Dr. Tamitha VanSickle, USAP-Colorado
Tell us about yourself, on a personal level.
I like to say that I have a high quantity of life. My husband (and high school sweetheart) and I have four active children, two full-time jobs, three dogs and a hedgehog (Mr. Bean). I love my life and feel fortunate to live and work in Colorado.
To what do you attribute your success in patient satisfaction?
I strive to make my patients’ surgical experience as positive as possible. Each patient is unique and views surgery differently. I try to connect on a personal level. I also look for clues to help each patient feel more secure. Sometimes it’s as simple as offering a warm blanket to a patient’s mother who was nervous for her daughter. Some patients need to feel like they are in control of the situation. I let these patients know that, "This is your party, we are all here for you and you are in control." I sit and speak with each patient. I introduce myself professionally to the patient, "Hello [patient name]. I am Dr. VanSickle." To their loved ones, I introduce myself personally, as Tami. I make sure that I explain exactly what they can expect from anesthesia so that the missing time they experience is not such a mystery.
What do you do to provide excellence in patient care?
Since anesthesiologists tend to work independently day-to-day, I can’t begin to know what I do differently from anyone else. I have brilliant and compassionate partners. USAP has assembled a truly talented group. I can share that I utilize SurveyVitals® feedback to improve my care. I was surprised to find that I scored lowest in maintaining patient privacy and in easing anxiety. As a result, I now shut the curtain before each interview and ask the patient if he/she is comfortable discussing medical information with the parties in the room. I now make a point to state to each patient that I want to make sure I respect her privacy. I have also discovered that I look fairly young for my age. I seem to get the, "How long have you been doing this?" question frequently. I make sure the patient knows that I have been practicing for almost 10 years, that I’ve been married for 20 years and that I have 4 children. I also make a point to tell each patient that I’ve been working with her surgeon for years and that she has chosen a good physician for her needs. Perhaps my patients feel more at ease knowing I’m not new to anesthesia and that their surgeon also endorses me.
What do you do to relax in your spare time?
The VanSickle household is a moving target in our spare time. We are always playing in basketball tournaments, traveling, going to movies, hiking, really anything and everything. Downtime is not our style.
If you could have any superpower, which one would you choose?
Ahhhh, the superpower question. I would choose to fly. I have dreams about flying. I think it’s the freedom.
What is your motto?
My motto is ͞Keep Dashing.͟ Dashing is the thing you do between your date of birth and death. It’s a reference to a eulogy given two years ago when my sister-in-law passed away from lymphoma at the age of 40. Make the most of our time while dashing. 7) What advice do you have for others? My advice would be to enjoy your patients. Let them see your human side. They want to know their caregivers can relate to them.