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Park Nicollet supervisor gives homeless patient the clothes off her back

Why the amazing act of compassion and kindness embodies HealthPartners culture

For some, compassion is an instinct. And that’s certainly the case with Kelly Maciej. She’s a Park Nicollet nurse supervisor who literally gave the clothes off her back to a patient in need this summer.

When a Park Nicollet patient told her nurses at the Women’s Services Clinic in Burnsville she was homeless, Kelly stepped in to help. The clothes the patient was wearing were dirty and she didn’t have any others. So Kelly gave her the skirt and top she had worn to work that day. And she did it with no hesitation.

“We shouldn’t give her scrubs, I thought. And as I looked down at what I was wearing, I figured my clothes would fit her,” said Kelly, who instead was the one that donned scrubs for the rest of the day.

“I just got teary-eyed,” said Addie Charlton, WHNP, who was working with the patient. “The patient was so thankful and surprised by the generosity. She kept saying she didn’t think anyone cared.”

Kelly normally works at a Park Nicollet clinic in Shakopee. But she has been helping cover at the Burnsville Clinic until a new supervisor is hired. It seemed like fate that she was working in Burnsville that day.

“Kelly is definitely a person to look up to in our organization,” said Burnsville Clinic receptionist Jennifer Jensen. “I’m happy to be working with her right now.”

In addition to the clothes, Addie and medical assistant Vaneetra Willis, put together a bag of goodies for the patient including crackers, lotion, hand sanitizer, socks and breath mints. The Clinic also enlisted the help of HealthPartners’ Healthy Beginnings program to give Cub Foods gift cards to the patient since she also hadn’t eaten in a couple days. This program’s chief purpose is to provide nonjudgmental support to pregnant women who are using drugs, tobacco or alcohol, or having issues with mental health, homelessness or domestic abuse.

Our organization believes outstanding health care is delivered when we merge the science and intellect of medicine with the compassion, spirit and humanity of our hearts. We refer to this as our “Head + Heart, Together” culture. And Kelly and the Burnsville Clinic are a perfect example of it.

“I wasn’t trying to be a hero,” Kelly said. “I have plenty of other clothes at home. She needed them more than I did.”

Park Nicollet Burnsville Women’s Services Clinic colleagues Kelly Maciej (left), Addie Charlton and Vaneetra Willis.

But her colleagues agree that her kindness is at an exceptionally high level.

“I knew Kelly was a sweetheart, but this was like nothing I had ever seen before,” Vaneetra said. “I am so full of admiration for her.”

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