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John’s Compassion Earns Gratitude

We’d like to share a letter from one of our patient family members which we recently received.

Dear Hospice East Bay,

We would like to take the time to formally express our gratitude for John Marksbury, RN, who cared for our father, Mike Manyak. During the four weeks our father was in the care of Hospice East Bay, John quite simply, made the whole experience better.

To say our dad was a very particular person is an understatement. Yet from his first meeting John formed a warm, communicative relationship. One of his most outstanding qualities is that he has a way of getting his work done while sharing stories and exchanging laughter. In the short time we had Dad in hospice, we came to feel that John folded right into our family.

The other quality that stands out is the compassionate care John provides. While being compassionate is most likely a part of his professional role as a hospice nurse, John brought more. We’ll never forget the time John paused on his way out, kissed my dad on top of his head, and said, “you’re a good man, Mike.”

While we don’t know if it’s procedure for the hospice nurse to clean and dress the deceased patient, John did. When the family came in and we said our final goodbyes, Dad looked so dignified and at peace. It set our hearts at ease knowing that Dad was in John’s hands during his transition and after he passed.

There’s one other thing that we’d like to mention even though it doesn’t relate directly to Dad’s care. Often John’s visits overlapped with the visits of aides. We witnessed the obvious rapport and respect he had with each one, and vice versa. And, as appropriate, we watched as John mentored an aide who was in training.

In closing, John responded promptly and with compassion and concern in all matters. Our whole experience was made better by him. We are so grateful that John was our dad’s nurse.

Sincerely, Michael, Anne, & Tashina Manyak.


We spoke with John to find out what fuels his desire to be a hospice nurse and inspires his compassionate spirit.

How long have you worked for Hospice East Bay?

Three years.

Why did you choose to be a nurse?

I owned and operated a nightclub in San Francisco for 14 years. During this time I married, and soon thereafter my wife and I had a child. I began feeling that I needed a more stable job with regular hours. I was discussing these feelings with my friend Russ, who is a nurse, and knows me very well. He proposed that I shift my career to nursing because I already had the basic skills: I was a sensitive listener and a skillful communicator with a deep respect for teamwork. I thought about what he said and came to believe that he was right. So, at 40 years old, I sold the club and went to nursing school to become an registered nurse.

How did you choose to work for Hospice East Bay?

I had been working as a telephone triage nurse and felt the itch to get out of the office to be the provider of care rather than the designator. When I heard about the nursing position available at Hospice East Bay I knew it would be right for me.

Can you tell us about your experience with the Manyak family?

I recall that Mike Manyak was known as a gruff man, but he was always gentle and grateful with me. He liked to watch baseball, and we enjoyed talking about the games. My goals with Mike were the same that I have for all my patients – keep him comfortable, relieve his pain and help maintain his pride and dignity.

What are the rewards of working as a hospice nurse?

I feel it’s a privilege to be a hospice nurse. It is an honor to be able to walk alongside patients and their families while they are going through the final stages of their life.

Is it customary for a hospice nurse to clean and dress the deceased patient?

My goal is to not only provide patient care, but also to support the family. I learn what the family needs as they are processing their loved one’s death. If the family wants, I can bathe and dress the patient’s body. Once these tasks are completed, the family feels ready to move on to the next step.

We are grateful to John and all our clinical staff who provide the expert and compassionate care Hospice East Bay is known for.


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