More letters recognizing outstanding nurses

Read the complete collection of “Salute to Nurses’’ nomination letters

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Below is a collection of nomination letters submitted by readers who have given The Boston Globe permission to publish their letters online. If you cannot find a letter, it most likely means we did not receive the proper permissions to publish it in time. If you have a letter you would like showcased, please let us know by emailing us here. Nurses are sorted alphabetically by organization.

 

Allerton House

Patricia Barry Allerton House Patricia Barry is one of the nurses at Allerton House in Hingham where my mother resided until her death, in November. Patricia always provided respectful and positive care for my mother in her three years there. My mother was in hospice care there for her last six days. Patricia cared for both my mother and my family during those days. She was supportive, encouraging, and spiritual, guiding us in assisting my mother in a peaceful passing. I will be forever grateful for her strength and kindness. —Nominated by Mari-An Fitzmaurice Cindy Hughes Allerton House Cindy Hughes is the nursing director at Allerton House where my mother resided for three years. Cindy cared for my mother with respect and dignity right up until her death. My mother felt at home under Cindy’s care. My mother’s choices were respected and her rich life experiences honored. Cindy provided my mother and me with caring support as her very short time in hospice concluded a wonderful life. For this I am eternally grateful. —Nominated by Mari-An Fitzmaurice

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Cindy Hughes Allerton House Cindy Hughes is the nursing director at Allerton House where my mother resided for three years. Cindy cared for my mother with respect and dignity right up until her death. My mother felt at home under Cindy’s care. My mother’s choices were respected and her rich life experiences honored. Cindy provided my mother and me with caring support as her very short time in hospice concluded a wonderful life. For this I am eternally grateful.—Nominated by Mari-An Fitzmaurice

 

Allerton House at Central Park

Kathy Boyle Allerton House at Central Park As the resident care director at our assisted living center, Kathy has been my co-worker for years. She also currently cares for my mother there. I have had so many positive interactions with Kathy. She is a wonderful nurse who always goes above and beyond. On occasions when I have been unavailable to address an issue with my mother, Kathy has provided support in my absence. Assisted living nurses don’t often receive recognition, so I would like to take this opportunity to salute a great nurse and colleague. —Nominated by Ellen Laramee

Joan Cunningham Allerton House at Central Park I have had the pleasure of working with Joan over the past few years. Joan has demonstrated compassion, knowledge, and dedication. There is not one particular instance that stands out. She has been a caregiver to my mother a current resident in the assisted living community. She has always been respectful, kind, and caring. Her attitude and professionalism has made my mother feel comfortable and safe. Joan is truly a credit to her profession.—Nominated by Ellen Laramee American Training Inc.

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Kathy Boyle Allerton House at Central Park As the resident care director at our assisted living center, Kathy has been my co-worker for years. She also currently cares for my mother there. I have had so many positive interactions with Kathy. She is a wonderful nurse who always goes above and beyond. On occasions when I have been unavailable to address an issue with my mother, Kathy has provided support in my absence. Assisted living nurses don’t often receive recognition, so I would like to take this opportunity to salute a great nurse and colleague. —Nominated by Ellen Laramee

 

American Training Inc.

Njeri Gathura American Training Inc. My colleague Njeri Gathura has been working for American Training Inc. for over eight years. She now works with our individuals with developmental disabilities. Njeri has incredible compassion, integrity, and an amazing sense of humor. She treats all of our individuals with kindness and has a gentle heart. Many of our individuals are non-verbal and she will go the extra mile to communicate in a way they can understand. She has a gentle, soft-spoken demeanor, and goes above and beyond even when she thinks no one is watching. She is the kind of nurse I would want to care for any family member of mine. We are so fortunate to have her on our team and care for our very special individuals. —Nominated by Jennifer Norris

Ashthma and Allergy Associates

 

Diane Redican Asthma and Allergy Associates Diane is caring, friendly, and concerned, not only with me, but also with everyone who crosses her path. She will hold an elder’s hand and converse with a child. She knows everyone by their first name and amazingly remembers my record from my first day visiting the facility for allergy shots. She has had a tremendous loss (her husband) and despite her pain, which we knew was deep, her sweet and warm smile never faded.—Nominated by Lizete Alcalai

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Ayer Shirley Regional School District

Cathy Mitchell Ayer Shirley Regional School District Cathy Mitchell has been a nurse with the Shirley School District for over 20 years and during that time she has positively impacted the lives of over 10,000 children. In her own words, “I like being a school nurse because I can have a lasting impact on children’s lives and teach them good health early on. If I worked in a hospital, I’d see people who might not be there if they had someone teach them good habits early on.’’ To that end Cathy applied for and received a major years-long Enhanced School Health grant for the district that directly benefited the health and safety of her students by teaching them safe and healthy behavior.

Cathy knows each of her students and has worked tirelessly to teach them the importance of good nutrition and safe behavior. On several occasions this information has saved a life. One student in particular had bleeding on the brain and Cathy knowing the student well deduced that something was very wrong. She told his mother that he need to be seen right away. The student ended up having emergency surgery which saved his life!

Cathy truly cares about her students and frequently follows up with them when she sees them out and about. In fact she takes daily four-mile walks through downtown Shirley so that her students “won’t just hear me talk about being healthy. They’ll see me being healthy too,’’ she says.

On behalf of the thousands of children Cathy Mitchell has helped (and saved) over the years I nominate her as a deserving compassionate professional nurse who is committed to her profession and her patients. —Nominated by Rachel Welton

 

 

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Evan Flaherty Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center As a nursing student, I have had the opportunity to work alongside many experienced nurses, yet Evan is the one who has most influenced the type of nurse I strive to become. Evan’s most valuable asset is his personality; he is compassionate, confident, and very comical. He can walk into any patient’s room and immediately put them at ease, often putting a smile on their face simply through his presence. Evan has remarkable multitasking skills, which is secondary to his intuitive and flexible thinking. These traits enable him to work well in a team-oriented environment and independently.

One shift, we had a patient who was experiencing a miscarriage. Just by observing her appearance, Evan knew that if he didn’t intervene quickly, this woman was going to bleed to death. The way he worked through this emergent crisis was astonishing. He multitasked efficiently, prioritized, delegated, and educated both me and the patient. He performed everything without ever leaving her side until the moment she went into surgery. As a nursing student, I admired his leadership. The patient also recognized him, by returning with flowers and a card that said, “Thank you for making me laugh during such a difficult time. But most importantly, thank you for saving my life.’’

Evan’s competence, communication, care, and advocacy were my primary impetus for attending nursing school. I hope to one day be as good of a nurse as he is and to positively impact the lives of my patients and my colleagues. —Nominated by Nichole Coady

 

Joyce Mechaber Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Joyce and I have been close friends for over 40 years. I have often consulted her about various situations regarding our children. In late August, I consulted with Joyce about my recurring loss of breath, fearing perhaps a heart blockage. Being 74 years old (but appearing in great health), this occurrence was a tad troublesome. At her urging, I called my primary doctor who advised that I should proceed to the local ER as soon as possible. In doing so, and upon examination and many tests, it was concluded that I needed two pints of blood. I was admitted and underwent a colonoscopy and endoscopy to determine the source of the blood loss. After two days in the hospital, the cause of the blood loss was not determined. If I had not contacted Joyce, the lack of two pints of blood could have resulted in a catastrophic stroke or heart attack. Thank heavens for a friend of over 40 years and a highly experienced nurse supervisor at Beth Israel for getting me back on my feet and feeling energetic again. —Nominated by Lorna Wolf

 

Ellen Miller Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Ellen is the hardest working nurse I know. On any given day, Ellen can be seen helping grieving parents prepare to take their dying infant home, negotiating for a piece of medical equipment at no cost for a needy patient, or popping over to the local pharmacy to pick up a prescription before a patient is discharged home. She is a self-made expert on the regulatory hurdles of health insurance for mothers and babies and helps families jump through them on a daily basis. She does all with a smile and a positive attitude.

Ellen is my friend and my colleague, and when I imagine what defines an excellent nurse and an outstanding nurse case manager, it is Ellen’s face that I see. —Nominated by Deborah Gately

 

Suzi Pierre Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center For her compassionate actions in helping a distraught elderly patient, I nominate Suzi. The patient’s granddaughter, with whom she is extremely close, was getting married. Due to her illness, the grandmother would be unable to attend the wedding. She was in tears daily, devastated with the prospect of missing the family celebration.

Suzi went out of her way and arranged with a family member to make a video call over the phone. This allowed the grandmother to witness the entire wedding. The patient was delighted and didn’t miss any of the ceremony. Sometimes, it’s the little efforts that make the biggest impact, and Suzi really went beyond her job requirements to help her patient. —Nominated by Evelyn Peters

 

Shari Pasley Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center I am an RN at Beth Israel, and on August 6, 2014, I collapsed in the elevator in the parking garage on my way into work. I could not breathe but was aware I was alone on the elevator floor. I could not get up or even reach the emergency alarm button. Apparently, when the elevator reached the ground floor, the door opened and I was saying “help’’ but I was barely audible. Shari came to my aid, immediately called a code from her cell phone, managed to get my cell phone from underneath me, and called my husband. Shari stayed with me when the code team arrived and expedited my transfer to the emergency department and reassured me and stayed with me the entire time. I did have a cardiac arrest in the ED, but if it were not for Shari, I would not be here today. I have little memory of the events that followed, but I clearly remember Shari and her calming voice. —Nominated by Jean Raas-Moore

 

 

Maria Semnack Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Maria is the pulse of plastic surgery here. She typically arrives early to answer patient emails, process disability paperwork, and return a full box of voicemails. Maria is a sounding board for patients, a shoulder to cry on, and a provider with encyclopedic knowledge of plastic surgery that she distills into simple terms.

Maria often stays late to help me finish surgery. Not only does she get the intake paperwork processed, she answers questions about surgery, prepares discharge instructions, routes medications to the pharmacy, and schedules follow-up appointments. Most importantly, Maria offers a hand to hold when local anesthesia is injected or a soft caress when a procedure is taking longer than anticipated.

For the past several years, Maria has organized a team of staff and patients for the annual Making Strides Breast Cancer Walk, an event that bolsters patients’ spirits. Maria also secures hats from Knots of Love for patients with hair-loss from chemotherapy, and Jacki recovery jackets for those with surgical drains, small touches that go a long way in assuring patient comfort during treatment.

Maria extends the reach of patient care even when she’s not working. She routinely calls patients on Sunday evenings to check on nerves and address last minute questions. Maria has even met patients in the holding area before surgery when they have been unusually stressed. She is essentially a medical assistant, scrub tech nurse, and administrative assistant rolled up into a happy, compassionate, capable, ambitious individual. . —Nominated by Adam Tobias

 

Tara Roy, Carol Silver Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center I am a bone marrow transplant patient who also has had the misfortune of being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014. I am a man. The cancer combo is rare and even more so when a man has these diagnoses. It has a number of complications and risks that are potentially frightening and risky. It is easy for a person with a dual diagnosis to feel overwhelmed by the diseases.

I feel compelled to nominate nurses Tara Roy and Carol Silver with the outpatient BMT program at Beth Israel Hospital because of their ability to provide guidance and information that created a sense of emotional control for me and my family. This sense of being in control and being cared for and directed by a team of oncology professionals who not only cared about me personally but provided me with world class medical treatment provided great comfort to me and my family. With Tara and Carol’s guidance, we were able to cope with the breast cancer setback and transplant complications. We never felt anxiety about needing questions answered or information provided. Tara, Carol, and the BMT medical team coordinated the provision of services among three different medical specialties flawlessly. This is no small feat. —Nominated by Don Frost

 

Vanessa Vasquez Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Vanessa was recognized by the Rewards and Recognition committee for her calm, soft-spoken manor and her focus on patient care. Vanessa had a mildly confused patient on the evening shift. She wrote a note and left it at the patient’s bedside. The note explained that she was safe and in the hospital and when she was well she would return to her home. This note helped to orient the patient and calm her fears about being in a strange place. This kind of compassionate care is as important as the antibiotics the patient received. —Nominated by David Farnworth

Boston Arts Academy/Fenway High School

Amy Dietz Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center I want to thank registered nurse Amy Dietz from Boston Arts Academy/the Fenway High School for her mentorship and support during my practicum at Emmanuel College. Despite her busy schedule of taking care of students from both schools, Amy was always so very generous with her time, knowledge, and patience in supporting my school learning experience. From special health care needs to complex adolescent issues, Amy provides exemplary compassionate health care and student advocacy with a warm and caring spirit. I truly appreciate and value everything I have learned from nurse Dietz. Her example has me looking forward to the day I can do the same for someone else. —Nominated by Kjerste Soderberg

Boston Children’s Hospital

Nurses from 8 South Boston Children’s Hospital My husband and I traveled over 400 miles to get treatment for our daughter, who was fighting a life-threatening disease called pulmonary vein stenosis. While here in Boston, we lost our home to fire back in Baltimore. Having to deal with our intubated baby and our lost home was a very stressful time for my husband and me. We met a host of nurses on 8 South who gave us a brighter outlook on life. Each day they would come in and bring laughter and cheer to our family. They helped the recovery process go smoothly and quickly. Their level of care of was phenomenal. These nurses have been a blessing our family will always remember. The Bowes really appreciate you, Ladies. —Nominated by Jacqueline Haughton-Bowes

 

Nurses of 8 South, Cardiac Intensive Care Unit Boston Children’s Hospital Our son, Mickey, was born with a congenital heart defect. At birth, he was immediately transferred to the cardiac intensive care unit (CICU) at Children’s. I can’t nominate just one nurse from that unit, for it would be like nominating a favorite son or daughter. These professionals celebrated the best of times and grieved the worst times with our family. They helped us survive a devastating cardiac arrest, they supported eight long months living within the confines of a hospital room, and above all, they loved our son as if he were their own. After a long and uncertain journey, we all relished in a healthy heart transplant and a thriving, happy, strong boy. Though our family is now all home and healthy, we always consider our second family to be the CICU team at Children’s. We are forever grateful for their love and support. —Nominated by Mary Kay White

Kim, Lilly, Patti and Maura 8th Floor East Cardiac Unit, Boston Children’s Hospital While I was in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit at Boston Children’s Hospital, Kim made sure she was my nurse whenever she was there. I will always remember her dedication to her very difficult job, her caring bedside manner, and her careful explanations of all the procedures I was going through. I felt she took my illness personally and was determined to do whatever it took to help me get better. Similarly, Lilly, Patti, and Maura worked together to give me the best care possible. Working together they guided us though a very difficult time, acting as a liaison between the lay person and the best medical minds in the world. They are a true team. They saved my life. I will remember you all. —Nominated by PJ Babineau

Nicole, Kara, Meghan 8th Floor East Cardiac Unit, Boston Children’s Hospital

The nurses on 8 East are phenomenal. We were raveling from afar with no certainty and scared to death. Nicole made us feel like her friends, and we left knowing our son was in more-than-capable hands. During a time when all we felt was despair, her kindness and love for our child made a trying time much less so. The care we continued to receive from all the nurses on 8 East was beyond our expectations. And coming from a background in healthcare, I’m critical. Can’t say enough good things. Really passionate caring nurses, and we are so happy we made the trip. Happy to say my baby boy is 9 months and thriving thanks to all the nurses and doctors at Boston Children’s. Truly an extraordinary experience. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. —Nominated by Amber Payne

Beth Alberson Boston Children’s Hospital I nominate “Mama Beth’’ because she was one of the kindest human beings you will ever meet. She tried to make the best out of any situation and comfort you in any way she could. She is part of our family. —Nominated by Gianna Martiniello

 

Annette Baker Boston Children’s Hospital Annette is the nurse practitioner in the Kawasaki Disease Clinic where my son, Christian, is a patient. We travel from Dallas, TX, every six months for his check-up. Not only does Annette provide excellent clinical skills, she provides much care and compassion. On behalf of myself, Christian, Caitlin, and Maxwell, we nominate Annette for the clinical expertise, kindness, and personal care she shows Christian and our family. Hugs from Texas. —Nominated by Lori Williams

Steve Bova Boston Children’s Hospital My granddaughter, Olivia, was at Children’s in the Cardiac Catheterization Lab for an ablation procedure. She was very nervous. Being a teen, she wasn’t going to be calmed down simply with compassionate care. In came Steve, and all that changed. He showed a great sense of humor, joking, laughing, even chiding. And he also cared compassionately for Olivia. I think bedside manner is very important, and Steve demonstrated his skills in both nursing and bedside manner that day. He made a very tense day almost joyful. —Nominated by Linda Cataldo

Julisa Burgos Boston Children’s Hospital Nurse Julisa is by far our favorite nurse at Children’s. She was my son’s nurse almost every time he was inpatient. She will do everything in her power to provide the best care and comfort she can. She listens to every question and concern and provides answers that are easy to understand. She gets to know your child in a way that ensures she will know if something goes wrong and will make sure the doctors understand. I cannot imagine my son’s care without her. —Nominated by Susannah Kelsall

Patricia “Patty’’ Burke Boston Children’s Hospital Words cannot begin to describe the care our son Colin received from Patty Burke while spending the first month of his life at Boston Children’s Hospital to correct a congenital heart defect. The shock and awe of Colin’s diagnosis soon after his birth was devastating. From the moment I arrived at Boston Children’s Hospital to meet Colin after his transport from Providence, Colin’s nurse Patty was there to walk us through every step on Colin’s road to recovery. Her care for Colin, like so many of the nurses in the CICU, was nothing short of amazing. During the most stressful days of our lives leading up to Colin’s open heart surgery, Patty was there to comfort us, always making sure that we were fully knowledgeable about each and every step. Walking into his intensive care room and seeing Patty there for her shift immediately made our day better because we would be assured that Colin was in the best hands possible for the next 12 hours. There isn’t a day that goes by that we don’t think of her and the amazing care she gave our family during the most stressful time in our lives. We are forever grateful for the person she is, and we will never forget the selfless care she gave our family. —Nominated by James Riel

 

 

Cathy Curro-Harrington Boston Children’s Hospital This nurse is my mother and was a pragmatic advocate for my toddler, her grandson, with developmental medicine and neurology over this past year in order to help find out what is causing some of his developmental deficiencies. She is also a doting grandmother as well as a healing widow. Outside of work, she remains a true professional in her role as a nurse at Boston Children’s Hospital. She brings competency, honesty, and compassion to every interaction with families—even her own. —Nominated by Anthony Crowe

Meghan Dalton and Glendy Grullon Boston Children’s Hospital These are two very special nurses who demonstrate extreme compassion and advocate for their patients 110 percent of the time. I couldn’t nominate just one because they really work together, like yin and yang. As nurse practitioners, Meghan and Glendy support the home parenteral nutrition program for children who receive nutrients intravenously. In addition to managing a team of specialists, Meghan and Glendy provide care for over 100 patients at a time. Because many of the patients are critically ill, these two spend infinite hours coordinating intricate communication among providers, home care companies, and the families. They are true advocates for their patients.

