As a father, I get to experience a lot of “firsts” with my kids. The first time they ride a bike on their own.

The first day of school.

The first time they dip their feet in the ocean.

All of these events are amazing to see through the eyes of someone experiencing them for the very first time.

I had another of those first moments when I took my son to see his first NFL football game in Miami recently.
The Buffalo Bills vs the Miami Dolphins.

I grew up in Rochester, New York and I’ve been a Bills fan my whole life so I was excited to have the chance to make some new football memories with my son.

We arrived at the stadium early where I immediately went to the guest services window to ask if there was anything fun I could do with my son before the game started.

Dressed in our Bills gear, we were thrilled to get the chance to tour Hard Rock Stadium — home to the Miami Dolphins. We explored the field and took a ton of pictures. My son’s eyes grew wide with excitement. During our tour, an employee asked if it was our first NFL game. 

The next thing I know we’re in front of a banner celebrating this “first” for my son! Awesome!

All of the employees at the stadium were prepared to celebrate first-time visitors with a wonderful warm welcome.

It was a memorable day for my son.

And for me it was absolutely remarkable to see a professional sport through the eyes of someone who has never been there before.

Patients Want A Warm Welcome, Too

We have the opportunity to create memorable first experiences for patients, too.

Of course, the circumstances of a hospital are vastly different from a football game, but there are some similarities. In both instances you have people who have no idea what to expect. They don’t know the “lay of the land.” They don’t know where the restrooms are or how things are run. And for patients, they don’t know what different medical terms and phrases mean, or what’s going to happen to them in the exam room or the operating room. Above all, most patients — whether it’s their first visit or their 101st visit — are scared.

A person’s first time as a patient isn’t a cause for celebration in the same way as my son’s first football game, of course. However, it’s just as important to warmly welcome people to a hospital or care facility if for nothing else then to help reassure them and take away some of their anxiety and worries. 

I’d love to know how you and your organization welcome patients and family members. Comment below or drop me a line at

My son and I had a great time at the game and I want to thank the employees at Hard Rock Stadium for welcoming this Bills fan and for making my son feel special. It was a day neither of us will soon forget.

(By the way — without a doubt the best part of the day was getting to spend it with my son and share in this first moment with him.
But the second best part? 
The Bills won, 37-20.)