Health First’s Palm Bay Hospital CNA Puts Her Heart into Helping Patients

By  //  September 16, 2021

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HEALTH FIRST’S PALM BAY HOSPITAL Nursing Assistant Maria Sousa, left, and Surgery Center Nurse Ellen Jamett team up to aid a COVID-19 patient in the Emergency Department. (Health First image)

Maria Sousa believes that helping customers is a team effort – and enjoys going above and beyond.

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – When Palm Bay Hospital’s Maria Sousa learned the hardships suffered by one of her patients, she took it upon herself to encourage the patient to start a walking routine. Little did the Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) know but the patient hadn’t been outside for more than four months.

“She didn’t have anybody to take care of her and got to the point where she couldn’t go outside,” Maria said.

“I came in every morning for our walk together, then after a couple of walks, she said, ‘It’s nice to be walking outside and see the sun, Maria, I feel so much better.’ ”

It is the same repeated compassionate care that also earned Maria a Health First “first” – being the first two-time winner of the Connect First award. The award is designed to commend associates who consistently show exceptional teamwork, exceed expectations and anticipate customer needs.

The recent award was earned by Maria for “being a great-hearted person who consoled me whenever she saw me crying.”

“I make sure all my patients have their medication and the things doctors and nurses provide for, and that extra ray of hope to recover,” Maria said.

“This is my heart, and what I’ve done all my life – help people. Everybody works together for each patient and realizes that teamwork is what helps patients leave the hospital faster and in better condition than when they came in.”

She believes hospital associates should talk to their patients and let them know the staff is always there for them. It’s also important to get to know the patient’s family and their concerns, so she feels she is giving total care to everyone affected.

Forget the Money

Another great example of Maria’s compassion was for an elderly patient during an extended stay. She regularly combed her hair, took care of her nails and sometimes provided food for family members during visits.

Maria also takes good care of herself, “I have a salad every day and eat my biggest meal in the morning,” she said. “I also take vitamins, exercise for 20 minutes in the morning, then do something active for 45-50 minutes at night from Monday to Saturday.

“Everything I do for my patients comes from my heart,” Maria said. “Some people come to work for a check, but when I clock in, I forget the money and do everything with my heart and my hands to help all my patients.”

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