The Gift of Hope: Bennett Finds Her Role in Health Care Satisfying

Every day, it may look like Lisa Bennett comes to work and does pretty much the same thing. After all, as director of cardiopulmonary services and the sleep lab at Walla Walla General Hospital (WWGH), some of her tasks are fairly routine.

She takes care of patients. She connects with dozens of people each and every day—her co-workers, patients, family and friends. She does her work and does it well, and yet there is something more to this person. She is driven by something other than ambition. Her goals reach beyond recognition and success.

As with most Adventist Health employees, Bennett views her work as more than a job. To serve people in their most vulnerable situations, in the most sensitive times of life, makes what she does a mission. This viewpoint is part of the reason Bennett chooses to work at WWGH. “There is a different spirit here,” she said. “I can feel it, and many people—patients and family—have mentioned it. I can pray with and for my patients and co-workers. I feel good about that. I hold my head up and say, ‘I work at WWGH,’ with great satisfaction.’”

It seems to be a mutually satisfying arrangement. Marj Simons, vice president for patient care, said, “Lisa is an absolutely selfless individual, so totally committed.”

One day Bennett was conducting a stress test, working with a patient who was extremely anxious and nervous. Finding no words to reassure this patient, she started to pray for the woman. Soon after the start of the prayer, the patient looked at Bennett and said, “You’re praying for me, aren’t you?” Bennett acknowledged that she was, and the patient expressed how much better she was feeling.

Something as simple as a sincere prayer made all the difference in the world to that patient on that day.

In many ways, Bennett fulfills the mission of WWGH each day. Said Simons, “Restoring peace, hope, health…Christ was always present when He was needed, interacting with all kinds of people. Lisa does that.”

“Not long ago, a visitor was walking out of the hospital,” recalled Bennett, “her countenance was downcast and obviously grieving. She was staggering. I grabbed her arm to steady her and looked into her eyes to ask if she was alright. She proceeded to tell me her troubles—a dying friend, a disabled husband, health concerns of her own and more. At the end of our conversation she looked so much better and thanked me for listening. God was there.”

While Bennett’s role truly does save lives at times, on this day she was simply a listening ear. It is, at times, the small things that make the largest impact.

Bennett’s hope is to impart a little bit of peace, hope and a feeling of God’s presence right beside her patients. “Now that isn’t something I can give,” Bennett said. “But I can pray…I can serve with joy. People feel it when you serve joyfully.”

December 01, 2003 / Adventist Health

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