IU Health Methodist Hospital

The stockings were hung from the Christmas tree with care

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December 19, 2018

Holiday sock swap brightens halls of 6N at IU Health Methodist

Forget about the stock exchange at this time of year. How about a sock exchange?

The Christmas tree on 6N at IU Health Methodist Hospital features festive socks instead of holiday ornaments hanging from its branches.

The “sock tree” is an alternative to a more traditional Secret Santa gift exchange that is popular in other departments, says unit secretary Tina Hobbs, who organized the sock swap.

“They love it,” Hobbs said of her colleagues on the pulmonary care floor. It’s a fun and easy way to spread a little holiday cheer, she said.

As of last week, 48 team members had signed up for the sock exchange. Each pair of socks is tagged with a number. On Dec. 20, participants will draw a number and pick the corresponding footwear off the tree.

Despite the festive earrings she’s wearing, Hobbs says she’s a “plain Jane” who prefers sensible socks to the colorful ones hanging on the tree. But she doesn’t skimp on the socks she buys for others.

“I’m boring, but I will get festive socks for other people.”

And that’s not all she does.

A self-described “organizing queen,” Hobbs likes to help decorate and plan events for the floor. Last year, she organized a coloring contest for staff and posted the masterpieces near the break room. Doors are decorated, and stockings are hung by the nurse’s station with care. And what would the holidays be without an ugly Christmas sweater contest?

The activities aren’t just to lift the staff’s spirits. They are designed to lift patients literally and figuratively.

“We like to decorate because it helps the patients,” Hobbs said. “We found out it improves their mobility because they want to come out and see what’s going on. They see people hanging stuff on the doors, and they say, ‘Can you take me for a walk? I want to know what’s going on out there.’ That’s one of the main reasons I like to do it.”

Patients who aren’t able to go home for Christmas will receive a card created by staff and distributed on Christmas morning.

Hobbs, who has a son in the Air Force and two grandchildren, has worked at Methodist for 27 years, the first 26 as a nursing assistant. She’s not too keen on the spotlight, preferring to give credit to those she works with, including senior clinical nurse Susan Anderson, clinical nurse Monique Iverson and manager Herman Schmitt.

Schmitt, clinical manager of operations for the advanced pulmonary unit, said Hobbs brings cheer to the floor all year.
“Tina is very passionate about staff engagement, involvement and reaching outside of our team to support others in need,” he said. “She shines through her creativity.”

-- By Maureen Gilmer, IU Health senior journalist
Email: mgilmer1@iuhealth.org

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