Salute to Nurses 2017 Letters: Hospitals A-B

Addison Gilbert Hospital

Nursing Team, Addison Gilbert Hospital
The Beverly and Addison Gilbert Hospital Cancer Services nursing team includes medical oncology infusion nurses, office nurses, and dermatology-oncology clinic nurses. This is a highly skilled group of 19 women, with a combined 341 years of nursing experience. Ninety-five percent of the team is made up of oncology certified nurses. These are deeply dedicated to and passionate about their patients, taking pride in knowing their personal stories and in helping guide them through their journeys. These nurses are outstanding patient advocates who address concerns across a wide range of areas (e.g., knowledge of disease, treatment, distress, transportation, financial pressure, etc.). In addition, the members of this team serve as exceptional patient navigators throughout the continuum of cancer care, from diagnosis to cure (and, when necessary, end of life). They even have the talent and instincts to know when to incorporate humor into their caregiving. These nurses are far too humble to ever think of themselves as extraordinary, but I know that they are regularly viewed as superheroes. –Nominated by Karin Leppanen

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All Care Hospice

Jen Spanos, All Care Hospice
Everyone deserves a nurse like Jen Spanos. I had the honor to work with Jen at All Care Hospice, caring for patients (and their loved ones) at the end of their lives. I’ve always felt that a hospice nurse needs to have clinical nursing skills. I also believe that an exceptional depth of compassion is what makes a hospice nurse stand apart from all other types of nurses.
Jen cared for patients in their homes. The patient who stands out in my mind is a young woman—I’ll call her Samantha—who had cerebral palsy, lived alone, was fiercely independent, and insisted on living out her days at home. Samantha had been traumatized during her younger years in the health care system and had lived in an institution, so Jen was determined that her wishes be honored and that she remain at home, safely and with dignity.
Samantha needed assistance with her medications, personal care, meals, and moving furniture so she could transfer herself safely into her wheelchair when she wanted to go to the kitchen. Jen made sure Samantha had all the tools she needed to be comfortable and successful.
She also kept Samantha’s sister in California updated and then advised her to come when Samantha was no longer able to care for herself.
The hospice world is a better place for Jen’s beautiful care. –Nominated by Deb Amato

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American Renal Associates of Rhode Island

Rhonda Lombardo, American Renal Associates of Rhode Island
I met Rhonda Lombardo when I was diagnosed with end-stage renal disease. I was 31, newly married, and dealing with the effects of kidney failure while intensely grieving my diagnosis. Rhoda trains patients and oversees their progress as they transition into in-home peritoneal dialysis. With compassion and care, and a little bit of the spitfire attitude she is known for, she broke through my fog and gave me the tools to keep myself as healthy as possible, return to work, travel to see my family, meet my newest niece, and prepare my body and my mind for kidney transplant, which I will undergo later this year. She manages the day-to-day care of patients who perform lifesaving treatments on themselves daily, giving them the confidence, knowledge, and security to maintain a life that is much more within their control. She found ways for the program to fit my life and abilities, celebrated my successes with me, and managed bad news in a way that kept me moving forward. I look forward to the rest of my life, in part because of the care and direction that Rhonda provided. –Nominated by Mary Beth Mills

Anna Jaques Hospital

Patricia Morrison, Anna Jaques Hospital
There are nurses who are wonderfully compassionate and caring and communicate that their patient is the center of their day. There are nurses who have been in their field for many years, and have tremendous knowledge, acting as walking internet resources for their newer peers. There are nurses who you know will never mislead you and will be by your side no matter how hard it all is. And there are the nurses who are passionate about improving the big picture, being a part of the organizations and regulatory bodies and political processes to ensure the best care and resources for their patients and their peers. Then there is the rare nurse who does it all. Patti Morrison is that nurse. There is no one event or action that makes her so deserving of recognition, but a professional lifetime of being this driven, compassionate, outside-of-the-box thinker who does not know how to do anything at less than 150 percent. As charge nurse on our locked psychiatric unit, she not only runs her shifts with an organization and energy that is jaw-dropping, but she also has an endless supply of ideas and suggestions to fix and improve our world. As department director, Patti is my go-to for every state and organizational meeting, knowing she will be a great addition and come away with even more ideas. I truly question how effective I would be at my job without her. I thank her for what she has done for patients, peers, and the nursing profession over the last 30 years. –Nominated by Mary Jewell

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Nathan Owens, Anna Jaques Hospital
I was diagnosed with a kidney stone that was causing my urine to back up in my system, making me feel very sick. When they diagnosed the kidney stone they also found cancer. I was going to start my chemo and radiation but had to fix the kidney problem first. It was a very scary time in my life. I was in so much pain before my kidney surgery that I had to go to the ER. My nurse was Nathan Owens. He greeted me with so much care and respect. We talked about the cancer and my fears of getting a port put in and my upcoming surgery. He made me feel so much better emotionally and physically. I would be his patient any day. We even hugged on my way out. –Nominated by Sharon Perkins

Anna Maria College

Karin Ciance, Anna Maria College
As my time as an undergrad nursing student comes to an end, I can’t help but think about Professor Karin Ciance and the impact she has made in my studies. When I walk into class, I feel nothing but welcomed by her infectious laughs, positivity, and compassion. Professor Ciance starts her classes by simply asking students how they are doing, which on a stressful day filled with studying, tests, and work is a refreshing reminder that she cares.
Professor Ciance taught the community health class in which I had the most memorable clinical experiences. One of these experiences was at a medical clinic that serves underprivileged and uninsured populations. I was able to have this experience because Professor Ciance volunteers her time to expand health care access to populations who cannot afford it. She displayed endless amounts of dedication to her patients, making sure their needs were met. She is a strong leader and fierce advocate whether it be teaching in the classroom or in the clinical setting. Please let us salute Professor Ciance in her commitment to her patients and the students here at Anna Maria College. –Nominated by Julia Raskind

Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School/Practical Nurse Program

John Nagelschmidt, Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School/Practical Nurse Program
My brother John Nagelschmidt, retired Commander USN and current nursing instructor in the Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School Practical Nurse Program, deserves recognition. John served as a nurse for 20 years in the Navy, which included supporting the Marines in Desert Storm. He returned to Massachusetts upon retirement and began a second career teaching nursing and working at Clinton Hospital. John also cares for our 94-year-old mother at his home and provides her with at-home
kidney dialysis four times a week. I’m very proud of my kid brother and all he has done. –Nominated by Charlie Nagelschmidt

Asthma and Allergy Physicians of Rhode Island/Harvard Vanguard

Deborah Buckley, Asthma and Allergy Physicians of Rhode Island/Harvard Vanguard
I had sliced off a piece of my thumb slicing potatoes and Deborah Buckley did a great job in patching up the injury, ensuring that no infection occurred, and getting me on my way pretty quickly. Plus, she was really patient with an oozing wound. –Nominated by Jonathan Cohan

Becker College

Ann Brown, Becker College
In April 2015, I assumed the role of dean of the School of Nursing at Becker College. During my tenure, I have witnessed many faculty-student interactions that have touched my heart, such as the events surrounding National Smile Day. Ann Brown, doctor of nursing practice, is our community health instructor and in the week before National Smile Day, she decided she would remind our junior students of the power of human caring. On Oct. 7, Ann took her entire cohort of students out of the classroom and into downtown Worcester, where they shared smiles and lollipops. Ann’s mission was to remind students that the most powerful tool a nurse can implement is kindness. The response from the students and the citizens of Worcester was incredible. Over 100 health care consumers received an unexpected infusion of human kindness due to the creativity, skill, and compassion of Ann Brown. –Nominated by Judith Pare

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Donna Daly, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Donna is a very compassionate nurse, who is not only a nurse, but a mentor. She is truly in a field that is her calling. The dedication she shows and empathy toward support staff is unlike any other nurse. No task is too small for her. –Nominated by Alic Garcia

Kerri Dawidczyk, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Needham
The Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Needham is the epitome of community health care and the nurses are hard working and responsive to patients’ needs. Kerri Dawdiczyk has such a love of patient care that I have been hard-pressed to see her outside of her patients’ rooms. She develops a rapport that makes the most vulnerable feel safe and secure. She has worked tirelessly with every type of patient and has the same respect and rapport with all of them. I am delighted to work with her in the ICU. –Nominated by Christine Grady McKee

Kerri Dawidczyk, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Needham
Kerri Dawidczyk was my nurse. I have no family or friends, and she came to visit me when I was in the nursing home several times after I was discharged. She is the most generous and compassionate nurse I know. She connects with her patients and gives all of herself. I have stopped going into Boston because of her and the care she gave me in Needham. She has recently adopted her cousin’s child. She has a strong family to support her and relates to her patients, treating them like family. –Nominated by Anne DiNatale

Amanda Digitale, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
My sister, Amanda Digitale, wanted to be a nurse to make a difference in someone’s life. She is one of the most hard-working, resilient, compassionate young women I have ever met. She perseveres through every obstacle and challenge. Amanda establishes great rapport with her patients. I could not be more proud of everything she has accomplished. My sister is my inspiration and all-time role model. She is simply one of a kind, and any patient would be extremely lucky to have her as their nurse. –Nominated by Kassandra Digitale

Jane Foley, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
How can I describe the woman who saved my life? Jane Foley has been my chemo nurse from the first day of my cancer treatment back in December 2008. In the beginning, she was a huge source of support in terms of helping me understand the overwhelming and confusing regimen of drugs I had to take. Over the course of my treatment, she took what is a pretty horrible experience—receiving an infusion of toxic chemicals that cause nausea, hair loss, and terrifying side effects—and making it bearable. For the past several years, I have been on a maintenance dose of Herceptin, going in for an infusion every three weeks. Jane has been there all along. Her warmth, compassion, and humor are evident at every visit. She is incredibly supportive of me and a consistent advocate for my care. Cancer treatment is a difficult journey, and I can’t imagine taking it without Jane. She’s one of a kind, and I’m so lucky to have had her by my side all these years. –Nominated by Becca Kornet

Jane Foley, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
My husband and I met Jane Foley when he started chemotherapy in April 2016. On the first day, Jane greeted us warmly and, with a hug, told my husband, “We’ll get through this together.” She has been with us every step of the way with guidance and support. When he was an inpatient in Boston in November, she followed his progress and called us often to see how we both were doing. Jane is like family now. She is a compassionate, patient professional whose demeanor shows the depth of concern she feels for her patients. She is part of a wonderful team, and we are very thankful that as my husband continues with weekly chemo, she is there each week to greet us with a smile. –Nominated by Beth Bourguignon

