Friends at Work

By Patrice Levinson, Nurse Practitioner, Student Health Services

Enjoy this Share Your Story feature and consider sharing your own well-being story with our Mason community!

According to a recent Gallup study, having a best friend at work is one of the most important factors in job satisfaction and performance. At Student Health Services, we take this advice seriously. We foster these friendships and nurture them in multiple ways. We start our day with a “Team Huddle” where the entire staff meets for a few minutes to say our good mornings and review pertinent information for the day. Then, most of us head to our offices and patient care posts to provide the excellent care to our Mason students that you may have heard about. For many of us, we don’t have much contact with our coworkers again until lunchtime.

So, we meet up and go for a two-mile walk, either at noon or at 1 p.m. – every day, rain, shine, snow or summer heat. We encourage each other to take this time for exercise even on days where we might not be prioritizing our own health and well-being. It’s hard to say “no” when your work best friend asks, “Are you ready to walk?” We change into sneakers and off we go.

Our walks take us across our beautiful campuses and through the surrounding neighborhoods, where we can enjoy fresh air, sunshine, flowers and trees. We value this time together to catch up on each other’s lives, get some daily exercise and to discuss current events and world news. Some of us have been walking together for 10, 15 or 20 years. We have helped each other through life stressors, family and medical challenges and personal and family milestones and celebrations. This daily time with our work best friends is restorative and important.

On Fridays, we enjoy an early lunch hour after our weekly Friday morning meetings and we celebrate the coming weekend (and family time) by sharing lunch at Southside dining hall or one of the other fine eateries on campus. If it’s the third Friday of the month, we will come back to the office to a birthday cake and birthday cards for our staff members celebrating birthdays that month.

Staff turnover at Student Health Services is low which we attribute to the great people on our staff and to our fine, thoughtful and appreciative Mason students. And, to the good health we enjoy through daily exercise and meaningful friendships.