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Registered nurse at Memorial Hospital recognized as ‘Mississippi Hero’

Published: Oct. 18, 2021 at 10:28 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 19, 2021 at 7:03 AM CDT
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GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - An organization called Mississippi Heroes is paying it forward to a healthcare worker at Memorial Hospital for going the extra mile with a patient.

The hallways were filled with Memorial employees Monday night, all there to pay tribute to registered nurse Efua Asieda, who broke into tears when she saw what her coworkers had done.

Rachel Barajas nominated Asieda for the award. For two years, Barajas was in and out of the hospital with her husband, who was diagnosed with cancer before his death in January.

Barajas said Asieda was a constant during such a trying time in their family’s lives.

“She kept coming in and checking on us, and she wasn’t even our assigned nurse for the night,” Barajas said. “So, that really stood out to me.”

Addressing a tearful Asieda directly, Barajas expressed how grateful she is for the nurse’s care and dedication.

“You’re very special to me, and you always will be. So, thank you so much,” Barajas told Asieda.

Asieda said it’s all about connecting with her patients to meet them where they are at that time in their lives.

“I just love the interaction with my patients. I mean, they all have a whole lot of experiences from different backgrounds,” she said.

Barajas nominated Asieda as a Mississippi Hero through the nonprofit organization which recognizes, acknowledges, and celebrates nonprofessional and professional caregivers in the Magnolia State.

“We created this just to give a little relief and support and love to the people that need it most,” said Katherine Sutton, executive director of Mississippi Heroes.

The group presented Asieda with a care package full of self-care products, including dinner and spa certificates. They also gifted other nurses at Memorial with a motivational book written by Jackie Castro-Cooper.

“We need to uplift and support caregivers,” said Castro-Cooper. “That’s one of the reasons why not everyone’s in a hospital, not everyone’s suffering because there’s someone that cares and loves them, and we need to support them.”

Castro-Cooper is a holistic-alternative physical therapist and a volunteer with Mississippi Heroes.

“I just love to be with caregivers and to remind everyone that’s listening but if you are a caregiver, you really have to prioritize yourself first because you are a better caregiver when you care for yourself and you love yourself first,” she said.

Mississippi Heroes recognizes one special person every month. Efua Asieda is the first professional caregiver they have honored.

The group will also host a First Responders Halloween cruise on Friday that’s free for all first responders and a plus one.

To learn more about Mississippi Heroes and their mission, as well as how to nominate someone, click here.

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