When asked what makes Kwame Kuffour so special, Florence Oppong often recalls one of his interactions with a patient at Fairlawn Rehabilitation Hospital, an affiliate of Encompass Health.
As Oppong passed this patient’s room one day, she heard Kuffour singing softly as he went about this work as a rehab nursing tech. Later, Oppong learned that this patient was blind, and Kuffour’s gentle serenade was his way of letting the patient know he was in the room.
“He thought it would help the patient know where he was,” said Oppong, a nurse manager at Fairlawn. “He felt singing would be a calming, positive way to do that. He just goes above and beyond to help our patients, and that’s what makes him so unique and special.”
It’s also what earned Kuffour Encompass Health’s Outstanding Employee Achievement Award for its Northeast region. Kuffour was one of seven employees out of more than 30,000 to win the award.
When his coworkers learned Kuffour had been selected for the honor, they gave him a standing ovation, said CEO Anne Roper.
“Everybody knows Kwame,” she said. “We all love him. He’s a very soft-spoken person, and he’s always smiling and encouraging his patients to think positive.”
Kuffour has been at the Massachusetts hospital for about two years. Originally, he is from Guam where he was a teacher. He still keeps in contact with many of his students, though they are many miles apart, and Kuffour’s childhood friends said even when they were boys, Kuffour loved helping people.
“He is very generous, very loyal and very friendly,” said Eric Agyekum. “He always liked helping the needy.”
“He is everybody’s friend,” added George Opoku. “When I heard he received this award I was not surprised.”
Always humble, Kuffour was surprised, but said it’s more a reflection of his hospital and coworkers than it is him. “This is a great honor,” he said of receiving the award. “I’m grateful to be a part of a great team,” he said. “They are all deserving of this.”
As part of that team, Kuffour ensures he works with other departments and even takes on patients not assigned to him.
Oppong said the therapy team loves him because he takes what they teach their patients in the gym back to their room with them.
As one of his colleagues in therapy recently said, “I know it’s going to be a great day if Kwame is working.”