Behind the Mask and Scrubs

April NeelThis month Gulf Coast Health Care is celebrating April Neel, our Lead Admissions Specialists in the Panhandle Central Admissions Office (CAO), with a “Behind the Mask and Scrubs” spotlight. It’s our way of honoring her exemplary care and service.

April ensures all new patients experience a seamless transition from the hospital to our skilled nursing centers. She understands how stressful these situations can be for families and is dedicated to alleviating the logistical burden. Her guidance helps incoming patients focus on healing and their families feel confident in knowing their loved ones will receive the best possible care.

“My mother was a nurse and would always talk about how rewarding it was. She eventually inspired me to join this profession. Now I completely understand what she meant. It’s so gratifying and humbling to help someone when they need it most—and I’m not just talking about the patients. I see so many families in need of sound guidance as well as someone to help with all the moving parts that go along with transitioning a loved one to a skilled nursing center. The trust our patients’ families place in us—to care for their loved ones—is an honor, and their gratitude is the greatest reward ever.”

April takes great pride in her work and is devoted to making things a little easier for her team, whether it’s patients, families or hospital case managers.

“Teamwork is an essential part of the nursing profession, especially when you’re in a skilled nursing center with high-needs patients. I feel blessed to be a part of such a talented group of associates and have the opportunity to work through obstacles and exceed expectations together.”

As we all continue to wade through the uncertainty of this pandemic, CNAs like April have learned time and again how important it is to cherish the ones you love every day.

“Seeing families unable to have physical contact with our patients has been one of the most difficult parts of this entire experience. No hugs or handshakes. It can be heartbreaking. Our patients need that contact, and right now CNAs are stepping up and stepping in to fill some very big shoes. While we understand we can never replace a warm hug of a loved one, we are committed to ensuring our patients have that basic, yet essential, human touch and care. It is one of the most important jobs there is, especially in today’s world.”

Though her job is demanding, she never loses sight of her purpose: building lasting relationships and giving patients quality care and the utmost dignity every day of their lives. 

“It is wonderful to form lasting relationships with our patients and their families. One of my favorite things about my job is getting to hear stories from older generations and discovering I have more in common with our patients than I thought.”