As a patient services representative in Admissions, Maria Galindo makes sure that our patients are assigned to the right inpatient beds as soon as possible. She also shares her experience as a cancer survivor to give our patients hope.
Maria Galindo says that when she wakes up every morning she pinches herself to make sure she’s not dreaming. An ovarian cancer survivor, Galindo cherishes each day and doesn’t take a single moment for granted.
“I’m so grateful that I’m here,” she says.
As a patient services representative in Admissions, Galindo reviews the hospital’s census report every day and knows that not everyone is able to beat cancer.
“I try to do my very best every day because I know what our patients are going through,” she says.
For the compassion and dedication she shows our patients, Galindo is receiving our August Heart of MD Anderson Outstanding Employee Award.
One of Galindo’s main responsibilities is to assign patients to our 667 inpatient beds. This may seem like a simple and straightforward task, but it takes a lot of critical thinking and finesse.
“Days of high census can be challenging for our department,” says Pamela Brooks, an inpatient admissions coordinator in Patient Resources Administration. “We often have a limited number of beds for what seems like an infinite number of patients. Knowing she’s in charge of bed placements gives us a sense of relief.”
When patients are waiting for their rooms, she offers them warm blankets, pillows and water.
“It’s the little things that I feel patients appreciate,” she says.” You don’t have to do a big thing to make a positive impact.”
Another way that Galindo comforts our patients is by sharing her cancer survivor story.
“I don’t share my story with every patient,” she says. “By instinct, I can tell when a patient needs some hope. I want them to know that there’s life after treatment.”
After her ovarian cancer diagnosis in 1996, Galindo continued to work in the Admissions department while she was undergoing chemotherapy. Our patients helped inspire her to keep fighting, she says. In her early 30s when she was diagnosed, she recalls admitting a 70-year-old patient with her same diagnosis.
“I remember thinking to myself, ‘If she’s still fighting, then I can too,’ ” Galindo says.
With 21 years of service under her belt, Galindo is the most tenured patient services representative. She tries to share her experience and knowledge with her co-workers.
“She leads by example,” says Collin Bentley, supervisor in Patient Resources Administration. “Her co-workers know that she always does the right thing.”
Her manager, Lenda Narcisse, adds that people in the department are inspired by how Galindo approaches her job. “She knows that there’s a patient behind every task she sets out to do.”
Galindo has seen many changes at MD Anderson over the past two decades, from pounding on typewriters to completing tasks with one click on a computer. One thing she says that hasn’t changed is the camaraderie and teamwork she experiences every day.
“Sometimes we can admit more than 100 patients each day, and the receiving floors are always accommodating,” Galindo says. “We’re all working towards a common goal to take care of our patients.”
With Galindo’s family based in the Philippines, she sees the Admissions department as her family away from home.
“I spend more time with them than my family,” she says. “This honor is for all of us. We’re all working together. We are MD Anderson.”