Susan Gordon, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Susan Gordon is an exceptional nurse. When I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, she was there by my side. When my younger brother had nearly fatal anaphylaxis multiple times, she saved his life, and then stayed by his side in the hospital. When my father underwent chemotherapy, she was there by his side to comfort and care for him. She made sure that no matter what else was going on in the world, she was always there for us.
In early 2016, I was lucky enough to get an opportunity to work as a nurse at BIDMC with Susan. What I witnessed was nothing but exceptional. As the nurse manager for the neuroscience floors, Susan gives her all for her patients and staff. If a nurse calls in sick on a holiday, leaving her nurses short-staffed, Susan drops everything and goes to work as a staff nurse. When the night shift needs more nurses over the weekend, Susan drops everything at home and heads to work as a staff nurse on the night shift. When a patient’s family is in need, Susan is there. But most importantly, Susan is an advocate for not only her patients, but also her staff. Susan will do whatever she believes is right for her staff and her patients, no matter the sacrifices she has to make. I have seen these sacrifices for over 20 years. My idol, my mother, Susan Gordon, nurse manager Farr 11 and Farr 6a. –Nominated by Patrick Gordon

Jean Griffin, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Jean cares. Her skills and personality speak volumes on working with patients. –Nominated by
Thomas Dillon

Nancy Littlehale, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
I have been seeing Nancy Littlehale for the past 10 years at Beth Israel’s Breast Care Center. As someone who is high risk for breast cancer, it is imperative that I have the best care in terms of prevention, monitoring, and diagnosing this dreaded disease. Nancy is not only a competent clinician, she is also direct, honest, compassionate, and caring. She has a way of connecting with you as a human and not as just another patient on her very busy roster. She always asks about my children and actually remembers how many I have. This is truly appreciated, as my visits are always fraught with fear and anxiety.
Nancy is my go-to person—I always request her whenever I am required to have invasive testing done—and my rock. Thank you, Nancy. I am blessed to have you in my life. –Nominated by Kelly Papa

Medical Intensive Care Unit 2 Nurses, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Laura Ricercato, Eliza Barbaresi, and Annesh Kizhakkedath were the most empathic, caring, and supportive nurses in MICU 2 in October. My son Anthony (who suffered from major depression) sadly took his life by overdosing on his prescription medication and spent a week in the ICU. These nurses were the kindest and most helpful at what was the worst time in my family’s existence. They demonstrated compassionate care, excellent communication, and advocated for my son and our family from the time the Medflight brought him into Boston until life support was withdrawn. I will never forget how wonderful they were as we were all in shock at the bedside, and I wanted an opportunity to thank them for everything. –Nominated by Catherine Harrington

Neuro-ICU nurses, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
The Neuro-ICU (NIC) at Beth-Israel Deaconess Medical Center can be a dark and scary place for patients after serious illness and injury, especially for family and friends of loved ones. It has been an absolute pleasure to observe the high quality care of the nurses in this unit, as they provide holistic treatment to the hundreds of people coming through these doors. They save lives, help patients to breathe, have tough end-of-life conversations, and motivate patients to get out of bed for the first time after devastating strokes and ruptured brain aneurysms. These nurses traverse the many aspects of their job with finesse and an excellent level of care. I thank them for being a huge part of our interdisciplinary team. –Nominated by Brian Simons

Donna Pendoley, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center-OB/GYN Department
Who joyously spends an hour with her patient during the last appointment on a Friday, demonstrating her passion and dedication to her career? One amazing nurse practitioner, Donna Pendoley. I feel like I won the health care lottery, getting to be her patient over the last year. When I became pregnant for the first time at age 42, I was ecstatic, but also anxiety ridden.
As a nurse myself, and knowing the risks involved with being an older mother, my mind kept veering to the worst-case scenario. At every appointment, Donna made me feel cared for and understood, and was equally warm to my partner, who was with me during all of our prenatal visits. Each neurotic concern I had (“are our ceramic dishes leaching toxic metals and will the baby have lead poisoning?”) was responded to with both medical expertise (“lead is too heavy to cross the placenta”) and empathy (“I totally get it; we feel so vulnerable when we’re pregnant.”). Donna expertly guided us through our pregnancy, letting us know what to expect and what to watch out for, while simultaneously reassuring us about how well we were doing. She took the time to answer all of our questions, never seeming rushed or irritated.
I cried when we left our last pre-natal visit with Donna and through tears asked her if she would visit us on the unit once our child was born. She agreed, and on an early, snowy January morning, before she started clinic, there was Donna, brightening our day with hugs for all of us. We will be forever grateful to Donna for her knowledge, warmth, and care, during this wonderful, scary, and ultimately life-changing time in our lives. –Nominated by Danielle Slepian

Maria Semnack, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Plastic Reconstructive Surgery
It is with sincere gratitude that I salute Maria Semnack. After a year of breast reconstruction for cancer, I can honestly say I would not have done so well if it weren’t for the truly outstanding care and compassion I received from Maria. Although she works for a busy service, I always felt like I was the most important person in the world. I feel blessed to have met such a caring nurse who was always by my side through a difficult journey. I never felt alone. –Nominated by Trish Clark

Virginia Seery, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Virginia Seery has been taking care of me since I was diagnosed with melanoma three years ago. I see her every other week for checkups and blood work. She is the most empathetic, caring, and responsive person I know. I have had a lot of ups and downs with medication, side effects, and changes in my condition, yet whenever I contact her—even on nights, weekends, and holidays—she responds quickly. I know she cares and wants to do anything and everything to help me and my family. She goes to great lengths to answer our many questions, always with patience and understanding. I couldn’t do any better than to have Virginia on my team during this difficult time. –Nominated by Emily Perlmutter

Caroline Torney, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Caroline Torney is a beautiful, kind, and caring person. Her warmth makes you instantly feel better and happier. I met Caroline when she was a nurse on Reisman 12, which is the orthopedic floor. She was assigned to me when I broke my leg. The sweetest nurse, she was incredibly compassionate and thought nothing of having to constantly lift my fragile leg in and out of bed. Caroline offered words of encouragement. My daughter and I could not believe how passionate she was about helping others.
Through many surgeries and hospital stays, Caroline has become this comforting soul. She takes time out of her busy life to visit me when I am on the trauma and vascular floors to ensure that I have everything I need or to bring me a coffee, a hug, and a smile. Now an educator on Reisman 12, she still shows such kindness to all patients, especially me. Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is extremely lucky to have Caroline working there. Thank you, Caroline, for being all sorts of wonderful. My heart is full of such gratitude for all you do. You are truly one of the most beautiful souls I know. –Nominated by Julie Schuder

Beverly Hospital

Rachel Hoover, Beverly Hospital
Rachel Hoover has exceeded my expectation of caring and compassion and patient advocacy. She is always focused on what is best for the patient. When a patient on another unit needed to come to a higher level of care, and the floor was at max capacity, Rachel investigated. She went to the other unit, assessed the patient, came back to the unit, and huddled with the team and said: Our colleagues and this patient need our help and I need your help and support to make this happen. The team supported her, and the patient was quickly transferred. Rachel loves her patients; she bonds with them. Her peers, her patients, and her colleagues are family to her. She maintains positivity in all her interactions. –Nominated by Carole Lestienne

Shelby Kaubris, Beverly Hospital
I have had the pleasure of knowing this fine, young, compassionate nurse for almost four years. Shelby Kaubris came to our hospital after graduating from Boston College. I knew the moment I met her in the interview for the New Graduate Program that she was someone special. Indeed, throughout these years with us, she’s demonstrated compassion, clinical expertise, excellent communication, trust in care, and is always a patient/family advocate. Shelby is skilled in pediatric and adult care, and all of these principles are a part of her daily care. She never wavers and is consistently kind.
She is one of the most special nurses that I have had the honor of managing in my 30 years in nursing leadership. Shelby continued working full time while attending graduate school and recently passed her FNP [Family Nurse Practitioner] boards after completion of the program at Endicott College. Despite her rigorous job and academic program, she has always been reliable, dependable, and positive. She brings a smile and enthusiasm to her role each day.
I have always, as a nurse leader, looked for the “heart of nursing” and the sincere passion for this profession. Shelby Kaubris has demonstrated attributes listed above as she has shown them every day for going on four years. Our patients and families have consistently expressed this about Shelby’s care. She is an extraordinary nurse who is all that we could ever want in a health care professional. A gift to nursing. –Nominated by Candace G. Sklarz

Boston Children’s Hospital

8 East Cardiology Team, Boston Children’s Hospital
Every nurse on 8 East in Boston Children’s Hospital has become part of our family. We spent the majority of 2016 living on that floor, waiting for our son Dean’s heart transplant. He was a sick kiddo, sicker than I even realized, but every single nurse made each day better than the one before. The care they gave him is what kept him healthy enough to wait for the perfect heart. These nurses would take time out from their breaks or stay late to make sure Dean had one more story, one more goodbye, and just one more dance party. They also became our best friends; they let us break down and helped us pick ourselves up to see that we had one amazing child whom they had a huge part in raising. Dean spoke his first words on 8 East; he had his first bite of pizza, even his first time-out. Thank you will never be enough, but we want each and every nurse on 8 East to know that they helped our child survive, they gave him a chance at life, and we are beyond thankful to all of them. –Nominated by Janet Kalandranis

8 East Cardiology Team, Boston Children’s Hospital
I simply cannot choose just one nurse. My daughter, Ava, has been a patient on the cardiac floor since she was a baby in 2007. Ava averages about 5 to 10 stays each year. We have had a lot of scary times, but Ava truly looks forward to staying in the hospital. The nurses have known Ava for 10 years, and she is given full VIP treatment. They show humor, patience, kindness, concern, playfulness, and love. Ava has spent more than 400 nights in the hospital and we are so lucky to have wonderful experiences with each nurse. Not only do they give Ava all the attention she needs, they also listen, laugh, and spend time with me. Thank you to the entire nursing staff. –Nominated by Mitzi McIver-LaBarge

8 South Cardiac ICU Team, Boston Children’s Hospital
The nurses of Boston Children’s Cardiac ICU are a team of professionals that have become family. We have worked with them for over five years; they’ve consoled us, encouraged us, educated us, entertained us, and above all, they have loved our son and treated him as if he were their own. Very few professions are able to have such a platform of trust, and these men and women handle it with utmost grace and humility. They are true miracle workers and our family would certainly not be the same were it not for them. –Nominated by Mary Kay White

