We are excited to kick off Nursing Assistants Week spotlighting our Suncoast Hospice aides and their compassion, care and comfort for patients and families.
Donna Williams grew up in Clearwater. Her family encouraged her to pursue health care and she became a home health aide. When she stumbled upon Suncoast Hospice nearly 18 years ago, she found a perfect career match.
“I never knew what hospice did. I was driving by and went in to ask. I put in my application. I thought it would be a nice place to work. I love it,” Williams explained.
Initially, she cared for patients on two home teams, helping with patients’ bathing, dressing and other personal needs. Five years ago she joined the Lavender Team and its facility-based patient care. She has grown to provide personal care for patients; crisis care for patients with critical needs; specialized support for patients during the last hours of their life; and office coverage for the team.
Bon Secours Maria Manor is her main facility location. This day she comes in, greets facility staff and gives a hug to her patient, Betty DeBoer, an elderly woman from Georgia who used to wear high heels and take the bus regularly because she did not learn to drive.
“You look wonderful. I look at you and I feel better,” DeBoer told Williams.
Williams’ smile, kindness and calming touch ease and uplift her patients and families.
“I like it here. I love people. In a couple of cases we have had a family that we thought was going to be difficult, but when I went in the whole atmosphere changed,” Williams said.
She especially cherishes accompanying and comforting patients who are close to death.
“I love being at the bedside at that moment when they are transitioning. I pray with them. I let them know they are not alone. I am there with them and they appreciate that so much,” she shared.
Her team has taught her a lot along the way. She is known to go above and beyond to help out.
“I am in the office a lot. I do a little bit of everything. They (team) are so wonderful. Kim White (care team manager) and Agnes Stanley (senior staff nurse) are not just bosses, they are like a family. They are so supportive and their doors are always open. They care,” Williams noted.
The mission of Suncoast Hospice continues to nurture her soul.
She added, “When people come to work for Suncoast Hospice, they stay. It’s a great organization. It’s all about the patients and families. I believe God planned this for me because I have a heart for people. It’s ministry. I can’t see myself doing anything different.”
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I love this woman of God, because she has been all those things for me and my family from the very day we met. She is my true friend and the personification of what caring and love is.
Congratulations, much deserved ❤
Donna, Thank you for sharing your story and experiences of working with Empath Health-Suncoast Hospice. It is inspiring and brings joy to my heart. Happy Nursing Assistants Week!
So proud of you Renee