UPMC Life Changers are employees who go above and beyond to make a difference in the lives of patients and staff, friends and family, and the community. Follow their stories in this monthly series to see how UPMC employees are changing lives in more ways than one.
Clyde Fritzley has stood behind the volunteer desk at UPMC St. Margaret for 11 years, greeting each person who walks through the doors with a smile.
In fact, the Lawrenceville native has been a constant presence at UPMC for nearly four decades.
“I really enjoyed coming to work,” he says. “I think I’m one of the fortunate people who can look forward to coming to work each day.”
Fritzley started his career at UPMC working in housekeeping and the mailing room, before finding his way to his current position as a greeter with the volunteer services department. On his first day, he knew that working at UPMC would be different than any of his past career endeavors. For Fritzley, the position is a calling.
A Helping Hand
Whether preparing a cup of coffee for someone seated in the waiting room or gathering a wheelchair for a patient in need, Fritzley sees his roles as an opportunity to give back to the many residents and neighbors of Pittsburgh. Service to others is an important aspect in Fritzley’s faith, and he believes any day he can spend helping someone else is a success.
“This job gives me the opportunity to assist patients and their families,” he says. “By the grace of God I’m able to be compassionate with their needs and requests. I can develop special relationships with these people, and they can count on me to help them.”
He shares what he calls “little words of encouragement” with all those he comes across throughout the day, and working within the volunteer program enables him to interact with a variety of visitors and patients in need.
During a typical day, Fritzley will don numerous hats, including providing transportation throughout the campus, directing visitors and patients to different UPMC locations, overseeing the spiritual care requests, and providing stimulation and activities for patients who require longer stays than anticipated.
A Personal Touch
Thanks to a packed daily schedule, Fritzley is familiar with many of the patients and visitors. He explains that he’s come to know many of the patients and sees them as more than just a face, but as a friend, a neighbor, or a person he’ll likely come across again in Pittsburgh. He’s met tons of people during his years of employment, but a pair of sisters has left a lasting and unforgettable impact.
“I’ve been helping these sisters for 10 years,” he says. “I’ve really gotten to know them, and every time they come in, I get them wheelchairs and a cup of coffee. They actually call me at the hospital when they’re not feeling good or it’s been awhile since I’ve seen them.”
Each day he reports to work, Fritzley hopes he’ll make a personal connection with someone that crosses his path. “Helping people is my biggest thing when I’m here,” he says.
He explains that a visit to the hospital can sometimes be a nerve-wracking experience for families and patients, and he hopes that demonstrating kindness and care can make their experience a little easier. There are many parts to his job that he enjoys, but it’s especially rewarding when Frtizley is able to help patients meet their spiritual needs.
“In my faith, God calls us to see the face of Christ in everyone we meet,” he says. “We’re supposed to look out for each other and help each other. It makes me feel good that I’m able to help my neighbors. At one time or another we’ll all need a helping hand and if I can help someone else, then my day feels worthwhile.”