In honor of Patient Experience Week, we continue to highlight our amazing VA healthcare community, and we’re proud to announce the winner of the inaugural Experience Excellence award. Congratulations to Samuel “Matt” Matthews, a Voluntary Service Specialist at the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center!
The Veterans Experience Council created this employee recognition program last year to identify team members that positively impact patient experience and create meaningful patient experiences. The Experience Excellence program is now an important part of the VAMC’s workplace culture. Employees are awarded “stars” for noteworthy activities, and the 10 staff members who earned the most stars were in the running for the first annual Experience Excellence Award.
Matthews’ exemplary performance demonstrates a commitment to Veterans and the VAMC mission to be a High Reliability Organization. His achievements include soliciting American Idol country singer Clay Page to perform a free concert and take part in patient visits; coordinating the performing group Re-Creation USA to entertain patients; organizing logistics for a volunteer driver to pick-up a new DAV van in Kentucky to replace one that was stolen and vandalized last year; and much more.
When asked what this award means to him, Matthews humbly remarked, “Winning this award is a testament that coming to work every day and always looking to do your best is rewarding. Though it’s done from your own personal conviction, it’s always good to be recognized. My motto is: people don’t care what you know until they know you care.”
It’s no surprise that Matthews has a heart for Veterans and a passion to provide excellent customer service. As a 24-year Navy Veteran, he spent much of his military career as a Fleet Marine Force Hospital Corpsman, working alongside the Marine Corps’ Special Operations Tactical Groups in Afghanistan and Iraq. He also served as a Patient Admin Chief, a Drug and Alcohol Program Manager, a Medical Officer Recruiter, and a Casualty Assistant Officer for the Navy.
“The greatest advice I could give is to understand that wins and losses come a dime a dozen. Every day you have to be driven for greatness. If you are not driven for greatness, that means you’re OK with being mediocre,” said Matthews.