Sharlinda Robertson has a way with toddlers having tantrums. And everybody else, too.
Her small acts of kindness earned her a Credo AwardNovember 17, 2020
Photo by Erin O. Smith
Sharlinda Robertson has patients who ask for her by name.
“I have families that want to come and check in, and they’ll wait just to see me,” said Robertson, a patient service specialist in the pediatric primary care clinic at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. “I have children that come and say, ‘Shar, I miss you. I drew you a picture.’ I love that.”
“Every day, I hear parents talk about how nice, sweet, and encouraging she is. She interacts with every child in the clinic regardless of what kind of day she’s having. She truly makes those she serves her highest priority.”
It’s Robertson’s award-winning attitude that inspired multiple people to nominate her for a Credo Award. She was honored with the award virtually at the October Leadership Assembly.
Writes one nominator, “Every day, I hear parents talk about how nice, sweet, and encouraging she is. She interacts with every child in the clinic regardless of what kind of day she’s having. She truly makes those she serves her highest priority.”
Another writes, “Tantrum-having 3-year-old and mom trying to leave at the end of the day. Shar engaged the little girl, offered her stickers, and the tantrum was over. On the way out Shar called, ‘Bye-bye! Be good to your Mama!’”
For Robertson, those behaviors aren’t remarkable; just part of the job she has loved for the last four years. She shares the credit with her co-workers on the eighth floor of Doctor’s Office Tower, who show the same small kindnesses.
“I just like to help people,” she said. “I like to be of assistance. There’s nothing worse than you having been up all night with a sick child and you’re tired. The kid is cranky. You’re cranky. And then the parent is coming in here and needs to have answers as to why their child is sick. I like to be able to be their problem solver. I like to be able to show my compassion and be able to assist in any way I can.”
“Children need reassurance just like the parents need reassurance. They want to be able to feel welcome just like the parents want to feel welcome”
Before the age of social distancing, that could mean reaching for a fussy child while their mother checks in.
“I’ve learned to kind of deal with children better than probably I ever had in my life,” she said. “You have to get on their level, just kind of let them know that they’re going to be OK. Children need reassurance just like the parents need reassurance. They want to be able to feel welcome just like the parents want to feel welcome. And if it requires some stickers or some jokes, then so be it.”
Robertson admits her job can be a bit stressful, with the sounds of crying and the pitter patter of little feet in the background all day. But it doesn’t bother her. When she’s not at work, she’s chasing around and loving on her 2-year-old daughter, Journey.
“Vanderbilt really truly is a great place to work,” she said. “You experience a lot of things here. Every day is something new. Every day is a new day here. You will never repeat the same day at Vanderbilt, let alone at DOT 8. And I love that.”
If you are a VUMC employee, you can nominate a colleague for an Elevate Credo Award, Five Pillar Leader Award, or Team Award. Visit the Elevate website to fill out a nomination form. Employees demonstrate credo behaviors when: they make those they serve the highest priority; respect privacy and confidentiality; communicate effectively; conduct themselves professionally; have a sense of ownership; and are committed to their colleagues. Elevate award nominations are accepted year-round. If a nomination is received after the cut off for an award selection period, the nomination will be considered for the next period. VUMC Voice will post stories on each of the award winners in the weeks following their announcement.