8 South Cardiac ICU Team, Boston Children’s Hospital
Our daughter was born with a congenital heart defect. Since she was born in July, we have spent close to two months in the cardiac ICU. The staff in 8 South became like family to us and we could not be more impressed with care they provided for not only our daughter, but for my husband and me as well. –Nominated by Emily Espeaignnette

8 South Cardiac ICU Team, Boston Children’s Hospital
The team of nurses on 8 South who took care of our grandson, James, was amazing. James first became a patient at BCH in February 2016 and was admitted there on two other occasions, in June and again in September. After being a patient for three months, James became a heart transplant recipient in early December. Unfortunately, James lost his battle with congenital heart disease on New Year’s Eve. His team of nurses cared for both James and his parents. They made an unbelievably difficult day for our family one that we have come to treasure. Their compassion for our situation was unmatched, and there was no doubt they truly loved James and his parents. A thank-you will never be enough to express our gratitude to each one of them. They will forever be a part of our family. –Nominated by Jamie Bruce

9 East Team, Boston Children’s Hospital
Unfortunately, I have spent more than my fair share of time in BCH battling life-threatening infections. My progressive disease has left me unable to talk. The team on 9 East know me so well and their familiarity with my history makes me feel safe. I know I am in the best technical hands to make me well again. The complex care team is outstanding in their competence as well as compassion. –Nominated by Ethan Carlson

9 Northwest Team, Boston Children’s Hospital
Emma spent much of last summer at BCH under care for epilepsy on 9 NW. These nurses made sure Emma (and I) felt cared for, medically and emotionally. They would give her massages to relieve anxiety, mantras, braid her hair, color with her, and just hang out with a beautiful teenaged girl stuck in the hospital. They are amazing. –Nominated by Colleen Johnston

Beverly Andrea, Boston Children’s Hospital
Beverly Andrea is my colleague on the inpatient psychiatric unit at Boston Children’s Hospital. From the moment I began working alongside her, I was inspired to be a better caregiver. On our service, there must be a fine balance between compassion, ensuring safety, and behavioral management. Beverly is the queen of all three. From the moment she admits a new patient to the unit, her nurturing energy radiates to calm even the most anxious or agitated child. Beverly has a way about her that you can’t teach, a personality style that I believe led her into this field and into psychiatry, where she shines. I am honored to call her a friend and a fellow nurse. –Nominated by Lisa Conti

Molly Armstrong, Boston Children’s Hospital
Molly Armstrong takes care of our daughter, Ella, in the NICU. She is such an incredibly caring and passionate nurse. It was obvious from the first day Molly took care of Ella how much she cares about her patients. She has calmed us down when we are upset and always advocates for snuggle time even though it can be difficult to facilitate because of the many supports our daughter has. When she felt like the bed our daughter was sleeping on was not supportive enough and calling the supply room was unsuccessful, she went to the supply room herself to find exactly what she thought Ella needed. We know Ella loves Molly just as much as we do. –Nominated by Kate and Dan Brown

Zoshi Austin, Boston Children’s Hospital
The love and kindness Zoshi Austin showed during this difficult time helped me get rid of my postpartum depression. The excellent care my son received from Zoshi makes his recovery speed up. He named my son a fighter, a little winner. –Nominated by Nicole Gelin

Annette Baker, Boston Children’s Hospital
Annette Baker is the best and most amazing nurse practitioner ever. She is professional, kind, and so much more. She was always there to provide the best care for my son and still is. –Nominated by Zana Spahiu

Sarah Basil (Schuler), Boston Children’s Hospital
On Jan. 27, we were delivered the news no parent wants to hear: Our son, Daniel, who just turned 2, had leukemia. Then, on Jan. 31, we gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, Layla May. To say our lives were thrown a curveball is an understatement, and conquering a cancer diagnosis and new baby seemed impossible. Sarah Basil was with us from the start of our month-long inpatient stay with our son. She helped us come from scared, bewildered, angry, and confused parents to parents who had a thorough understanding of the disease, were confident in our son’s treatment, and had more of a positive outlook. Sarah made the worst experience of our life manageable. After a month of having her in our lives, we’ll miss her compassion and support, and hope she’ll remain part of our lives, as she has played a key role in Daniel’s remission and his parents’ sanity. –Nominated by Lori Kelleher

Heather Bastardi, Boston Children’s Hospital
Like most nurses at Boston Children’s Hospital, Heather Bastardi is brilliant, kind, and great with kids. When we first met, I didn’t realize we would share in the ups and downs of raising a child who would eventually need a heart transplant. What sets Heather apart is her serenity. She has a way of being with patients and parents that instills hope and reduces anxiety. Chronically ill children might not always exhibit the best behavior, but Heather genuinely accepts kids where they are, with no judgment. There was a twinkle in her eye as she listened to a giggling 8-year-old, singing 10-year-old, angst-ridden adolescent, and excited college freshman. She remembers funny moments in my child’s life, which makes going to the hospital more like visiting family than going to another medical appointment. She knows the perfect time to make small talk or just to be with you. She was the first person to begin teaching our young child how to self-advocate, which has turned into a lifelong skill. She trained her to understand her medications and what they do, how much to take, and how to pronounce some very long names. She quizzed her at every appointment. At times when we weren’t sure how long our child would live, Heather kept preparing her for a future we were sometimes too scared to wish for. Heather never acts like she is doing anything out of the ordinary. She helps coordinate appointments with other specialists, puts a stroller together, or gives a much-needed hug at just the right moment. She provided scaffolding in a young girl’s life so that one day she would stand on her own. –Nominated by Julie Kobold

Laura Benson, Boston Children’s Hospital
When your daughter is diagnosed with cancer and you are told you’re not leaving the hospital for six weeks, you need a leader, an expert, a coach, a confidant, a motivator, an aunt, a friend, and most of all someone who is willing to maintain their professionalism all while being considered a member of the family. Laura Benson is that person. While we were still in shock from the news, Laura was assigned to take care of Ava on Sunday, May 8, less than 24 hours after her diagnosis. Ava was petrified, being forced to stay in a strange place, having survived a night where doctors and nurses were constantly checking in on a very grave situation. Our entire world stabilized when Laura got the job. She and Ava clicked and, slowly, she turned Ava into the warrior she is today. Nothing made us happier, as parents, than when we heard at the end of that day, “I’m on Team Ava as her lead nurse. I’m so excited.” Almost every struggle and tough moment, from there on out, was overcome with a nudge and occasional pep talk from Laura. Nobody survives those six weeks of constant poking and prodding, multiple surgeries, countless medicines, ups and downs, and meltdowns without the gentle, guiding, hand of Laura Benson and the amazing resources at her disposal. Ava and Laura will forever be connected. When the Boston Breakers hosted Ava as an honorary captain for their Cancer Night, Laura was there. Nothing makes Ava happier after returning to the Jimmy Fund Clinic for treatment than when we can cross that bridge to Children’s and pay a visit or drop off a gift for Laura. The soon-to-be mom herself has had the best training in the world. –Nominated by Marc Girolimetti

Kaylee Bergeron, Boston Children’s Hospital
Kaylee Bergeron took care of our daughter, Grace, in the surgical ICU following brain surgery last fall. At a terrifying time for our family, she provided tremendous care to Grace and showed amazing kindness to us as well. Even in an extremely high-stress environment, she managed to bring a sense of calm reassurance to her work that made all of us feel more comfortable. We will always remember your beautiful smile. –Nominated by Philip and Kristin George

Kelley Bernard, Boston Children’s Hospital
I’ve known Kelley Bernard her entire life. I’ve watched her grow from a little ballerina into a strong, beautiful woman. Her strength, however, comes from a difficult journey and it’s because of her personal experiences and the nurses she encountered along the way that Kelley was inspired to become a pediatric nurse. Her compassion, awareness, and advocacy for her patients stem from being a patient herself. She’s experienced the pain and the fear, but more importantly, she’s battled the fight, and she has a flawless way of braving the storm with them. These kids trust her word and they trust in her care and, to me, that’s what matters most. –Nominated by Lea Florentino

Julie Briere, Boston Children’s Hospital
Julie Briere has been a nurse at the hospital’s newborn intensive care unit for 14 years. I have worked closely with her for that entire time. Suffice it to say, I know her very well. She is an amazing, compassionate, well-educated, competent, humorous, even-tempered, organized, likeable, relatable nurse. In the NICU, tiny preemies and older infants need the highest level of specialized medical and surgical care. Julie does just that. She is often asked to take the role of charge nurse during her shift. Peer nurses, respiratory therapists, and physicians all breathe a sigh of relief when they realize that Julie is in charge. Her smile and laugh can brighten even the busiest and most disheartening of days. It is the most difficult decision as a parent to leave your precious infant in someone else’s care. Julie puts parents at ease with her detailed explanations and calm, loving demeanor. She is empathetic to their fears and concerns as she is a mom herself. Julie is sought out by peers for difficult questions, concerns, and procedures. She is a mentor/preceptor to new graduates, teaches new graduate classes on her days off, and works a full schedule. She does all this while furthering her own education and raising her two young, active boys with her husband. I can’t say enough about what an incredible nurse and friend I have found in Julie and I am one of many who would say so. –Nominated by Heidi Tatelman

Patricia Burke-Sacco, Boston Children’s Hospital
Patricia Burke-Sacco is my mom and has been a nurse at Boston Children’s for almost 40 years. Throughout my childhood, I was amazed at the way she would talk about work. It was evident that she took every patient into her heart as if they were her own family. I even used to tell my friends that the nurse on the hospital logo was my mom. She continues to have the same passion for nursing that she has always had. Even after all of her experience as a nurse, she still remains humble and seeks out learning opportunities. She is constantly advocating for patients and making sure that children and their families are as comfortable and cared for as possible in a difficult time. Ever since I was a little girl, my mom has been my hero and my inspiration. It is because of her that I became a nurse and I now work with her. –Nominated by Elizabeth Sacco

Cheryl Cahill, Boston Children’s Hospital
Cheryl has been instrumental for our family as it relates to our daughter’s ongoing care. We are located in Texas, so we rely on her to coordinate treatment and questions for our daughter’s team and she has been amazing. She is always helping our family through this difficult time. –Nominated by Jennifer Hunter

