Through this initiative, we are advancing the way we collect and share the voices of workers we serve. The intent of this initiative is to develop a collection of interviews and professional images reflecting workers’ experiences. This interview is with Dolores Quintana, a Patient Registration Representative at Intermountain Healthcare. She has been with Intermountain Healthcare for 15 years.
On her background
“I come from a nonprofit background. When I was younger, I started a nonprofit with my mentors. It was for Mexican Chicano youth. We were teaching what we weren’t learning in high school about knowing your rights with the police and the migra (immigration law enforcement) and doing social change work, learning about spirituality, financial aid, our history, culture and to take pride in that.
On where she is at now
“I live in Wheat Ridge now. I live with my mom. I had moved in originally to help with my grandma because my mom couldn’t help take care of her dementia. It was hard for my mom. So, me and my girls live there.
On her home life and family
“I live at home with my mom, a 13 year old and a six year old. They have big personalities. My oldest’s name means ‘wish’. And my little one’s name means ‘little fire essence’. My oldest, she’s very loving. If something’s wrong, she’s trying to make sure you’re okay. And my little one, she’s shy but she opens up when she’s ready too.”
On what she does in her free time
“Usually I’m just with my girls, trying to hang out with them. We like to go to Empire, Colorado. If you go up past the little town, there’s a little turnoff where you can sit by the water. We usually pack a lunch and we just hang out there, play in the water and just decompress from the city. I only work three days a week. It allows me time, more time with my girls and to go do those kinds of things. I like to be by the water.”
On the challenges of the last few years
“It’s been a struggle. When the pandemic first hit, it was an unknown time in the emergency room and for the staff and for our families. My little one, she was four. I would come home when we first started talking about it and we couldn’t go anywhere. She’s like, “Mom, are you going to die? I don’t want you to die.” I’m like, “No, I’m not going to get it.” But I would tell her that, not knowing for sure working in the hospital because the PPE (personal protective equipment) was real scarce. People would get one mask for the entire shift. It was just a real scary time. And I feel like my littles, they didn’t learn coping skills or how to socialize because they lost a good part of that for-what was it, a year, two years? Just doing online learning. Can’t go anywhere, can’t see your friends. They didn’t get to socialize; they didn’t get to learn a lot of things.”
On what worries her and keeps her up at night
“I think right now what worries me is the safety of my children. My oldest, I don’t mind sharing. She gets bullied a lot. She’s biracial, she’s Native and Black. So, she’s had a kid come up to her and call her an ‘f-ing slave’. And I’m like, do you know what that means? And she’s better than me. Because had I been her, I probably would’ve hit the girl.
Both my children have had their hair cut at school. And for us, our hair is sacred. Those are our prayers. That’s how we connect to our ancestors because a lot of times they didn’t get to grow their hair, they were stripped of everything.
I keep trying to instill in them, this is who you are. Be proud. You come from great people. We created great things and remember that.
“I keep trying to instill in them, this is who you are. Be proud. You come from great people. We created great things and remember that.”
On what she likes about the work she does
“It’s always something different with the patients. The registration part is always the same, but it’s something different with every individual because they’re all different people. They all come from all different walks of life. We can have a doctor coming in as a patient or we have a homeless person on the street. Just varies.”
“I feel like it’s supportive. For the most part on my team, we help each other out whether it’s work wise or personal.”
On the most challenging parts of her job
“When you feel like you don’t have the support from management. If there’s favoritism. Also, getting cussed out by patients and being disrespected when we’re only trying to do our job and help them. Or, just seeing our regular frequent flyers come in and you see their health deteriorating. They’re not as strong as they were when they came in. So that’s the sad part, the hard part. Or if we haven’t seen them for a while. We’re like, hey, have you seen so and so, have they checked in? I haven’t seen them. Are they still alive? Kind of thing. I think that’s the difficult part.”
On what a perfect life would look like
“I’m not sure I would want to have a perfect life because you don’t learn if everything is perfect, there’s blessings and lessons. But if I were to wake up tomorrow, and it would be a little bit easier, I would want my coworkers to feel supportive and to be able to come to work and not have to give themselves a pep talk when it can be super stressful. A lot are going through a lot of heartache right now from family death. I would want their pain to be a little bit less so they can get through the day. I would want my girls to be proud of themselves no matter what. And my daughter not having suicidal thoughts and just be confident in herself and love herself and to learn to pray for herself. And just to continue to learn and be open to criticism, constructive criticism, and not to take it personal, just to be able to learn from it and know this is what I need to change to be better in leadership, better parent, mother, a daughter, and community member. So that’s what I feel like my perfect life would be.”
“I’m not sure I would want to have a perfect life because you don’t learn if everything is perfect.“
Photography: Lee Stiffler-Meyer | Let the Light in Studio
WorkLife’s Worker Voice Initiative aims to advance the way we uplift the voices of workers we serve, focusing on authentic stories from workers who experience systemic and societal issues that impact their ability to bring their whole selves to their jobs. If you’re interested in sharing your story, please email us at [email protected].