Pepe Sanchez, RN is the Director of Wellness at Emerald Square, A Heart Living Center Community. Pepe stays busy with the residents and enjoys getting to know each individual.

by Vickie Jenkins – Writer/Photographer

When entering Emerald Square, I was greeted by Pepe Sanchez, RN. Pepe is the Director of Wellness and has many responsibilities as the only RN in the facility. “I work full time and am on call 24/7,” he said. “I enjoy working with the elder residents because hospice is actually my background.”
Growing up in Oklahoma, Pepe attended Oklahoma City Community College. “My first job as a nurse was at St. Anthony’s Hospital. I worked in several areas, medical surgical, renal and pediatrics. I worked with Hospice patients for eight years. It is nice to know that I am helping the residents in their different stages of life or when their life is on a decline, I want to be there for them to help get them through,” he commented. “It gives me a great satisfaction knowing that I am helping them.”
“As far as dealing with the residents, most of the ones that come here seem to open up to me pretty quick,” Pepe said. “All it takes is just being nice to them and letting them know that I am here to help them. I try to be very patient with everyone.”
“Wanting to work in the medical field started when I was little; I knew that I wanted to grow up to be a doctor. I was very close to my grandmother and she was sick a lot of the time and I helped take care of her. I realized how much she depended on doctors and nurses to care for her and how much better she was after seeing them,” Pepe said. “I remember at one time, my grandmother had a big hole in her leg and to me, being young, I thought it was so interesting and exciting,” he said. “I’m sure it is because of my grandmother that I wanted to work in the medical field. I didn’t become a doctor but I did become a nurse. I feel like my background with Hospice prepared me for this job. I have been here at Emerald Square for about a year now and I couldn’t be happier,” he added.
“Working here at Emerald Square is very special to me. I like working with the elder residents because they are all at different processes of their diagnosis; not in the middle, not at the end. It allows me to deal with different diagnosis every day. Some patients have dementia, some don’t. Some have cancer, some don’t. It allows me to help each individual in their own way,” Pepe said.
Asking Pepe to describe himself, he seemed to get a little quiet. “I am actually a little on the quiet side,” he said.
With Polly Milligan, Executive Director sitting in the room, she spoke up, “Only sometimes, he is a little quiet,” she said with a grin. “Oh, Pepe is amazing! He is one of the finest nurses that I have ever worked with,” she added.
Pepe continued to describe himself. “I am very driven and will always get the job done. When I have something to say, I am direct with the person. Compassion is one thing I have a lot of,” he commented. Pepe’s favorite part of his job is getting to know the residents. “A nurse should have the quality of listening. Really, really listen to the residents because they have so much to say. They all have very interesting stories to share and it helps them in big ways just by allowing them to share their tall tales. It is great when they share their adventures,” Pepe said. “Listening to their stories is very important; showing them patience and compassion.”

“I think Pepe’s greatest quality is structure,” Polly said.
On the others side, there is a big challenge here, Polly said. “The biggest challenge we have is overcoming the past reputation of Emerald Square in this community. We have changed a lot over the few months and now, we feel like we are on the right track,” she said. “We have already seen some improvements and we will continue on as we make more changes “I can tell things are getting better every day,” she added.
When Pepe is not working, he likes to spend time with his eight year old son, Braden. “We usually spend time together outside,” he said. Pets? We have a dog, a cat and a fish,” he replied.
If you were going to sum up your life in one word, what word would it be? “Busy!”

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