Martha Smaine, LPN - Nurses Appreciation Winner
To discover why Martha Smaine, nurse at Diamond Ridge Health & Rehab in Lecanto, deserves a Nurses Appreciation award, listen to the residents for whom she cares and their family members. “Everybody is looking for the best help they can get, she’s one of them,” said John Redd, Diamond Ridge resident. “Not only that, she’s the one, when everybody else is having fits, she can calm people. She has her job to do and she does it from the heart. She cares about what she does and always wants to do more for the residents. I know I can ask her a question and she’s going to give me an answer — it may not be what I want to hear but it’s always an honest answer with love. It’s no good to get information if you don’t get accurate information. I get that from my therapists and from Martha.” “My husband is 85 and I am 87. We had always been in good health, and never needed special medical attention; then my husband had a heart attack,” said a family member of another resident. “Our doctor suggested we go to Diamond Ridge for his treatment and rehab. I am so glad we took his advice. My husband had the best team of therapists and Mrs. Smaine deserves a star! She is so wonderful, she was there for both me and my husband. I didn’t know how to help him, but she gave us both advice and helped us so much. I can’t be grateful enough.” Smaine has been a nurse at Diamond Ridge for four years. Prior to that, she served as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) at Citrus Memorial Hospital before earning her LPN degree from the Withlacoochee Technical College. “I always wanted to be a nurse because I wanted to touch people, to help people,” said Smaine. At Diamond Ridge, she and her team of CNAs care for 27-30 residents, taking vital signs, dispensing medications, performing wound care, giving shots, taking blood sugar readings. She also communicates with residents’ physicians, orders x-rays and other tests and makes sure residents get to meals, therapy sessions and activities. During those busy days, Smaine also dispenses support and love — along with a touch of fun. She plays music in the hallway to help patients with dementia, gets a manicure with some female residents, takes others to the daily ice cream social, chair aerobics or other activities and always offers respect and affection — a gentle touch on the shoulder, a hug, a kiss on the forehead. “I always ask permission, but my residents deserve love. They’re here by themselves, some don’t have family nearby. Who doesn’t want that occasional hug, kiss on the forehead, hand on a shoulder? It’s a way to say, ‘you are loved, and we care about you,’” she said. “I try to put myself in their shoes. We can look at ourselves now and not think that someday we’ll be in a nursing home, but it’s something that happens,” she added. “These people are not here because of choice but because of necessity and this is their home. Sometimes when they are sad or depressed, I understand that they’ve worked hard all their lives to have a home and provide for family and now they are here, dependent on us to care for them. “I like to take that into consideration and listen to our residents. Sometimes helping can be so simple. I always ask how they are. If they’re good we carry on, if they have a problem, we try to fix it.” Diamond Ridge holds themed activities for residents that staff, Smaine included, enjoy participating in. “We dress up, dance or lip sync to music or put on skits,” she said. “We have a Filipino community here so they do traditional dancing. It’s a lot of fun and the residents enjoy it. It’s nice that they can see us as people too, not just their nurse or caregiver.” Smaine has three children, ages 22, 13 and 10. She loves music, going to concerts, and cooking — often for her Diamond Ridge staff. Even Smaine’s family appreciates her dedication to her work.
“She handles being an LPN and a mom like they are natural instincts,” wrote Smaine’s 22-year-old daughter, a teacher at the Key Training Center, in her nomination. “I have never met anyone who didn’t tell me what a wonderful, loving, caring person she is. She has that special touch that everyone needs sometimes. A little bit of Martha Smaine could make your whole day a lot better!”