Cathy Noonan Caillouette, Boston Children’s Hospital
Cathy is an outstanding nurse practitioner who bends over backwards to find ways to make patients’ care smoother and more effective with novel ideas and hard work. She flies under the radar much of the time, but the consistent effort she puts in is both noticed and appreciated. –Nominated by Carolyn Rogers-Vizena

Sheri Calderone, Boston Children’s Hospital
My niece Sheri Calderone has always epitomized all the characteristics that every great nurse needs. Her efforts to always care for all her patients with love, empathy, and compassion have never wavered. As a young boy who spent a year of my life in a hospital, I came to appreciate the personal connection with the nurses. They were the most special people who made that time away from my family bearable. I came to love many of them for the time they took to care for me as a person, not just as a patient. Anyone who comes under the care of my niece will surely feel that same personal connection. I have always said that nurses are the closest thing to an angel on the earth. But Sheri is truly a genuine angel. –Nominated by Michael Cannata

Kathleen Cappucci, Boston Children’s Hospital
I had a hip arthroscopy in October 2016 and was so lucky to have Kathleen Cappucci as my nurse for my inpatient time at the Waltham location of Boston Children’s Hospital. She had a great sense of humor and knew how to make me smile despite the pain. I have no doubt this is how she interacts with other patients. She made me feel very comfortable under her care and put emphasis on connecting with me on a personal level. My surgery was the day before my 18th birthday and, even though I was at a children’s hospital, she treated me like an adult, which was nice to see and made me more comfortable. She made my stay in the hospital much easier. –Nominated by Lauren Schoeller

Tina Carmichael, Boston Children’s Hospital
My daughter had surgery March 14, and as of today she is still in ICU at Children’s. She has had many wonderful nurses. One nurse stands out from the rest. Her name is Tina Carmichael. Tina is compassionate, loves her work, and takes the time to let me know everything that is happening with my daughter. She is easy to talk to and doesn’t sugar-coat the truth. She has been at Children’s a long time and she enjoys taking care of all the kids, including my daughter, who is 25 years old. We don’t know how long our daughter will be here, but we do know that she is getting the help she needs. –Nominated by Deborah Sparks

Denise Carpenter, Boston Children’s Hospital
Anyone who has spent a long time on 8 East at Boston Children’s Hospital will recognize Denise Carpenter’s cheerful laugh ringing through the halls. Denise brings sunshine wherever she goes. She makes bad days into good ones with her joyful disposition. She is calm, caring, and professional. We cannot imagine her not being there. We look for her in the halls when she is not our nurse. –Nominated by Sarah Barnes

John Carr, Boston Children’s Hospital
Nurse John Carr took care of me last June. I can’t say enough positive things about him. Let me start by saying that he never left my side and directed all of his attention towards me. He was compassionate and caring. When I woke from surgery, I was anxious and he kept me calm. He answered every question I had. He is knowledgeable and confident in his work. Though I don’t remember much after the surgery, I will always remember how he was extremely caring towards me. –Nominated by Lauren Schoeller

Brittany Creagh, Boston Children’s Hospital
Flying 4,000 miles to Boston from my home in England for medical treatment was definitely not easy, but my nurses definitely made a tough situation a lot easier. I loved every single one of my nurses but Brittany Creagh really stood out. My first few days in the hospital were tough. I was in a lot of pain, exhausted, and constantly needed another IV placed, but I really couldn’t have asked for a better nurse during that time and every time after. She found time to take me on walks around the hospital so I could have a change of scenery, always explained what was going on with my treatment, and never failed to make me laugh, even at 4 a.m. When people ask me how I remain so positive, I tell them that it is largely due to the people I was surrounded by. While in hospital, I was surrounded by an incredible team of nurses who have helped me find the good in every situation both in the hospital but also out of hospital. –Nominated by Fiona Howard

Lauren Danforth, Boston Children’s Hospital
When I started working at the outpatient cardiology clinic, saying that I was overwhelmed and intimidated does not begin to cover it. My days were a flurry of anxious patients and desperate families seeking the world’s best cardiac care. Our department, being the largest in the hospital, has introduced me to truly brilliant doctors, coworkers, and nurses. On a day when I was still finding my footing as a small fish in a big pond, I had the pleasure of working with Lauren Danforth. She was approachable, knowledgeable, and, most importantly, patient-oriented. It’s easy to lose track of all of those qualities when you see nearly 100 patients per day from around the world, all varying in needs and complexity. She walked me through what she would do in my position to solve an issue and assured me that she’d be available if I had any questions. No matter how convoluted the situation, she’s willing to help. In turn, Lauren has exemplified the kind of employee I aim to become. –Nominated by Roger Perez

Ryan Delpero, Boston Children’s Hospital
Ryan Delpero took good care of the whole family when my son was there. His compassion and kindness touched my heart. Whenever I called, he always explained what was going on and how things were going. –Nominated by Nicole Gelin

Epilepsy Nursing Team, Boston Children’s Hospital
The epilepsy nurses are the most amazing, patient, and caring people. They care for patients and families on another level. Their hard work is sincerely appreciated. –Nominated by Alisa Marino

Susan Dixon, Boston Children’s Hospital
Susan Dixon is an outstanding nurse who is highly dedicated to her job. She always gives 100 percent of her time and effort to the children’s care. She never puts her own needs ahead of patient care. She is also an outstanding mother who puts her son as her priority when she is not working. She is on numerous committees at the hospital to make sure the children’s care comes first. She never looks for any praise for the job she does; she just loves working with the children. –Nominated by David Dixon

Courtney Englehardt, Boston Children’s Hospital
Courtney has been a go-to person for my daughter. She even had her come on stage for the talent show when she was admitted last year. She is so warm and caring and a skilled and knowledgeable nurse. We have such a tremendous amount of trust in Courtney. –Nominated by Colleen Johnston

Kayla Flaherty, Boston Children’s Hospital
My 7-year-old was in the hospital with the flu and high fevers, which were difficult to control. Kayla Flaherty came throughout night, at every hour, and whenever I pushed the button. She was so kind and sweet and so encouraging, especially when my 7-year-old was scared and feverish and hurting from the spinal tap. Kayla spoke with kindness and demonstrated excellence in nursing, love, positive problem-solving, and really made our stay bearable. –Nominated by Susan Park

Chris Foley, Boston Children’s Hospital
Chris Foley is amazing in every way. She always welcomes us as soon as we walk through the door and shows us the way. She makes Koltin feel at home every time we visit. –Nominated by Casey McKinney

Erin Fonseca, Boston Children’s Hospital
Our baby was a heart transplant baby. Erin Fonseca was amazing among many nurses who stayed by our side and made our pain her pain. She will cry with any parent when they cry and laugh with their joy. She’s more than a nurse to all her patients. She’s a sister, mother, and friend. –Nominated by Gilbert Nkamwesiga

Avery Forget, Boston Children’s Hospital
The first four months of my daughter’s life were difficult: Tess was born with esophageal atresia, a serious condition that required immediate surgery. She also experienced other complications that resulted in additional surgery and a prolonged hospital stay. She spent about three months in the neonatal ICU and another month on a regular floor. Tess received wonderful care from many doctors, nurses, and other staff. One nurse, Avery Forget, was truly special. She was part of Tess’s primary team for much of her NICU stay. Leaving your baby for the night is never easy. Even after three months, it was still hard, but when Avery was taking care of Tess overnight, we could be confident that she was being tended by someone who had top-notch nursing skills and genuinely cared for our daughter. Many nights, this made all the difference for us being able to get a few extra hours of sleep (and with another infant at home, Tess’s twin, Emmy, this was invaluable). Avery would also check in with us regularly by phone, even just to tell us that Tess had had a good night. Avery recognized that not only was she caring for Tess, but in a way, she was also caring for Tess’s family. She made sure we understood the complexities of Tess’s treatment, and she welcomed our constant questions. Many times, we were scared of what could happen to Tess and uncertain about her future. As I write this, I’m holding Tess, who is about to turn 9 months old. She’s alive and thriving today because of the care she received at Children’s, and especially because of nurses like Avery. –Nominated by Colleen Coyne

Caitlin Fournier, Boston Children’s Hospital
This nurse is my daughter and she has shown great devotion to Boston Children’s Hospital and the patients she comes in contact with. She does whatever is needed to help the patients and their families feel at ease during their difficult times. Caitlin has a sister with Down Syndrome, and since she was a young child she always wanted to serve and help the needs of others. She loves the satisfaction of seeing her patients get healthy and then go home. She has also faced the heartbreaking times when patients didn’t make it and felt the heartbreak of the family. She truly loves helping others and taking care of the needs of others. I am so proud to say she is a nurse at the number one children’s hospital in the country. –Nominated by Michael Bonadies

Melissa Gallagher, Boston Children’s Hospital
We first met Melissa Gallagher last June and she quickly became a person whom we value greatly. Our son was the only documented person to be born with HLHS (hypoplastic left heart syndrome) and Sturge-Weber Syndrome and she was always able to give us a sense of comfort. Melissa cared for James during the time when he seized for almost a week, and we thought we would never be able to thank her enough. But Melissa outdid herself during our final stay on 8 South. James went into heart failure and was placed on the transplant list. He waited for almost three months before receiving his call. During the months of waiting, Melissa was always around for laughs to break up the stress and heartbreak of having a chronically ill child. She would make light of terrible situations (which helped our family significantly) and provided comfort and support in times when we didn’t know if our sweet boy would even make it to transplant. The days when the beauty of Melissa’s character really shined through were during James’ last two days with us, when it was certain that his new heart would not survive. As gut-wrenching as it was to know that we were losing our baby, she ensured that those last hours would be something our family would be able to cherish forever. She made sure all of us were taken care of and she protected our family’s privacy during the hardest days of our lives. Melissa loved our baby and showed phenomenal strength as she watched our boy’s bright spirit fade. She held my husband and me as we kissed James for the last time and struggled to leave him behind. We love Melissa and are grateful for the strength she helped us find that day. –Nominated by Whitney Bruce

Patricia Gannon, Boston Children’s Hospital
I have worked with my colleague Patricia Gannon for many years at two hospitals. She is the kindest, most compassionate, and empathic person I have ever met. She is an excellent nurse and takes care of everyone, patients, staff, and visitors. She is intelligent and thoughtful; she uses humor with her pediatric patients and never turns down the opportunity to sing a show tune. She communicates effectively with all staff and clients. She is in graduate school with the lofty goal of making electronic medical records more “nurse friendly.” She serves on several committees to try to raise the bar in nursing. She precepts new staff and presents at conferences. She is a team player, a great resource, and has wonderful experience taking care of the sickest of the sick and the worst trauma cases. Patricia recently completed a very difficult specialty certification exam. I am proud to work with her and lucky to call her my friend. –Nominated by Catherine Harrington

