Pam Smith may just be the doting aunt her patients always wanted.
During her nearly 15 years as a nurse at Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital of Huntington, she’s decorated patient rooms and baked birthday cakes for them, but maybe most importantly, she’s always taken the time to really listen and understand her patients’ needs.
“I’ve been a nurse for 30 years, so I can appreciate a good nurse,” said Kenny Santos, one of Smith’s patients. “When I first came here, she was the first nurse I encountered, and I was very apprehensive, but she put me at ease and assured me I’d be taken care of. I felt safe, like this was the right place for my rehabilitation.”
Her ability to connect and care for her patients as well as her Encompass Health colleagues earned her the Company’s Outstanding Employee Achievement Award for its rehabilitation hospitals’ MidAtlantic region, making her one of seven to receive the award out of more than 30,000 employees.
When they learned that Smith was named the winner for their region earlier this year, Mike Zuliani, Encompass Health Huntington CEO, said the entire staff was ecstatic. He said it’s not only her attention to patients and her coworkers, but it’s also her dedication to ensuring processes run smoothly and efficiently.
“When we need something new rolled out here, we go to Pam,” he said. “She helps lead the charge and gets it implemented. As CEO, I hope everybody in our Company has a nurse like Pam because we’re a better place because of her.”
Helping out just comes naturally to Pam, her husband Robin said. “She’s a busy body,” he added.
She’s quick to host a fundraiser or bake sale for a friend in need, and she’s always willing to take extra time to get to know her patients. That’s one of her favorite parts of the job, she said.
“I just like to go and sit and talk with them a bit,” Smith said. “I want to get to know them, especially the ones who may not have family here. I want them to feel like they have one friend here right off the bat. I baked a birthday cake for one. I also decorated one’s room for a football game. It’s just like my mom said, try to make one person smile each day.”
Smith does her part to make many smile throughout her day. Whether it’s dressing up for the holidays or surprising her Encompass Health family with some sweet treats, Smith’s coworkers agree that it’s always a better day when they’re working with her.