They deserve a medal of honor every day for the effort and compassion they put forward. I feel lucky to have worked with them for years and to have witnessed such incredible passion and hard work. —Nominated by Jackie Riso

Valerie DeMambro Boston Children’s Hospital Valerie is a nurse who showed so much compassion and attention to our baby Avery. Avery had two very long admissions in the hospital and Valerie was our primary nurse. She always kept us up to date and was always around if we had questions. Valerie was an advocate when we couldn’t be there for our child. She’s such a kind, loving nurse with so much dedication for her job. We will forever be grateful for her coming into our lives. —Nominated by Ana Story

Stephanie Dobbins Boston Children’s Hospital Stephanie was kind and gentle. Our experience at the hospital was very traumatic. She was comforting to our daughter and me and my husband as well. She was our nurse on many occasions. She treated our daughter as if she was her own. Her outstanding personality helped us deal with difficult days. She was extremely knowledgeable about Marie’s conditions and extremely compassionate about our situation. She encouraged us every step of the way. During our two-and-a-half-month stay, it was nice to have her as our nurse for so many days. She hugged us when we cried and encouraged us to find positivity in each day. Stephanie became one of our favorite nurses and truly a part of our family. She helped us learn skills that we would need to take care of Marie once we would return home. She made me feel confident in doing Marie’s care alone. There are so many wonderful nurses at Boston Children’s Hospital but Stephanie went above and beyond her job description. —Nominated by Sarah Swenson

Dorothy Gallagher Boston Children’s Hospital EAT Program Four-and-a-half years ago, Dori joined our fledgling team, developing treatments for children with severe swallowing and breathing difficulties. She demonstrates compassion and connection with the families and children daily. She sees the families and patients at least twice a day, celebrates birthdays and major family events, and is always there to help in any way necessary. Dori is absolutely committed to supporting our families through crisis and routinely stays as late as the families need her care. On occasion, she has stayed all night with a family, even renting a hotel and staying over a weekend to be there for the family and support them. Dori has become our patient’s trusted advocate and confidant, and fights hard for their best care with insurance companies and other medical institutions. Dori is a shining example of exemplary nursing care. —Nominated by Russell Jennings

 

Anna Gluckman Boston Children’s Hospital EAT Program Anna was like a second mother to our newborn son. The care she dedicated to him was beyond outstanding. Anna got my son’s first smile. When he had rocky days, she would speak up and say, “I know him; he doesn’t act like this. Something is not right here. We should get blood work or an X-ray done. ’’

When I was at my lowest, she would give me her shoulder cry on. She could talk me off that ledge and make me feel better. Anna worked a lot of night shifts and I knew I could sleep better with her on duty. To Anna, my son was not just a patient, but a little brother, son, grandson, and nephew. She knew how to make my other children feel comfortable around all the tubes and wires. Anna will forever be close to our heart, and we love seeing her when we come to Children’s for check-ups. —Nominated by Katie Morehouse

Sasha Griffith Boston Children’s Hospital Sasha took care of our daughter Nicole this past September after she had a mitral valve replacement. Sasha was very efficient, compassionate, and did an excellent job stabilizing Nicole after a very difficult surgery. Sasha worked with Nicole for three nights, and we felt very lucky to have such a competent nurse. Sasha always kept us informed about what was going on and made us feel at home. We will forever be grateful to Sasha and the team at Boston Children’s Hospital for taking such great care of our daughter. —Nominated by Erika Rascon

Kathryn Hadley Boston Children’s Hospital We’ve had many outstanding nurses at both Children’s and the Jimmy Fund Clinic for our seven-year-old daughter, Anna. Kate has stood out as patient, thoughtful, and caring. Kate always speaks directly to Anna, asking her if there’s anything she needs. She compliments her on what a great job she does taking her medicine, or having a procedure, or drinking all her milk. She communicates clearly and gives us choices when she can, whether it’s what time Anna takes her medicine or when she wants her needle changed. Her gentle manner helps keep us calm, too. And from a parent who has spent many nights sleeping at the hospital, I appreciate that she is conscientious entering and leaving the room as quietly as possible. She anticipates pumps going off in the middle of the night and minimizes that effect on us. We are confident she always has Anna’s best interest in mind. Whenever Kate is assigned to us during our multiple hospital stays, we know we have nothing to worry about. —Nominated by Terry Bolduc

 

Pamela Hall Boston Children’s Hospital/Boston MedFlight Our infant son, Bentley, was flow from Maine Medical Center to Boston Children’s Hospital. Pam was on the transport team and from the moment she entered the room, she was amazing. I was a sobbing mess; my son’s life was in the hands of complete strangers. I begged her to please treat him as if he were her own. Pam wrapped her arms around me and promised to do everything in her power.

Bentley’s transport was the longest five hours of my life. Once they arrived, Pam met us in the waiting room. Her face screamed concern but her voice spoke hope. Her brown curly hair and blue suit were wet from sweat. She had physically worked so hard to save my son’s life—the baby I thought she might consider to be just another transport. Pam kept him alive, she saved him. She hugged my husband and me and said, “We got him here. It was hairy but if anyone can help him, it’s these doctors and nurses.’’

We spent 21 days at Children’s before being transported back to Maine. During our stay, Pam would pop in to check on “her little buddy.’’ Not only did she immediately create an atmosphere of trust, but she checked in even after her official job was done. We consider Pam to be our angel, and I am sure there are many other families Pam has made feel the same way. We love Pam whole-heartedly. —Nominated by Brandie Rand

Maura Harlen Boston Children’s Hospital Maura took care of my son as if he were her own. Not only did she go over and beyond caring for him, she also made sure I was well taken care of. Even when she wasn’t our nurse, she took time to check on us. God bless Maura for taking care of my son the way she did. —Nominated by Joannie Roman

Kim Hayes Boston Children’s Hospital My daughter, Estelle, was in the hospital for three months with brain and spine cancer. Kim was absolutely amazing. She and Estelle had this amazing bond. Kim would lift Estelle’s spirits during her hardest hours. My beautiful baby would be feeling so sick, and at a glimpse of her favorite nurse, she’d be smiling ear to ear. Kim would dance, sing, color, paint; she’d do anything for her little friend, Estelle. Kim’s magic worked better than any medicine out there.

When Estelle had only days left to live, our community organized the most beautiful Frozen-themed party. Estelle was visited by the movie’s main characters, Elsa and Anna. But when she realized Kim was there, her smile was even bigger than when she met the princesses. Kim made Estelle’s heart warm. —Nominated by Alicia Martinez

Erin Hennessy Boston Children’s Hospital Being a nurse at Boston Children’s Hospital takes commitment, dedication, and patience. All of these attributes are depicted in Erin Hennessy. Erin has played a vital role in the Urology Department at Boston Children’s Hospital for the last three years. She strives day in and day out to provide quality patient care in all aspects of urology. Erin is committed to her colleagues as well as the patients and their families. In the outpatient clinic setting, she has the ability to make patients feel both comfortable and informed. Erin is dedicated to being an exceptional nurse who delivers patient care in a timely and organized manner. She continuously goes out of her way for her colleagues, always keeping in mind what is best for the patients and their families. Erin emulates the true meaning of patience. Because she is such an outstanding nurse, everyone in this department relies on her in many ways. We all trust her judgment and opinions and know that patients and their families have a sense of ease when speaking with her. Anyone in health care would be lucky to work with a nurse like Erin Hennessy. We are truly grateful for her the commitment, dedication, and patience that she demonstrates on a daily basis. —Nominated by Stephanie Castagno

Christine LaGrasta Boston Children’s Hospital Christine is an amazing nurse who cares greatly for all the children on the cardiac floor. She is passionate about her job and is becoming a nurse practitioner to better help the children. If it weren’t for Christine and all the staff at Children’s, my daughter wouldn’t be here today. —Nominated by Joseph Solimano

 

Kim McCaffrey Boston Children’s Hospital We live in West Virginia but have come to Boston for 16 years with our little girl, Lacey. She has had many open heart surgeries and other operations and procedures there. Lacey was life-flighted from West Virginia last spring. She was in heart failure. We spent April 13 through May 27 with many amazing nurses, but Kim was special. She would braid Lacey’s hair, put cute shirts and pajamas on her, and always treat her with such respect. Lacey was on life support while Kim did all these things for her.

Kim was with us when Lacey earned her angel wings, and I don’t know how we would have made it through without her. She gave Lacey a bath and made this time special for us. Lacey looked so beautiful in her new monkey pajamas and robe and her braided hair. Kim went above and beyond for Lacey and our family. We are forever grateful that she was with us to spend the last hours of our time with Lacey. —Nominated by Debbie Warner

Carolyn Millett Boston Children’s Hospital Carolyn will forever be part of our family. Our newborn son had a rare birth defect and was under Carolyn’s care in the medical surgical intensive care unit. We had to wait 72 days to hold our fragile boy, and she was compassionate enough to allow us to make that first attempt.

At one point, after he’d had a really bad night, I asked Carolyn, “Is there any hope left?’’ She said, “Yes. There is always hope.’’ On another occasion, my son was not breathing sufficiently and the doctors wanted to change ventilators. Carolyn spoke up and asked them to cut back on his sedation and let him breath on his own because the machine was doing it all. It worked. We are forever grateful for her and everything she has done and still does for us today. —Nominated by Katie Morehouse

Beth Millian Boston Children’s Hospital Our son Spencer was waiting for a heart transplant at Boston Children’s Hospital when he became sicker and was implanted with an VAD in January 2014. We were beyond scared to bring him home, but Beth spent countless hours training, educating, and reassuring us before Spencer was discharged. Once we were home, we talked to Beth or emailed her almost every day.

Spencer was seen as outpatient every week at first, then every two, then once a month as our wait for a heart dragged on. Beth was always there for us. Spencer looked forward to every visit because of her warmth, humor, and kindness. She listened to all of our questions and worries. On our first visit after being discharged, she told us Spencer should be ready to go back to school (after three months inpatient). We didn’t see how that could be, but after she led a remote training for all the school nurses in our district, we knew we were ready. She also trained our EMT department, our pediatrician, and our school nurse at Boston Children’s Hospital before our discharge. When Spencer said he wanted to participate in physical education with his 5th grade class, she helped us figure out how to make that safe and doable for him. —Nominated by Laurie Harrington

Ariana Moccia Boston Children’s Hospital Ariana is knowledgeable and caring. She makes you feel comfortable at all times. —Nominated by Olivia Goncalves

Patricia O’Brien Boston Children’s Hospital I have nominated Pat every year since our son was born. Pat is our nurse practitioner in the cardiac unit at Children’s. She is hands-down the most passionate, understanding, and patient nurse you could have for your complex child. Pat goes out of her way to make sure you have a full understanding of what is going on and gives you plenty of resources to help every step of the way. Not only is Pat a wonderful nurse, she is also an advocate for our son when it comes to his special education for school. I nominate Pat because our son thrives and lives a full life thanks to her. We love Pat. —Nominated by Danielle Vieira

 

Shauna O’Brien Boston Children’s Hospital Shauna is very passionate about her patients. We were in a program for my son’s Norwood-Sano procedure and Shauna was his advocate. She would skip lunch to stay with my son when he was getting treatments. She not only took care of my son, she also took care of me. She has comforted my infant and shown so much love to him that it warms my heart. She deserves all the recognition in the world. She is personable, thorough, and gets her work done. —Nominated by Nina Wills

Kristen Rice Boston Children’s Hospital Kristen was my Type 1 diabetes nurse educator while I was a patient at Children’s. Kristen came into my life when I was transitioning from multiple insulin injections a day to getting onboard with my insulin pump. Her compassion, support, and warm heart made me a more confident and healthy woman. I am forever grateful that she was such a positive part of my life for so many years. She deserves all the best in this world and more. Thank you, K. Rice. —Nominated by Jamie-Lee B.

Patricia Sacco Boston Children’s Hospital My mom has been a nurse at Boston Children’s Hospital for over 35 years. Through her love for what she does and the genuine care she exhibits for each and every patient she encounters, she has inspired me to also become a nurse. She has dedicated her life to bettering the lives of others and is always advocating for the patient and their family. —Nominated by Liz Sacco

 

Amelia Sparrow Boston Children’s Hospital Amy has been wonderful with my daughter. Emerson can be quite the challenge and will only let Nurse Amy change her tube. Amy is quick to answer any questions and will put a mom’s worry at ease. She is such a blessing to us and many other families. She has helped us advocate with the school when there have been problems and has treated our daughter as if she were her own. —Nominated by Katie Herrick

 

Karen Stebbins Boston Children’s Hospital Karen is an incredible nurse and an invaluable, well-respected member of the multidisciplinary team in the NICU at Boston Children’s Hospital. With over 20 years of experience, Karen embodies everything that you look for in a leadership nurse caring for critically ill infants. She is incredibly intelligent, motivated, caring, and compassionate. Karen’s ability to remain calm in the face of chaos while seamlessly collaborating with other members of the health care team is one to be admired. She cares for some of the sickest patients in the country while forming long-lasting therapeutic relationships with parents in crisis. Utilizing her experience and extensive knowledge base, Karen has a unique ability to look into the eyes of a worried parent and bring them comfort. She functions as a strong advocate for her patients, giving a voice to those who cannot speak. Her intelligence and critical thinking skills make her a standout among her peers, yet she remains humble and approachable. Aside from the amazing work she does at the bedside, Karen is seen as a mentor and resource for our busy unit. She is able to cater her educational styles to a wide variety of staff, promoting comprehension and retention in the setting of extremely challenging and complex topics. Karen is involved and visible in the unit, participating in several ongoing educational and quality improvement projects. Karen truly represents the best of the best and deserves to be recognized as such. I am honored to call her a friend and colleague. —Nominated by Jody Heffernan

Lynn Sullivan-Galvin Boston Children’s Hospital I had the pleasure of working with Lynn. Not only was she the charge nurse on my unit, but she also always made sure every patient got the best care, even taking on patient care when necessary. She is a well-educated nurse who always proved competent in caring for the pediatric population. Working at Children’s is all about the children and she was the first one to make sure every child was comfortable and safe. Everyone she cared for would always leave with a smile on their face. I truly believe Lynn showed me how to be the pediatric nurse I am today. Seven West is beyond lucky to have her as a nurse, and children and their families are just as lucky too! Way to go Lynn—you rock! —Nominated by Nichole Dunnebier

Mary Trahon Boston Children’s Hospital When we met Mary, it was like meeting someone we already knew. Her bright smile and cheery personality won my two-and-a-half-year-old daughter’s heart. Last March was not our first or last inpatient experience at Children’s, but it was our best.

We had come in this time in emergency. Charlotte’s trachea was completely collapsing. Our total stay was 28 days, and the days Mary didn’t work were the hardest. Mary communicated with us about everything: medication, weights, cleaning our daughter’s pic line, and so on. She even let Charlotte help, so she had a role in her healing. Mary danced and played in the halls with us. Imagine how grateful we all were for Mary’s moments of silliness.

Living in the hospital is extremely tough, but Mary helped it feel like our second home. When I needed to voice my worries, Mary was always a great listener. She would tell me when I needed a break and would have a volunteer relieve me so I could get lunch or take a walk.