Colleen Gerrity, Boston Children’s Hospital
As a nurse entering BCH with my 10-month-old son, Micah, I was scared. We were admitted to the 6 West transplant unit where my Mighty Micah received two bone marrow transplants while we were hospital-bound for 15 months. Colleen Gerrity admitted us to the unit for our first day, and from then on, she was our primary nurse during our stay. Everything went wrong for my Micah. He suffered many side effects from the transplant, the medicines, and most everything. Colleen was there the entire time. She demonstrated clinical competence and is compassionate and knows how to care for the family. Micah didn’t sleep most nights after he suffered his brain injury. Colleen knew I wasn’t sleeping, and during the first two months after his acute TBI, she brought me coffee every morning. I am a very experienced health care professional. I have extremely high expectations. Colleen would make me go for a walk, get lunch, care for myself so I could better care for my Micah. Her care was exceptional. She didn’t just care for Micah, she cared for my family. My baby passed away two weeks ago, and Colleen was there to hold me up. –Nominated by Jodie Legacy

Kaitlin Gilbert, Boston Children’s Hospital
My 8-year-old son, Danny, was in Children’s for several days after an appendectomy. Kaitlin Gilbert was our nurse for three shifts. She is compassionate, kind, funny, and extremely caring. At one point in Danny’s recovery, he was to be switched to oral antibiotics. He had developed quite an aversion to pills or liquid medication. Kaitlin spent several hours that day pulling out every trick in her book, never becoming impatient. She got to know Danny’s interests and took some of her valuable time every day to just chat and show pictures of a puppy, anything to make Danny feel comfortable. Kaitlin is truly amazing at her job and we are very grateful for her care. –Nominated by Susanna Downs

Tricia Grandinetti, Boston Children’s Hospital
Tricia Grandinetti takes care of our daughter, Ella, in the NICU. She is an angel. She works incredibly hard to make sure our little one is well cared for and comfortable. She also always makes sure we are taking care of ourselves and that we are using all the resources the hospital has to offer. Our daughter has an enlarged liver and spleen, which make her belly big and uncomfortable. One day Tricia thought about positions she could lay her in to make her more comfy. She created a bed with a hole in the middle so Ella could lie on her belly. Ella was so comfortable, she slept for over seven hours, even through a diaper change, which she usually hates. We are so fortunate to have Tricia as part of Ella’s nursing team. She is such a wonderful, passionate nurse. And, we know Ella just adores her. –Nominated by Kate and Dan Brown

Jackie Greene, Boston Children’s Hospital
Our 5-year-old daughter, Kiera, underwent 18 months of very intense cancer treatment at BCH. Jackie Greene was one of Kiera’s in-patient nurses and she was assigned to Kiera whenever she worked and Kiera was in the hospital for treatment. Needless to say, she was our nurse very often, days and nights. Jackie was always an incredible nurse to Kiera. She knew what to say, what to do (or what not to do) to get Kiera to take her medicine, her vitals, or anything that they had to do. Jackie incorporated games, prizes, fun, and laughter in everything she did with Kiera. Aside from Kiera, Jackie was a wealth of valuable information to us, Kiera’s parents. We learned so much along the way about Kiera’s diagnosis and treatment. Jackie gave us so much information about the treatment and side effects. She also told us what to expect, when to expect it, and how best to deal with it. We talked so much over those 18 months, and she was a part of our family. I was not sad to end our stays at BCH but I was sad to see our time with Jackie go. Nurses are amazing people and Jackie is truly exceptional. –Nominated by Mary Ann McMahon

Melissa Hagen, Boston Children’s Hospital
When my 7-year-old daughter was seen at Boston Children’s, Melissa Hagan and her team comforted us, answering all medical questions and concerns. I was unfamiliar with a lot of the terminology, and extremely anxious while waiting for results from my daughter’s MRI. Melissa was able to break it down for me in simple terms, helping ease my mind and ultimately making the waiting game bearable. It’s selfless nurses like Melissa and her team who provide comfort and tranquility for families like mine during their darkest of times. If the world had more people like Melissa and her staff of nurses, the world would be a better place. –Nominated by Joseph Singer

Alex Hastings, Boston Children’s Hospital
Alex Hastings takes care of our 2-month-old daughter, Ella, in the NICU at Boston Children’s Hospital. Our daughter was born premature with a rare diagnosis of hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH). We knew Alex was a special nurse from the first day we met her. She is always up to date with everything that is going on with our daughter, which can be difficult when Ella’s plan is constantly changing. She keeps us well informed on everything that is going on and always advocates for what she thinks is best for our girl. She has a great sense of humor and is kind and passionate. It is very obvious how much she cares for our daughter. On one particular occasion when our daughter was having spells where her heart rate and oxygen level were dropping low, Alex responded quickly and calmly and managed to care for Ella and keep everyone calm (in particular me) during a very stressful situation. She always addresses our questions and concerns in a knowledgeable, kind, and genuine manner, which I am sure is not easy considering we tend to have a never-ending list of questions and thoughts. Even the doctors from many, many specialties comment on how nice it is to have one nurse who knows Ella so well. She constantly reminds us that we also need to take care of ourselves by making sure we don’t skip meals and reminding us to take advantage of services that the hospital has to offer. She is truly an angel on earth and has found a special place in our hearts, as well as Ella’s. –Nominated by Kate and Dan Brown

ICU Nurses, Boston Children’s Hospital
They were very caring while little 4-week-old Jason was in ICU. They were caring about a new mom, explained everything, and helped Jason overcome all medical issues. Within two days, he got off the breathing machine. He is now a healthy 4-month-old. –Nominated by Jason Jones

Joshua Jensen, Boston Children’s Hospital
Joshua Jensen was the nurse taking care of my baby boy while on 7 South for more than a week. I passed out when I came to visit my boy because I was shocked to see all the wires on him. Joshua picked me up from the floor and gave all the TLC I needed. He explained and answered all my questions. I love you all, 7 South nurses. –Nominated by Nicole Gelin

Jennifer Klein, Boston Children’s Hospital
I have worked with Jennifer Klein for over five years. She is strong-spirited, positive, and focused; she is a pediatric nurse in the Department of Neurosurgery and has a very complicated patient population, both inpatient and outpatient. This year, she was promoted to a nurse leader, and it’s no wonder, for good leaders demonstrate empathy, take an interest in others, and work to build solid relationships. She is always on the go, running pre-op, speaking at conferences, helping families with insurance authorization, or being by a patient’s bedside. Jennifer has gusto and gumption and smarts. We and her patients are so fortunate to have her. –Nominated by Kerrilee Killilea

Paula Lamagna, Boston Children’s Hospital
All three of our children have been patients of Children’s Hospital on and off for the last 16 years. We have been patients for a variety of different reasons, some very serious and some not. Six years ago, our then 7-year-old daughter was diagnosed with liver disease. It requires IV infusions every two weeks. Our daughter had anxiety and needle phobia and it was quite a challenge to get the IV placed. We encountered many wonderful nurses, but none could put her at ease and decrease her anxiety until Paula Lamagna came into our lives about two years ago. She took control of the IV process and Lauren’s anxiety and distress. Paula knows what it takes to do her job, putting her child patients and their families at ease. Paula, Lauren, and our family have created such a great friendship that she coordinates her work around our infusions. She even came in on her wedding anniversary once because we couldn’t reschedule our appointment. We love her and can’t imagine our treatments and lives without her. –Nominated by Susan Walsh

Brita Larson, Boston Children’s Hospital
Brita Larson cared for my 5-year-old daughter while she battled brain cancer in 2016. We spent many months in the hospital. The care Leah received exceeded our expectations. Not only is Brita a fantastic nurse, but she made Leah laugh, giving her a snuggle when she needed it, and bringing her a special gift from her vacation. As parents, we were always comforted when we knew Brita was going to be Leah’s nurse. She would advocate for her, and would keep us informed of all that was going on. After we left 9 Northwest and moved downstairs to Leah’s transplant cycle, Brita promised she would visit us at the end of every shift she worked. She was a familiar face who could always brighten Leah’s spirits, and mine, during an extremely hard time for our family. We are forever indebted to Boston Children’s Hospital and the doctors and nurses who cared for our daughter. Brita still follows Leah’s progress and keeps in touch with our family. We have formed a bond that will never go away. –Nominated by Jessica Davis

Kathy Lawler, Boston Children’s Hospital
I have not met someone who is more passionate and dedicated to what they do. As a current case manager, Kathy Lawler will put others’ needs in front of her own to make sure that every patient gets every possible accommodation. Kathy would never allow a patient to go home uncomfortable. With these patients, she gets to know them beyond their illnesses or diseases or injuries. Kathy’s loving personality ensures she learns about the child’s favorite sport, where he or she has traveled, what their siblings are like, and more personal details than just what’s written on a piece of paper. She cares so much that she even was a professor at several colleges to teach other students about nursing. Kathy would stay up late into the night perfecting her lecture. She would work with her students and take extra time to make sure that her students would excel. I know this is because she’s not only just a nurse, but she’s my mother. She’s cared for me in the hardest of times. She comes every night with a smile on her face and provides a dinner for our family. –Nominated by Kelly Lawler

Martha Lipshitz, Boston Children’s Hospital
Martha Lipshitz is one of the most intelligent and caring nurses I have come across. Martha will go the extra mile to figure out a solution, whether it be minor or a major situation. I can always count on Martha to help me out in any given situation. What makes Martha unique is her work ethic. She makes sure she gets all the patient’s details to make sure the appointment is booked correctly and to communicate with the families. By interacting with Martha, I have been learning how to book appointments correctly and learning about cardiac diagnosis. –Nominated by Kyle Barrett

