Today’s guest is Ceena Jenkins, sharing a patient’s perspective on healthcare on this episode of the Perspectives on Healthcare podcast with Rob Oliver. This is interview 44 in the Guinness World Record Setting patient’s perspective interview marathon. Ceena is from the sweetest place on earth, Hershey Pennsylvania. She brings her perspective as a patient and as a state employee empowering people with disabilities. Her openness is powerful and refreshing.
Here are 3 things that stood out as Ceena Jenkins gave us a patient’s perspective on healthcare:
- All healthcare workers are “Healthcare Heroes”. There is not one name that jumps to mind as standing out above the others, each of them plays their own role in serving their community.
- Quality healthcare involves providers taking the time to understand the patients need, considering alternatives, and involving the patient in developing the treatment plan.
- There is still stigma that surrounds mental health concerns. Medical professionals, and the community at large, need to be more understandable and empathetic for people experiencing mental health challenges.
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Here is the transcript of Ceena Jenkins: A Patient’s Perspective on Healthcare
Introduction to Ceena Jenkins
Rob Oliver: Welcome to the podcast, my friend. We’re going to start off the easy way. Please tell everybody what… or what is your name?
Ceena Jenkins: My name is Ceena Jenkins.
Rob Oliver: All right. And so you know, where are you from?
Ceena Jenkins: I live in Hershey, Pennsylvania.
Rob Oliver: Okay. It’s the most flavorful town in the entire world is what I’ve been told. Is that correct?
Ceena Jenkins: Yes. It smells lovely some days. Yeah. It has this wonderful like chocolate peanutty smell right near the Reese’s factory. So yeah. Smells pretty good.
Rob Oliver: I don’t understand how that doesn’t make people just hungry all of the time. For me, just smelling chocolate and peanut butter would be something else.
Ceena Jenkins: Yeah. My dogs enjoy it too. Their noses are, you know, when you can smell it, their noses are going like, where is that?
Rob Oliver: So here’s a really quick, small piece of information. And that is when I did my driver’s test, my driver’s exam, learning how to drive again after my injury, I did it at Hershey Medical Center. And directly across from Hershey Park is the old Milton Hershey Airport that’s abandoned. Almost 30 years ago, it was still paved and well enough that you could drive on it. And so that was actually where we did driver’s training was right there. I did my driver’s training right in Hershey, across from Hershey Park. So very cool.
Ceena Jenkins: I didn’t realize that.
What are your experiences in healthcare?
Rob Oliver: Yep. So all right, let’s jump into this. And first question for you is, can you tell me about yourself and your experience in healthcare, please?
Ceena Jenkins: Well, as far as I think I’ve always kind of been an advocate. And I’ve always cared about people and wanted to do my best to make things better. And currently, I am work for the Department of Human Services, and I don’t work directly in healthcare, but disability integration during disasters is my role during the day. And I went to Albright College, graduated from Albright College, I kind of did everything a little backwards in my life. I had kids then, you know, first and then the last thing was, you know, getting my degree. So I have a lot of experiences in my life and always struggled since I was young due to trauma. My ACEs score is a five. And so mental health has been something that’s affected me since I was a teenager. And so as far as healthcare goes, that’s, you know, where I advocate as far as mental health awareness.
Rob Oliver: Okay. In your regular job, you’re talking about disability integration in disaster preparedness. That seems to be, sometimes I feel like that would be very weighted towards healthcare. Is that the case? Or what is involved in the disaster preparedness aspect of the disability community?
Ceena Jenkins: What we provide is information on how persons with disabilities can prepare for a disaster. You know, things that they need to consider if they were to have to leave their home and go into a shelter, whether it be a congregate or non-congregate shelter. And then my position looks at if someone is in a shelter, is displaced, what assistive technology or what needs that individual may have in order to maintain their independence so that they are not institutionalized and, you know, as soon as you respond and someone evacuates, recovery starts right away. So setting them up to move towards recovery.
Rob Oliver: Okay. So your work is more working with people with disabilities to help them be prepared or is it systemic work to have the systems in place to handle people with disabilities when a disaster may come?
Ceena Jenkins: It’s both. You know, we provide best practices. We have a lot of wonderful partners and disability advocates that we work with that provide best practices and pioneered this work since Hurricane Katrina hit and the devastation and the tragic stories that came from that disaster really pushed the movement to get people thinking about how to prepare individually and then looking at the whole community, private, nonprofit businesses, you know, on what they can do to prepare as well, especially if you’re looking at housing and different programs or facilities, you know, making sure that they have those plans in place, inclusive plans in place.
Have you met any healthcare heroes?
Rob Oliver: Got it. So along your healthcare journey, have you encountered anyone that you would classify as a healthcare hero?
Ceena Jenkins: Healthcare hero? I admire everyone pretty much in healthcare. I’ve always, you know, nurses, everyone, because in order to do that, there is something special within you that moves you to want to heal people, you know, or be that nurturer, that person to care for somebody until they are well again. And the hours that they put in and the time and the education, it is a huge commitment to do that. And it’s not, I don’t want to say easy, but it’s a challenging profession in many ways. And so I have a lot of respect for people in the healthcare system.
Rob Oliver: So what I’m hearing you say, your answer is that pretty much everyone in the healthcare system is a hero. Is that what you’re saying?
Ceena Jenkins: Pretty much, you know, I mean, I’m not, I’m not happy all the time with everything, but nothing’s perfect, you know, and so I, you know, want to give people that respect. I just, I don’t have an individual name, you know, to give you. So I have a huge amount of respect for people that choose that profession in that field and that path down to our EMTs and paramedics that are, you know, they, you know, and all the work that they do, it’s just hard work. It’s amazing.