Mary deserves this award more than any nurse we have met. When we returned to Children’s in February, what a comfort it was for Charlotte to know Nurse Mary was there to make everything OK. Mary has forever touched our hearts and created many great memories around our family’s health struggles. —Nominated by Wendy Briggs

 

Jen Tucker Gamble Boston Children’s Hospital After being in a coma in the intensive care unit, my daughter Ashley, 24, arrived on Jen’s floor. From that moment until discharge, Jen was absolutely fantastic. Ashley is not usually trusting, so we were very grateful when she connected with Jen.

Jen always had a smile. She advocated for Ashley regarding medications, formula, etc. When speaking with Ashley, Jen treated her as an adult, not a child, yet with an understanding of her limitations.

Unfortunately, while Ashley was a patient, we learned that she had been physically abused by her boyfriend. Jen addressed that with the utmost dignity.

I am also an RN, so I can truly appreciate a good nurse when I meet one—and Jen is a standout. Nine East is very fortunate to have Jen as one of their nurses and her patients are truly blessed. —Nominated by Pamela George

Lynn Sullivan-Galvin Boston Children’s Hospital I had the pleasure of working with Lynn. Not only was she the charge nurse on my unit, but she also always made sure every patient got the best care, even taking on patient care when necessary. She is a well-educated nurse who always proved competent in caring for the pediatric population. Working at Children’s is all about the children and she was the first one to make sure every child was comfortable and safe. Everyone she cared for would always leave with a smile on their face. I truly believe Lynn showed me how to be the pediatric nurse I am today. Seven West is beyond lucky to have her as a nurse, and children and their families are just as lucky too! Way to go Lynn—you rock! —Nominated by Nichole Dunnebier

Jaime Vergara Boston Children’s Hospital Jaime is such a great person. He knew exactly what to say and made us feel better.—Nominated by Nohely Chavira-Williams

 

Jaime Vergara Boston Children’s Hospital Jamie is a compassionate, bilingual, excellent human being! —Nominated by Claudia Silva

 

Jaime Vergara Boston Children’s Hospital My son, Leonardo, a baby of four months, had heart surgery at Boston Children’s. The second night, he had a heart attack and Jaime stayed with us and with the baby. He is the biggest support we had at Children’s. We are from Hermosillo, Mexico. —Nominated by Leonardo Melo

 

Julie Waitt Boston Children’s Hospital Great compassion. A tribute to excellence. A great addition to the team. —Nominated by Zita Assini

Amy Walsh Boston Children’s Hospital Amy has been a cardiology nurse at Children’s for over 20 years. She has provided compassionate, high-quality nursing care to a variety of complex cardiology patients and has been an exceptional colleague and mentor to younger nurses, like myself.

In the last year, Amy has undertaken a new role as the hospital’s pacemaker/implantable cardioverter defibrillator nurse, and become one half of a dynamic duo. Her commitment to learning the advanced skills required to succeed in this new role has aligned with her existing clinical expertise and passion for nursing in a way that makes her shine even brighter. Amy has also taken a great deal of responsibility running our annual Pacemaker/ICD Summer Camp, for kids who would not otherwise be able to attend camp due to their medical devices. She gets to know each patient so well—all their likes and dislikes, what’s going on in their families, what they want to be when they grow up. She is a much-beloved nurse and camp counselor at this special event.

Amy is much beloved at Children’s, too. Despite her challenging and very busy role, Amy is always a delightful colleague who brightens the lives of those fortunate enough to be on her team. She is generous with her time and extremely in tune to the needs of her co-workers. She never forgets a birthday or fails to acknowledge someone going through a hard time. Amy provides compassionate care to her patients and her colleagues and she certainly deserves to be recognized. —Nominated by Jamie Harris

Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program/St. Francis House

 

Cecelia Ibeabuchi Boston Health Care for the Homeless/St. Francis House As an RN-to-BSN student, I am completing my clinical rotation under the guidance of Cecelia. Her work in the clinic shows what it is to be a true medical professional. Her care and concern for every homeless individual who passes through the doors is truly commendable. She and her staff members know clients by name and go the extra mile to provide care and services that some clients would never be able to obtain on their own. Cecelia will always take the time from her many duties involved in running this very busy clinic to answer questions and evaluate any medical problems that arise. Even as a seasoned nurse, my experience in this work setting with Cecelia has been humbling. —Nominated by Helen Healy-Hosford

Boston Medical Center

Odessa Boykin Boston Medical Center Odessa Boykin’s patient was a 16-year-old boy injured while playing sports. She helped to arrange his birthday party at the hospital. She helped his family to cope with his devastating, life-changing injury. —Nominated by Virginia Mason

Karen Carey Boston Medical Center Karen Carey’s patient was a high school boy with a sports related injury that resulted in paralysis. She helped him with his homework. She helped his family to cope with this devastating, life-changing injury. The provision of emotional support and diversion was awe-inspiring. —Nominated by Virginia Mason

Kathy Egitto Boston Medical Center Kathy is the most resourceful and first to help with a smile I know. She has her co-workers’ back when needed. I have seen her in action on the nursing floors, the nursing ICU’s, and the busiest ER in Boston. She can interact with the toughest angriest doctors and never lose her cool. My last comment is that she has the best sense of humor. She jokes around and always leaves you with a smile unless her 5 beepers are going off. I think BMC is very lucky to have her. —Nominated by Marianne Lane

Joseph Foley Boston Medical Center In early December, my niece’s fiancé suffered an unexpected cardiac arrest and was taken to the Boston Medical Center. Once stabilized, Mike was transferred to the MICU where Joe took charge of Mike’s complex nursing care. Joe provided intense, meticulous, and sensitive care not only to Mike, but also to his extended family. Joe’s quiet and steady presence gave us hope and strength when we needed it most.

Mike did not make it through the night, but the blow of his passing was softened by the gift of time that Joe made possible. In those precious hours, Joe’s quiet and unassuming attention allowed us all to say our last “I love you,’’ to give a final hug, and just one last kiss.

We are so grateful for that and for so much more than these words can convey. It is clear that the care we received is the same nurturing support that Nurse Foley provides to each of his patients, every day. Joe’s quiet expertise and dedication to his patients has helped to make BMC the very best of Boston health care. —Nominated by Roberta Gately

Dianne Gauthier Boston Medical Center As coordinator of the cardiomyopathy clinic, Diane goes above and beyond, treating me with dignity and respect, even calling me weekly to check on my weight and well-being. Like a friendly drill sergeant, she reminds me to keep my weight down and to pay attention to what I eat. She schedules my regular blood tests and calls me as soon as she receives the results. With my myriad health problems, I am thankful to have her as an accessible resource. She exemplifies what a true professional nurse should be with her caring attitude and outgoing personality. —Nominated by Richard Barry

 

Donna Kenney Boston Medical Center I’ve known Donna Kenny for many years, both as a co-worker and friend. On December 2, 2014, when my niece’s fiancé suffered an unexpected cardiac arrest, Donna became a lifeline for my family. With Donna’s help, we arranged transfer to Boston Medical Center and it was Donna who first and so expertly wrapped Mike in her expertise. As they worked feverishly to save this wonderful young man, they also helped to save the family who loved him so. It was the knowledge that Donna was there in the trauma room with Mike that gave us each a measure of hope and comfort when it seemed that was all that we had. In those dwindling hours, a final ‘I love you,’ a final hug, one last kiss were all made possible by Boston Medical Center’s best nurses, and that team in our minds was led by Donna Kenney. Donna provides that thoughtful care to each patient who comes through the doors of Boston Medical Center. She is the quintessential nurse; always ready and always willing to give everyone the very best care possible. It is that devotion to excellence and her quiet expertise every single day that sets Donna apart. —Nominated by Roberta Gately

 

Donna Kenney Boston Medical Center On December 2 my daughter’s unresponsive fiancé was taken to Boston Medical Center. Nurse Donna Kenney was working that morning. She met the ambulance and took control with great care, concern, and, most importantly, empathy. I knew then if he couldn’t be saved that she would be there to gently guide him home. She is the best that Boston Medical Center has to offer. —Nominated by Susan Richard

 

Carol McCarthy Boston Medical Center Carol McCarthy works in the Trauma Unit. She also teaches as a clinical instructor in a school of nursing. She works diligently to promote high standards of nursing care. Carol offers opportunities to student nurses to be supervised in the Step-Down or SICU. She has also served as an ICU preceptor to help nurses move into the SICU. —Nominated by Virginia Mason

 

Dianne Gauthier Boston Medical Center As coordinator of the cardiomyopathy clinic, Diane goes above and beyond, treating me with dignity and respect, even calling me weekly to check on my weight and well-being. Like a friendly drill sergeant, she reminds me to keep my weight down and to pay attention to what I eat. She schedules my regular blood tests and calls me as soon as she receives the results. With my myriad health problems, I am thankful to have her as an accessible resource. She exemplifies what a true professional nurse should be with her caring attitude and outgoing personality. —Nominated by Richard Barry

 

Gynette Rateau Boston Medical Center Gynette has acted as a preceptor for many nurses starting at Boston Medical. Seasoned nurses are often asked to be preceptors for those beginning a new nursing position, guiding, supporting, and directing nurses. Daily at 6:30 a.m., 30 minutes before her scheduled shift, Gynette meets her new grad to review the patients for the day. Together, they also reflect on how things went the previous day, what went well, what could have been done differently, and what was learned.

As she always does when acting as a preceptor, Gynette provides positive feedback and is clear when improvement is needed. She is direct in a respectful yet straightforward manner. It is very gratifying to see the growth of Gynette’s new grads as they eventually become responsible for their own assignments and practice well independently. Gynette is an example of a nurse who is willing to share her expertise to influence the development of new graduate nurses. We thank her for her valuable contributions. —Nominated by Charlotte Cuneo

 

Brigham & Women’s Hospital

Marie Casey Brigham and Women’s Thoracic Surgery ICU Besides performing her regular nursing duties, Marie Casey gave me an outside comfort that I’m sure hastened my recovery. Many people in my situation feel so helpless and in the way, especially when they need assistance in doing basic everyday and simple tasks. Marie always made me feel that she enjoyed attending to my every need. She always accompanied such visits with a happy smile, a bit of conversation, and maybe an amusing anecdote. She made me feel that I was not bothersome. I think that kind of comfort is most important. —Nominated by John Michallyszyn

 

Taryn Chase Taryn Chase Brigham and Women’s Hospital When my husband was in a motorcycle accident and admitted to the ICU, Taryn took great care through those critical hours in the first week. She was also helpful explaining each procedure and why certain things were happening. All the nurses were excellent, but in my eyes, Taryn stood out caring for my husband. —Nominated by Stacy McCarthy

 

Darlene Fix Brigham and Women’s Hospital I have found Darlene to be empathetic and informative regarding my upcoming radiation treatments. During the daily hormone routine, I truly feel that my care is being administered by a caring and compassionate oncology resource who has my interests at heart. Diet and exercise routines were suggested along with concurrent hernia repair, all of which makes me feel I am getting total cancer care. —Nominated by Ralph Given

 

Devan Foley Brigham and Women’s Hospital Devan exudes compassion and confidence as she takes care of you. You feel better just knowing she cares about you. She made sure to advocate the removal of catheters as soon as she was allowed. She honored my request to not have narcotics, advocating for Tylenol instead of morphine. I cannot thank her enough for my care. —Nominated by James McClennan

 

Nikisha Hurlock Brigham and Women’s Hospital Niki was extremely comforting during my friend’s terrifying four-day stay for lung surgery. Her care was also very efficient. On the day my friend was released, Niki even stayed an hour past her 12-hour shift so she could be the one to wheel her down to the van.

Nikisha is an example of the kind of care we wish everyone in the profession would exhibit. She is beautiful, knowledgeable, and compassionate, with a great sense of humor.

The Brigham and her patients are very fortunate to have her. —Nominated by Richard Barry

 

Bonnie Bishop Manchur Brigham and Women’s Hospital Bonnie is the most professional nurse I have ever met. She had complete knowledge of my surgery and post-op care, and I knew I was in good hands as soon as I met her. Her technique and routine of always having a fresh pair of gloves on and sanitizing was amazing to watch. Her compassion for what I had been through was genuine and her knowledge and prep for my release to home care was very thorough. She gave me confidence that I could handle the recovery process. If anything looked amiss with prescriptions or the recommended care for discharge, she doubled checked and challenged the instructions until they were perfect. She has the most complex job of all and she is truly an angel. —Nominated by Ed Swanson

Brian O’Callaghan Brigham and Women’s Hospital To say I was in rough shape when I was transferred to the Brigham would be a gross understatement. Brian was warm and calming; his energy literally made it easier to get up in the morning. He was there every day (a true rarity), holding my hand, and helping me through each step. He set reasonable goals for me, genuinely believing that I could achieve them, even when I couldn’t believe it myself. He pushed me farther than I thought possible. I owe him everything. I feel completely and unequivocally blessed to have been under Brian’s care. —Nominated by Katherine Spence

Susan Smith Brigham and Women’s Hospital Last October, I delivered my premature baby boy and his stillborn twin sister. It was one of the best and the worst days of my life. I vividly remember Sue introducing herself to me as my son’s primary nurse. Her warm tone immediately comforted me.

Over the course of the next month, Sue not only took impeccable care of my baby, she cared for me and my broken heart as well. She answered all of my questions with such patience (as well as excellent expertise), she kept me calm when I was beside myself with grief and anxiety, she validated my worries, and she helped me make sense of my experience.

It is so clear that Sue cares for the babies (and parents!). She nurses very deeply; I really felt that she loved and protected my son. What began as the most traumatic experience of my life was made infinitely better by everything Sue did for my family. She is truly a hero. —Nominated by Melissa Peterson

Nori Vincitori Brigham and Women’s Hospital Nori is simply the finest nurse we have ever encountered. She took such exceptional care of my husband for the three weeks he was an inpatient. He was made to feel he was her top priority. The days when she had a much-deserved day off just weren’t the same. She was so very kind and caring and thorough. She would even stay past her shift to make sure everything was complete before she would leave him for the night. She is truly an angel on earth. What a great asset to the Brigham she is. —Nominated by Linda Mundee

Nori Vincitori Brigham and Women’s Hospital Nurses are the unsung heroes of medicine and there is no greater hero than Nori Ann Vincitori, a dedicated stem cell transplant nurse on the 6th Floor of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital. I found myself in Nori’s care seven months ago when I checked into the hospital for a prolonged stay for an allogeneic transplant aimed at curing my recently diagnosed acute myeloid leukemia. As a 39-year old wife, mother, and patient, I found myself overwhelmed by the diagnosis and monumental transplant journey set to begin. Clinically, Nori stayed by my side from day one, explaining the different medications, the potential side effects of these medications, and the duration of the medication’s administration. Nori explained physician remarks during and after morning rounds and was a constant advocate for me as I struggled to navigate the transplant process. Nori’s colleagues regularly sought her clinical advice/expertise, and she often worked well beyond her paid time to ensure that patients and their caregivers were well informed. Equally as important was Nori’s unique ability to provide the compassion and comfort I needed to endure the process. She listened to stories about my family, shared her own observations and experiences from the outside world, shared movie and book recommendations, and told daily jokes to make us all laugh. —Nominated by McClain “Macy’’ Howarth

Care Dimensions

Lisa Carey Care Dimensions of the North Shore (formerly Hospice) Ten months ago, my seven-month-old son, Teddy Fish, passed away in my arms. It was, and will always be, the most difficult time of my life. Family gathered around my bed sobbing as our little angle lost his battle with Menkes.

Our Care Dimensions nurse, Lisa Carey, was part of that family. Choosing Care Dimensions for a terminally ill child was an incredibly difficult decision. After months of hospital stays, testing, and needle sticks, we decided enough was enough. Lisa came into our house, sat on the floor, and played with my son. She treated him like the precious little boy he was, not like the rare diseased object so many doctors and nurses had. She snuggled him, cared for him, and loved him. She made my entire family comfortable and confident that we had made the right decision. With Lisa around, Teddy was in the best possible hands, and even Teddy knew it. He was stingy with his smiles, reserving them for only the best and brightest in his life. For Lisa, he lit up like a Christmas tree.

