St. Louis Children’s Hospital employee says the mission is key
Bob Rubenstein, St. Louis Children’s Hospital Foundation prospect researcher, served in the U.S. Air Force for 13 years. He says his job in the military was relatively modest, but it taught him a valuable lesson: No job is too small.
“I refueled airplanes and maintained the fuel facilities,” he says. “In the Air Force, most of the attention by the public is focused on the pilots. The motto in my shop was, ‘Without fuel, pilots are pedestrians.’ I live by that in my role at BJC.
“Doctors are, of course, the focus of patients and families. However, imagine patient outcomes if the custodian staff or facility maintenance managers failed to perform — infections, loss of networks and other issues that can take away from the skills of the most gifted surgeons. I carry that into my duties and modest contributions to our overall mission at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.”
While in the military, Rubenstein’s service ranged from flood duty in Quincy, Illinois, to multiple overseas deployments in support of missions involving conflicts in Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq and other NATO operations.
Rubenstein answers a few questions about his service and his career at SLCH:
Q: How is your work at BJC connected to your military career?
A: Service to others. I left the military as a Master Sergeant after 13 years and was fortunate to find a very lucrative position at a small company in Chicago. After only a year, the money wasn’t enough to compensate for the loss I felt being involved with a corporate mission that just didn’t seem to have an impact on anyone or anything. I came to realize the mission of what I do is more important to me than what I do in terms of job responsibility.
Q: How does your military experience help you make medicine better at BJC?
A: My role is to use analytics to develop the best and most efficient use of our fundraisers’ time and efforts to raise money for the hospital. My job in the military required the ability to quickly adapt to changes, maintain patience and flexibility, and remain focused on the “big picture” at all times and how I fit into the overall strategic plan.
Q: What advice do you have for a veteran interested in employment at BJC?
A: Evaluate the journey that brought you to joining and eventually leaving the military — what memories make you smile, make you cringe and make you proud of what you did. Look at what BJC does, not just at the corporate level, but at the “mission level.” Explore the different hospitals and what they provide to the physical and mental health of our community and nationwide. Like any job in the military, you are part of the victories, no matter how far removed from the laboratories, clinics, operating rooms and treatment centers you may be.
Q: What do you miss most about your military career?
A: The bonds. The diversity in my unit was very wide, but we were family. I’ve never been able to call them co-workers or acquaintances. It was unusual in my unit — I was as close to my commander who was a General as I was to the Airmen who reported to me.