Riceland CNA praised for “all-star” patient care. “He’s one of those gifts from God.”

Published 12:34 am Wednesday, December 28, 2022

WINNIE — When Chris Sheppard began working in the maintenance department of Riceland Medical Center, he didn’t know he’d one day be one of the most-valued employees.

But six years later, hospital officials are praising the now-Certified Nursing Assistant for his work during COVID and beyond.

Several years back, the Beaumont resident was driving a bus to transport patients to and from the hospital from nursing homes.

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“When COVID hit, we had to shut that program down, so I pulled Chris in to help us with COVID testing,” said Robert Jacobs, senior vice president of Healthcare Administration. “Chris was one of our testers and we probably did 1,500 COVID tests across Southeast Texas and Houston.”

Afterward, Sheppard moved to the Winnie facility to help with patients.

Riceland Medical Center is located on Broadway Avenue in Winnie. (Courtesy photo)

“He’s always gone above and beyond what an aide does,” Jacobs said. “He cares for the whole person. People compare other healthcare workers to Chris. He’s one of those gifts from God that put him there for the healing part of it.”

Director of Nursing Kellie Hundley called Sheppard an all-star.

“During our flux of COVID patients, he held a donut and pizza party, which he paid for and refused to let anyone help with the purchases,” she said.

“The patients we had at this time were from a local nursing home lock down unit. The patients in the lockdown unit are placed in the unit due to Alzheimer’s, dementia and other mental disabilities and are prone to wander, become combative and have episodes of anxiety. The majority of these patients can not remember their own family members, yet they would call for Chris when they needed anything.”

Jacobs said the same is true for his own family, when his dad visited a different hospital and asked for Chris.

“Chris would be the son they never had and really connect with patients one on one,” he said. “He makes sure they feel human again.”

Hundley said she has witnessed him hold card games and coffee hours.

“Chris exhibits this behavior at all times with our patients,” she said. “I can not say enough about him.”

Sheppard said he also enjoys helping by providing men with haircuts and shaves when they need it.

“I really enjoy what I do and I’m going to stay right here,” he said.