Security sergeant offers warm ‘Greet’ings at Michigan Medicine
Every day Nikki Greet comes to Michigan Medicine, she comes to offer support — even if she doesn’t necessarily know what type of support it’s going to be.
“Nothing about our job is mundane,” said Greet, who works as a security sergeant and has been with the Michigan Medicine Security Department for 13 years. “Some days we work to ensure patients and families are comfortable, while other times we’re providing escorts to vehicles or helping staff members jumpstart their car.”
Greet said it’s a challenging job, yet one that’s filled with meaningful moments: “We get to impact so many people’s lives in so many different ways.”
‘Creating a healing environment’
Greet and her security colleagues are some of the most visible members of the Michigan Medicine team, wearing light blue uniforms with badges that can be recognized from far away.
“When people see us, they know that we’re there to help,” Greet said.
Helping others is what motivated Nikki to enter security work in the first place. She attended Eastern Michigan and earned a degree in criminal justice, with an eventual goal of becoming a detective.
But her first job out of college brought her to Michigan Medicine as a security officer — and Greet now can’t see herself anywhere else.
“I truly appreciate the incredible work our team does,” Greet said. “We may not be providing medical support or care, but we’re creating a healing environment for all of our patients and their families.”
Small patient, big payoff
Part of Greet’s responsibilities include serving as an intermediary between patients, families and staff members.
“We know that coming to the hospital can be an anxious time for people and we’re prepared to help them better deal with that stress,” Greet said. Team members go through ample de-escalation training and employ techniques that help keep individuals calm. “We have tried-and-true methods that get the best out of people, no matter the situation, and that helps us form meaningful, personal relationships.”
Greet recalled one such relationship from several years ago. A pediatric patient was anxious about an upcoming surgery, and Greet – who worked solely at Mott at the time — was called to help keep her calm.
“We hit it off right from the start,” Greet said. “I was able to get her laughing, smiling and comfortable.”
When the family returned for a follow-up procedure, they immediately asked for Greet to meet with their daughter.
“She would light up whenever I came into the room,” Greet said. “You can’t put into words how good it feels to be able to play such a big role in someone’s life.”
Sharing a wide spectrum of knowledge
On top of her daily work, Greet has spread her wings to make an even bigger impact on the organization.
“I’ve always had an interest in autism and individuals who fall on the autism spectrum,” Greet said. Through outside research, Greet became an expert in how security and other staff members should interact with patients and family members who are on the spectrum. Her boss eventually asked Greet if she wanted to share that knowledge with the rest of Michigan Medicine.
“I now team up with a patient who is high-functioning but has autism and another colleague, Maureen Muysenberg, and together we lead autism awareness workshops for clinicians and clerical staff,” Greet said.
While they don’t touch on medical issues, the trio focuses on behavioral issues and how to help those on the spectrum succeed in an unfamiliar environment.
Among the tips? “Those with autism often are susceptible to sensory overload,” Greet said. So her group suggests taking a patient to a quiet room while they are waiting to see a clinician instead of placing them in a busy waiting room.
“Everything we do, whether it’s educating staff members or intervening in a difficult situation, is designed to make Michigan Medicine a better place for patients, families and employees,” Greet said. “It’s an important job, and one that my team and I are proud to carry out each day.”