Not All Heroes Wear Stethoscopes: Honoring the Essential Role of Nonclinical Staff


  • Catherine M. Reynolds, DL, MJ, RN Patient Safety Authority



Raymond Cipollini, a long-time employee (recently retired) of the maintenance department at Einstein Medical Center Montgomery in East Norriton, Pennsylvania, used to visit patients during his shifts. His fellow staff noted that he would respond to call lights, asking how he could help, with a cheerful demeanor. Raymond often intervened if a patient was restless and pulling at IV lines or needed nurse assistance to get out of bed—potentially preventing falls. The Patient Safety Authority (PSA) named him the winner of its 2017 I AM Patient Safety Award in the category Individual Impact; he was nominated by his colleagues, who had frequently noted lively conversations coming from patient rooms, where he bonded with his “friends” over sports or other shared interests. It is lonely sometimes in those rooms, especially for patients who do not have visitors. “When I stop in, I hope I take their mind off their troubles and make them smile,” he said. These connections attend to patient’s physical safety and emotional well-being. Raymond brought his own perspective to his job and felt empowered to act for the benefit of patients and strengthened the fabric of the organizational culture.

Author Biography

Catherine M. Reynolds, DL, MJ, RN, Patient Safety Authority

Catherine M. Reynolds ( is a patient safety liaison with the Patient Safety Authority, working directly with more than 80 healthcare facilities in the Southeast region of Pennsylvania to improve patient safety through consulting, education, and collaboration. She is an accomplished healthcare and patient safety professional, specializing in the analysis of adverse events and facilitywide implementation of patient safety plans. With more than 20 years of experience in healthcare, she has served as a registered nurse and quality improvement coordinator in Philadelphia-area hospitals, including as patient safety manager for the Einstein Healthcare Network. She has been published in Patient Education and Counseling and The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety.


The Joint Commission. Developing a Reporting Culture: Learning From Close Calls and Hazardous Conditions. Sentinel Event Alert. 2018 Dec. Available from: documents/resources/patient-safety-topics/senti­nel-event/sea_60_reporting_culture_final.pdf

Burke, D. He was a COVID-19 Patient. She Cleaned His Hospital Room. Their Unexpected Bond Saved His Life. CNN Health. 2020 June. Available from:­tal-coronavirus-patient-housekeeper-wellness/index.html

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How to Cite

Reynolds , C. (2020). Not All Heroes Wear Stethoscopes: Honoring the Essential Role of Nonclinical Staff. Patient Safety, 2(4), 72–77.
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