Central Peninsula General Hospital Employee of the Year Laura Williams is a certified nursing assistant working the hospital's night shift.
Photo by Phil Hermanek
Partly because of the slower pace, Laura Williams prefers the night shift at Central Peninsula General Hospital, where she is employed as a certified nursing assistant.
More importantly, though, is that the less task-oriented schedule on nights allows her a chance to "nurse the soul" of the patients.
"I can work with the patients, rub their backs, tuck them in, pray with them if they like," said the 38-year-old Kenai mother of six.
Williams was selected Employee of the Year by her co-workers this year.
The job of a CNA is to assist patients in the activities of daily living, doing such tasks as bathing and grooming, feeding, checking vital signs and generally helping the nurses with whatever tasks need to be done.
When asked why she believes her associates nominated her for this year's award, Williams said she thought it was because she is good at teamwork.
"I work with all night-shift workers. We're so close. The nurses are great because we work with them, not for them," she said.
She also said she is accustomed to pushing beyond what is expected, and now that CPGH has adopted the Planetree philosophy of patient-centered health care, she is allowed to do so.
Recently an elderly woman longed to have a Christmas tree in her room and Williams "borrowed" one from one of the hospital's common areas so the woman could enjoy the holidays.
On another occasion, a patient missed being able to play piano while in the hospital and Williams produced one and sang hymns with the patient.
"I have the ability to walk into a room and connect with the person," she said.
"I become their friend.
"I joke with my patients, I cry with them, and I pray with them."
Williams said she is not afraid of getting too attached to a patient who might be nearing death because she doesn't consider death to be a bad thing.
"You do the best you can to prepare them for the way out," Williams said.
"If I had the ability to choose one particular aspect of this job, hospice would be my specialty," she said.
Williams, who received her CNA training at Kenai Peninsula College, has worked at CPGH for seven years.
Her husband, Roy, also works for the hospital at its Serenity House facility. The couple have six children, Christopher, 22, Joshua, 20, Amanda, 18, Misty, 17, Megan, 12, and Remington, 12.
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