Staff profile: The impact a smile can have on a patient experience

Celebrating retail food services associate Polly
April 13, 2018

Polly has been nominated by her peers for recognition of the impact she makes on the experience of patients, visitors and staff of the Cancer Centre

Walking through the main entrance doors of the Cancer Centre of Southeastern Ontario, the first thing that a patient, family or visitor is likely to hear is a warm greeting from Polly.

“I am the first person patients see when they first walk through these doors. I always welcome them with a smile and a hello,” says Polly when asked to reflect upon her role. “I offer hugs if they want them. I let them know when they tell me they are scared that the staff here are kind, caring, and there is always someone here to help.”

A retail food services associate, Polly interacts with patients daily as they come to the Cancer Centre for treatment or dialysis. She listens to their stories and frustrations and builds relationships with them that make her a trusted confidant along their care journey.

“Polly often remembers what we talked about during my last visit. It’s nice to have a familiar face in a place of unknowns,” says one patient. “I know you (Polly) are not part of my medical team, but you’re part of my team.”

Polly creates a welcoming environment, not only for patients and visitors, but for the staff as well. Her words and attention may seem like small gestures but they are ones that don’t go unnoticed.

“The thing about Polly is she is genuine and she truly cares about patients and staff. She deserves to be recognized for her warmth and caring nature,” says Marianne McKinney, administrative assistant for the Cancer Centre of Southeastern Ontario. “Polly always has a smile on her face and a kind word for everyone. She is truly one of the frontline staff and a great ambassador for the hospital.”

For Polly though, the relationships she builds and experiences she helps to impact are all in a day’s work.

“A lot of people come to work because it’s their job. I come to work because it’s my home – these are my people. They are my family.”

Thank you, Polly, for the work that you do in helping to make the Cancer Centre a safe, warm and welcoming environment.  Your kind nature, thoughtfulness and warmth are appreciated by all patients, visitors and staff members.

If you know of a staff member in the Cancer Centre that you would like to see profiled and recognized for their work, please contact us at 


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