For Faye Stevenson, CNA at Bradenton Health Care since 1992, caring for others is more than a job—it’s a spiritual practice. Holy and faithful as worship.
Stevenson’s indelible faith and belief in God from a young age led her to the nursing field. She found her calling and began her career as a CNA when she was just 17 years old.
“God is my impact. . . I guess I was chosen to help others. I know it’s my calling, my journey in life as a person. A lot of people have different callings, and I just know this one’s mine. . . I love people, and I love taking care of the elderly.”
Refreshingly, Stevenson’s faith and courage to pursue her calling is paired with an attitude of humility. She said that while she appreciates the CHIRP Spotlight honor, she “wasn’t looking for recognition or reward.”
“I do it for my heart. We need some caring people in the world to take care of people who need it and don’t have anybody. You can do it—go to school and get your certification—but you have to have the heart. I always wanted to just be helping people, just caring for people and their families. I never wanted to be over anyone. Just hands-on caring.”
Stevenson cited compassion as the most critical of all core values. “Not everyone can do this. You have to have compassion, you have to love people, you have to have a caring heart. I try my best.”
Fortunately, Stevenson has compassion (and all five core values) in spades. Carol Rodriguez, Unit Manager at Bradenton Health Care, described Stevenson as “the most compassionate CNA I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with,” and explained, “I have a million stories to tell of times I’ve seen her [show] compassion.”
In addition to compassion, Stevenson possesses the gift of encouragement. She said the chance to help uplift her residents and form connections with them is “very rewarding,” and explained: “I encourage them to do better. Some of them are so sad. They’re here for a reason. I encourage them that it’s going to be okay. I tell them, ‘God isn’t ready for you yet. You still have time and life to go. We’re going to care for you and help you on your journey.’”
Stevenson relayed a story about an introverted and withdrawn resident who moved into the care center and couldn’t speak to anyone. She had no close friends or family nearby. But little by little, Stevenson built up a relationship and eventually gained her trust.
“Nobody knew her or anything about her, because she didn’t talk. But she opened up to me. She thanked me for encouraging her in this time without her family. Before she died, all her family started coming by. I miss her so much. . . It was hard for me—you can’t not get attached to the people. You can’t, but you do.”
Stevenson plans to hang up her scrubs one day, but said: “As long as I have the ability to, I want to keep taking care of people. I don’t want to retire yet, because I would miss it too much.”
In her free time, Stevenson attends church, catches up on rest, and spends time with her family, including her two grandchildren.