For months, she came in and out of our home, making sure Teddy was comfortable and had everything he needed. Lisa wasn’t just taking care of Teddy, though. She was taking care of his entire family. When so many people couldn’t find the right words, especially concerning a dying child, Lisa had them all. —Nominated by Mary Fish

Charlton Memorial Hospital

 

Karen Blier Charlton Memorial Hospital One day, during the Arctic Blast, I was having chest pains and was extremely worried. Karen came out during that frigid, hazardous weather, drove on icy roads, and brought all her equipment with her to reassure me that I was all right. —Nominated by Doreen DeFreitas

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

 

Christine Agius Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Christine Agius is the most wonderful nurse/nurse practitioner. Her compassion and caring are just absolutely amazing. She was never too busy to listen to my questions and answer them; never made me feel anything but important. Her demeanor is so calm and soothing, which really was wonderful. She always took the time to explain everything and always answered my questions, even when I knew I asked the same thing over and over. Also, since I was always nervous about a recurrence, she would go over everything with me and explain things in such a warm, caring, and compassionate manner. She was a wonderful nurse to me, and I will never forget how amazing she was. —Nominated by Barbra Tugman

 

Shannon Byrne Antman Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Shannon has been my head oncology nurse at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute for the past 2 1/2 years. Shannon greets me with a big smile and a hug during each treatment. If she can, she usually figures out a way to save me a chemo chair or bed with a window. She knows that I relish the window seats. During the treatment, she is friendly and completely competent. She answers questions in depth and very professionally. She handles emergencies in the same way. We both love dogs, the Cape and the color blue. I look forward to seeing Shannon each time I go to Dana-Farber for a treatment. During one treatment Shannon could not be there because her Dad was having surgery. Surprisingly, she called in to the nurse on charge that day so she could tell me she was thinking of me. Shannon is truly a gem. I feel so blessed that she was assigned to me from the beginning of my treatments at Dana. I look forward to seeing her every two weeks. —Nominated by Paula Agrusa

Lisa Arvine Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Lisa listens with respect and compassion. She treats me like I am the single most important patient to her. During my treatments, she makes me feel more than just a number, a cancer statistic, one of millions. I am me and I am not invisible, and to me, that makes all the difference. Because if I matter for that visit, then I matter beyond that place and time. If someone cares about me as a patient, then the weight of my cancer becomes bearable and the fear manageable. And for a moment all is good and the future possible, and I take that moment and its possibilities with me and they sustain me. I wish every sick person had someone who cares like Lisa cares. —Nominated by Maria Teresa Mendez

 

Suzanne Badavas Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Suzanne cared for my mother while she was being treated for non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma from August 2013 to April 2014. She was the first nurse who cared for my mother at Brigham and Woman’s/Dana-Faber and we all immediately saw the instant connection the two women shared. Suzanne exuded compassion and comfort to my parents and me. While we were, and still are, grateful for each and every nurse who cared for my mother, I still see Suzanne in a rank of her own. This woman has an emotional and physical strength that not many people have. It is accompanied by the sweetest and kindest demeanor that always makes her approachable and comfortable to have around—even on the worst of days. She made my mother feel like her friend, not a patient. Words cannot express the joy we felt seeing my mother’s face light up when she knew Suzanne was working (she always made sure to have my mother when she was scheduled). Unfortunately, my mother did not survive, but I know she held a special spot in her heart for Suzanne. Anyone who is in her care is in the best possible hands. Further, I wish I could nominate all the Oncology Nurses on 7D from Brigham and Women’s/Dana-Farber because they were all some of the most exceptional nurses I have ever come across. —Nominated by Gina Estrella

 

 

Brenda Biggins Dana-Farber Cancer Institute I want to begin by saying that I have complete confidence that all of the nurses at Dana Farber are excellent. I was lucky enough to be cared for by Brenda Biggins who I believe is the absolute best! Brenda was my infusion nurse while I went through chemo for breast cancer. She was my partner and friend and was by my side through the process explaining every step answering my many questions managing my various needs and most importantly keeping a watchful eye for any possible reactions.

On the already overwhelming first day, Brenda taught me how to give myself a shot which was very psychologically daunting. Through her explanation and some practice under her watchful eye, I conquered my fear and was able to give myself the shot at home after each treatment. It was an empowering moment and an opportunity to feel in control during a time when that was absent.

Brenda’s concern for my well being not only during our time together during my infusion but also during the course of this treatment was evident. She took care of every need I had while I was under her care. Her smile and humor brightened my day and helped pass the time while I sat in the infusion chair. Brenda’s passion for her work is evident, and I am forever grateful that I was a beneficiary of her exceptional care and can call her a friend. —Nominated by Harriet Kornfeld

 

Lisa Arvine Dana-Farber Cancer Institute When I think of Lisa Arvine, her great smile comes to mind. Lisa works in gynecology. She treats patients who have late stage ovarian cancer. She is always upbeat, caring, and compassionate. She comes into the examining room smiling and gives a hug. I never am rushed and she always listens, giving her undivided attention. —Nominated by Barbara Smith

 

 

Lisa Chicko Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Lisa was my husband Roland’s chemo nurse about every week for two years. She was always pleasant and joked with my husband. She always asked about our seven grandchildren and took time to look at pictures we had. Warm blankets were given to my husband right away. As he was losing the battle with cancer, some of the nurses would need to take blood two or three times. Lisa would always volunteer to do his blood, and even though his veins were not cooperative, she would always get it right the first time. September 11, 2014, was the last time he had her wonderful care as my beloved husband passed away November 2, 2014. —Nominated by Anne Cayer

 

Lisa Chicko Dana-Farber Cancer Institute During treatment, Lisa was a great advocate. She always was sensitive to my fears and my many questions. She never undermined any question. I knew every step and every medication. After my first chemo treatment, my confidence with Lisa by my side was high. Her smiles and humor were a welcoming sight. Lisa is a genuine human being and an amazing nurse. She is someone who is in my heart and prayers and she eased my fears and gave me hope. —Nominated by Mary Stagno

 

John Christopher Dana-Farber Cancer Institute John is an oncology nurse in the infusion unit where chemotherapy is carefully administered to patients over long periods of time. He is always pleasant, greets his patients and their companions by name, and puts one at ease immediately. He explains every step of the process and answers any questions about the procedure and the drug. If it is difficult to find a vein, he warms up your arm with hot towels until he can gently insert the needle and begin the treatment. Always checking on the patient’s comfort, he never leaves your side until he is sure that the treatment is under way. John will answer questions with confidence and if he doesn’t know the answer he will call or text a doctor and get back with the answer, even answering emails from a patient who asks from home. Although this is a road no one wants to go down, I have been blessed to have John as my oncology nurse for the past four months and feel confident that we will be able to finish the treatment protocol successfully. —Nominated by Florence Ely

Kathleen Colson Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Kathy Colson is the chemotherapy study drug nurse for my husband. We look forward to our monthly visits with her as she makes us feel as though we are part of a family. Her professionalism is remarkable. She keeps us informed on the latest updates within the trial study. We recently had the opportunity to see her at a conference in San Francisco. We were proud to let everyone know that we are a part of her team. —Nominated by Phillip and Carmen Wornum

Kristen Crisalli Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Kristen has been with me through the whole journey. She changed her schedule to see me every other week and made sure I was comfortable while getting my chemotherapy. She also tended to my husband’s needs (pillow, chair, food, and water) while he accompanied me throughout each session. She always had a smile on her face and encouraging words. She is a wonderful person as well as a wonderful nurse. Knowing Kristen would be there to walk me through each session eased my anxiety. I met two other nurses before her and neither of them took time with me like Kristen did. She is a great comfort and a true angel who made this hard time easier to bear. —Nominated by Miray Azer

Elizabeth Crosby Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Being a cancer patient is the most challenging thing I have done in my lifetime. Meeting Beth for the first time was a tremendous comfort to me and my family. As my infusion nurse during my first round of chemotherapy, she walked us through every step and told us what to expect and she was spot on. It was very easy to trust her because she was so knowledgeable. She made me feel so at ease at every treatment. She not only cared about me, she was also always asking about my family and was genuinely concerned with how they were coping. She performed her professional job with much compassion. And her laugh is infectious.

Later, when I was in my oncologist’s office after being told that the cancer had returned, Beth stopped by to see me. She had heard that I was yet again going to undergo chemotherapy and came to give me a hug and tell me, “We will get through this together.’’ —Nominated by Lori Miller

 

Maura Dacey Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Maura is the most dedicated nurse I know. She was a godsend to me when I had breast cancer and when her dad was dying of kidney cancer. She also lost a brother to neuroblastoma which was a strong force for her to work with cancer patients. Her sister delivered premature twin babies weighing under 2 lbs this past August. One little guy died and the other is doing well but Maura was there supporting her sister daily along with working at Dana Farber supporting her own cancer patients. I think nurses who are “all around’’ caregivers should be recognized. I am a retired RN and see what a beautiful person Maura is. She is truly a nurse to be recognized. It’s not just 8 hrs. a day but the way you represent the nursing profession!!! Go Maura!!! —Nominated by Maureen Marshall

 

Virginia Dalton Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Ginger is always on top of my case. If there are any changes that I should know about, she fills me in immediately. When there are concerns, she is able to send me to the proper clinic in a timely fashion. There are never any surprises when my visits come around. During our visits, Ginger gives my wife all the information necessary to make my treatments easier and comforting. If she weren’t my nurse, she would be a family friend. —Nominated by Phillip Wormum

 

Rachel Enos Dana-Farber Cancer Institute What could be better than when your nurse has graduated from your college and you can share stories about Northeastern? Rachel and my daughter, Annmarie, bonded immediately. Rachel was there to listen and laugh and wipe the tears. She looked out for my daughter, who attended many appointments on her own. Rachel would make sure everything was ordered and ready. They would listen to Taylor Swift, talk about life and careers, and share stories and pictures. This bond will not be forgotten. —Nominated by Amy Uliano

Beth Flanagen Dana-Farber Cancer Institute I have been going to Dana-Farber for the past two years, and Beth Flanagan has been my nurse. Every time I go to see her, she is always so kind and concerned. No matter how busy or what is going on, she always finds time to talk to me and make sure I am alright. She always finds the answers to any questions I have. She is compassionate, caring, and very kind. I have observed her many times with other patients and she treats us all the same. No matter how busy she is, I have seen her help other nurses when asked. I trust in the care she gives me. My husband comes with me for every treatment and feels she communicates clearly and concisely so that we both understand what she is saying. Beth is one of the most compassionate nurses I have dealt with. I feel privileged to have her as my nurse. —Nominated by Deborah Piccinin

Shahrzad Giudici Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Shahrzad is an example of what every nurse should strive to be: a relentless beacon of hope, professionalism, and compassion. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer in May 2014, Shahrzad became my infusion nurse. Over the ensuing months, she has been by my side every step of the way. She explains every aspect of the treatment in terms I can understand, carefully detailing what to expect. She answers questions with expertise and empathy. She’s been a tireless navigator on my behalf, checking with my oncologist when I have a concern or calling to check on me when I’m not feeling well.

What’s most striking about Shahrzad is the care she takes to know more about my life outside of my diagnosis. She routinely remembers small details about my children, my husband, or whether I enjoyed a book that I was reading at my last visit. This level of engagement makes me feel whole and capable and keeps me focused on my life beyond cancer.

During the diagnosis and treatment of my cancer, I’ve been in contact with dozens of health care providers. The care I’ve received from the teams at both Dana-Farber and the Brigham is beyond compare. Through it all, Shahrzad’s unwavering commitment and dedication to my well-being rises to the top. I will be forever grateful for the support Shahrzad has provided during the most challenging period in my life. —Nominated by Linda Broderick

Shahrzad Giudici Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Shahrzad is the most compassionate individual I have ever encountered. She calmed me by just talking and truly understanding my fears and put me at ease. She constantly made sure I was comfortable and calm and was able to keep a conversation going. She explained every step of my treatment and what I was going to feel beforehand. She was 100 percent on target with everything that she explained to me. When I was feeling emotional, she held me hand and assured me that my feelings were completely normal. She constantly asked if I wanted something to drink, if I was warm enough, and made sure that I was as comfortable as possible. I felt like I had a private nurse through the entire encounter. Her sparkling smile, tender touch, and incredible vocabulary are something that I will always be eternally grateful for. —Nominated by Shelly Roberts

Kathleen Gunzelmann Dana-Farber Cancer Institute I was diagnosed with Stage 4 metastatic colon cancer on June 26, 2014. The first three rounds of chemotherapy were tough. I was using a wheelchair because I was weak. My first day I did not have Katie as my nurse. I do, however, remember being wheeled in by my father and I seeing Katie. We made eye contact and she smiled as I went into my chair. A few weeks later, the nurse who was providing my chemo was off and Katie became my nurse. Every time I go in for chemo now, I know what I’m going to experience. I am welcomed with a smile and a genuine “How are you doing?’’ Katie understands the severity of my situation but she continuously makes my time at Dana-Farber easy and comforting. She takes care of her nurse obligations by asking me about the treatment and how I feel. When she has time between patients she will come and sit with me and we just talk about life. Not only has she made my time easier, she has also helped comfort my parents, who have been with me every step of the way. I couldn’t imagine a better person to be able to spend my time with while receiving treatment. Her compassion and care are above and beyond what I would ever expect. She truly is a very special person, and anyone who may end up in a situation like mine, should be honored to be under her care. —Nominated by Jeff Barnhardt

 

Allison Hester Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Allison is the epitome of compassionate care. When I was chemo-sick and feeling the effects of intense cancer treatments, Allison never pitied me. She treated me with dignity, as a uniquely loved human being. I was hairless, puking, weepy, and miserable, yet Allison never flinched from her duties, making me feel special and honored. She made the whole process tolerable.

While she is representative of all the nurses I have met while undergoing cancer treatments at Dana Farber, Allison has a special smile that lights up the whole room. She communicated in a forthright and intelligible way that did not demean or insult me.

Allison is a standout nurse: bright, cheerful, uplifting, hopeful, gracious, and a joy to be around. More than anything else, she treated me as a real person—not a number, not a disease, not a condition, but a flesh-and-blood woman who was suffering. She is most worthy of being singled out for her dedication, commitment, and professionalism. —Nominated by Teresa Fitts

Jillian Hoffman Dana-Farber Cancer Institute I see Jill every Thursday. She is my oncology nurse for infusion. Jillian is always nice and courteous. She goes above and beyond to make me and my mother comfortable and nourished during our visits. I personally ask for her on every visit. I am eternally grateful for her efforts to make me as comfortable as can be. —Nominated by Krystoffer Rose

Tiffany Thibeault Hurvitz Dana-Farber Cancer Institute When you are a young adult with cancer, your world changes in an instant. You are looking for validation and you are looking for someone you can trust and depend on. Someone with whom you can share your secrets, your fears, and what your new normal has become. This is who Tiffany was for my daughter, Annmarie.

Tiffany and Annmarie would talk about everything and anything. They laughed and shared little stories. In Tiffany’s good hands, Annmarie felt comfortable being herself. Tiffany would tend to her like she was the only patient on the floor.

Tiffany first cared for Annmarie in 2013. Since then, both of their lives have evolved: Tiffany married and had a beautiful daughter, while Annmarie stayed in remission and is graduating from Northeastern. They met at major turning points in their lives and they are both moving forward with such great achievements. [NOTE: Tiffany now works at MGH Cancer Center.] —Nominated by Amy Uliano

 

Linzhen Jiang Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Lin has been my chemotherapy nurse for the past five months. I cannot express how lucky I am to have been assigned to her care. She is calm, compassionate, careful, and competent. She is always smiling. She has a very deep knowledge of the drugs I receive and can explain why I am taking them. Because I am a scientist in the medical field, I know how accurate she is. She is simply wonderful. —Nominated by Maria Lalioti

Bette Jean Kelly Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Bette Jean makes all her patients as comfortable as possible. She is extremely attentive to all her patients’ needs and accommodates whenever possible. It is such a good feeling to be treated as a person and not just as a number. My compliments to her; she couldn’t be more caring unless she were my mother. —Nominated by Mary Broussard

 

Mary Kent Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Mary is an absolute angel. During my mother’s first day of treatment, Mary made sure to keep reassuring her that she was going to be fine. Mary takes the time every single visit to make a connection. She is busy, yet she goes the extra mile every single time. We could never thank the team at Dana-Farber enough for all of their dedication—especially Mary. —Nominated by Frannie Crockett-Wolfe

Meaghan Lanza Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Meaghan Lanza is a caring, gentle, and professional nurse. She is thoughtful and considerate of the patient’s needs and feelings. Her quiet and gentle but professional manner helps relax patients and she exudes confidence. She explains treatments as needed and offers kind consideration when asked specific medical questions. She is gentle in her touch while confident in her placement of the appropriate medications. —Nominated by Lynn Creighton Freeland

Deborah LaFrankie Dana-Farber Cancer Institute I met Deborah in the 2004 when I was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor that some hospitals deemed inoperable at the time. Initially, I was very scared. I had a young daughter and was a single mother. But all that fear was washed away as soon as Nurse Deborah, with her contagious smile and calm demeanor, walked into the examination room. Deborah treated me like she had known me her whole life. She was always positive and explained everything in layman’s terms so I could fully understand each step. She was always available and ready to help, no matter how busy she was. She is a truly remarkable woman. —Nominated by Kelly Adamson

 

Deborah LaFrankie Dana-Farber Cancer Institute It’s easy to tell Deborah really cares about my well-being. She is so easy to talk to and I feel so safe opening up to her. She is always kind and compassionate. I look forward to seeing her more than anyone else. Deborah always answers my emails quickly and thoughtfully. —Nominated by Lauren Devine

 

Holly Lopes Dana-Farber Cancer Institute During my treatment at Dana-Farber’s Head and Neck Cancer Center, Holly was always available to troubleshoot problems that cropped up (and there were many). Holly was helpful and supportive and we felt she truly cared about my wife and me and would do anything she could to help. —Nominated by John Methot

Kathleen McDermott Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Kathleen is an oncology nurse who gave me encouragement when all appeared dark and challenged me to find greater strengths when the treatments overwhelmed. She showed me humor can heal. She never let the burdens a bad day interfere. She maintained a steady hand to provide direction and support through the most bewildering challenge of my life and the lives of numerous others. —Nominated by Paul Keyser

Mary McKenney Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Within the past year, my treatment for multiple myeloma has been expertly coordinated by my clinical nurse, Mary. Mary possesses all of the attributes one would expect from an oncology nurse and so much more, both as a person and as a professional. Words that convey her uniqueness and characterize the ways in which she has cared for me include: empathetic, inquisitive, curious, thorough, thoughtful, detailed, responsive, and enlightening. Mary has a deep knowledge and understanding of my condition and she has used a quiet but confident manner in assisting me to navigate the stormy waters of this incurable disease. She has been incredibly informative in my understanding of the disease, its progression, and the ways I can monitor the effects of chemotherapy agents. She probes for both expected and unexpected side effects and promptly links me with physicians and resources. Mary provides a solid sense of stability and continuity that make the future less ominous.

