Dr. Earl Miller is a physician at Hospitality Health ER’s locations in both Galveston and Longview. Below are his reflections on what it’s like to work with HHER, how the team was able to remain strong during the pandemic, and how he’s managed to stay positive and combat burnout in these ever-changing times.
Hospitality Comes First
When I was in medical school, I went to visit my dad who was a police officer at the time. I went down to the station to visit with him and mentioned how I was nervous for my upcoming clinicals. That would be my first time engaging with patients. He looked at me and said this, and I’ll never forget it, “Talk to your patients the way you talk with me.” I’ve never lost that.
I’m a physician, yes, but I’m also a big ol’ teddy bear. I want to sit down next to the patient and talk about life, pain, sometimes regrets, sorrow, depending on how comfortable they are with me. I want to hear their story. This isn’t just a job, it’s a blessing.
Prior to HHER, I was a medical director for 15 years and chief of staff for 3 years, but once I found HHER, I knew it was the right place for me. I am driven by customer service. And Hospitality Health ER made me feel comfortable embracing that.
Hospitality Health ER wants you to take the time to get to know the patient, answer any and all appropriate questions they may have, and ensure each customer is cared for—engage with the patient. That’s what HHER is all about.
Cherish Your Coworkers
The first thing I do when I get into work every morning is say good morning to everyone I see. And you never know who is having a bad day—maybe they had a stressful 4-hour commute to work, their electricity went out at their house, they’ve been up for the last 5 nights with a newborn—you never know what people are going through.
Everyone, no matter what their position is at HHER, is a piece to the puzzle. And we need all the pieces to stay strong.
I come from a big family—I’m the youngest of 7 kids—and the HHER team are bonus brothers and sisters. To actually have those work friendships and fun memories together, that’s what makes the job all the better.
How Hospitality Health ER Navigated COVID-19
COVID-19 impacted everyone. It was a learning experience for all physicians no matter what level you’re at. Initially, we didn’t know what was happening; we were neophytes. All of us. Little did we know we’d be dealing with a vigilant virus—the most aggressive virus we’ve ever seen.
One thing that remained constant throughout navigating COVID-19 was our ability to remain fluid. The literature was constantly changing, although now it’s at a state where it’s more established. At the time, all we could do was look through the massive amount of literature and decide what were the safest and best options for our patients.
Now everything is more established. I noticed the confidence level among the providers and ER physicians when the delta variant arrived; by that point, we were ready to tackle this variant. We were confident in therapeutic methods and learned not to always go with traditional medicine—for example, rather than placing every single person on a ventilator, we could do oxygen therapies.
HHER met their goals for 2021:
There were fewer individuals transferred to a hospital in 2021 than 2020,
There were fewer individuals put on ventilators in 2021 than 2020, and
There was a significant decrease in diseases resulting from COVID-19 in 2021 than in 2020.
We’ll continue to prepare the staff and prepare the safety equipment every step of the way. We’ll grow and learn from COVID-19, track the outcomes, and always keep the community safe.
This Time Last Year…
I was diagnosed with COVID-19. And I’m in several high risk categories: obese, African American, and with high blood pressure. For my treatment, I went to HHER—because I believe in them, I believe in HHER. And you know what? With the BAM (bamlanivimab) treatment I received, I went back to work in 8 days.
To be exact, this time last year is when I received my infusion. Although it was fairly new, there was never a moment I doubted it; I felt confident in it. Research and literature is capable of positively impacting our lives.
Communication is Key
First and foremost, the biggest thing at HHER is trust—society has learned to distrust science and medicine. We always try to sit down with the patient and answer any questions or clarify any false information that a patient may have received—establish their trust.
Our goal is to get patients home; in their houses and in their beds. By taking care of your patient, you’re also taking care of their family and their community.
This isn’t just a job, it’s a blessing
Our goal is to stay on the straight and narrow. With any organization the most difficult thing is consistency, but at Hospitality Health we know the most important things are communication, patient care, and being an advocate for our patients..
At the end of the interview, Dr. Miller shared how he was told to leave 2 hours early from his shift that day because his family was coming to town. His coworkers wanted to make sure Dr. Miller got to spend time with them, especially since this time last year he wasn’t able to.
From all of us at Hospitality Health ER, thank you for your continued support through the years, and here’s to a happy, healthy new year! Bring on 2022!
As a reminder, please continue to use precautions going into the new year. For more posts as we go through 2022, visit our Hospitality Health ER blog. For notifications on new posts and what’s new at HHER, follow along with us on Facebook.