While each of our core values are crucial to the health care world, we always ask our CHIRP nominees to pick one they find most important or that which sums up their role at Consulate. While the answers occasionally differ among interviewees, “compassion” surfaces pretty consistently. However, for LPN Tammie Hughes of Heritage Park Rehabilitation and Healthcare, “respect comes first,” and forms the base layer on which all other values then build upon.

Hughes views respect as a foundational expression of human decency towards others, and from there, compassion can take rootalong with the additional values (honesty, integrity, and passion).

When detailing her career journey, Hughes discussed her past experience working in hospice care. She explained that doting on patients in the process of dying left indelible marks on her. In one particular instance, she stayed bedside by a man who had no other family around. She became his family during that intense and emotional process, treated him with respect and sensitivity, and honored him with dignity through his last hours of life.

Nowadays, Hughes no longer works in hospice, but she still utilizes the experiences and lessons she learned during that time. She recognizes that respect is an important piece of assisting patients going through new transitions of all kinds, whether they’re staying for long-term care or a brief rehabilitation stint.

She said her job can feel something like a juggling act amid the chaos and busyness of providing tip-top care, and sometimes residents have their tough moments, but she still likes them and prefers the geriatrics field. She manages to adapt to different roles at Heritage Park, in order to help her fellow staff members accomplish everything more efficiently when days get overwhelming. In this regard: “Teamwork is the number one. It’s key,” Hughes told us. “Two can do better than one at anything.”

“Teamwork is the number one. It’s key. Two can do better than one at anything.”

Her efforts have paid off. Hughes joined the Heritage Park team just last June, made a positive impression, and earned Employee of the Month by January.

In addition to working incredibly hard at her full-time job, Hughes also has four kids at home to care for. Yet despite everything on her plate, she plans to return to school for a 13-month RN program. Fortunately, Consulate has allowed her the opportunity to pursue different areas of senior care, back when she decided to move on from hospice, and even now, as she seeks to grow in knowledge and training.