Going out of her way for others
“They call me ‘Mama Mary’ here. They see me as their second mother, their work mother.”
Mary Fascione is a business clerk at the Hamilton Health Sciences’ Prosthetics and Orthotics Clinic (P&O). She’s been with Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) since 1975, first joining the organization when Chedoke Hospital was in still in operation. “I was in high school back when there were ‘work weeks,’” Fascione explains. “I was in a business course and was asked to go to Chedoke for the work week. After high school, I went to college to become a medical secretary. One day, I got a call and was offered a job. That’s how I started.”
“She was very accomodating”
Fascione is known at the P&O clinic as being someone who cares for every person she interacts with. One of those people is HHS patient Harold Trafford, who retired from the Hamilton Police Service in 2012 after more than 30 years with the force.
One late February morning, Trafford had back-to-back medical appointments; one at Hamilton General Hospital, followed by an appointment at the P&O clinic. As he was driving to Hamilton General Hospital, he got into a traffic accident. “I was shaken,” says Trafford. “I called Mary to let her know I wasn’t going to make my appointment and she was very accommodating. She told me she’d make another one for me and would take care of finding an extra prescription I needed. She picked up on my stress cues quickly and made me realize things will be taken care of.”
Fascione says she remembers that call. “He was a patient I spoke with ahead of time. He needed to come in for a prescription for shoes and orthotics and was really worried,” she explains. “The poor guy called all frantic. I told him not to worry about not making his appointment here and that I’d set up another appointment for him. Between the accident and his experience trying to file insurance claims now that he’s retired – he needed someone to listen to him.”
Fascione credits her listening skills to her upbringing in a large Italian family. The youngest of seven, she was taught to treat everyone with respect. “Being Catholic, having a big family, you think about how you would want to be treated or how would you want your elders to be treated.”
Brad Haardeng is the P&O clinical manager and says Mary’s role is integral to the team. “We could have the most skilled treatment team possible but if we can’t coordinate the visits we will not be able to help our patients achieve their goals,” says Haardeng. “Mary does a fantastic job responding to the needs of our patients and team. She is able to make the connections required to ensure the details that matter have been looked after.”
In addition to responding to patient calls and emails, Fascione has long list of other duties as a business clerk: she books patient appointments, makes and receives referrals, and follows up with different departments.
“The phone is always busy. But I’ve been in P&O for 28 years and I’ve never looked at another job posting,” Fascione says. “They’re like my second family here.”