I am blessed to have met an individual like Mary, whose competency, compassion, and quiet temperament have been central to my recovery. Mary is truly gifted, both as an oncology nurse and as a most generous and caring person. She is distinguished among her peers, and her influence and impact on me is both powerful and durable. Without question, Mary is most deserving of acknowledgement as an extraordinary nurse. —Nominated by Thomas Kochanek

Amanda Metivier Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Amanda has been my nurse for over two years. The care and attention she has given me is awesome. Amanda always make sure I am warm enough, giving me a heated blanket to get through those times when chemo can be more uncomfortable. She makes sure I get something to eat when the dining cart comes around. Amanda is so aware of my health issues, symptoms, and any nuance that may show up. She is also a wonderful listener and the empathy and advice she passes on has been good for my soul. My wife is so grateful for all the care Amanda gives me. We feel very blessed that Amanda has been with me all this time. —Nominated by Henry and Ann Marie Doucette

Mark Morley Dana-Farber Cancer Institute My wife Sarah had mesothelioma for five-and-a-half years. Mark worked with the Brigham and Women’s Hospital neurologists, New England Rehabilitation Hospital doctors, and the Lexington Health Care Center to coordinate treatment within the limits of the clinical trial protocol, to keep her on the trial. Mark wrote out instructions for continuing the clinical trial drug even after Sarah was transferred to different hospitals and rehab facilities. He coordinated with their doctors and pharmacies so that they could accept and continue the clinical trial drug needed to control the mesothelioma. Mark made himself available to answer questions about the drug and administration that kept Sarah on the drug trial at all these facilities. —Nominated by Bill Swiger

 

Katie Murphy Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Katie has served as my primary oncology nurse for about five years. She has also treated my dad and brother, who have the same incurable form of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma that I have. She never fails to greet us with a smile and a warm hug. We usually have a few laughs and exchange family stories before getting down to the business of treatment.

In addition to my cancer, I also suffer from a cold agglutinin disease which means that all of my IV fluids must go through a warmer. She always makes sure the warmer is ready and waiting for me and has taught many of the other nurses how to use it in case she is not there. Katie will always pull a chair over and chat with me privately about how I am feeling and if there are any new developments. When you have an incurable and unpredictable disease such as mine, it is extremely comforting having a nurse like Katie whom you can trust. She puts me at ease with her competency and compassion.

There is one instance where Katie really shone. She came to visit me after I’d been admitted, and it just so happened to be her birthday. When I asked if she had any special plans for her birthday, she said, “Yes, visiting you!’’ I can’t tell you how special that made me feel. And that is how Katie is. She has become family to us, and I feel so blessed to have her as my nurse. —Nominated by Diane Lomaglio

Karen Murphy Dana-Farber Cancer Institute In the summer of 2013, I went for my yearly mammogram. Within a month I was diagnosed with early breast cancer and chose to be a patient at DFCI. I was a nurse who needed a nurse to care for me! In September I started my first chemotherapy treatment and met my infusion nurse Karen Murphy.

Karen was calm, confident and caring. She was careful with my body, starting my intravenous lines and keeping me safe and comfortable while I spent hours in a recliner chair. She was skillful and very particular, following the strict policies of chemotherapy, dealing with other nurses, pharmacists, nurse practitioners and oncologists. Karen was an outstanding patient advocate, checking and confirming my medical record, reviewing my needs, my goals and my expectations.

Karen spent hours with me treating my headaches my nausea and my fatigue. When the nails of my hands and toes failed me she had advice and prepared me for the temporary side effects that would continue. During my treatments Karen sat with me and met the rotation of family and friends who came to my chemo sessions. She always reminded me to work less, sleep more and never stop exercising.

My chemo therapy lasted 15 months at the DFCI and Karen Murphy RN is the compassionate competent nurse who my family and I trusted! We shared good book titles reviewed movies and recommended restaurants. When we shared living we shared hope!

Cancer patients do not want to be defined by the destructive diagnosis or the caustic treatment. They want to survive the chemicals recover from surgery and repair from radiation. After my 21 years as a critical care nurse and 16 years as a family nurse practitioner, my infusion nurse Karen Murphy took care of me and I am forever grateful! —Nominated by Brenda Colvin

Holly O’Kane Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Holy has been a godsend. Her care and knowledge of my situation have been overwhelming. She takes the time to listen to all my concerns. She is always upbeat and kind. Holly has been my Earth Angel these past two years and deserves to be recognized for her kindness and expertise. —Nominated by Naomi Ellis

Amanda Pace Dana-Farber Cancer Institute I have been a patient at Dana-Farber for approximately two years. Amanda Pace has been my “point person’’ as research nurse. There have been many instances of Amanda’s compassion, competency, and professionalism. One recent example came when I was preparing for a tooth extraction. Normally, this would seem to be fairly straightforward, but the experimental compound I am ingesting can potentially create issues in jawbone healing. Amanda knew that I would be very concerned about the effects and corresponding continuing eligibility for the clinical trial participation. She proactively reached out to me and carefully explained the details of the trial protocol; she anticipated my apprehension and took steps to reduce it. She was also in contact with the dental provider to ensure she had a complete understanding of the situation. As I said, the length of our association has resulted in numerous demonstrations of her competence.

Wonderful person; I’d be lost without her. —Nominated by Thomas Noonan

Lynne Patterson Dana-Farber Cancer Institute I was diagnosed with Lymphoma in early September 2014 at the age of 57. I survived a different form of cancer 20 years ago. I believed I could survive it again, but I knew I would need the best help possible. Thus, I chose to go to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. My care included initial surgery to remove my enlarged spleen. This surgery was performed at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Surgery was followed by six rounds of chemotherapy, administered every three weeks. This is when my wife and I met Lynne Patterson, a Registered Nurse who works on Dana-Farber’s Yawkey 8 infusion floor. Lynne’s compassion and empathy provided my wife and me with a positive, hopeful feeling that no doubt helped make my treatment more bearable. Lynne was unfailingly professional and skillful in the care she provided. She explained every step in the chemotherapy process in great detail, answering any questions we had along the way. We learned a lot about Lynne during our daylong chemo sessions. The personal relationship we developed with Lynne combined with the strong advocacy she provided enabled us to trust her completely. I’m now cancer free thanks to Lynne and the rest of our team at Dana-Farber. —Nominated by Hank Giles

Megan Reilly Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Megan was an absolute angel during my four months of chemotherapy. She even went so far as to celebrate my birthday that was on one of my treatment days. I hope never to have to go through that again, but having Megan as my nurse made life tolerable. She is a compassionate and understanding individual. —Nominated by Evelyn Murphy

Susan Riendeau Dana-Farber Cancer Institute My husband, Larry, was diagnosed with throat cancer in June 2104. Sue made a point each day to reach out not only to Larry but also to me. She counseled us on nutrition, skin care, dental care, psychological needs, and our overall well-being during treatment. Sue’s smiling face was always a welcome sight, and when she was not working, we missed her. Sue was a big part of the cancer treatment: the human part. Cancer is scary, but when Sue was by our side, we didn’t have fear, we had hope.

Sue continues to assist us during the recovery process. If I email, I get a call back from her rather than just a cold response on the computer. I cannot be more thankful for Sue and the entire team for saving the life of my husband. She is surely worthy of being saluted for her hard work, dedication, and commitment to all who cross her path. —Nominated by Christine DePaula

Diana Rosato Dana-Farber Cancer Institute I was diagnosed with stage-three ovarian cancer in November 2014. I am also a nurse. Diana was assigned the daunting task of being my primary nurse during chemo. Only a nurse can understand what it’s like to care for another nurse.

When I met Diana, I thought, “She’s young.’’ I silently scrutinized every move she made. But from my first treatment, Diana demonstrated the expertise of a 20-year veteran. I breathed a sigh of relief and recognized I was in excellent hands.

Diana is organized to the point of anticipating one medication being finished seconds before it is. She glides through the process of administering bag after bag of medications with ease and confidence. Yet there isn’t an ounce of “know-it-all attitude,’’ as she always considers my input and wants to know what I think. She’s so considerate that she makes me feel like a queen for a day.

Diana has been my caregiver, my comforter, my teacher, and my friend. She has enabled me to fearlessly face my treatments and has given me hope. Although I look forward to be finished with my chemo treatments, I will miss her when I’m done. But I will always have her with me in my heart. —Nominated by Gail Coshun

 

Sandra Ruland Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Sandra has been my neuro-oncology nurse since I was diagnosed, five years ago. She has repeatedly demonstrated her compassion through expert care and an intimate knowledge of my health. I trust her completely as my advocate for exceptional care all the time. Sandra goes out of her way to make sure I am fully informed about the treatments and comfortable emotionally. She’s become family. I can’t imagine my journey without her. I’m grateful for her every single day. —Nominated by Brett Johnson

 

Jennifer Ahern Sher Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Jen is such a fantastic nurse. During my chemo treatments, she kept me at ease. She sat with me to help with my anxiety. She always made me feel comfortable and answered all of my questions. I felt like Jen was a member of my family by the time I was done with my chemo treatments. Jen definitely deserves to be recognized for all she does for her patients. She is truly an exceptional person, and I was so lucky to have her as my nurse throughout this journey. —Nominated by Jennifer Waterman

Katherine Foley Stephans Dana-Farber Cancer Institute I met Katey after my bone marrow transplant in 2010. From day one, her bedside manor instantly put me at ease—a huge step in working with sick and scared cancer patients. She is always on her game both professionally and interpersonally. I feel I’m speaking to a family member about my medical issues. Recently, I had a few questions concerning an upcoming trial at Dana-Faber so I left her a voice message. After a busy day and needing to get home to her children for dinner, she returned my call from her kitchen table. Katey listened to my concerns and we discussed a game plan for our next appointment. She told me she would review my case with my doctor and others involved. I slept well that night knowing that things would work out fine. Thank you, Katey Stephans, for all you do. I am very fortunate to have you on my medical team. —Nominated by Garrett Cooney

Jeannine Sudol Dana-Farber Cancer Institute For the past several years, Jeannine has been my father’s nurse throughout his battle with cancer. She has connected with each member of my family on a personal level. She has provided the entire family with an incredible amount of support. She has taken care of my father’s chemotherapy for years and has also helped my mother through her chemotherapy, radiation, and cancer battle as a whole. We are forever grateful for her care, help, and support. She has made this journey easier for all of us. —Nominated by Rachel Bayliss

Dedham Country Day School

 

Erin Hartford Dedham Country Day School Sandra has been my neuro-oncology nurse since I was diagnosed, five years ago. She has repeatedly demonstrated her compassion through expert care and an intimate knowledge of my health. I trust her completely as my advocate for exceptional care all the time. Sandra goes out of her way to make sure I am fully informed about the treatments and comfortable emotionally. She’s become family. I can’t imagine my journey without her. I’m grateful for her every single day. —Nominated by Brett Johnson

The Dimock Center

Nadeene Platt The Dimock Center Nadeene has been a nurse at our detox unit for more than 15 years. She takes patient vitals and administers medications to assist in providing some comfort and relief to patients. Throughout this winter’s record-breaking cold and snow, it was not uncommon for her to be ensuring that patients were comfortable with enough blankets and their rooms were properly heated, a sometimes challenging feat in a historic building poised for major renovations. Her compassion for patients is no more evident than when she goes in search of clean socks for a patient who has been chronically homeless, inebriated, and invariably disoriented.

Her leadership skills shine brightest in dark moments when a patient’s life is held in the balance, waiting for the decisive and deliberate actions of a medical provider. I have witnessed Nadeene administer Naloxone to an individual who was minutes away from dying. Within minutes, this patient was revived well enough to be taken by ambulance to a hospital where grateful parents waited. —Nominated by Harold du Four

 

Elliot Hospital

Mary-Catherine Naczas Elliot Hospital My daughter is a charge nurse on the CICU floor of Elliott Hospital. Over the years I have been amazed by the work she does. Her stories are beyond my comprehension. Whether it’s performing CPR on a patient being wheeled to surgery, providing care and comfort to family members whose loved one is passing, or simply explaining medications, she manages to do it with the utmost care for the patient’s needs. I have seen countless thank you notes from patients and family members describing how she was their “angel’’ when most needed. In May 2014 we experienced her loving, compassionate, and professional care firsthand when her own grandfather was passing and she was in the position of providing him and the family care, love, and compassion when it was most needed. While in her own sadness and grief, she provided care for all of us, telling us to eat and drink while we kept vigil. I do not know how this young woman was able to do this, but I am eternally grateful to her for all that she did to make a terrible thing a beautiful experience. Since the passing of her grandfather, Mary Cate studied for the CPHC exam and was recently certified in palliative and hospice care so that in her critical care duties, when end of life is imminent, she can also assist the patient and family as well. She is an amazing young woman and nurse. —Nominated by Catherine Naczas

Emmanuel College, RN to BSN Program

Marita Argent, Kishia Brite, Julianne Filicchia, Elizabeth Gallagher, Helen Healy-Hosford, Kim Moody, Mary O’Neil, Janine Runyan, Betty Sebastini, Kjerste SoderbergEmannuel College RN to BSN Program These students in this Health Promotion course have each volunteered 60+ hours of nursing care, including advocating for and educating some of the most vulnerable members of society (homeless citizens, frail elders, students, and hospital inpatients). They have successfully created and implemented teaching and learning plans specific to the needs of the people they serve. Their tireless service-learning efforts have resulted in the formation of trusting relationships with their clients and better-educated citizens. These RN-to-BSN students have come to develop a personal appreciation of “the power of one.’’ I am simply in awe of these nurses and so very proud of their commitment to excellence in serving our most vulnerable citizens. —Nominated by Nancy Matthews

First Choice Health

Peg Nelson First Choice Health Aside from my doctor, the one major person who has very close contact with me is nurse Peg Nelson. There is always a hug to be given, a sit-down with me before the appointment to find out what has been going on in my life, and a hug after an appointment. Not only does her concern, smile, and heart follow me through my appointment, her emails are a constant reminder of how much she cares. Peg and I have served on a panel together as patient and nurse, and our trust and bond is of a much higher power than a simple thermometer and blood pressure cup. Peg Nelson is a sweetheart who has feelings for her clients. —Nominated by Ernie Berardinelli

Golden Living Center

Vera Fennell Golden Living Center As director of nursing, Vera did everything she could to make my stay in rehab more pleasant. She was concerned for my comfort, once even pureeing Chinese food so that I could swallow it.

When arranging for me to go home, she spared no effort coordinating with doctors, pharmacies, visiting nurse services, and medical supply houses—all while battling the January snowstorms.

Her never-flagging work on my behalf, and her responsiveness, communication, and concern make her worthy of a salute. —Nominated by Tom Padwa

Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates

 

Patricia Tesik Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates Patricia has been our pediatric nurse since the day our first child was born, almost 19 years ago. Every single step along the way, she has answered our calls within moments, given great advice, and treated the kids with respect and humor. I have spoken with her privately so many times about various parental concerns and she always provides excellent guidance. She deserves recognition for her stellar career. —Nominated by Janet Domenitz

 

Hallmark Health Visiting Nurse Association and Hospice

 

Julie Waterson When I was employed by Hallmark Health, I would call patients to ask them about the care they were receiving from the agency. Julie’s patients raved about her. She serves as an example of an extraordinary nurse to her patients and fellow clinicians.

Having been in decent health and relatively young at that point, I never envisioned needing the services of a home health agency. However, my health dramatically changed and I came under Julie’s care. Julie was my nurse and my motivator. She worked tirelessly to help me realize that there was a light at the end of the tunnel and that my illness was a bump in the road. Her optimism is infectious and was significant in my care. She held me when I could not stop crying. She was firm yet sensitive. She helped strengthen me physically and mentally. Julie worked with me, my physical therapist, and my primary care physician in developing a care plan and setting realistic goals.

