“Hugo Rodriguez is a living example of what it means to serve others. He puts the patients’ needs first, always advocating for them and their families. He makes a personal connection with them, and he receives high praise as a result.”
-Olivia Rodgers, RN, BSN, CHPN, CHPO, MBA, Vice President, Chief Nursing Officer, VNA
Hugo Rodriguez, Certified Nursing Assistant at the Visiting Nurse Association has received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Texas New Mexico Hospice Organization for his service to VNA and our patients over the past 28 years.
“I was so surprised—speechless, actually! When they first notified me to tell me they needed to talk to me, I thought they were going to fire me over Zoom! Tears were flowing on both sides,” Hugo laughed.
“Hugo was so touched when we told him, but maybe not as touched as we were to tell him! He really moved us today with his humility and heart,“ said Olivia. The essay that accompanied his nomination captures his commitment to VNA beautifully.
It is a testament to the care he has provided over the years at VNA when families call and ask for him to care for their loved one because of the reputation he has in the hospice community. His dedication to VNA over the years is only shadowed by his dedication to patients. He has shown incredible integrity, compassion, leadership, and a real team player attitude.
Born in Puerto Rico, Hugo moved to Manhattan when he was 21. It was at that time that he was called to nursing, and he became a Certified Nursing Assistant. “My life did a 180 when I became a CNA. I changed for the better,” he said.
Over the years, Hugo has cared for hundreds of patients, and every day is different. Depending upon the patients’ needs, he may bathe, shave and dress someone or, replace dressings, transfer the patient to a chair or bed, or change the linens. Some days, he calls upon his amazing gift of being able to identify what the patient needs at that moment, weather it is to sit on the bed a little longer and listen to a story they want to share, watch part of a baseball game, or sit with them a little longer and do nothing but share the space. He is especially honored when a patient or family member asks him to pray with them as this is what drew him to nursing in the first place.
Hugo’s outlook on his work is simple, yet profound. “We don’t pick and choose our patients,” he says. “We go and minister to them regardless of who they are and what their situation is. We are there to share the light we have with them despite whatever is going on and keep doing what we are doing. That’s the mission of hospice.”
Hugo spends his free time caring for his beloved dog, Rafa. Rafa, 3, is a white miniature schnauzer that was given to him by a former patient’s family member. “The family member’s dog had puppies and the VNA staff member who was taking care of the patient and the family asked me if I wanted one of them and I said YES!” exclaimed Hugo. Look for Hugo and Rafa at the local dog park or on a walk around the neighborhood.
Words cannot express our gratefulness to Hugo and his commitment to the work of hospice.
Congratulations on your well-deserved award!