Providing an Oasis of Comfort: Maria “Pilar” Gutierrez

Published on : 6/16/22
  • Maria "Pilar" Gutierrez, Patient Ambassador
    NCH Baker Hospital, Naples, FL

    When I started this job as a patient ambassador at NCH Baker, a 400-bed hospital in Naples, FL, I felt giddy like a teenager. I was so happy I was floating on air.  

    Everyday, I visit with patients to make their stay more comfortable. I ask them how their food was and if their rooms were cleaned properly. If they need something, I try to get it for them. Even something as simple as changing a TV channel, dialing a number on their cell phone, or helping them take a little walk can make a big difference in a person’s day. 

    Most of all, I love to talk with patients. Often, they are lonely or scared about their health and they open up to me. I try to take their minds off the reason they’re in the hospital. I ask about their children, grandchildren and the places they’ve traveled. If I can help them smile or laugh, it makes me feel good too.

    People have beautiful lives, and I love hearing all about them.

    Following Cues to Meet Patients' Needs

    Before I accepted this position in 2020, I was was a banquet server at The Ritz-Carlton in Naples, FL for 18 years. It was a wonderful place where I learned excellent guest relations skills to anticipate guest needs by looking for certain cues.

    This hospitality training was excellent preparation for my position at the hospital. There are many similarities but the cues I look for are different. Instead of noticing that a hotel guest hasn’t eaten his entree, and offering another option, I notice that a patient is shivering and needs a blanket or makes eye contact and wants to chat.

    My Life’s Purpose

    When I look back on my life’s journey, I can see how each path led me to this place. I believe this job is my life’s purpose.

    I came to this country from Bogota, Colombia, 37 years ago. I’ve raised four children, who are my pride and joy, and I’m a grandmother of six. It was always important for me to provide for my family, and now, it is my continued joy to help those in need.

    It’s a blessing and an honor to share my comfort and love. It makes me so happy.

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