Transforming Patient Care, Beyond Medicine
Sylvester Wallace is a valued member of our housekeeping staff at Cohen Children’s Medical Center. His job is to ensure patient rooms are sanitary and presentable, and it’s an important part of the patient experience and a high quality of care. But if you ask his colleagues and patients, Sylvester is more than a Housekeeper; something special happens when he goes from room to room.
Sylvester is known by his colleagues and patients for his extraordinary gift of coaxing even the most distraught patients out of bed to walk, eat and play. A colleague remembers a 19-year old fatherless boy who had refused to eat or leave his room. Not only did Sylvester eventually convince the patient to play a game of soccer on the hospital grounds, he also spent his own money making sure the young boy enjoyed a great meal from his own culture. This young man now affectionately refers to Sylvester as “Poppy.” And sometimes Sylvester’s special brand of healing happens by way of music, and dance. A mother recalls savoring the moment when this incredible housekeeper gently clapped and danced with her toddler, being treated for leukemia. These moments of happiness are part are what Sylvester brings with him to work, every day.
The secret behind how Sylvester is able to affect so many patients in such a positive way? He simply says “I speak to these kids from my heart. I was brought up to help people. That’s what life is all about – helping others.”
We know how incredible these employees are, and how important it is to recognize their contributions to the North Shore-LIJ Health System and to patient care. That’s why we’ve created the President’s Award. “It’s an extraordinarily detailed and competitive process” said Mr. Joseph Cabral, senior vice president and chief human resources officer. The winner of this prestigious annual award receives an award dinner in their honor, an engraved crystal sculpture, a $10,000 bonus and a vacation for two to the destination of his or her choice. Sylvester Wallace is the first person from our Housekeeping Department to win this award. The President’s Award is just one of the many ways that North Shore-LIJ publicly recognizes and rewards those employees who go above and beyond, every day.