New Jersey Caregiver Changes Attitudes and Extends Lives Through Hope and Exceptional Caring
Putting smiles back on the faces of her patients despite their circumstances is all in a day's work for Marie Coleman, CHHA, CNA.
Just months ago, a 92-year-old woman who was experiencing a significant decline was admitted to Homeside Hospice, in Clark, NJ, where Coleman works as a home health aide. By spending time to find out about the woman's life before her illness, Coleman was able to bring the patient out of her depression, giving her hope for improvement. Shortly after, the patient began eating again and shocked everyone with her newfound enthusiasm and desire to get out of bed.
"It is sad when people get older and can't do things for themselves, and by being able to help them with eating, dressing, bathing, and other things, it makes my heart happy."
Coleman is known for going above and beyond the call of duty, often spending extra time with her patients to ensure they are receiving the care they need. She is a true hero of nursing, overtaken by care and compassion. Her patients consider her as more than a caregiver; in fact, most of them would call her a friend. A true patient advocate, she is someone they trust and feel comfortable around. Whether it's to help them eat, get dressed or take a bath, they ask her for assistance without feelings of embarrassment. For her continued devotion to her patients, she has received the prestigious Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award. She is one of only 10 honorees nationwide in 2007.
The award is granted annually by Cherokee Uniforms to recognize nurses and other non-physician healthcare professionals who demonstrate exceptional service, sacrifice and innovation and have a positive impact on others' lives. This is the 5th year the leading designer and manufacturer of healthcare apparel has honored inspirational caregivers.
Coleman always goes out of her way, driving far from home and putting in extra hours without monetary compensation. When asked why she enjoys what she does, Coleman comments,"I like my work because of the feeling of joy it gives to me. It warms my heart to see the difference I can make in someone's life when they need help."
Coleman was nominated for the Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award by her friend and co-worker, Nora Bertocci, who said,"Giving care to her patients is Marie's job, giving them love and compassion is her way."
As a Grand Prize Winner in the award's Non-Physician Healthcare Professional category, Coleman receives an all-expense-paid Caribbean cruise, a crystal award and a wardrobe of Cherokee healthcare apparel. She also will appear in the nationally distributed Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award 2008 calendar.
Since the Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award was established in 2003, more than 5,300 healthcare professionals have been nominated in the Registered Nurse, Advanced Practice Nurse, Licensed Practical Nurse/Licensed Vocational Nurse, Student Nurse and Non-Physician Healthcare Professional categories. A panel of nursing professionals and Cherokee representatives evaluates nominations and grants the awards.
For every nomination, Cherokee Uniforms donated $1 to national health-centered charities. The total amount was divided equally among the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association and the Alzheimer's Association. Since 2005, Cherokee has donated over $3,300. Proceeds from Cherokee Uniforms products support healthcare professionals through initiatives such as the Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award, an annual calendar and the A Nurse I Am Film and Scholarship Program. Cherokee Uniforms will be accepting nominations for the 2008 Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award beginning March 1, 2008 through May 31, 2008.