Working in health care for more than 35 years, I know what is expected of nurses, especially those who choose to be visiting nurses. Julie exceeded my expectations. She not only cared for me but also about me. I quickly came to understand why her patients praise her. Julie truly has a heart of gold. —Nominated by Janet Schweitzer

 

Hebrew Rehabilitation Center

 

The Nurses at Four Berenson Hebrew Rehabilitation Center The entire nursing team of Four Berenson is being nominated because of a letter received from a family member of a resident who recently died. The letter stated how grateful she was to the entire staff and especially to the nurses who supported her over the last four years. From the day nurses who she felt were her friends to the evening nurses who kept her updated to the night nurses who she first met the night her mother died. These nurses stayed and held her hand until the end and also supported her and told funny stories about her mom that showed they knew her well and cared for her deeply. She felt truly blessed that her mother was cared for by these wonderful nurses. She felt the only reason her mother lived well into her 90s was because of the nursing staff who knew her mom so well and were on top of every small medical detail. This family member felt it was every single one of the nurses working together who gave her mom a great quality of life that she would not have had if she never come to live at Hebrew Rehab. The treatment this family member received from the team has helped her in her grieving process. Hats off to this team of nurses. —Nominated by A. Winston

Hebrew Senior Life

Rosie Keno Hebrew Senior Life Mother had been in Hebrew Senior Life Rehab section twice, and both times Rosie was the one to take care of her. My Mother has since passed away, but she felt a definite connection to Rosie and felt that she was well taken care of during her stays. Thank you Rosie. —Nominated by The Family of Blanche Sabina

 

Rosie Keno Hebrew Senior Life Mother had been in Hebrew Senior Life Rehab section twice, and both times Rosie was the one to take care of her. My Mother has since passed away, but she felt a definite connection to Rosie and felt that she was well taken care of during her stays. Thank you Rosie. —Nominated by Kathleen McSheffrey

Hosmer Elementary School

 

Marisa Riep The Hosmer School My daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in September. As her school nurse, Marisa has been an amazing caretaker, friend, and support for our whole family. She is extremely knowledgeable, reading about and sharing with us all the new developments. I cannot say enough about how she has positively affected our lives and I am thankful every day for her. —Nominated by Lauren Kellehe

Kaplan Family Hospice House

 

Patricia Burnham The Kaplan Family Hospice House I can’t say enough good about the Kaplan House in general, and Pattie, in particular. Our original plan was to transition my mom from the hospital to a local nursing home with hospice support, but there weren’t any beds. We were uneasy with going to a hospice house but Pattie changed that within minutes of our arrival.

When I came around the corner to the nurses’ station that first night, she stood up, introduced herself, and said, “I knew you were Nancy’s daughter. You look a lot like her.’’ My mother had been Pattie’s third grade teacher decades before and she had recognized the name. Pattie took time to put me at ease, asking how I was doing with the situation and talking about what to expect.

Pattie welcomed Mom warmly and made her feel at home. She helped eliminate all the unnecessary medication that we had struggled with in the hospital and she spent time with both me and my father to talk about how we were feeling and how we could help Mom pass in the best way possible.

The day Mom passed, there was a major snowstorm and Dad stayed over at Kaplan. Pattie and the other staff made sure that Dad was well taken care of and had everything he needed during that time. We were only at Kaplan for a little over three days and Pattie was only there for a shift and a half of that time, but she touched our family for a lifetime and we are so grateful. —Nominated by Nerissa Wallen

Lahey Hospital & Medical Center

April Hartshorn Lahey Hospital and Medical Center I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in September 2014. Subsequently, I received treatments at the Lahey Hospital under Dr. Zarwan and April Hartshorn, RN. In the process of my receiving cancer treatments, April provided outstanding nursing care. She was diligent in the application of nursing care, methodical, and precise. She consistently explained my symptoms to the doctor to made sure I received the best, most appropriate treatment. She continuously provided reassurance and encouragement. The latter contributed to my progress toward a recovery from ovarian cancer. I would like to thank her for all that she has done for me. —Nominated by Anna Cianciolo

Casey Holden Lahey Health Casey is the best nurse to my mother. He is responsive articulate and caring. He is knowledgeable resourceful and available. His care to my mother while in transition from home living to assisted living has been invaluable. He has consistently demonstrated a difference by developing a relationship following through and being human in the bureaucracy of the medical and insurance health care systems. —Nominated by Katherine Barker

 

Liberty Commons

 

Cassie Van Buren Liberty Commons Cassie Van Buren was one of my wife Ellen’s nurses in her last year of life and for five years prior to that. Besides providing excellent care, Cassie often went to the Hyannis Mall and purchased clothing or a bathrobe when Ellen needed one. I don’t know how many times Ellen told me, “I really love Cassie.’’ Whenever there was something Ellen needed that I could provide for her, or a stance I needed to take involving Ellen’s care, Cassie involved me in it. We always felt like members of her family. —Nominated by Brendan Galvin

Margaret M. Shea RN Adult Day Health Program

 

Patricia Shea Margaret M. Shea Adult Day Health Program Patricia is the registered nurse for the Margaret M. Shea RN Adult Day Health Program located in Mattapan. She has worked at the program for five years with 60 clients under her care. Patricia goes above and beyond for every client of the program. She demonstrates the utmost compassion with the clients of the program and their families. Patricia will exercise, play games, and color with clients. She works with the multidisciplinary team at the program to give the client the best care possible, many times easing clients’ anxiety. Patricia understands that taking care of a client means taking care of their families as well. She will sit down with clients and their families to make sure every concern is heard. She follows up to make sure things are improving, checks in with families, and is able to have the difficult but important conversations that are so critical in nursing. Patricia works to make sure that the excellent care she gives at the program is followed by excellent care at home. Since Patricia knows each one of the 60 clients exceptionally well, she is an ally in advocating for services. Anyone who has met Patricia knows that she truly wants what is best for her clients. —Nominated by Rebecca Jones

Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary

Julie Dorgan Massachusetts Eye and Ear Julie is a big part of the reason I chose to receive cancer treatment in Boston, when one of the world’s best cancer centers is in my backyard (MD Anderson in Houston, Texas). I met Julie as a patient when I had two reconstructive facial reanimation surgeries at MEEI. Julie went out of her way to make us feel comfortable. She was the bright smiling face I looked forward to seeing when I was lucky enough to have her caring for me on her shift. When times are tough and you are in dire pain, a good sense of humor can go a long way. With her you-can-do-it attitude, Julie had me feeling well enough to smile and to realize this would only be temporary.

She also took in my husband and gave him self-care recommendations: where to get a cold beer and great wings and exactly when he should return for the important stuff. He felt confident leaving the hospital for an hour or two only because of Jules. She even arranged for him to stay in our semi-private room: a feat of God.

When I found out I had a recurrence of parotid cancer last November, our search for the best team lead us to MD Anderson, Sloan Kettering, Dana-Farber, Lenox Hill, and MEEI. The decision to come to MEEI was not only due to the cancer team, but to the fact I’d be recovering with Julie Dorgan. —Nominated by Kristin Peabody

Massachusetts General Hospital

Lunder 7 Nursing Staff Massachusetts General Hospital Suzanne, Algeri, The Lunder 7 Nursing Staff encompasses a dedicated and compassionate group of skilled providers who care for Neuroscience patients on a 32-bed unit. They are an unbelievable team and provide excellent care to their patients and families. They are an amazing team! —Nominated by Suzanne Algeri

Michelle Bell, Claire Costello, Barbara Doherty, Susan Gage, Jean Nelson, and Elsa Powell Massachusetts General Hospital This is not your typical story. This is about a close-knit group of nurses who have been friends for a long time, and of how they helped a fellow nurse, my late wife, Joanne. In 2007, Joanne was diagnosed with brain cancer and was no longer able to work or drive. This group made sure that their friend would not be alone in this battle. After each surgery, the nurses came to the house to care for their friend and kept in contact to make sure that she was getting the best treatment.

Life went well until last summer, when Joanne suddenly took a turn for the worse and was given six months to live. The nurses learned that their friend was gravely ill and that hospice was coming in to provide patient care. In a whirlwind, the nurses came to the house, asking what they could do. They told me to cancel hospice bedside care because they were “taking over,’’ setting up a daily schedule where at least one of them would be there to provide direct care to their friend. Keep in mind, these nurses were either coming from work each day or giving up their lives to be there for their friend.

The cancer spread and their friend lost consciousness. I saw the compassion that existed in the nurses; not only did they continue with their loving care, but each one of them engaged their friend in conversation, not knowing if she could hear them. They hugged her, cried for her, and stayed hour after hour with her. This was nursing at its finest. —Nominated by Daniel Minton

 

Patricia Belton Massachusetts General Hospital I have been a Type 1 diabetic since having the Whipple procedure in 2005. I see Patty at least once a month for my check-up. She is always so good at what she does. I have a Port-a-Cath and it takes a very special nurse to draw from it. She has shown a few other nurses how to get the draw right. She is a very special nurse to me. —Nominated by Ann School

Kate Breen Massachusetts General Hospital The neonatal intensive care unit is for fragile newborns, but Kate made sure that care for our premature twins extended to our entire first-time family. She anticipated our needs, tracking down everything from a pillow to a research paper. Kate’s consistent and tireless focus on our daughter during overnight shifts removed any doubt that our beautiful sick child was receiving the best possible care and attention. She patiently explained every medical change, including options not taken, and brought a thorough and careful approach to every interaction with our daughter in her short life. When our daughter died, Kate’s heartfelt and gentle care for our entire family helped us to spend the next 10 weeks growing a strong and healthy son.

While her compassion for and attention to us as parents made us feel comfortable in the room, her care for our children was so complete that we also felt like we could occasionally go home to sleep. While much of the whirlwind of our unexpectedly early birth and intensive days was a blur, we have a clear recollection of Kate’s dedication. —Nominated by Liam Kerr

Sandra Brown Massachusetts General Hospital Our son went in to have a hernia fixed during yet another snowstorm. Sandy was his nurse after surgery and she was so reassuring and kind to us. My husband had promised to be there when our son woke up but it took him extra time to drive in. Sandy was very understanding and hustled my husband into our son’s room the minute he arrived. She went over all the aftercare details, doted over our other kids, and took great care of our son. —Nominated by Kimberly Zipursky

Julie Conlin Massachusetts General Hospital Julie Conlin has been my nurse oncologist for four years. I was diagnosed with stage IV rectal cancer in 2011 just before my 51st birthday. Her humor, empathy, and common-sense advice helped to keep me well and, truthfully, alive. She has taught me life skills for living with cancer. I truly love her as a nurse and a friend. —Nominated by Theresa Mahan

 

Lisa Degrandis Massachusetts General Hospital Twenty years ago I was at MGH. I had had seven hours of crazy abdominal surgery for acute necrotic hemorrhagic pancreatitis. As I recall, it was March 31, Lisa’s birthday… and rather than leaving for home at the end of the shift, she made sure I got up on the floor from Recovery. I was a mess. She was wonderful. It’s been 20 long years, and there isn’t a day that I don’t remember how wonderful and kind she was about staying so late on a special day for her. This year during Nurses’ Week, I want her to know that that kindness has transcended time and I always say a prayer for her. —Nominated by Lorelei Azarian

 

Janice Erlandson Massachusetts General Hospital Last spring, my son Peter, then eight, spent two weeks at MGH with a ruptured appendix that required two drainage tubes. This experience was incredibly scary for our family. We felt so lucky to be at MGH with the best nurses and doctors in the world. I wish we could nominate all of them for special recognition. However, one nurse does stand out: Janice Erlandson.

We got to know Janice quite well during our stay. She is tough. She is no joke. At the same time, she is amazingly loving and reassuring. And her sense of humor put us at ease and helped us laugh, even when we were in a tough spot.

I know that Peter was lucky to have Janice as his nurse, but so were we. As parents, it was great to have someone in the room who was so confident in her job and so confident that Peter would be fine. —Nominated by Rachael Morris

 

Christine Page, Riley Fadden Massachusetts General Hospital I have the utmost praise for all of the nursing staff we encountered during my son’s life threatening cancer journey. But it is with the most heartfelt feeling that I must recognize Christine and Riley, two very special nursing professionals who have impacted my family greatly. In the months that my 24-year-old son was being treated for metastatic melanoma, their professionalism was remarkable as they continuously provided comfort, hope, and cheerfulness during our weekly visits to the Center for Melanoma. Even under the most heartrending circumstances, they totally understood my son’s sense of humor and determination to conquer his diagnosis with as much optimism and wit possible. Christine and Riley’s advocacy and continuing care never wavered.

Christine and Riley have exemplified the meaning of care and compassion above and beyond the scope of what is expected. Their caring ways were limitless as they visited and provided comfort while my son was in hospice care and called to check on us after my son passed away. They continue to email to say hello and see how we are doing. It is such a meaningful connection for me, and I am deeply grateful that they got to know my son. He would definitely nominate Christine and Riley as his top two draft picks. —Nominated by Joan Weymouth

 

Sarah Floyd Massachusetts General Hospital Sarah has always been very polite and available whenever I needed. She explains things very clearly and patiently. She is aware of the patient’s needs and shortcomings. Overall, she’s a pleasing person with a beautiful smile. —Nominated by Muhammad Ikram

George Lillie Massachusetts General Hospital As far as I’m concerned, the only person in the world who could actually make someone look forward to an upcoming chemo session is George Lillie. Each Sunday night, as I prepared to head into chemo the following day, I felt a great deal of dread and anxiety. But the minute I walked through the infusion doors, there was George to great me with an ecstatic, “Hello!’’, a genuine hug, and an immediate plan for how he was going to make me comfortable and happy. Chemo days are long days—sometimes 8 or 10 hours—but George never once lost his sparkle or enthusiasm. He also went to great lengths to make my husband and mother (my chemo buddies) feel at ease and comfortable, almost checking on them as much as on me. During my infusions, we bonded over the latest Downton Abbey episode, good books, and our love of the beach. He never once missed an opportunity during my visits to say what an honor it was to care for me. After I finished my treatment and had my first check-up, I made it a point to stop by the infusion center to tell George just how much his spirit and compassion pulled me through those muddy, scary days of chemo. He takes the praise in stride because caring for cancer patients is truly his life calling. I’m so lucky to have crossed paths with George, an unexpected silver lining for sure. —Nominated by Erin Squeglia

Kristin Merli Massachusetts General Hospital My husband was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in July of 2013. We were told he was to have a fantastic chemo nurse, and that couldn’t have been more true. The minute we met Kristin, she showed us nothing but kindness and compassion.

She learned a lot about our family and we about hers. Kristin made those six-week appointments less stressful. We finished our last visit with big hugs and tears. She told us that Mass General would always be here for us.

Six months after surgery, my husband’s cancer had spread to his liver. He was to start aggressive chemotherapy and his only request was for Kristin to be his nurse. Mass General set it up so we could have Kristin take care of him.

Unfortunately, Mike only made it through two rounds of chemo and passed away in June of last year. Kristin traveled to Mike’s wake to comfort us and to tell us how sad she was for us. Her care for our family really went above and beyond her duties. —Nominated by Paula Giarrusso

Ellen Robinson Massachusetts General Hospital Ellen is a skilled nurse who serves as the co-chair of the Optimum Care Committee at MGH, which serves terminal patients facing a conflicting medical challenge. She courageously, knowledgeably, and humanely guides staff, family, friends, and others to resolve what seem to be unsolvable dilemmas. She saves patients from needless trauma and supports families in the face of conflicts. Ellen has done this time and time again, often at the expense of her personal time and energy, without ever looking for personal recognition. I have observed her kindness and genius. She is a credit to her profession and a blessing to her hospital, her colleagues, and the subjects of her care. —Nominated by Arnold Messing

Masuma Tavares Massachusetts General Hospital Masuma Tavares was shown how to do my INR [International Normalized Ratio] through the Port-a-Cath by Patty Belton. She had to fill in for Patty, and it was only the second time she had done it. Masuma is a very good nurse and got the results with no problems. I think she is very caring and capable. —Nominated by Ann Scheele

Lisa Whelan Massachusetts General Hospital From the moment she walked into the exam room last summer, Lisa Whelan exuded a calm caring, “positive can beat this’’ attitude. I had just been diagnosed with a recurrence of endometrial cancer and was facing 5-6 weeks of daily radiation therapy. My husband had recently lost his job and our family was struggling to pay the bills put our son through college and begin the whole daunting college search with our daughter. To be faced with such a shocking diagnosis at this time in my life was devastating. I felt scared, overwhelmed and beaten-down. I had recently begun a new job and had no idea how I was going to go through treatments while working every day and pretending that nothing was wrong. At a time when I needed it most, God sent me an angel in the form of Lisa Whelan, my radiation oncology RN at MGH/North Shore Cancer Center in Danvers MA. Through tears I told Lisa my story. She patiently listened to every word and didn’t rush me. She asked all the right questions. Lisa’s kindness, compassion and sense of humor calmed me down as she expertly explained the treatments, side effects and services that would be available to me through the North Shore Cancer Center. Her faith and her optimism that everything was going to be all right helped me begin the long process of believing that maybe she was right. As I went through the treatments often with some unpleasant side effects Lisa would greet me with a hug a smile and great medical advice. She asked about the kids, my husband’s job search, the college applications, my work and how I was holding up. We shared an intimacy that few patients and their caregivers ever experience. Lisa treated me as a whole person with a life outside of the cancer treatments. She became not only my nurse but also my friend and I actually began to look forward to my appointments because I knew I could count on Lisa to help me through. Her experience, dedication and kindness made a huge difference in my life and I will be forever grateful to her for helping me through such a challenging time. Lisa Whelan truly is my angel. —Nominated by Jayne Brown

May Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities

The Entire Randolph Day and Residential Team The May Center School for Autism and Developmental Disabilities I am the Director of Nursing at the May Center School for Autism and Developmental Disabilities and I lead a team of 18 dedicated nurses on a daily basis. This team is devoted to the students, ages 4 to 21 years, we serve. Our population has numerous medical issues and this team of outstanding nurses goes above and beyond to care for their needs. Our autistic students can be a real challenge on a daily basis, but this team is amazing. My team is the first into work and the last to leave. They care for our students daily by providing quality, compassionate care. Our students may never know or say their nurses’ names, but they will never forget the great care they gave them to make them feel better. Similarly, my nurses never forget the look on their students’ faces when they feel better. I am so proud to be a part of this wonderful group of professionals who provide heartfelt, loving care to those in need. —Nominated by Maureen Durkin

McLean Hospital

Maria Ryan McLean Hospital Maria is one of the youngest, hippest, most experienced nurses. About five years ago, Maria switched specialties from oncology to psychiatry. I am lucky to have her as a colleague. Working on a locked adult inpatient psychiatric unit, Maria is leading the pack. In her Irish brogue, she has a way of relating and deescalating. She builds a relationship with her patients and instills hope in those ready to begin their recovery. Quick with wit and humor, she can lighten a heavy situation. Being a more experienced nurse, she welcomes and nurtures new nurses to the profession. I salute Maria Ryan. —Nominated by Liz Murray

Mica Collaborative

 

Jeanne Watson Driscoll The Mica Collaborative Jeanne has a clinical practice focused on women’s mental health and treatment of postpartum mood and anxiety disorders. As her daughter, I have been fortunate to watch her career grow and change, but her focus has always been on the patient. When friends of mine have had issues with postpartum depression, my mom has been a resource for them, sometimes as an affirmation of their treatment plan or a facilitator of a referral, but always as an extra ear to listen to their stories. I know that she goes above and beyond with her patients as her practice is one that has her on call all of the time. When you work with postpartum depression, the illness has an incredible impact on the entire family, and time is of the essence. I am proud to know that my mom’s work has helped women and their families in the Boston area and beyond for more than 30 years. —Nominated by Lorraine Sousa

Mount Auburn Hospital

Post Anesthesia Care Unit Nurses Mount Auburn Hospital The Post Anesthesia Care Unit nurses at Mount Auburn Hospital provide the highest quality nursing care to post-surgical patients. Stanton’s PACU nurses face unique challenges each day as they provide individualized care for patients undergoing a broad range of surgical procedures, including the most complex and innovative procedures in use today. As a volunteer in Surgical Reception, I have observed these dedicated nurses working with care and commitment to ensure their PACU patients experience a smooth recovery from their surgical procedure, remain comfortable as they awake from anesthesia, and transition safely to the next step in their treatment. Nursing care immediately following a surgical procedure is critically important for the patient’s overall recovery. It is the skill and expertise of these talented nurses that permit post-surgical patients to progress appropriately to inpatient hospitalization for further care or rehabilitation, or to discharge home as directed by the surgeon. —Nominated by Janet Boodro

 

Arlene Pressman Mount Auburn Hospital We all know our health care system has its shortcomings. Patients sometimes see multiple doctors who order various tests in separate hospital systems. Recently, I’ve had the privilege of having Arlene as my nurse, coordinating my care. Due to insurance issues, I needed to have a test done outside of the Mount Auburn system. Even though this was beyond the scope of Arlene’s job, she personally called the other facility to set up the test. The convoluted back-and-forth with the radiology department, scheduling department, myself, and Arlene would have frustrated any normal person. But Arlene remained extremely patient through it all and was diligent about following up with me, even though it resulted in additional work for her.

I’ve worked in hospital administration for years and it is rare to find a provider such as Arlene who genuinely cares for the patient and seeks to put the needs of the patient above all else. —Nominated by Allison P.

Nantucket Cottage Hospital

 

Nursing Staff Nantucket Cottage Hospital The nursing staff at Nantucket Cottage Hospital is truly exceptional. In caring for my elderly father these past few years, they displayed compassion, respect, and competence. The nurses made sure my father was comfortable and kept me informed of his status and plan of care. As a nurse myself, I also am part of the nursing faculty at UMass Lowell, so I truly appreciate exceptional nursing that cares for the body and soul.

Although I had been with my father for many days before he died this winter, I missed his death by one hour. It was a nurse who was with him when he died, who said prayers, and who told me it was the most comfortable death she had seen. All the nurses helped me cope, ,and I will be forever indebted to them. This nursing staff is truly a perfect vision of nursing practice. —Nominated by Alison Stone Basmajian

New England Baptist Hospital

 

Deborah Rogers New England Baptist Hospital I had the pleasure of serving my senior preceptorship with Deb Rogers at New England Baptist Hospital. Her ability to articulate to her patients about their time in the hospital as well as their recovery process after discharge was remarkable. She exuded confidence in her nursing care in a professional and respectful manner that I aspire to in my own nursing career. On multiple occasions, I witnessed seasoned nurses and health care providers asking her opinion on a patient. Debbie would constantly assess her patients, monitor lab work, and talk to the health care team about obtaining the best outcome for her patient. She would call a doctor multiple times throughout the day with important updates or questions about orders. She knew the patient population so well that she could identify medication and medical interventions that were not appropriate. Debbie could walk into a room and just as easily laugh with her patient as console them. She is a nurse who you know loves her profession. She is a nurse who truly wants her patients’ health and well being to improve. —Nominated by Alexandra Hall

New England Cancer Specialists

Jennifer Turcotte New England Cancer Specialists Jennifer has been very compassionate with me and other patients. She has a great sense of humor, which is needed and appreciated. She listens to my symptoms without minimizing them. She laughs and appreciates my warped sense of humor about cancer and death. She really cares about my daughter and asks how she’s doing regularly. I just think Jennifer has wonderful qualities given the kind of work she does. —Nominated by Lisa Barden

NewBridge on the Charles

Claire Hunt NewBridge on the Charles This is my third nomination for Claire in three years. My mom passed away one year ago. Claire was her primary nurse in the memory support unit. From the day of intake to the day of her death four years later, my mother was treated as if she were the only resident on the floor. Claire made my mom feel comfortable and loved, and she does that with every single resident, every day. She is the consummate professional, tending to residents and supervising the resident aides. But it is her deep sense of humanity and personal investment in caring that are most impressive.

Claire was born to be a nurse and her choice of caring for such a fragile population is inspirational—so much so that after my mother’s death (at age 98), I have chosen to “pay it forward’’ and now volunteer on my mother’s floor. I help the aides and chat with the residents and have come to realize how fulfilling it is to be with these folks.

All nurses face challenges in their chosen fields. All nurses do work that many of us shy away from. Claire is a nurse who can make these tasks seem easy, routine, and even rewarding. I know my mother felt love every day on this floor, thanks to Claire setting that tone and standard. I will always be indebted to this amazing, outstanding nurse. She is my hero. —Nominated by Esther Schneiderman

Newton-Wellesley Hospital

Nicki Cataldo, Dianne Faro, Michelle Fordham, Denise Galvin, Heather Grossman, Lisa Lapanus, and Maria Liddick Newton Wellesley Hospital I have been treated at the Vernon Cancer Center for several years and have had an opportunity to observe these nurses during busy times and slow. They work as a team, helping each other without being asked. They seem to know who needs backup for verification or who will be available to check names and dates of birth. They always practice safe habits: washing hands, using gloves, and verifying, “Full Name and Date of Birth, please.’’ They are friendly and helpful to newcomers and old hands. They follow each patient’s case, celebrate the positive news, and commiserate with bad. Since they work as a team, they are all my favorite nurses. —Nominated by Robert Keller

NH Attorney General’s Office

Georgia Pasqualone New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office Georgia is a forensic nurse consultant and expert witness. She was instrumental in assisting the New Hampshire Attorney General’s office in convicting “shaken baby’’ perpetrators in the past year. —Nominated by Anthony Pasqualone

North Shore Medical Center-Salem Hospital

 

Julie Garrity North Shore Medical Center–Salem Hospital Julie Garrity is an amazing example of compassion and caring. She is one of the most hardworking nurses I have worked with in my 25 years in the medical profession. She covers the entire thoracic surgery practice here at the NSMC Salem Hospital, which consists of three very busy surgeons. And she does so with the highest level of caring and understanding that you could imagine. She does daily rounds at the hospital on all of their patients, gives a variety of different in-services on the nursing units to teach the other nurses about chest tubes and the various procedures that are needed for our thoracic surgery patients. She juggles her busy home life, raising twin 13-year-old girls and enduring a long commute with all the work she does here, yet she is always smiling and never complains. She keeps things running smoothly here on a daily basis, and she always puts her patients first. —Nominated by Kathy Cocozella

North Shore Physicians’ Group

 

Amanda Mavrakos North Shore Physicians Group Amanda Mavrakos has been the office nurse for Dr. Maurice Greenbaum at his office at 55 Highland Ave. for at least 15 years. She is a caring listener and a responsive communicator to patients and to pharmacies. Prior to annual and semi-annual check-ups, Amanda carefully takes blood samples, checks blood pressure and other pre-physical actions in a quiet and professional manner. When I was hospitalized at North Shore Medical Center, she was my contact with Dr. Greenbaum’s office. She has a quiet, friendly, compassionate personality and both Dr. Greenbaum, my primary care doctor, and his patients are fortunate to have her running his office and interacting so well with patients. —Nominated by Don Gardner

Norwell VNA

Geri Sanderson Norwell VNA My mother, Ellen Fahey, asked me to nominate Geri Sanderson, her VNA nurse, for her compassionate care. Geri assisted my mother in maintaining an active lifestyle despite her congestive heart failure. Geri was always patient and honored my mother’s independence and personal choices. My mother always felt reassured and healthier after a visit from Geri. —Nominated by Mari-An Fitzmaurice

Ohrenberger School

Andrea Doherty William Ohrenberger School Andrea demonstrates what every school nurse should be like. She is not just the school nurse caring for students in the 3rd-8th grades, she also takes into account the health of the staff. Our angel in her white coat updates the staff with emails on healthy lifestyle trends, medical updates, and interesting articles that she comes across that she feels might help the teacher/student/family communications. She is one of the school’s biggest advocates for physical fitness before and during school. —Nominated by Nominated by Maureen Neil

Parmenter Hospice

Jack Whelan Parmenter Hospice My family member, Pete, is under hospice care with Jack. Jack has done extensive research and is highly knowledgeable about managing a very unusual medical device. He is also highly invested in giving Pete the best quality of life possible, in spite of a rather difficult-to-manage dementia, and has worked very hard with Pete to make his time with his family of much higher quality. He knows Pete so well and helps him deal with his many issues with such kindness that Pete told him, “You are the good father I never had.’’ Jack has excellent clinical judgment and his recommendations come from a deep understanding of Pete, his medical situation, his psychological condition, and his family dynamics. This has been a true gift. We all completely trust Jack’s opinion and are comfortable following his lead. —Nominated by Molly Walsh

Regis College

 

Kristin Waldeck Regis College Kristin is an extremely compassionate nursing professor who goes the extra mile to help her students. She stays hours upon hours to make sure we understand the content, often sacrificing time with her own family. Kristin is always quick to laugh and to make every student feel important and confident. Her strong support of me and of everyone else in my class has enabled us to do well in nursing school. As a nursing student, I am inspired by Kristin to strive to be as amazing as she is one day. —Nominated by Valerie Fusco

Sage School

Susan Siegel The Sage School Susan is the consummate professional. Each day, she deals with a myriad of ailments ranging from a tummy ache to life threatening seizures. Through it all she responds with a caring spirit that makes each member of the community feel better. Susan has the safety and health of the entire school community in mind. She is proactive in her approach to health and wellness and takes a genuine interest in each person as an individual.

Most nurses interact with a patient for a limited amount of time; there are very few who care for people year after year, from childhood through adolescence. Susan not only provides a healthy atmosphere for our students, she also ensures that each child, whether anxious or physically injured, has a trusted adult in whom to confide. —Nominated by Nan Wodarz

St. Francis Xavier School

Bridget Jaklitsch St. Francis Xavier School In addition to her formal position as nurse, Bridget fills many unofficial roles at our school: counselor, confidant, and educator. She manages the health care of over 300 students while they are in school. This includes everything from a scraped knee at recess to an anaphylactic allergic reaction at lunch. She monitors diabetic children throughout the day, supports the students with allergies to ensure a safe environment, and is always accessible to parents to answer questions. Mrs. Jaklitsch’s office often has a line of children stretching out the door in need of her tender care. She knows all the children by name and listens intently to each one of them, never rushing and never minimizing their complaints. She gives each student her undivided attention, as she assesses his or her situation before providing her special brand of healing. It almost always includes a glass of water and the calming reassurance that everything will be OK. Her office provides a soothing atmosphere for kids who feel sick while they wait to be picked up, as well as for those who may just need a little encouragement during the day. She attends to physical injuries and hurt feelings, never giving one more validation than another, knowing pain, in whatever form, is what the patient says it is.

At a time where many schools are sharing a nurse, or only have a part-time nurse, we are blessed at our school to have not just a full-time nurse, but an exceptional one at that. Mrs. Jaklitsch cares for our children with a tenderness and compassion that makes our school a better place. —Nominated by Anonymous

St. Margaret’s Hospital

 

Eunice Conley St. Margaret’s Hospital Eunice, born April 12, 1918, is the oldest living graduate nurse from Massachusetts Memorial Hospital. She will turn 97 this year and has two surviving children. She returned to nursing in 1958 and was a wonderful, caring nurse at the clinic for unwed mothers at Saint Margaret’s Hospital in Dorchester. Her work ethic has been a lifelong example for me and my sister Bonnie. Her mental alertness, sense of humor, and giving spirit has been a wonderful example for her grandchildren and great grandchildren. —Nominated by Jack Murray, Oldest son

St. Vincent Cancer and Wellness Center

Tracey Gerardi St. Vincent Cancer and Wellness Center I am a 40-year-old single man. When I was diagnosed with stage-three cancer, my world came crashing down. My career was put on hold, my house was sold, and cancer took over my life. I was so scared and the whole process was very quick. I went through intense chemotherapy via a port in my chest. It was painful and I hit rock bottom. Tracey was there for everything and at times I found myself happy to go to chemo because I was going to see her. She made this horrible time in my life so much more bearable. She would make me laugh, never leaving my side during the therapy.

I believe she is an angel on earth and one of the reasons I am in remission today. I not only want to nominate her for this salute to nurses, but I want to salute her for the human being she is. The world would be such a better place if we all had an ounce of the care that Tracey gives. Just such a wonderful person and I am glad I was able to go through this ordeal with Tracey. —Nominated by Jason Wallin

Sancta Maria Hospital

Rita Stacy Sancta Maria Hospital In January 2014, our beloved mother was diagnosed with lung cancer and it quickly spread to other parts of her body.

Rita is my sister, and without her knowledge, love, and compassion, our family would have been lost. Rita took our mother to all of her doctors’ appointments and also interacted with the hospice workers. She was invaluable deciphering medical terms and helping our mom make decisions about her medical care. We turned to Rita for assistance and guidance when trying to make our mom comfortable. Rita checked on our mom every morning and every night without complaint, constantly reassuring Mom that she was not a burden and was much loved. Our family worked together to show our mom how much we loved her during her final months, and we owe Rita a debt of gratitude for guiding us through the process. —Nominated by Ellen Ridge

Soldiers’ Home

 

Barbara Autry The Soldiers’ Home Barbara Autry is a humble and extremely kind nurse who has been part of my husband’s long-term care team for over three years. A number of nurses at this facility deserve praise, but I have singled her out because she is so unassuming, reliable, capable, and generous.

For example, when there was flu in the wards recently, she gave me her home phone number and urged me to call her at any hour if I couldn’t get through to his floor.

She is always very respectful of, and knowledgeable about, the progress of my husband’s dementia. She has been very supportive to all members of our family, and has become my friend and ally. She would never dream that she is doing anything extraordinary, but we know she is. —Nominated by Patricia Collins

South Shore Hospital

Denise Galvin Jeffrey South Shore Hospital In the 15 years that my mom had been chronically ill with a variety of issues, I had yet to meet a nurse having such compassion as Denise who cared for her as she was dying of colon cancer. I was in awe of her gentleness, kindness and patience. Knowing Denise was on duty was such a relief; I knew my mom was in the best hands possible. Denise always had a smile on her face and never seemed like she was in a rush to take care of other patients. She made my mom feel special, cared for and loved. —Nominated by Laura Hamilton

 

Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Nurses South Shore Hospital We wish to nominate a group of nurses who forever changed our lives. We had twin boys, born premature, J.P. weighing 1 lb. 13 oz. and Will weighing 1 lb. 8 oz. Not knowing what was really happening, we wouldn’t have made it through without these amazing nurses caring for our boys each day and night. They always had a smile on their faces and were there to console us and laugh with us.

When my son J.P. received a grave diagnosis at Boston Children’s Hospital, South Shore Hospital came in and took him back to allow us to be a family and take some pictures and be all together for one final night. The nursing staff on that weekend made an incredibly difficult situation into a truly loving and caring experience we will never forget.

