Carmen Melendez is a source of calm and inspiration to every person with whom she comes into contact. Residents, staff, and family members have all been on the receiving end of her kindness.

Plantation Bay Rehabilitation Center in St. Cloud, Florida was blessed to have Carmen Melendez walk through the front door 15 years ago. At that time, Carmen was already a registered nurse with four years of experience. At Plantation Bay, she started out as a nurse on the 11pm – 7am shift then moved to the 7am – 3pm shift, and later became a unit manager. Now, Carmen serves as the assistant director of clinical services at Plantation Bay.

Terry Lawrence Nelson, the director of clinical services, nominated Carmen for the CHIRPs spotlight. He explained, “As assistant director of clinical services, Carmen never fails to jump in and do what is needed to ensure the success of the facility. Carmen works a unit when needed, interviews and orients new staff. She makes all feel welcome with her calming personality.” Carmen has developed valuable skills throughout her experience, and she eagerly shares her knowledge with co-workers who are newer to the field.

Carmen’s advice includes:

  • Always have faith.
  • Take one day at a time.
  • Don’t put too much on your shoulders.
  • At the beginning of each day, think about what you need to get done and then prioritize the things. “This is what I’ll do 1st, 2nd, 3rd.” Just take one step at a time.

"She makes all feel welcome with her calming personality."

When we asked Carmen what motivates her to come to work each day, she told us how she is fueled by her love for the patients and staff. “It’s my second family. I get to be with my residents who say things like ‘I love that smile’ ‘You are my angel.’” She spends so much of her time at Plantation Bay, and she loves the teamwork. Staff and residents all go together to form the family. “I would do anything for them,” she says.

It’s apparent that Carmen takes her work to heart. Carmen still thinks about a special patient, who had a tracheostomy, from approximately five years ago. Carmen took care of Rose each day and spent lots of time with her visiting husband. Carmen remembers the exact moment she learned that Rose had passed away. Carmen recalls that she was in her car when she heard the shocking news. She will never forget Rose, Rose’s husband, or the moment she learned Rose was gone.

Carmen did a great job of illustrating the importance of respect in her job. She knows that placing your loved one in a care center can be a very difficult decision, even if it is for short- term only. Carmen attentively listens to families and helps them during this difficult time. Because families are often emotionally overwrought when a loved one is sick, they are often abrupt or demanding in voicing their concerns. Even when the family members might appear to be disrespectful, Carmen always responds calmly by saying, “Let’s sit down and talk. Ask me. I am here to tell you anything. ”No matter what, Carmen will maintain her own calm and respectful demeanor because she knows that it is the right way to solve problems.

It’s easy to imagine how Carmen’s three children aged 18, 16, and 15 benefit from Carmen’s patience, kindness, and wisdom at home. Carmen loves to spend time with her family when she isn’t at work. Consulate Healthcare is very thankful that Carmen has chosen to share her gifts at Plantation Bay.