Rob Oliver: It is. And my, my guess is that most of the people that are, that go into the profession go in because they want to help people.
Ceena Jenkins: Yeah.
Rob Oliver: Would you agree with that?
Ceena Jenkins: Yes. Yes.
What is your definition of quality healthcare?
Rob Oliver: Okay. Good. So, you know, what does quality healthcare mean to you?
Ceena Jenkins: So quality healthcare is holistic, taking the time to really know the needs of the patient, to be willing to consider alternatives, to admit that there’s something you may not be sure of, you know, and making, and of course, you know, with our at the health equity summit, our presentation is including the patient in the treatment plant, working together to achieve the goal of the patient.
Rob Oliver: Yep. And that’s to me, what you’re saying is the patient is the one that has to set the goals. That’s the message that came out of the, of the healthcare summit that as far as I was concerned, would you agree with that or would you like to expand on that?
Ceena Jenkins: Yeah, I, I definitely, when you’re, and this may not be a good way to say it, but I was a hairstylist for a long time before I went to school, I went to a vote tech school. I graduated with my cosmetology license, and there’s very few professions where you actually touch people. Okay. There’s not many of us that touch people. So physicians, you know, people in healthcare, they touch people, funeral people in the funeral business, they touch people. And the beauty cosmetics, cosmetology, we touch people. And so when you have that type of connection with someone the value that you’re, you’re going to them to meet their needs, to do your best, to give them what they want, you know, when it comes to hair, what they want, what they’re seeking. Because when they walk, when they would walk out of the shop, they want to be happy. And that’s the same kind of thing. You know, people leave the doctor’s office, they want to feel better. You know, they want to feel heard and, and everything like that. So when someone would come to me and get their hair done and say, you know, you have to have those honest conversations, just like a physician would like, maybe that’s not a good idea or, you know, to talk about things and to have that back and forth and engage and get to know one another. Because it takes time to build that trust in that relationship. And and I think when it comes to healthcare with our health, that is definitely a really sacred thing, you know, a haircut, you mess up a haircut, it grows back. But health is totally different, you know, so, you know, people are going to be more passionate about those decisions. And when someone feels like they’re included in that decision, and respected with that decision, I think it creates a more of a working relationship. And I think, you know, it’s, it’s more effective, a better outcome, because you can tell somebody this is what you need to do. But if that’s not what they wanted, they’re not going to walk out feeling hurt, feeling good about this decision. You know, so that’s kind of where I’m coming from with that. I hope that was clear. This is my first time doing something like this. So this is a little like,
Rob Oliver: Listen , you’re doing fantastic. And I appreciate it. So I will just, it’s funny, you mentioned like, hair, you know, doing someone’s hair and healthcare, and both want the same results for people to be happy that the difference, as you said, is the difference between a good haircut and a bad haircut is about a week and a half is what I told, right?
Ceena Jenkins: Yeah. Yeah.
Rob Oliver: So when people are receiving poor health care, it’s going to have it has potentially life altering, if not life ending, yeah, implications.
Ceena Jenkins: Yeah, yeah.
Rob Oliver: So I will apologize. I’ve been at this for 12 straight hours.
Ceena Jenkins: You don’t have to apologize. You’re, you’re my hero right now. Like, I can’t wait for you to finish this and get hit that record.
What do you wish your medical providers understood about you?
Rob Oliver: So well, I appreciate it. So what do you wish your medical providers understood about you?
Ceena Jenkins: I think, you know, I brought up about mental health, because there’s a lot of stigma with mental health. And there’s a lot of stigma and a lot of conflicting beliefs and understanding even within the medical profession, even within mental health experts, you know, can disagree. So I think, you know, for me, when, when you have a lot of times when you go through mental health issues, you can have physical issues from that as well. And what would always break down the relationship for me would be not taken seriously. And just not feeling like rushed and not given enough options on what you know, how to approach my care and just assuming, you know, I don’t know, I’m having a hard time with this, but I don’t know, Rob, you’re, you’re, you’re good at kind of summarizing for me.
Rob Oliver: No, it’s, it’s, you want to be, you want to feel heard. Is that what you’re saying?
Ceena Jenkins: Yeah, because I think with mental health, especially, or even types of physical issues that maybe aren’t explainable, you know, maybe they can’t find a source or to make a diagnosis, then it’s kind of like you’re kind of written off. Sure, you know, and you’re the expert on your own body. You know.
How can medical professionals improve the quality of healthcare?
Rob Oliver: Well said. Yeah. All right. Last question for you, you know, what is one thing medical professionals can start doing today to improve the quality of healthcare?
Ceena Jenkins: And well, this came out of, you know, when we were preparing for a presentation, I think on that questionnaire, they need to add questions on those questionnaires related to, or do you consider alternative medicine? What is your spiritual beliefs, you know, religious beliefs and get more into knowing that person and their perspective on where they’re coming from and, and kind of what type of holistic plan or treatment they, they may prefer over another.
Rob Oliver: Got it. Okay. Excellent. Listen, Ceena, I appreciate you joining me today. I appreciate you taking your time and listen, I respect you and I respect your perspective on healthcare.
Ceena Jenkins: Thank you. Thank you. I appreciate you. And thank you so much for all that you do and for, yeah, I’m so grateful to know you. So thank you.
Rob Oliver: The feeling is mutual. See you later.
Ceena Jenkins: Bye bye.
Disclaimer: All opinions expressed by guests on the Perspectives on Healthcare Podcast are solely the opinion of the guest. They are not to be misconstrued as medical diagnoses or medical advice. Please consult with a licensed medical professional before attempting any of the treatments suggested.