Pay it 4ward: UNM Hospital employee recognized for kindhearted actions

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – It’s been a long two years for hospital workers everywhere. But there are a few diamonds in the rough who have made the tough days – just a bit more bearable.

UNM Hospital’s Adult Urgent Care Center is a busy place, but Claire Sanchez always finds time to go above and beyond for patients – especially for those who need the most care. 

“How she lives her life, what her intentions are, and how she goes about showing that she cares– it just makes such a big difference,” said Deborah Markee, Pay It 4ward nominator. 

Sanchez’s co-workers like Markee have noticed. 

“She’s just very true and authentic and genuine,” said Markee. 

Sanchez keeps backpacks and shoes stocked in the urgent care bathrooms for their homeless patients. She also had her co-workers make 100 care packages for the hospital’s ICU nurses during the height of the pandemic, one of her many thoughtful ideas.

“I have to consult my notes because there are so many,” said Markee. “This all comes from her own pocket. We try to reimburse her. We have become very creative and imaginative with ‘how are we gonna sneak the money in.'”

KOB 4 took a less subtle approach, with our cameras and Sanchez’s family members in tow outside the hospital.

“I know the money means absolutely nothing to you, nothing, but I want you to be recognized publicly, in a grand way, and with your family present,” Markee said. 

“What I do just comes from the heart and I think this is my calling, I really think this is my calling in life is to help people,” said Sanchez. “We have a lot of patients that come in that are mentally ill, we have patients that are poor, some that have no families, some that have no money that need help, so I have no problem helping them. I don’t even bat an eye, and I don’t expect anything back.”