Somewhere in the process of securing transportation for the medical clothing collected during Ballad Health’s Save Your Scrubs drive, something was lost in translation between Kristi Bode and Bill Graham at Corporate Moving Specialists.
What was lost was just how wildly successful the charitable initiative spearheaded by Bode had been. When three movers pulled up to the Johnson City Medical Center in a pickup truck to begin the process of transporting the scrubs collected during the four-month drive, they were met by a wall of 88 large boxes packed tight with 22,000 articles of clothing donated by employees throughout the entire Ballad Health system.
Five trips later, over two tons of clothing was one step closer to Global Links, an organization based in Pittsburgh that provides international medical aid to those in need both overseas and here at home. Ballad’s large donation will ensure Global Links is able to focus more of their resources on buying medical supplies to help patients instead of outfitting volunteers willing to do medical relief work on behalf of the organization.For Bode, seeing her fellow employees in the newly minted Ballad Health system work together so efficiently toward a common goal was a thrill.
“I think it really showed the teamwork and the collaborative effort, the whole health system being one,” said Bode, the director of patient resource management at the Johnson City Medical Center. “We were all working for the same goal, and I think that it did nothing but help solidify that we are now Ballad Health. It definitely got that engagement.”
The opportunity to collect scrubs was a byproduct of the merger of Wellmont and Mountain States Health Alliance, which became official at the beginning of February. Everyone in the Ballad system – which encompasses 21 hospitals across Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia – had to switch to color-coordinated scrubs by Aug. 1.
So Bode got the idea to collect all of the scrubs that were preparing to become obsolete and ship them to Global Links where they could be put to good use. Bode had previously organized a similar drive while working at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, but this project promised to be much more daunting. Instead of organizing a drive at a single hospital, she’d be rallying employees from Norton, Virginia, to Greeneville, Tennessee.
As it turned out, Bode said cooperation wasn’t hard to come by. Contributions rolled in from 24 different Ballad facilities, meaning every hospital and a few additional post-acute facilities participated.
“I think people are really excited about it, and there are so many willing parties at all the various facilities that wanted to join in once we started talking about doing it,” Bode said. “It really got people from both engaged with each other, because we communicated as a large group together for one single goal, and it went really smoothly.”
Aside from sending out emails and helping coordinate the collection of donated scrubs, Bode said her job was made easier when volunteers and employees around the system took ownership of the project at their respective facilities. The Ballad marketing department produced fliers and placed reminders about the drive on TV screens in cafeterias and other areas employees gathered in facilities across the system, and the task of transporting and processing donated scrubs was taken on by couriers, material
s management personnel and receiving departments.
“Our couriers and our receiving offices in this hospital have been fantastic, getting the scrubs from as far as Norton all the way down to Greeneville, Unicoi it’s been pretty awesome,” Bode said.
While tons of scrubs will soon be on their way to Pennsylvania, the drive will also impact our area. A couple boxes of scrubs were set aside for students in the Certified Nursing Assistant program at Daniel Boone and David Crockett high schools so those students will have clothes to wear to clinicals.
Other brightly colored scrubs that were in fairly good shape, but slightly too worn to be passed on to Global Links will be repurposed into quilts by Anita Bumgardner, an ultrasound technician in the Ballad system, and those quilts will be given to patients.