Center of Second Chances


The Medstar Washington Hospital Center; where a multitude of people from different backgrounds, and different medical conditions agglomerate to fulfill their dreams of being treated for whatever medical condition so that they may have a second chance at life. While the reasons for which people chose The Medstar Hospital Center may differ vastly, everyone there hopes for a common end result.

The Medstar  proved to be a very interesting CLS; it was especially interesting in searching for textual aspects that circulated throughout the area. While the Medstar does have a rather complex relationship with the surrounding neighborhoods and its residents, I chose to focus rather on its relationship with the people that it services as a whole. Upon visiting the area multiple times, one thing that stuck out to me was the myriad of advertisements and billboards that engulfed the surrounding area. The most common form of advertisement that seemed to circulate was an aspect of “second chances”.  There were multiple ads with people that showed why and how the Medstar had given them a second chance at life. It was very interesting how the ads showcased people from different walks of life; the motto was What do a motorcycle police officer, an elementary school music teacher and a father of three have in common?  MedStar Washington Hospital Center helped give them a second chance.”. It was as if the Medstar was trying to instill in the minds of the observer that they are all encompassing, that they can save anyone regardless where you are and what your condition is. They save community members like local teachers that prove instrumental to the success of the young; they save the police officers that keep the community safe, but they also save motorcyclists and everyday men. This is where the term “Center of Second Chances” is derived from. This self-imposed nickname that has been advertised and circulated throughout the community shows how the Medstar attempts to integrate themselves within the local society as well as with the greater area.

One issue with the form of advertisement that the Medstar uses is that while this may be a good idea in order to direct traffic and more patients to the hospital, it also raises the question, Is the hospital capable of treating all its patients, and does it have the infrastructure to treat everyone effectively? An article published last year highlighted the Medstars inability to keep workers at the hospital happy. Many of the nurses claimed that the schedule was tight and that the job was extremely stressful. It got the point where a strike was organized by the workers in which they stated that they wanted better pay and that issues of understaffing and unsafe working conditions should be remedied. Another issue brought up in another article highlights a survey which shows the results of the Medstar compared to other hospitals.The survey shows that the Medstar is lacking in staff happiness, only 38% of workers indicated that they feel as if their mistakes are held against them. Another measurement in the study shows that only 42% of workers feel that patient care is in an adequate place. It is hard to justify The Medstar allocating resources to attract more patients when it currently has a problem keeping up with its current influx. To what extent will the Medstar value growth without leaving thought for its current problems

After my visit to the Medstar I started to notice more and more ads for the Washington Center in the metro trains. Now that this phenomenon was encoded in my mind I started to recognize the Medstar advertisements on a more consistent basis. I felt a bit like Matt, the Georgetown professor, with his non-active search of DC flags. One peculiar thing that I noticed was that the Medstar used different advertising methods based on proximity to the hospital. While on the red train I noticed a Medstar advertisement that simply stated basic facts about the hospital. This ad style developed more of an ethos point of view, which directly contrasted the pathos approach of the “second chance” ad style meant to appeal to the emotions of the individual reading the ad by highlighting the familiarity and the bonds the Medstar has with its patients.  Could it be that the Medstar believes that an average onlooker does not value the community value of a hospital that is not in their immediate network more than the credibility and professional rating that it has to offer?

The Medstar campaign of “Second Chances” is meant to be exclusively for the community that it envelops. It has been made known that the area that it inhibits is mostly a lower socioeconomic echelon so it would be hard for someone from the Medstar area to go to a different hospital if they wanted to. Maybe the inhabitants that live near the Medstar care much more about the community aspect and hospitality of the hospital rather than their credibility. Whatever the reason, it still proves to be quite an interesting phenomenon. How much does the Medstar want to develop a communal relationship with the inhabitants, but also how much does it want to attract a broader population to its facilities? Will these two elements be able to coexist? It is crucial to be able to juxtapose these two aspects, so as to understand how will they impact the “Center of Second Chances.”

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