Joseph D’Urso never planned to work in health care. Having studied Arabic in school, he was hoping to get a job as an interpreter. However, sometimes life pushes you in other directions. Life pushed D’Urso toward health care. Now a patient liaison in the office of Michael Olding, MD, in the Division of Plastic Surgery at the George Washington University Medical Faculty Associates (GW MFA), D’Urso exercises other talents to make patients feel comfortable and confident in their care.
What does your role at the GW MFA entail?
D’Urso: I am the patient liaison for cosmetic surgery [in the Division of Plastic Surgery]. I handle all the new patients who come in, schedule surgeries, and deal with patients’ insurance. In my role I’m act as the point of contact between Dr. Olding and the patients. I’m the social one who is always talking, the person everyone can hear down the hallway talking loudly on the phone. My role is to be friendly and make sure the patients feel like they have somebody they can go to if they have issues, or even if they’re just trying to figure out when they can get their procedure done.
How long have you been with the GW MFA and what other roles have you held during that time?
D’Urso: I’ve been with the GW MFA since May 2015. I’ve been in the Department of Surgery this whole time, but I actually started out as a front desk person as a patient service specialist. I moved to the Vein Center a year later in 2016, then started working in the Division of Plastic Surgery shortly after that. I went from working with one of the plastic surgeons to working with Dr. Olding who does the cosmetic surgery in 2017.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
D’Urso: I’m super social and I like making the patients happy. I’ll end up having really long conversations with them and I enjoy it. We always get patient reviews that will say, “When Dr. Olding’s staff is on the phone with me or see me in the office, they always seem legitimately happy to talk to me.” With so many patients it’s gotten to the point where they are almost like family to us. It’s always good to have a human connection with people, more than just answering the phone and being like, “We will see you at this day and time, bye.” I like to try and make it more meaningful than that.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned in your role?
D’Urso: I feel like I’ve learned how to be agreeable and really accommodate people. I do whatever I can to help a patient, no matter what. I know what my job is, and I will do it and smile the whole way through, because people can hear a smile on the phone. Health care is customer service, no matter how you think about it.