A man of many talents

man planting

They are the unseen part of a structure, often invisible on the front line, but key in supporting patients and disinfecting the facilities to ensure safe treatments.

Antonio Maia is part of the NephroCare-Maia clinic team. His story deserves to be shared for so many other reasons.

Dedicated to caring

Four years ago, when he was called for an interview at one of our clinics, the Clinic Head Nurse had prepared a set of eliminatory questions. “Are you aware that disinfection demands technique? Are you prepared to accurately perform your tasks?” Antonio nodded to all the questions. And given the hesitation that remained, due to the candidate’s lack of experience in the healthcare sector, the assistant requested trust and confidence. To date, Antonio is still the only man in a predominently female team. He has done a bit of everything in life, but he is the first to recognise that “this job suits him perfectly”. He controls warehouse tasks, including stock and material management, and performs disinfection in compliance and in line with the motto ‘Safety First’, which has lately been applied intensively, in line with the company’s standards, due to pandemic contingency so as to prevent infections.

“I usually say that here we have an ulterior motive. We perform our work with utmost thoroughness, because we always work with our patients in mind”, he emphasises. Antonio is a man who pays attention to detail and is extremely caring with older patients, which over the years require more dedicated care.

See far beyond

Perhaps it is a professional habit from the time he was a photographer. When he was a child, - he tells us – his mother bought him a camera and he started to spend his pocket money on films to photograph his family. This gift taught him “to see far beyond what others can’t see”.

And later, in the darkroom, when photo processing was still a thing, he processed his photos films from weddings, baptisms and social events.

“I took photos of several famous Portuguese celebrities at Rivoli, in Porto”. But it was with Herman José, a well-known Portuguese-German comedian, that he truly enjoyed a little chit-chat: “He was really kind. I told him I was his fan”

Always up for a laugh

Antonio also has great humour and his talents do not go unnoticed in the clinic. Antonio shares that “from time to time, they asked me to mimic a colleague. They say that I copy our Maintenance Technician, Arlindo, very well because I can copy his peculiar vocabulary. I started calling him ‘Tarefinhas’ (Mr. Task), as this is the word he uses when he talks about his jobs. And nowadays, due to familiarity, this has become his nickname”.

“I like to laugh and make people laugh”, he says. And the patients like to joke with him. Antonio shares that he has already lost count of the number of times he has repeated the patients’ favourite jokes. “When a new patient arrives at the clinic, the older ones ask me to tell them the usual jokes”, he explains with an open and genuine smile. But Antonio has more requests on his list.

Craft Works

In his free time, he does craft works and the pieces he makes, made of foam and paper, received much praise at the NephroCare-Maia.

In January, Antonio made his first prototype: “I wanted to offer an original gift to my nephew whom I go jogging with, and I bought a model like this. I was interested in how these items are made so I searched online.

Since January, I have made half a dozen models”, he says. They are all on show in the clinic’s meeting room. One of them represents a support member and the next model will be a patient.

In addition to running a marathon, one of his projects for 2020 is to create a model inspired by the patient, on behalf of the person he cares for every day.

“As I mentioned in one of the books in which my poems were published, Indivisible emotions, I sometimes sit back, open a window and think that my hands are there to help all those in need of my care and assistance. I believe that the people who need dialysis treatment are strong, resilient and brave, and it’s not always easy. But I’m here, and so is the whole clinical team, to help them overcome the most ‘challenging’ moments”

Antonio through the eyes of his colleagues

Head Nurse Leonilde Amado:

«Antonio is reliable, caring, devoted, committed to the patients and to the multidisciplinary team. Having him around means we’re always in a good mood. He is creative, innovative and puts his ideas into practice».

Healthcare Assistant Daniela Passos:

«Antonio is a very professional, dynamic, accountable, and thoughtful co-worker with the patients. With the support team, he cooperates in all tasks and brings harmony and good mood to the team».

Technician Arlindo Lourenço:

«I am Mr. Maia’s number 1 fan. Good workmate. Loyal and reliable in his tasks. An excellent imitator, he imitates me perfectly – just as I am! We can count on him».