Courtney Loper, Boston Children’s Hospital
Courtney Loper has been my daughter’s kidney transplant coordinator for five years. She is the nurse practitioner who coordinates many renal transplants, accounts for all appointments and tests, long-term care, renal rounds while inpatient, labs, and advising on decisions to change dosing. She has a constant smile when you are in the midst of your darkest day. She is our family now. She gets prom, graduation, competition pictures e-mailed to her for every milestone. Nothing is scary because she, along with the greatest team, will handle it. I wheeled my “baby” (she’s 13) into an operating room for an insanely life-changing procedure with a calmness, a positive outlook, and someone to hug. My daughter had a very rough recovery in the very beginning, and Courtney never left her, staying late over Thanksgiving when her day starts so early. I don’t know how she functions. You cannot put a price on peace of mind, but you can put a name to it, our Courtney. –Nominated by Jennifer Renna

Jocelyn Lund-Wilde, Boston Children’s Hospital
This nurse always makes my son feel comfortable. My son is a huge fan and always asks for her when he is in the hospital. –Nominated by Heather St. Onge

Kelsey MacNaughton, Boston Children’s Hospital
Kelsey MacNaughton was our son’s primary nurse in the CICU. She helped to organize his nursing schedule to ensure he received the best care from nurses who knew him, and she knew his idiosyncrasies. During his prolonged stay awaiting his heart transplant. Kelsey would ensure that every aspect of James’ care was perfect. She was more than a nurse to our baby; she became part of his family while he was there. We would all look forward to seeing her because my husband and I knew we could have a peaceful night’s sleep with him in her care, and James would light up when he would see her. Kelsey always made sure to call and keep us informed of any changes in James’ plan or health status and made sure we were never surprised by overnight changes. Kelsey was hyper aware of James’ vitals and blood work and left no stone unturned. It is difficult to find a nurse that you trust when you have a chronically ill child who has spent more time in the hospital than at home, but Kelsey provided us with that comfort. As a young nurse, she took on the role as his primary nurse because her care for him outweighed the extra time and effort that it would require from her. There is no person who would have made a more caring, thorough, invested, or loving primary care nurse for our baby boy. We were blessed to have her in our lives and don’t think we would have had as much time with him if it had not been for the care she provided. It was a pleasure and an honor to have had her be such an integral part of our lives. –Nominated by Whitney Bruce

Meghan Manning, Boston Children’s Hospital
I nominate Meghan Manning, the registered nurse from 10 East, Boston Children’s Hospital as a special nurse for taking care of my 2-year-old son, Shaheer Arefin. She took very good care of my son while he was staying in that hospital for a longer period of time. She is a very good nurse, as well as a good person. Even if my son transferred to another floor like ICU for critical condition, she always visited him during her lunch break. She gave me mental support when my son’s condition was critical. My son also loved her. She could easily calm him down when he got fussy, played with him, and made him laugh. She had that talent. She also helped us in many ways when my son was ready to go home for the first time. We love you, Meghan Manning. –Nominated by Suraya Jebin

Catherine Mareiro, Boston Children’s Hospital
Catherine Mareiro is the finest and kindest person, besides her mother, I have ever known. I know how highly the hospital thinks of her because she was selected to go to Ghana in Africa during three summers with doctors and other nurses to operate on children who would pass away without their skills and kindness. I also know that her dear mother looked down on her as she crossed the finish line at the Boston Marathon two years ago in memory of her, including all the months of practice as she prepared for the race. –Nominated by William Dowling

Kelley Marshall, Boston Children’s Hospital
Kelley Marshall was the nurse for my special needs 15-year-old daughter for a majority of her 6-day stay at Children’s Hospital in May 2016. Her care and compassion for my daughter (bad lung infection) as well as the family unit was something I have thought back on many times since those dark days of May. She was a sick girl and had to have quite a few procedures but Kelley explained everything so Gina was calm and cooperative (and so was Gina’s mom). The day Gina was discharged, I cried because I was so grateful she got to come home, but I also cried because leaving Kelley was sad. She had become part of our family in that short time because of her gentle ways and strong compassion for my daughter. I will be forever grateful. –Nominated by Michele Boyd

Julie McCarey, Boston Children’s Hospital
I loved having Julie McCarey there; she made both of my stays so much brighter. I have been in and out of hospitals my whole life (I’m 18), and she is by far my favorite nurse. –Nominated by Elizabeth Randolph

Sarah McDermott, Boston Children’s Hospital
Our nurse, Sarah McDermott, also known as Aunt Sarah, is the most loving, compassionate, and caring nurse we have ever met. Not only did she take care of our daughter, Piper, like her own, she looked after her. Piper, who has a lot of medical complications, was always given attention and the best medical care from Sarah. She was a shoulder to cry on, my motivation during hard times, and treated me like family. I could talk to her about anything; she always made it clear why the doctors were doing what they were doing even though I opposed and/or didn’t understand it. More nurses like her would change the nursing world. We love her. –Nominated by Gia Paddock

Erica McDonald, Boston Children’s Hospital
Finding out I needed to be admitted to a hospital 4,000 miles away from my home in England was a daunting experience. My parents could not always be with me, due to having to fly back and forth to work, so I was extremely fortunate to have the best team of nurses who helped me through everything. They turned a scary situation into days that included a lot of laughs and smiles, even during tough times. I loved every single one of my nurses but there was one nurse that I am extremely thankful to have met. At BCH, I had to have an NG tube placed in the middle of the night. I had never had one placed and I didn’t have anyone in the hospital with me. Fortunately, one of my favorite nurses was there. Erica noticed straightaway that I was unsure about things. She made sure I saw the NG tube first so I could see what it was like and then explained everything to me, making things significantly easier. When it was time to place the tube, Erica stayed with me throughout, and gave me a hand to hold. Through my entire stay, she took me on walks at all hours so I could have a change of scenery, helped distract me from everything going on, and always knew how to make me laugh. All my nurses on 9 East supported me through everything from my first bite of pizza to getting into university. I can’t put into words how grateful I am to my nurses; and I really can’t thank them enough. –Nominated by Fiona Howard

Lea Anne McGonagle, Boston Children’s Hospital
We have spent many years in and out of Boston Children’s Hospital and Lea Anne has been more than our son’s nurse. She is a counselor and friend. She has been the hug on a bad day and yet has been so professional in her care. She is so capable and yet she is empathetic to the needs of the whole family. We think she is wonderful. –Nominated by Sarah Barnes

Carly McManus, Boston Children’s Hospital
Carly McManus is the truest definition of compassion. My daughter was diagnosed with an extremely rare disease and Carly became her primary nurse while in the ICU. She made sure to keep my husband informed of what was going on, what would be happening to her, and treated her like a person and not just a number. This nurse excelled for our family; she did my daughter’s hair with products she brought from home when it was tangled from her EEG; she spoke with her every day although she was in a coma; and she was the one to take her to the garden when she was able to leave the floor for the first time. I cannot express the compassion she has and how amazing she is at her job. Carly, thank you for all you did for our family. You treated Makena as a person and took such good care of her when we couldn’t. We believe you were crucial in her healing process. –Nominated by Kim Ubele

Mildred Mejia, Boston Children’s Hospital
She displays love in what she does. –Nominated by Mario Mejia

Bonnie Muise, Boston Children’s Hospital
Bonnie Muise has been my son’s nurse off and on since he was 2 months old; he is now 5. We can’t say enough about how great she is. Those who have her as a nurse can be assured they are in great hands. I would like to add she is part of our extended family. We always ask to see her when we are at the hospital for outpatient procedures. And we keep her updated on all the great things going on. We want her to know her hard work and dedication doesn’t go unnoticed. –Nominated by Heather St. Onge

NICU Nurses, Boston Children’s Hospital
My daughter was born March 10 and has since been in the NICU for esophageal atresia. Every single nurse we have been in contact with has been simply amazing and has even gone as far as surprising me with a birthday card and gift. These nurses do amazing work with tiny babies who are sick. It has made it easier to know I can call 24/7 and feel like I am not bothering the nurses. I sincerely thank each and every one. –Nominated by Alicia Quirke

Patricia O’Brien, Boston Children’s Hospital
Patricia O’Brien has been our son’s cardiac nurse since the day he was born, and she continues to follow his success almost seven years later. She makes sure we are comfortable with his care and follows his development in cardiac health, school, socially, etc. She understands the support that is needed to care for a child with a congenital heart defect and is patient with our concerns. We are so very thankful to have her on our son’s care team. –Nominated by Danielle Vieira

Ellen O’Donnell, Boston Children’s Hospital
She was always a great nurse practitioner to me as a patient, being there for top-notch medical advice as well as emotional support on a tough journey as a teenager. I have always looked up to her and she has played a big role in why I, too, became a Boston Children’s Hospital nurse. I want to thank her for mentoring me and giving me encouraging guidance along the way. I only hope other patients can look up to me as I have always looked up to her. –Nominated by Kimberly Kostas

Eric-Paul Olsson, Boston Children’s Hospital
Eric-Paul “EP” Olsson is a staff nurse in the Medicine Intensive Care Unit. He is a smart, funny, and compassionate nurse who spends much of his time at the bedside getting to know patients and their families. He does advocacy for at-risk youth and is always good for witty banter during much-needed breaks in the day. My first night in the ICU as an attending physician started off routinely, but in the middle of the night, a very sick toddler was admitted who needed a breathing tube, central venous lines, and eventually a heart-lung bypass. I was terrified. It is one thing to train for these scenarios; it is another to suddenly be responsible for a child’s life. EP took charge during the child’s resuscitation. In a clear and commanding voice, he made sure all parties were aware of the time ticking by with each new maneuver; he clarified all drug doses and administrations; and he often secretly whispered in my ear if he felt I needed support. Doctors are nothing without the rest of the medical team. The night did not relent, but I always knew that I could look over at EP in solidarity as we navigated this child’s course. –Nominated by Katherine Peeler

Julie Patel, Boston Children’s Hospital
Julie Patel took such amazing care of our son. She was not just an amazing nurse, she was our lifeline. She explained everything that was going on. She touched our lives forever. She is just a truly amazing human being, with her uplifting spirit and dedication to her patients. My heart is forever grateful she helped us through a very difficult time. –Nominated by Calsie O’Brien

Lisa Pixley, Boston Children’s Hospital Floor 7 South
August 15, 2016 changed our life. Our son Noah was admitted to BCH for what we later learned to be abusive head trauma sustained in the care of a sitter. Lisa Pixley was undoubtedly an angel at his bedside, brushing his hair, calling him by his name, and carrying on conversations as if he was still the healthy 15-month-old he was the day before. She was compassionate and advocated for our family when we got caught in a game of politics. She sat with us as we cried endlessly over Noah never being able to return home. Weeks after Noah’s passing, she reached out to our family to check in on our other kids, offering advice and support. She went the extra mile for our family in the absolute worst hours in our life. A complete stranger treated our son as if he were her own. You can teach skills, but you can’t teach compassion and empathy. –Nominated by the Larson family and Lindsey Keane

