• 77°

Hospital staff decorate for the holidays

Various departments within Highland Community Hospital used a friendly entrance decorating competition to bring staff members together and joy to patients.

“I think it brings a sense of camaraderie,” said Executive Assistant Misty Toruno.

As part of the competition, a waiting area was turned into Whoville with oversized Christmas lights and a cardboard fireplace, the reception desk in the surgery and urology clinic was decorated like a holiday themed movie theater and an emergency room desk was transformed into The Polar Express.

“It feels so much happier in here,” said ER unit secretary Jesse Johnson.

The decorating contest has taken place for over 20 years. Judging is conducted by community members, who tour the various departments to help determine a winner from the elaborate decorations. Departments are highly competitive, even though the prize is a simple pizza party, Toruno said. Employees cheer when the winners are announced over the hospital’s speaker system, said healthcare recruiter Colleen Latimer.

“They have so much imagination and creativity. They have a lot of fun with it,” Toruno said.

Hospitals throughout the Forrest Health system use the same theme for Christmas decorations, and this year the theme was Christmas Movies, Toruno said.

The decorations also bring joy to patients who may be dealing with serious situations, said Toruno.

“We’re able to share this little joy with patients and families,” Toruno said.