A heart for the marginalized
May 18, 2022
When Florentino Belista became a registered nurse, he took the Florence Nightingale pledge to heart.
The pledge by the famed British nurse, who is known as the founder of modern nursing, calls on nurses to devote themselves to the welfare of those in their care.
So when a new Indigenous resident arrived at St. Teresa Place, where Florentino works as a health care aide, he did not hesitate to get to know her and her preferences. He called the resident by her preferred name, helped her settle in and even cleaned up after her service dog.
“I took this as an opportunity to take care of her,” says Florentino.
His sense of compassion is something that was nurtured in the Philippines, where he was born. “It’s my nature, though. That’s how I’ve been raised by my parents. I’m a generous person; I want to help people the best that I can.”
Florentino immigrated to Canada six years ago. After getting his health care aide certification, he joined the Covenant Care site in Calgary and has been there since.
Chaplain Greg Kern says Florentino brings a lot of joy to the site.
“Florentino’s love for all people is infectious. His smile and laughter draw you into his orientation of acceptance and non-judgementalism for people of races and cultures. He is dubbed the ‘happy guy,’ learning about and unthreatened by the differences of others.”
Florentino doesn’t believe he’s doing anything out of the ordinary. “I just want to be a role model for others. Things will be all right if we find ways to bridge the gap.”
Florentino was nominated in the Social Justice category for the 2022 Covenant Mission Awards.
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