them solve whatever administrative problem they may have, says Caroline Harada, M.D., assistant professor of medicine. And Green has such a good feel for people that Harada says she relies on her instincts to help her in many instances. 

“Her input as to learners’ behavior and professionalism is exceedingly important to me, and I never offer a spot to a fellow candidate without first seeking her opinion,” Harada says. “Marcia is a great judge of and role model for good character and professional behavior. This makes her a great asset to the educational initiatives in our division.”

Green provides administrative support for Richard Sims, M.D., Barrett Bowling, M.D., and Goode and Harada, and she coordinates the weekly Geriatric Noon Conference for Sims each Thursday.

“Marcia illustrates the values we try to promote within the Division of Gerontology, Geriatrics & Palliative Care, including initiative, innovation, teamwork and a commitment to excellence,” says Richard Allman, M.D., Parrish Endowed Professor of Medicine and director of the Center for Aging. “Marcia carries out all of her responsibilities with a commitment to excellence and demonstrates a caring attitude for everyone with whom she works, regardless of their position or social status. She has a tremendous work ethic and always strives to do the very best that she can do.”

Green has worked at UAB since 1988 and has worked in her current position since July 1991. Green says she hasn’t sought opportunities to leave in large part because of the group of people she works with on a daily basis.

“I have no desire to go anywhere else because of my co-workers,” Green says. “I went through some rough personal things a couple of years ago all at once, and everyone here was so good to me. They fed me when I wasn’t eating, gave me the time off I needed and listened when they had their own busy schedules. I couldn’t have made it through a lot of that stuff without them. They’re just great to work with and they have been the entire time I’ve been here. I’ve never felt like an assistant. I’ve felt like I’m part of a team.”