Very few people can claim that they’ve talked to every single Akron Children’s Hospital employee. But Bob Daugherty, patient relations specialist at Akron Children’s, can. For most of his career at Children’s, he was a telecommunications operator who answered and screened incoming telephone calls, routed calls to hospital employees, residents, departments and physician offices and monitored and responded to emergencies and alarms.
Bob’s ability to calmly address situations, concerns and special needs helped him when he moved into the hospital’s patient relations department where he listened to patients and their families in a bias-free, culturally sensitive manner. He then shared what he heard with administrators to solve patient and family problems.
After 21 years at Akron Children’s, Bob retires on October 22. He plans to travel and redesign old furniture to be more glamorous and visually alluring. He may even open an art or antique gallery when the time is right.
What brought you to Children’s?
I was working as a realtor and managing an antique store. My best friend, who worked at AT&T, knew Landa Budd, who was Children’s telecommunications manager. Landa had a position open. I applied and the rest is history.
What was going on in your life then?
I had been offered a job as a flight attendant but instead took the Children’s job, which I started on September 11, 2000. The next year, the 9/11 attack took place. I feel fortunate about the decision I made to work at Children’s.
Have you always worked in the same department and role?
For 15 years, I worked as a telecommunications operator in information systems. While at Children’s, I earned my bachelor’s of science degree using its tuition reimbursement program. Once, when Michele Straight, patient relations manager, came to the telecom office to get a pager, she mentioned she planned to post a job in her area. By then I had my degree, so I applied, becoming a patient relations specialist in the legal, risk management and compliance department.
What have your biggest contributions been while here?
While in telecom, I was one of the operators who took the new employee information provided by human resources and typed it into the online directory. It’s now uploaded digitally. I also programmed the hospital pagers. We have over 3,000 pagers. More recently, I’ve enjoyed teaching the customer care workshop at our new employee orientations.
How has Akron Children’s changed since you started here?
It’s been wonderful to see the growth in many of our departments. For instance, the information services department is continually recognized as a national leader in health IT. Similarly, the changes and improvements in public safety, facilities and engineering, rehabilitation services and legal, risk management and compliance department are outstanding.
What’s your most memorable moment at Akron Children’s?
My memories will be of the people who work here, from the doctors and housekeepers to the wonderful managers for whom I’ve worked. I’ve adored them all! I’m also proud that I talked my friend, Angela Torson, telecommunications operator, into staying after a particularly stressful day. Together, we had a lot of fun. Plus, I loved making her laugh!
With so many little children here, did someone or something especially touch your heart?
Many small children ran up to me to give me a huge hug. I tend to think it’s the white hair that’s the attraction. Just sayin’!
What’s your idea of a perfect day?
I’ll take sunshine, rain and/or snow. I just have a phobia to strong winds.
Do you have any advice for people just starting at Children’s?
Have loyalty to your organization. If you’re not happy with something, work to make changes. There are plenty of committees looking for your observations and experiences to improve Children’s.
What couldn’t you live without?
My belief in God and good Chinese food.
What music do you like? Where and how do you listen to it?
In my early years, I was a country music performer, performing and recording as a back-up singer in Nashville. Nowadays, I tend to move toward new-age music.
What’s the last book your read?
I haven’t read much lately, but my favorite author is Daphne du Maurier, most well-known for her book, “Rebecca.”
What’s the last movie you saw?
My favorite movie is “The Birds,” followed by “Psycho.” I adore Alfred Hitchcock movies.