Our son Will survived and came home, thanks to the care of this special group. Not only did they make sure he was always fed and comfortable, but they made us feel like a family and welcomed us from day one. It’s not easy living the NICU life for four months, but our memories of Thanksgiving and Halloween and Christmas photo shoots are things we will cherish forever.

The South Shore Hospital NICU is a true team in every sense of the word. These nurses gave up holidays with their families to take care of mine. We wish to thank them for all they did for William and J.P. —Nominated by Jay Rooney

Special Olympics Massachusetts Elder Service Plan of the North Shore

 

Kathy Savage Medical Director, Special Olympics Massachusetts Elder Service Plan for the North Shore Kathy serves as the medical director for Special Olympics Massachusetts, and without her we’d be lost. Kathy recruits, trains, and assigns the medical volunteers for the 150 sporting events that we do each year here in Massachusetts. She is also our head trainer, training and certifying our coaches in basic first aid and CPR. Besides her work with Special Olympics, Kathy also volunteers her time and services at the Boston Marathon, the Best Buddies Ride, and many other charitable fundraising events. She is also a nurse practitioner at the Elder Service Plan for the North Shore.

Kathy has also traveled to the past three Special Olympics USA Games as part of the Massachusetts delegation. At each of those events, one could see Kathy going from venue to venue, administering medication to the Massachusetts athletes as well as being the primary care provider for the Massachusetts delegation. She was also a member of the 2013 Special Olympics Team USA delegation that participated in the 2013 World Winter Games in Korea. Kathy is a great asset to Special Olympics Massachusetts, our program, and the 13,000+ athletes who rely on her to take care of their injuries and medication needs at our events. —Nominated by Matt Ruxton

Steward Hospice

 

Martin Mutesasira Steward Hospice I want to thank Martin from the bottom of my heart for the love and care he showed my mother in the final months of her battle with ovarian cancer.

Mom was not one to trust or warm-up to strangers easily, but she immediately felt at ease with Martin and came to love him dearly. She looked forward to his visits and appreciated that he was always patient with her and would explain options to her a hundred times, if she needed it. Martin truly listened to Mom. He always made every effort to meet Mom’s desires. Martin never pressured her into doing anything; he simply gave her the options and let her make her own decisions. Allowing her that little bit of control over her life when so much was out of control made her happy.

Martin truly cared for Mom as a person, not just as a patient, and it showed with every interaction my family witnessed. Even at the end, after she had passed, Martin treated her and us, with the utmost respect.

For all these reasons, we offer our most heartfelt appreciation, gratitude, and love to Martin and nominate him in this Salute to Nurses. It truly takes a special person to provide end-of-life care, and my family is supremely grateful that Martin was the one to care for Mom in her final months. He is an absolute angel. —Nominated by Jennifer Johnson

 

Martin Mutesasira Steward Hospice I want to thank Martin from the bottom of my heart for the love and care he showed my mother in the final months of her battle with ovarian cancer. Mom was not one to trust or warm up to strangers easily but she immediately felt at ease with Martin and came to love him dearly. She looked forward to his visits and appreciated that he was always patient with her and would explain options to her a hundred times if she needed it. Martin truly listened to Mom, to what she wanted and what she needed. Martin never pressured her into doing anything, he simply gave her the options and let her make her own decisions. Allowing her that little bit of control over her life when so much was out of control made her happy. Martin truly cared for Mom as a woman not just as a patient and it showed with every interaction my family witnessed. Even at the end after she had passed, Martin treated her and us with the utmost respect. It truly takes a special person to take on hospice care, and my family is supremely grateful that Martin was the one to care for Mom in her final months. He is an absolute angel. —Nominated by Jennifer Johnson

Stone Institute

 

Amy Brennan Not just on one day but on all of her 3-11 p.m. shifts from July 2013 to the present, Amy’s sensitive, alert care has buoyed my husband’s faltering body and mind and my own fragile spirit. Bill suffers from advanced Parkinson’s and is increasingly remote from human interaction. Unable to speak, he arises from his often trance-like state when Amy smiles, talks gently, touches his hand, and attends to his medications. Day after day, she has witnessed his deterioration, responded to his cries for help, quieted his involuntary anxieties, and advocated for ways to help him be peaceful and comfortable.

It is her compassion, patience, and love for Bill and for other long-term residents and their families that define her care. Although my husband will not recover, she brings healing to our hearts.

Amy listens, understands, and appreciates the uniqueness of each patient and takes the time to honor that person’s life. And because she does, she is a wonderful role model for the professional staff and aides who work alongside her. I find, too, that she has become a role model for me, in journeying beside Bill through his illness. —Nominated by Deborah Berman

Stoneham Board of Health

 

Margaret “Peg’’ Drummey Margaret Drummey is the Board of Health nurse for the town of Stoneham. On paper she works 19 hours a week, but anyone who knows Peg knows that she does so much more. I was privileged to spend one day a week with Peg during my fall semester of graduate nursing school. Peg quickly reminded me of why I became a nurse. She has an unwavering desire to help people and she displays a level of compassion that is difficult to reproduce and impossible to teach. Peg genuinely sympathizes with all her patients; one of her many strengths is her ability to listen with empathy.

On a December morning, Peg received a call from a home nursing agency about a Stoneham resident who wasn’t eligible for home nursing benefits but needed help with a new nebulizer machine. Peg immediately set out to see the patient. At the apartment, I watched Peg meticulously assess the gentleman as well as the situation. Within minutes, she set up the nebulizer and began to teach, all the while engaging in pleasant conversation with the lonely patient. —Nominated by Michael O’Melia

Sturdy Memorial Hospital

 

Karen Messier I have known Karen Messier for more than 20 years,, and absolutely everything she does is with our patients in mind. Karen runs Sturdy’s outpatient oncology program, overseeing an outstanding OCN trained staff who share her commitment to exceptional patient care. She meets every patient who comes through the door. She gets to know patients’ families/caregivers, understanding that cancer impacts them too. She makes coming to the clinic as positive an experience as possible.

Earlier this year, Karen explored bringing the STAR Program (Survivorship Training and Rehabilitation) to Sturdy as something that would greatly impact the patient’s cancer care experience. She hand picked a multidisciplinary team of Sturdy clinicians and administrators to become STAR certified. Karen also set a very aggressive timeline for implementation, despite having an extremely heavy workload. We are now fully engaged in the process, which is incredibly complex and ahead of schedule due to Karen’s tireless efforts. The most rewarding part is seeing how patients are benefiting physically and mentally from the program, which is intended to help with improved activity levels, achieve better tolerance of chemotherapy, and post surgical issues.

Karen Messier is a consummate professional who has dedicated the better part of her life and career to taking care of cancer patients. This is no easy task. Karen distinguishes herself by her work ethic, the connections she has with patients, and the determination to get it done. Sturdy and our patients are very fortunate to have Karen. —Nominated by Lisa McCluskie

 

Karen Messier In 1988 through a grassroots effort, Karen alone pioneered this thriving oncology program. Her compassion reaches far beyond patient care. Families and staff members alike are equally supported by her vast efforts. From cancer prevention, intervention surveillance, and specialty care, Karen’s guidance is found. She is trusted and well respected within the community. She is a resource for patients, nurses, and doctors alike. Through excellent communication, Karen is a problem-solver, grant writer, coordinator of care, and clinical manager. Supportive of each patient’s journey through his or her cancer experience, she has provided hope and encouragement. Karen offers a quiet compassion as is evident in her body of work. While managing a busy outpatient oncology practice, she is always striving for professional improvement. She is an inspiration to patients and staff members alike. As a team we are privileged to work with and learn from her on a daily basis. Our patients are fortunate to have her expertise, kindness, and caring compassion. —Nominated by Kathy Martin

 

Jessica Padykula When the first Ebola patient arrived in the United States, Jessica promptly recognized the need to provide potential patients with the best known practices for optimal care while in our setting. She independently immersed herself in literature from the CDC and MDH to identify the best possible personal protective equipment for staff use. Jessica took the lead and became a primary trainer of doctors, nurses, lab workers, environmental staff, and others throughout the hospital. She worked tirelessly in concert with an interdisciplinary team to ensure the safety of all staff involved in the care of potential Ebola patients. She did this without ever losing sight of the need to provide support, compassion, and dignity to the potential patients and their families.

She is extremely articulate and it is through her strong communication skills, advanced knowledge, and commitment to safety that she was able to turn this emotionally charged issue into a series of clear, realistic, scientifically based steps for staff to follow.

Jessica championed and participated in the development of interdepartmental standards surrounding the care and management of patients, along with staff safety practices. Sturdy Memorial and the patients she serves are fortunate to have her on the team. —Nominated by Kathi Hague

Tewksbury Hospital

 

Julie Scuccimarra This nurse is my daughter. She works harder than anyone I know. She’s a single mom supporting a home and two children. She gets letters and praises from all of her patients but is too humble to ever brag. I would trust Julie with my life. My salute goes out to my daughter, Julie Scuccimarra. —Nominated by Nancy Carreiro

Thurston Middle School

Terri Sweeney Terri has been my family’s school nurse since 2010 when my oldest daughter, Sophie, started sixth grade in Westwood. Over the years, and as my twin girls, Madeline and Isabelle, began attending Thurston, Terri always had a smile on her face and a kind word for us all. Our encounters were brief and pleasant.

Then September 6, 2014 came, and suddenly our life changed. Four days into her eighth-grade school year, my daughter Isabelle took her life. From that moment on, a new norm took hold that not only touched my family but many students at Thurston. We were all left with so many unanswered questions, worries, and fears. How could this have happened to the girl so many had cared about and loved?

And that’s where Mrs. Sweeney stepped in to this story. Her office no longer was the place where the kids went just for their inhalers and Band-Aids. Her cots were quickly filled with kids struggling to understand what happened to their young friend; her office became a place where tears and frustrations could be shared and worries openly discussed.

After missing days of school, Madeline slowly re-entered Thurston without her twin sister. Along with the groups of other students, Madeline found comfort in Mrs. Sweeney’s care. She was not there to provide relief from a physical ailment, but for a broken heart. When Madeline needed a break, Mrs. Sweeney had a quiet spot for her to relax. When Madeline wanted to talk, Mrs. Sweeney had a listening ear. No matter what period of the day it was, Madeline was never turned away. Mrs. Sweeney cared for my daughter through her darkest moments, and in doing that, she also cared for me. My mornings often started with a quick check-in to say hello and always ended with a warm hug from this amazing woman. —Nominated by Emily Medina

Tufts Medical Center

 

Ellen LeBlanc As a nurse for 40 years, I have had the privilege of knowing and working with many outstanding, kind, and compassionate nurses. I have also held the hands of patients and family members as they have taken their last breaths. I would like to share the story of a nurse who made a difference while caring for my father-in-law.

When the beloved 88-year-old patriarch of our family, Vincent Dabenigno, became critically ill, he was admitted to the Medical Intensive Care Unit at Tufts Medical Center for 10 days before he sadly passed away just before Christmas. During this time, he was cared for by an outstanding team of nurses, respiratory therapists, and physicians. Our family feels the need to recognize a special nurse who helped a family get through an extremely difficult time. Ellen LeBlanc not only cared for our father and grandfather in his final days, she also provided care and comfort to his children and grandchildren. In the days filled with anxiety, uncertainty, and sadness, she explained what was happening to Pa in easily understood terms as well as answered questions about complicated medication adjustments. During Pa’s last hours, when the primary goal was comfort, he was surrounded by his loved ones and Ellen was his nurse. She remained his nurse until he passed. We will be forever grateful and remember her hugs. —Nominated by Paula M. Dabenigno

 

Elizabeth Mobassaleh Our daughter, Cecily, eight, has a difficult brain tumor for which she has received regular care at Tufts for more than a year. It is with some reluctance that we single out an individual for attention, since we have received phenomenal care from the entire team at Tufts. However, we do have a special place in our hearts for Liz.

Cecily’s regular visits might be a trial for her, but due in large part to Liz, they have been something she looks forward to. In Cecily’s words, “I love Liz because she talks crazy, she acts crazy, and she wears crazy things.’’ Liz must have thousands of pairs of hi-top, themed boots (“Thing One and Thing Two’’ is a favorite) which she likes to sport with stripy and spotted tights. Her zany personality has helped Cecily get through boring and painful procedures with jollity.

Liz is super-smart and creative in anticipating ways to make Cecily’s treatment smooth. For instance, she is pushing the MRI team to devise a comfortable alternative to IV for delivering contrast (which my daughter hates), makes sure we get booked into the MRI that plays movies, and communicates with the pharmacy so that we get out of the hospital in time to beat rush hour traffic, when Cecily is tired. Her insight has helped us make key treatment decisions. Liz is a wonder both for us and our daughter. —Nominated by Louise and Chris Reohr

UMass Medical School

 

 

All Nurses Every day, I have the privilege and honor of working with the most amazing health care professionals that go above and beyond for our Youth. They provide both holistic care to the youth and their families. They are models for care compassion and patience. Every day they provide an environment for safety, hope and healing. They are there to celebrate birthdays with the Youth, wrap their Christmas presents, talk them through a crisis, ground them during intrusive memories and make them feel safe when they are hearing voices. To me, they are all true heroes and what it truly means to be a nurse. —Nominated by Sarah McNulty

UMass Memorial Medical Center

 

Intensive Care Unit 2 Lakeside team Last spring, my 22-year-old son was severely injured in a car accident and life-flighted to UMass Medical Center Trauma Unit where he received the ultimate the medical world has to offer. While many outstanding personnel were involved in his care, this particular nomination allows me to convey my feelings of gratitude to his superb and dedicated nurses who worked nonstop to save his life and restore his ability to function. They helped develop daily plans which they implemented to the letter. The plans required concentration and multitasking to meet his complex medical needs. Meanwhile, they unselfishly took as much time with the family as needed and remained perfectly calm even when the unexpected happened. They were also wonderful communicators with a large team of doctors involved. I can’t say enough about the unbelievable technical skills they employed especially with distraught family members in the room and how they so intuitively knew how to interact with the family. In spite of the incredible high tech medical sophistication involved, the nurses kept their hearts open to Michael and to the rest of our family. These nurses are truly heaven sent, compassionate, and deserve the recognition. —Nominated by Jane Simpson

VA Boston Healthcare System, West Roxbury

 

Andrea Riiska Andrea truly embodies the role of a nurse practitioner. In 2007, while working full time and earning her Master’s degree in nursing, Andrea was still at the top of her class. Throughout 2012, even when going through chemotherapy herself, she was consistently there for her veteran patients. Imagine how hard that is to do when your patients can see you are missing your hair and wearing a wig.

Andrea prides herself not only in her clinical competency but also on her role as a patient advocate and compassionate healer. When asked, anyone who works with her would light up, telling stories of how she has soothed worried patients and provided the highest level of care for vulnerable people. If anyone deserves this recognition, it is Andrea. —Nominated byRebecca Pinsky

Visiting Nurse Association

 

Debbie Soper Nurse Debbie provided special care to me during my recovery from surgery in 2014. Upon meeting Debbie, her friendly, compassionate manner immediately made me feel at ease and confidant knowing I was getting the best care possible. Debbie provided excellent clinical competency by confidently gathering my vital signs, recording them for transmission to my doctor’s office, and ensuring I recorded them in my log, too. She carefully cleaned and dressed my wound to minimize the risk of infection and communicated the healing progress through words and sketches. Debbie also took the time to review my upcoming appointments with me and ensure I was going to ask the pertinent questions during those doctor visits. Thank you for all the care and kindness you provided during my recuperation, and I am happy to let you know that I have healed far better than I anticipated. —Nominated by Michael Shaughnessy

Whidden Memorial Hospital

 

Regine Lecore Regine was knowledgeable, loving, and kind, a perfect combination of traits for a nurse. She was careful, patient, and there was never any doubt that the patient was her first priority. As a visiting family, she always greeted us with a smile and shared important information about our loved one. Very early in my husband’s stay, he expressed that he felt chilled. I told Regine, and much later when we were leaving, I met her in the elevator. She told me that she had placed a warmed blanket over him and that he felt better. I think this is what makes Regine special. Nothing is too much trouble for her to care for her patient’s welfare. I am grateful for nurses like her. —Nominated by Judy Haims

Winchester Rehabilitation & Nursing Center

Gabrielle Silva As a rehab patient at Winchester Rehabilitation and Nursing Center for five weeks in November and early December 2014, I had interactions with many nurses and therapists. As a rule, they were all professional, kind, and thoughtful. But Gabrielle Silva stood out from the crowd. In the midst of my misery and pain, her lovely smile and apt words always brightened my days.

Gabrielle always took time to make sure I understood why I was taking a certain medication or what to expect in a procedure. Though burdened by numerous other patients, she managed to concentrate on me and my needs, combining the utmost in professionalism with a kindly human touch and sense of humor. Once, when I was confused by the overwhelming number of pills I was taking each morning, she took the time to explain each one, its brand and generic names, what it did, and why I needed to take it. We talked about possible drug interactions and side effects. I was impressed at the breadth and depth of her knowledge of pharmacology as well as her patience in reassuring me. I will always be grateful for Gabrielle’s care and attention. —Nominated by Jack LeMenager

 

 

 

 

 

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August 2, 2017 | 10:00 AM