Straight Talk - "Happy birthday!"

March 14, 2013

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Happy birthday!

Last week, NCH celebrated its 57th birthday, celebrating nearly six decades of steady growth and service to the community. This week, fittingly, is Volunteer Recognition Week. Both events are very much related.

It was a group of dedicated local volunteers who first established Naples Memorial Hospital (the original name was quickly changed in 1955; see NCH Beginnings). Two years before the first 50-bed hospital was opened, our Hospital Auxiliary began its service. Mrs. Beatrice Briggs, a leading citizen, invited 12 public-spirited women in the community to meet and discuss the forming of an Auxiliary for the new hospital soon to be built. They elected officers and adopted a constitution and bylaws. Today, the legacy of those far-sighted ladies is the more than 1,100 NCH Volunteers, who serve in more than 110 different service areas in the hospital and our offsite facilities.

One of the strengths making NCH the formidable institution it has become is this cadre of wonderful volunteers. Whether helping in the White Elephant, driving a cart in the parking lot, assisting in the gift shop or doing hands-on patient care, the volunteers’ goal remains the same—to help others. No matter what your role is as a volunteer, you are part of a team which ultimately helps others.

I like to say that no one of us is as smart as all of us working together. Alone, no one of us can care for the 37,000 in-patients and 89,000 outpatients who come through our system each year. But together, we make an unbeatable team on an undisputable mission.

Our volunteers are essential to realizing that noble purpose. And I want to personally commend each and every NCH Volunteer for all you do for our hospital and our community. Our quality of life is directly related to what you do, and I cannot thank you enough.

In the mid-1950s, few might have envisioned that the little community hospital begun by volunteers would transform itself into today’s technologically-sophisticated healthcare system that has been recognized for the quality of its care and the compassion and competence of its caregivers by numerous regional and national third-party evaluators.

In terms of technology, we were just informed this week that NCH is only the seventh hospital system in the nation to have its intravenous infusion pumps wirelessly synchronized with our Cerner information technology system, enhancing our computer technology prowess in the better service of our patients.

Indeed, our founders would likely be amazed at this journey we have taken—from a small community hospital to a technologically-advanced healthcare system, attracting patients and recognition from around the country. Those visionary community leaders in the middle of the last century provided a great foundation. Our responsibility is to continue to improve the quality and service of the healthcare engine they started, caring for all our neighbors, regardless of their economic means.


Allen S. Weiss, M.D., President and CEO

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and The NCH Healthcare System
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