Mary Quinn, Boston Children’s Hospital
She was our first nurse here when we transferred from Pennsylvania. She has been amazing. She is a great advocate for her patients. She has helped me get past the toughest days. She has helped me learn everything I need to go home with my baby for the first time at almost 7 months. Even on days she isn’t my nurse, she will pop her head in to say hello. A smiling face, a familiar face always makes the day easier. I love 10 East, and they have made me feel at home. –Nominated by Gabriela Luna

Elizabeth Robertshaw, Boston Children’s Hospital
I am a respiratory therapist/ECMO specialist and work with Elizabeth Robertshaw in the medical ICU. One night we had a very difficult ECMO patient who we knew was not going to make it. Knowing the outcome did not stop her from doing an excellent job with caring for this patient and the family. It was probably the most excruciating thing for this family to be going through, because it was their only child. Elizabeth’s compassion for the family was exceptional. The balance between taking care of a critical patient and keeping the family calm was amazing, and I have seen her shine like this many times. She is the definition of what a nurse should be. Her positivity, patient care, and knowledge are unmatched. I know many families have benefited from this over the years. I am proud to call her a co-worker, and she deserves to be recognized for her work taking care of the most acutely sick children in the country. –Nominated by Michael Cusano

Marylou Rogan, Boston Children’s Hospital
Whenever we go to the hospital, we hope we are lucky enough to have Marylou Rogan caring for our son. Having Marylou is like having your most trusted friend who cares and is invested in your child. The days can be long at the hospital but she balances her expert care with her fun nature. When our son was down and out from long hospital days, she would willingly subject herself to rides in the elevator with Josh’s “noise machine,” making Josh and everyone else laugh and making the days not so long. And if you have a medical emergency, you know that she has it handled as well. She is calm and caring and fun and joyful. When I forgot my purse, she went out of her way to send it to me. We feel like we have someone in our court. We love Marylou. –Nominated by Sarah Barnes

Danielle Ross, Boston Children’s Hospital
She shows great sympathy and compassion. –Nominated by Michael Prew

Elizabeth Sacco, Boston Children’s Hospital
She is a nurse in the CICU 8 South. She was one of those nurses you will always be grateful for and never forget. We met her when my son was 5 days old and was to undergo open heart surgery for a congenital heart defect. Our worlds were flipped upside down. We were terrified. When we met her, she showed us so much compassion and dedication to our little man and always gave us a simpler version of all the medical jargon. The morning before our son, Maverick, was to go down to the OR, he was desaturating and all the bells and whistles were going off. We were scared for what surgery would do. She reassured us that it was normal for a baby with his condition to do it, and she handled his care with grace and a calmness that made us feel safe, and we panicked less. She has a light about her; she made us feel like our son was the most important patient to her. She has kept in contact with us throughout our recent trips back to BCH for Maverick’s appointments and is always checking in to see how he is doing. She handled our son’s care with such love and devotion. We were so blessed to have her during the worst time of our lives. She made it bearable and made sure we took care of ourselves, and we felt our son was safe in her hands. –Nominated by Erin Kiteley

Susan Shaw, Boston Children’s Hospital
As a colleague of Susan Shaw, I have watched her over the past 10 years with awe. She is about to retire after years of service with Boston Children’s Hospital. When I think of nursing, I think of Susan, dedicated, caring, champion of patients, families, and her staff. Susan’s legacy will live on in the programs and causes that she has designed, developed, and supported. And she is staunch in her beliefs and not willing to back down when she knows that she is aligned with our values. Thank you, Susan. We all will miss you. –Nominated by Mary Gelger

Kelli Sheehan, Boston Children’s Hospital
Kelli Sheehan was the first nurse my daughter had after being admitted for transplant. She has always been kind and extremely patient and explains everything until both my daughter and I are comfortable. She goes out of her way to make sure my daughter is happy, whether she is her nurse or not. She has stopped by the ICU and other floors when she knows she is inpatient. She has made being in the hospital less stressful for both of us, and my daughter looks forward to a friendly face when she has to be in the hospital. –Nominated by Hannah Wertens

Rebecca Sherlock, Boston Children’s Hospital
Rebecca Sherlock is amazing. She has been with my family and me since my daughter was born with spina bifida. She is always so supportive, and we can count on her anytime. She also is on the board of directors for Spina Bifida of Greater New England, and spends time out of her work helping and advocating for children and adults living with spina bifida. I can always count on her. –Nominated by Jan Terlaje

Gabby Sotelo, Boston Children’s Hospital
When our fourth child, 2-month-old son Jameson, became very sick Christmas week, my entire family became a form of scared we had never dealt with before. I am a critical care nurse, and it is much different being on the other side of the table. During our stay at Children’s 11 South ICU, nurse Gabby Sotelo took meticulous care of our son. There was not a moment I did not fully trust her every move in his care. Her intelligence and ability to advocate played the key role in his progress. Not only did she care for him but she was able to see in me my need for a shoulder to lean on, an ear to hear me, and an endless cup of coffee to get through multiple days and nights. Gabby deserves the entire city of Boston to know that we still thank her every day that our son is healthy. –Nominated by Caitlin Oliva

Laura Stokes, Boston Children’s Hospital
We met Laura Stokes when our son was diagnosed with leukemia. She met him the first night he was admitted. The first couple of days of our stay at Children’s Hospital were pretty rough as we tried to cope and come to grips with the diagnosis. Over our 6-week stay, she was right there to help explain the treatment plan. She was very good with our son, not to say the other nurses weren’t, but she was different. She always made sure procedure days went smoothly. Our son needed to have his NG dressings changed regularly, and she was always went out of her way to make sure they were as painless and trauma-free for our son as possible. She would have everything together and would volunteer to change the dressing if the triage nurses did not have time. The days she had off, we missed her and looked forward to the days she was on. By the time we left, it was like she was part of the family. We were happy to go home, but sad because we would miss her. –Nominated by Halicia Dovey

Crystal Stroh, Boston Children’s Hospital
My child, Emily, had a liver transplant in 2009. Crystal Stroh was our first nurse. She made us feel so at ease with such a big surgery. Fast forward to October 2016 when she was our recovery room nurse for an ear tube procedure. Crystal remembered our family; I was greeted by her with one of the warmest hugs. She rocks her status for sure. –Nominated by Jessica Raposo

Suzanne Stuzynski, Boston Children’s Hospital
As painful as it is to think about the days we spent at BCH, I am so grateful for everyone at 8 South Cardiac ICU. Their compassion and professionalism is beyond measurable, especially my daughter’s nurse, Suzanne Stuzynski. When a young child is dying in front of you attached to an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machine it takes great strength to do your job with grace and a smile on your face. That smile I will never forget; it gave me hope when doctors couldn’t diagnose her illness. That smile gave me confidence when I felt like giving up. That smile gave me strength to let her go (but I know that smile was just for our family, I saw tears behind those eyes).
Suzanne kindly explained what all the tubes and wires were and how the machines function. Without asking, she informed us of all medications. When I was too scared to touch my own daughter, Suzanne swiped her forehead and hair. Our daughter was deteriorating so fast, we couldn’t even recognize her, but Suzanne kept saying “what a beautiful girl.” After the EEG confirmed that she had no brain activity, I almost lost it, but Suzanne told me I had to be strong and be present for Jade’s last hours. She brought ginger ales and crackers and told us to rest, she reminded us that we still had our older son to take care of. She helped us put regular clothes on our daughter, paint her toes and nails, and put her hair in pigtails as she always had. This was done so our son could say goodbye to his little sister for the last time. Although Jade’s death remains a mystery, we have no doubt that she received the best care from one of the best. Suzanne Stuzynski, my hero. –Nominated by Jenny Chong-Williamson

Keri Sullivan, Boston Children’s Hospital
Whenever my children are in the hospital, the nurse practitioner Keri Sullivan and her staff on 9 South make them feel at home. When my son was missing his Patriots in the Super Bowl, they had a Super Bowl party with him. When he’s hospitalized, they keep me informed through e-mails and calls. My son is never rushed through a stay and always comes home healthy. My son is also used for training the student nurses and he loves it. I would never go anywhere else for his care. –Nominated by Neal Hassan

Ryan Sullivan, Boston Children’s Hospital
Our son, Jack, was taken to Boston Children’s for a fairly routine surgery for Chari malformation. He had had this surgery two years prior when he was 2, and he did brilliantly. We expected the same outcome; we were very wrong. Jack’s surgery was much longer than expected. It was much more difficult than his surgeon expected. Jack was taken to recovery in the ICU, where he did OK for the first two days; the third day was very different. Jack was placed on life support and no one had any idea why his lungs had begun to fail. Ryan Sullivan was Jack’s nurse the first night he was placed on his vent. Watching Jack lie there was the worst night of my life. Ryan was amazing in seeing that Jack remained comfortable. I had no idea how much goes into keeping a child alive when he is on a vent. Ryan worked tirelessly for over 10 days to keep Jack alive on his vent, all while trying to assure us that he will care for Jack as if he were his own son. Jack was diagnosed with acute respiratory distress syndrome, ARDS. I truly believe in my heart that if it had not been for Ryan, Jack may not be here with us. Jack spent 48 days in the hospital, 32 in the ICU . As we left, we learned that Ryan was expecting a son. His due date was June 14; that is our Jack’s birthday. Ryan will forever be in our hearts. He may never know how grateful we were for him. He sat beside Jack’s bed for hours and never once allowed me to lose hope. –Nominated by Jilline Fearons

Kathleen Tembrock, Boston Children’s Hospital
My daughter Stephanie spent several months at Boston Children’s Hospital last year awaiting a bi-lateral lung transplant. She has cystic fibrosis and was rapidly declining. She ended up on life support for 31 days prior to the transplant. During our stay, we were fortunate to have Kathleen Tembrock as our primary night nurse. Kathleen is this vibrant, energetic person. When she entered the room, the energy immediately changed. She possesses compassion and empathy, along with outstanding skill. She made sure she took care of the little things that might not be medical in nature. She collaborated with the medical team to make sure they had a coordinated service plan. Kathleen would start the shift and let us know what things needed to be accomplished overnight. Kathleen always took care of the bathing, changing of gowns, bedding, etc. She made sure that Stephanie, as an 18-year-old, had her nails done, and her hair cleaned and styled. Trying to wash the hair of someone on life support is quite a task. Kathleen knew how important this was to Steph. It was amazing to see how she and Stephanie bonded. Even on death’s door, Stephanie would perk up when Kathleen was on duty. She also has an amazing talent with hair. On May 1, 2016, Stephanie received her life-saving gift. Post-transplant, we were able to continue with Kathleen as our nurse. Although there were many new things to learn, it all seemed easier with Kathleen there. She truly is an angel. –Nominated by Lisa McKeel

