Photo by Jay Paul
While the category “specialty technician” is more synonymous with lab techs and X-ray specialists, this administrative assistant goes beyond her regular duties to provide exceptional service and support not only to doctors but to patients as well, prompting her peers to vote for her to receive this special honor. Jenneane Henshaw began working at HCA Virginia’s Chippenham Hospital in Chesterfield County as a PRN (unit secretary working when called upon) in the pediatrician’s office on May 18, 1981. Nearly 34 years later, you’ll find her at the HCA Johnston-Willis Hospital in Midlothian, in the Women’s Health Unit, where she’s been since 2006. Henshaw has held a number of positions related to women’s health between the two hospitals. As the administrative assistant for women’s services, she is responsible for a number of tasks, primarily answering phones and calling in doctors’ consultations. “Whatever they need to help take care of the patient,” says Henshaw.
Dr. John Partridge, an OB/GYN at Virginia Physicians for Women who has hospital privileges at Johnston-Willis, says that Henshaw coordinates the ebb and flow of data such as lab results and X-rays in a way that ensures tasks are completed accurately and efficiently for the benefit of the patient. Partridge notes that if a patient’s wait for the results of a test starts to drag on, Henshaw will track them down herself. “You don’t find this very often, so when you do, it’s a crucial component to the surgeon that someone is taking ownership and seeking out this information,” says Partridge. “The whole process comes to a screeching halt in the absence of a person like Jenneane.”
Henshaw says she just wants to help. “I want the patient to be able to … go home with what they need …. If they can’t afford [a prescription], I call their case management — all so they can go home and … can get better.”
Henshaw remembers a patient who was near death, and her husband asked if he could bring their beloved pet dog into the hospital. The hospital does allow this as long as the animal’s shots are up-to-date, says Henshaw, who sought approval from her director and was able to obtain the go-ahead. “The dog was able to be with her, the dog was like family to her … she was holding the dog when she passed away. The family was so appreciative that I was able to allow her to do that.”
Partridge says that Henshaw routinely takes on responsibilities that the average administrative assistant doesn’t. “Among other things, she takes ownership of what should be done and makes sure it gets done right, and she’s very bright and very intuitive,” he says. “Many times I’ll come in the ward and open my mouth, and she’ll say, ‘I already have it for you.’ How could she already know? She’s very intuitive.”