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Compass in the Community: An Interview with Nicholas Bott

Compass in the Community: An Interview with Nicholas Bott

Warm Hearts in the Valley of the Sun 

Maricopa County sprawls in saguaros and skyscrapers across Arizona’s “Valley of the Sun,” as the tourist brochures like to call it. The 9200-square-mile expanse—almost the size of New Hampshire—is home to Phoenix, the state capital, and some 4.4 million people. Valleywise Health (formerly Maricopa Integrated Health System), the county’s safety net hospital, is there to provide exceptional health care to anyone who walks through their doors.

The health care organization operates 17 facilities, with more currently under construction. “Morrison Healthcare manages Food and Nutrition Services, while Crothall Healthcare covers Environmental Services,” explains System Director Nicholas Bott. “Together, we are Compass One.”

And together, they’ve earned a Compass in the Community Award.

“I couldn’t be more excited on behalf of our team and our organization to have been selected to receive this award,” says Nicholas. “I look forward to all the events we have planned for this upcoming year. We will continue to live out the mission that our organization has set forth.”

Maricopa County’s Compass One associates are, indeed, living that mission.

They collaborate with St. Mary’s Food Bank to run a food pantry on the third Saturday of every month, feeding more than 200 families. It is a crucial lifeline for them to get fresh vegetables, bread and other non-perishable items.

The Fall Care Fair serves some 500 families, providing a nutritious, complimentary meal, free health screenings and nutritional counseling. “Not only did we extend our outreach in the greater community,” says Nicholas, “some of our employees signed up for services they did not realize they had access to.”

First responders come from all over the valley for Compass One’s annual EMS BBQ. “It makes us feel great to be able to do something special for them,” he continues, “as they are the people who make that first contact with patients before they come to the hospital. “

And that’s just for starters. We asked Nicholas to tell us more about the amazing work Valleywise Health and Compass One are doing in Maricopa County.

How long have you been with Compass One?

I’ve been with Morrison Healthcare for almost five years. I started with Maricopa in March 2017. When I came on board, I was the Senior Director of Food and Nutrition Services at the main campus. In September of this year, I was promoted to System Director of Food and Nutrition for the entire organization. MIHS underwent a name change as of October 1, 2019, and is now known as Valleywise Health.

Both Valleywise Health and Compass One fulfill a remarkable commitment to the community. For example, while many hospitals are cutting back on psychiatric care, Valleywise Health has expanded. 

Yes, it seems like the trend across the United States is to close down psychiatric facilities. However, since we’re a safety net hospital, we are not going to follow the status quo. We’re going to advocate for more psychiatric care.

Valleywise Health’s mission statement is to offer exceptional care, without exception, to every patient, every time. Compass One shares that philosophy.

We serve anybody who walks through our doors, whether they have insurance or not. It’s very special to work in a place like this. So many hospitals are focused on finances and while we understand the importance of that, the vision and values of this organization are mainly focused on patient care.

How do Compass One associates help fulfill this mission? 

One thing people may not know is that there is a large refugee population in Phoenix. That opens up a whole other area of patient care. We have interpreters from all over the globe. We’re the only place many of them can go to get the quality medical care that they need.

Because our associates come from all walks of life, because our Food and Nutrition Service and Environmental Service teams are so diverse, we have an opportunity to connect with the refugee population. Once we began talking about ways to help them, it became evident that while they may not necessarily celebrate Christmas, it is the holiday season. We felt that since they were away from home, in a new place, it would be nice to have a special celebration for them.

We call it the Holiday Angel Initiative.

Compass One and Valleywise Health work together to do the fundraising, to provide the things that the refugee community needs for their everyday quality of living. Clothing, toiletries, bedding, diapers, things a lot of us take for granted. But those families truly appreciate them. It is an incredibly humbling experience to provide so much support to the people in this demographic.

It feels good; it warms your heart. Our associates volunteer not just money but also time. Seeing the smiles from more than 500 families we help each year, when they receive these things they need for their everyday life, it’s incredible to be a part of.

What are your other favorite events? 

The City of Phoenix has two major walks each year. Compass One and Valleywise Health participate in both the AIDS and Heart Walk. In 2019, we helped the hospital raise more than $32,000 in the combined events. Our system proved to be one of the top contributors to these fundraisers.

We do a lot of fundraising through the café, with staff members from the hospital. They donate and get a little placard or heart to write their name on. Those hearts line the café, the whole dining room. After three or four weeks of fundraising, it becomes a visual representation of how much our people care.

Because we participate as an entire hospital organization, marketing provides everyone with purple T-shirts. We might have 300 people walking. If you get separated from the main group, no matter where you are, you’ll see people in purple, everywhere, for the entire walk. You’re never alone. Everywhere anyone looked, it was a sea of purple.

I’m looking forward to the next Heart Walk in March of 2020. My assumption is that with our name and brand change, we will most likely be a sea of green. Since our new colors are mainly green with some hints of blue.

How did you feel when you won?

The recognition, winning this, was a true honor for myself and our whole team. It was my first time going to the Compass Night of the Stars. It was so neat to meet people not just from Morrison but from all the sectors.

It was also great to meet all the winners. So many of them were frontline associates, not management. It was touching to meet those individuals. They had a story. They are the ones who truly deserve to be there because they make an impact on the community. It was an honor to be there with them.

That’s what makes our company so special. Our people are the reason that this company is successful. That’s why we put so much into training and engagement, making sure every associate has the resources they need.

It was nice for me to go, but it was even better when I was able to bring the award back to the hospital. I had pictures that I showed the team, I was able to explain what the award meant. There was a monetary award, which we’re going to spend on a Christmas party for the staff this year. It was so special to present the award to our employees, who earned it by working day in and day out, and then soon have a celebration to thank them for their contributions.

What do you see in the future?

I don’t see us slowing down. With our focus on the lower and middle-class populations, the homeless population, the refugee population, we have a commitment to serve those individuals. I see us continuing to support the community in every aspect available to us because that’s why we are here. Actions speak louder than words.

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