Maui Corner: Malia Gomes
Posted on November 24, 2020
How long have you worked at Islands Hospice?
One year and nine months.
What do you do at Islands Hospice?
I provide care, education, and support, to patients, families, and staff. My main role as the Director of Clinical Services is to ensure our Islands Hospice patients and their families are being provided with excellent quality compassionate care during their end of life process. I accomplish this by physically caring for patients, providing continuous education and staff training, keeping our supplies stocked, ordering the medications and DME our patients need. I am constantly reviewing charts, building relationships with our community and medical providers, and know each patient and their care plan to fulfill their needs. I also oversee the hospice house and the care provided there, with the support of Maui's Executive Director Keoki Robello, our Medical Director Dr. Noel Termulo, and the entire Islands Hospice team.
Describe a typical workday
BUSY. My day to day job is never the same, which makes it interesting. Besides reading endless emails, attending meetings, ordering prescriptions, creating care plans, auditing charts, educating staff, doing payroll, triaging patients, calling and supporting patients and their families, overseeing our clinical staff, and assisting where ever the need is, my favorite part of the job is doing visits and providing personal care to our patients. I think it is amazing that as a manager, we are encouraged to be in the field doing exactly what our clinical staff is doing. Bathing patients, managing their symptoms and sometimes just listening to their life stories makes this one of the most amazing jobs in the world. Being the rock that families need during a difficult time helps our patients have a quality end of life experience that families appreciate.
Have you held any other positions here?
Though I am a Registered Nurse with the ability to care for patients, my primary role with Islands Hospice has always been as Director of Clinical Services.
What is your favorite part about working at Islands Hospice?
Having the ability to touch so many lives and be there for those that need the support during one of the hardest times in life. Also, being a part of an amazing team with special patients and supportive families here on Maui makes the entire job my favorite part.
Do you have any unforgettable memories/stories from your time working here?
Each patient holds a special place in my heart, but the ones that made it most memorable for me was trusting my team to care for three of my loved ones. I saw first hand the impact we bring to each patient and how Islands Hospice support adds quality and quantity to a persons life. You get to laugh, cry, even have fun doing the job we do. We encounter everyone from feisty elderly women, to kind, gentle respected men. I even had one patient say she "adopted me as her granddaughter since she didn't have one of her own." We become an extended family to our patients and their families. So each is special in their own way.
Tell me about yourself. Where did you grow up? What is your background (education, career, family, etc.)?
My name is Malia Gomes. I was born and raised in upcountry Maui, attended St. Anthony High school, moved to the mainland with a cheerleading scholarship where I attended college in California but decided to return to Maui and attend nursing school. I am married with four children and have been a nurse for over 16 years. I started as an ICU nurse, then transferred to ER nursing, which got me a job as the Nursing Supervisor at Maui Memorial Medical Center. I often held 2-3 nursing jobs at a time because nursing is a true passion of mine. I worked as a clinic nurse and became the Manager of Family practice and Same Day Urgent Care at Maui Lani Kaiser Clinic for about five years. When my kids were off to college, I decided to transfer into hospice, which was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Being content and loving what you do is the best feeling to have. Here at Islands Hospice, I have found that.
Is there anything about your background that inspired you to work at Islands Hospice/in hospice care?
Before working here, I was asked to care for 2 of my family members with lung cancer during their EOL process. This gave me a completely different insight into the type of nursing I was meant to do. Working with the Hospice team showed me the bonds that are made between nurse and patient and the lifetime friendship you build with staff. I wanted to be a part of that, so I called a friend who worked at Islands Hospice, and here I am today. The best part is that the nurse that cared for one of my family members is now my boss. Who knew our paths would cross again?
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Support my kids in whatever activities or sports they do, ride horses and do volunteer work for my youngest daughter's Rodeo team, but most of all, traveling with my husband.
Is there anything else you want to share?
I want to thank my team for all their hard work and the challenges they bring. I also appreciate the amazing support I get from my boss, Keoki, and from our Oahu team. Most of all I want to thank the families that have put their trust in Islands Hospice to care for their loved ones with patience, compassion, knowledge, empathy, and a true family spirit. Mahalo from your Maui DCS.