Transport aide with patient in wheelchair

Unsung Heroes of Hospitalization

They’re often the first people a patient talks to upon arriving at the hospital, and more often are the last people that patient sees when leaving.

UConn Health transport aides (from left): Howard Fairley, Anna Kustra, Brian Schramm, Gabriela Buksza, Sean Reynolds, and Gwen Williams (Photo by Alex Schwarz)

They are trained in CPR and crisis prevention intervention (CPI).

When they’re not safely moving patients, they’re moving medical equipment, specimens, and blood.

They’re transport aides, and while they’re not providing direct patient care, they are providing the support needed to deliver patient care of the highest quality. From the perspective of nurses, physicians, and other providers, “They do their job so we can do ours.”

Looking back: Read about a UConn Health transport aide's quick response that doctors say saved the life of a faculty member.

The interaction with transport aides can go a long way in shaping the patient’s impression of his or her hospital stay. It can bring comfort and reassurance, calm anxiety, raise sprits, and provide companionship and even some distraction during what can be a nerve-wracking time.

There’s a good chance the person in the wheelchair or stretcher wants no part of being in the hospital, and transport aides understand that. Perhaps that person just got some bad news and is upset. Transport aides’ experience in health care settings enables them to get a read on the patient’s state of mind and interact accordingly. That includes not taking it personally when the patient is less than happy to see them.

There are occasions when, despite their people skills, a transport aide is most helpful to patients they haven’t interacted with, such as when there’s an urgent need for blood during a surgery or a birth. The transporters are key players in the hospitals’ overall response, summoned into action to run the requisition to the blood bank and come back quickly with the blood.

Whether it’s a patient who needs to be moved safely and comfortably or something patient related that needs to be moved in a timely fashion, the transport aides are there, with caring hands, empathetic ears, a kind voice, and a love for helping people.