Whenever I tell people where I work they undoubtedly respond with stories about their child/niece/neighbor who had an interaction with a colleague at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). I politely listen to their story about the child’s ear tubes, pneumonia, seizure, or whatever it was that brought them to CHOP. We play the name game. “Do you know Dr. ___ or Nurse ___?” Then they tell me the whole story… starting from the beginning and all the way through the flavor of pudding served during the hospitalization.
These encounters sometimes add unnecessary tangents to my errands. For example, the last time this happened was while I was trying to quickly make a holiday purchase before my infant needed to eat again. I anxiously bounced her in my arms while listening to the salesperson’s story about CHOP. I can’t ever begrudge these stories though, no matter how inconvenient at the time, because they are always overwhelmingly positive. These strangers feel connected to me through my affiliation with an institution and physician that played a significant role in their child’s life, whether ongoing or at one particular moment. They speak highly of the place where I have spent countless hours for the past five years, and that feels good. The physicians they name are often people I did residency with or who trained me, and these people are like my family.
As a mom who chooses to work outside the home, I wouldn’t want to work somewhere that I didn’t respect and love as this is where I spend my time away from my children. Not only do I love my coworkers, but I have the utmost respect and appreciation for the institution. I have great memories of college and medical school, but CHOP feels like home. So when strangers project their positive experiences there onto me, I am excited and proud to be a part of this association.