Mission Moments: Providing comfort in a time of crisis

Cheryl.jpgCheryl Kohout has guided many people through difficult moments. A hospice volunteer for four years and a former sexual assault crisis line volunteer for more than 12, the digital media communications analyst at Tucson Medical Center has helped patients and families through the swoops of emotion that can accompany times of transition or stress.

When Kohout was walking to her car one recent evening after work, she stopped to help a visitor clearly in a state of distress.

Experiencing what looked to be car trouble, the woman had stopped her vehicle on a tight roadway and was sitting on the curb, crying in frustration because it was just one too many burdens to carry that day.

Kohout worked with TMC Security to help get the car moved to a safe place and sat with her on the curb, listening to her and reassuring her. She also helped walk her back from self-blame by reminding her she wouldn’t make such disparaging remarks to another person and she certainly merited the same kindness she would give others.

Kohout shared her tips for helping others in moments of distress:
• Make sure they’re safe, first and foremost.
Check that they’re not in immediate danger and that they don’t need emergency treatment. They can’t move forward to any healthier place until their physical space is secure.
• Let them know they’re OK.
• Practice active listening.
Reassure them that you are hearing what they’re saying, it often helps to reflect back and acknowledge their feelings. “I understand why you would be feeling frustrated right now.”
• Help them figure out their next steps.
“What are you going to do after we’re done talking?” Sometimes in moments of stress, people need help to find their way. Empowering them to make their action plan may also include steering them to potentially more appropriate intervention and services.

Stopping to help that evening ultimately took more than an hour of her time, but Kohout never regrets helping others. “It’s important to me to make connections and to give back in a meaningful way,” she said.

Tucson Medical Center recently adopted a new mission statement. To celebrate, we are sharing a series of “mission moments” throughout the year.

What are mission moments? They aren’t necessarily dramatic stories of heroism, although our medical staff saves lives every day. These are moments that breathe life into words – moments that are profound or powerful or touching and that remind us why we do the work we do. Hundreds of these reminders happen every day. Thank you for letting us share some with you.


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Tucson Medical Center | 5301 E. Grant Road | Tucson, Arizona 85712 | (520) 327-5461
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