Marissa Thomas, Boston Children’s Hospital
I will start by saying that Marissa Thomas is the most amazing nurse we have ever encountered. We had the pleasure to have Marissa caring for our son during his leukemia treatment. Every night as it would get dark, our 4-year-old son, Ethan, would start asking if Marissa would be the one caring for him and he would light up like it was Christmas when she walked into the room. She made the whole family feel loved. She would even call the hospital on her days off to check on us. It’s mind-blowing to think there are professionals like Marissa out there. –Nominated by Thiago Monteiro

Mary Trahon, Boston Children’s Hospital
As much as I would love to nominate all the wonderful nurses at Boston Children’s Hospital 10 East I’d like to particularly recognize a wonderful nurse who cares for babies and their families, Mary Quinn Trahon. She signed up as primary nurse to care for my 7-month-old son, Gabe, for the four months of our stay, and with such tender loving care that I can only imagine how she cares for her own children. I watched her nurse my baby with great pleasure, also teaching me and reassuring me I am doing a great job as a parent. At times she brought books from her home for Gabe and me to enjoy and supplied laundry bags to use instead of plastic bags I had been using for Gabe and myself. She made this time a lot easier for us. My baby and I are lucky to have her and will forever be grateful. –Nominated by Mayra Hernandez and Gabriel

Gretchen Wurst, Boston Children’s Hospital
My niece, Gretchen Wurst, has been a nurse at Boston Children’s Hospital for many years. I have watched her grow into a skilled, loving, and compassionate caregiver. Like her mother, she chose pediatric nursing because of her unbridled love for children. I have seen her literally risk her life driving 20 miles through blizzards just to be sure she is there to fill her shift. She works along with her sister to always provide unwavering care for children. I can think of no one who could be trusted more, is more competent, and who can communicate compassion and love for her patients with just her smile. Gretchen does it every day. –Nominated by Michael Cannata

Stephan Xettob, Boston Children’s Hospital
Being at the lowest point of my life physically and emotionally, Stephan Xettob knew just what to do. Battling Crohn’s and spending two months in the hospital, Stephan helped me grow and see the bigger picture. He would come talk to me in the middle of the night when I was alone or when family was asleep. We would talk about goals, home, school, and much, much more. We bonded in a way I never thought I’d feel. He knew when to make me laugh and helped me forget about being sick. He encouraged me to reach my goals to get me home. I always request to have him because he turned into a friend not just a caregiver. It has almost been a year since I was in his care and I will never forget those long nights and laughs. Between taking medication, going for walks, or eating food, he knew just what to do and say. –Nominated by Michaella Nisbet

Susan Zotto, Boston Children’s Hospital
Susan Zotto is one of the clinic nurses in the multispecialty clinic in Waltham. Susan exemplifies the best qualities of a nurse in a fast-paced, high-turnover environment. She is kind, compassionate, thorough, has excellent bedside manner, instincts, and clinical skills, and the most superb service mindset. She quickly develops a rapport with her patients, helps make them comfortable and settles their nerves, and communicates effectively with providers. She is ready and capable in assisting dozens of various providers in their varying needs, from patient education, injections, or assisting in surgical procedures. Susan has learned and grown with our programs for surgical patients in the span of several years—and she is always looking for ways to make our care more efficient, comfortable, and effective. Our patients and surgeons absolutely love working with Susan, for her positive attitude, unparalleled energy, and professionalism. If our clinic is running behind schedule, I know I can call on Susan to take over, assess vital signs, calm and reassure the patient and family, provide juice, crackers, and comfort as they recover and are able to safely leave. –Nominated by Hajar Delshad

Boston Children’s Hospital Primary Care at Martha Eliot

Robin Crowley, Boston Children’s Hospital Primary Care at Martha Eliot
Robin Crowley is driving the transformation of our primary care site through her 20-plus years of experience, her current leadership in the clinic, and, most importantly, her empathy for the patient in whatever social or medical situation. She welcomes children into our pediatric patient-centered medical home, and these children have demonstrated better health outcomes and better patient experiences. Our families are urban-living, low-income families; they are more likely to miss preventative services like immunizations and lead screenings. She works with teams and among clinic and school nurses to build platforms to link these children to services within the hospital, in the community, baby 101, or diabetes support groups. She has a special role as a care coordinator for kids and adolescents with special abilities. Families appreciate her devoted time to identify and work on simple, achievable goals. She demonstrates her devotion to the families with her close and comprehensive follow-up. –Nominated by Mariam Maloyan

Boston Med Flight

Catherine Graham, Boston Med Flight
I happen to know this nurse very well as she is my daughter, not that I would have any bias at all. I work in health care as an administrator and did volunteer work with Cape Cares, a health care organization that traveled to Honduras every year. Catie was going to high school at Tabor Academy; she received a nice scholarship there. As most know, this is a very affluent school. I am a single mother, so our lifestyle was very different than her friends. She had two years of Spanish under her belt so she came with us as a translator. Catie cried for weeks after we came home. She knew at that time she belonged to health care. Catie has worked at Massachusetts General Hospital in the ICU burn unit, and Cape Cod hospital ICU and ED, dealing with patients in the hardest situations and in the most pain. Catie is now employed by Boston Med Flight. Her kindness, dedication to her patients, and incredible passion for the profession inspire me every day to be a better person. So one day her crew got a call to fly to Plymouth to pick up a patient who had her lower jaw torn off by her dog. Catie was working in Bedford but the Plymouth crew were out on a call. When Catie stepped in the ambulance, she was shocked to see one of her lifelong friends with half a face. Catie went into action, gave her the medication needed to relieve her pain, and held her hand. Catie was frustrated as she could not do anything else for her during the 20-minute flight to Boston. I said to Catie, “You two have been holding hands since kindergarten. There wasn’t a better nurse to be by her side.” –Nominated by Mary Cullen

Boston Medical Center

Donna Beers, Boston Medical Center
Donna Beers is a leader in Boston Medical Center’s efforts to respond to the opioid epidemic with care, compassion, and evidence-based clinical treatment. She has over 25 years of nursing experience and now provides mentoring to young nurses in addition to expert patient care. Donna leads by example in her efforts to end the stigma that surrounds addiction. After working on randomized control trials focused on improving the safety of opioid prescribing in Primary Care at BMC, Donna expanded the program into an interdisciplinary practice-wide approach. This program improves the health care experience for both the patient and provider. She also has extensive experience providing overdose prevention education and naloxone distribution. I am proud to call her my colleague and my friend. —Nominated by Emily Palmer

Kathleen Cahill, Boston Medical Center
Kathy Cahill is my mom. She has been a nurse at Boston Medical Center for more than 30 years, certainly longer than I have been alive. Her longevity is a testament to her caring, compassion, and empathy. When I was a kid, my mom would put me to bed by letting me pester her about all the people she helped in the recovery unit that day. As an adult, I can now appreciate how she helped all those people but also how they affected her. Not a week goes by without her telling me about a patient who touched her life. My mom has been exposed to the full spectrum of humanity and it has made her the kindest and most sympathetic person I know. That quality she has passed on to her kids and now her grandkids. I’ve never once questioned that my mom didn’t love what she did. As she has begun to work her way to retirement, she is still looking for ways to help people. She leads support groups for family members of people with Alzheimer’s disease. She even wants to spend some of her well-deserved free time helping at assisted-living facilities. She’s spent 30-plus years running around to provide for her family, a large portion of that time as a single parent. She deserves more than this acknowledgement, but, knowing her like I do, she will be just fine with it. –Nominated by Michael Hopey

Lynda Cohen, Mallary Coleman, Benjamin Henry, Beth Stevenson, and Kristen Zetlan, Boston Medical Center
Our 28-year-old son suffered a traumatic brain injury in our home after returning from the February Patriots parade. He was taken to Boston Medical Center where he underwent emergency neurosurgery for bleeding into his brain. He also suffered a cervical fracture and multiple facial fractures.
After surgery, Brendan was admitted to the surgical ICU and that is where we encountered so many wonderful nurses. We were frightened, tearful, and unsure of what the future held. These nurses encouraged us to speak with and touch Brendan. Their compassion was evident from the beginning.
Our son improved while in the ICU; he came off the ventilator, sedation was lightened, and he began to respond to us and follow commands. These nurses cared for Brendan with clinical expertise, a reassuring manner, and a sense of humor that was just what we needed. I am a nurse and have never been more proud of our profession. –Nominated by Susan Gavaghan

Keri Fromm, Boston Medical Center
Keri Fromm is the definition of a nurse. She is smart, caring, funny, compassionate, and extremely professional. She has worked in the emergency room at Boston Medical Center for over a decade. I am an EMT and work for Boston EMA, so I am lucky to get to see Keri on a daily basis. She is a leader and clinically excellent. I recently heard that she was so concerned about a patient and his 92-year-old wife that when she found out he was being admitted at 11 p.m., she drove his wife home to South Boston without hesitation. To be able to work for such an extended time at BMC and still maintain this level of compassion is remarkable and deserves an award in itself. She is a delight to be around. She is also an excellent mother. I’m sure she would be shocked to be recognized because what she does just comes naturally. –Nominated by Michael Murphy

Christina O’Connor, Boston Medical Center
Christina O’Connor is my wife and I am extremely proud of her. As I write this, she left the house on her day off to help with an emergency craniotomy. Christina works in the East Newton OR. Christina mentors younger nurses and gets phone calls asking for advice often. My wife is a no-nonsense and no-drama woman. She is honest and effectively advocates for her patients. She is her patient’s voice when they are sedated. She ensures the policies and procedures of the hospital are followed. When she is not working, she is the best mom our two boys could ask for. She manages and comforts our son as he goes through cancer treatment at the Jimmy Fund Clinic. I see how she put our son at ease when going through a procedure or treatment. It is her confidence and caring nature that make her a great nurse and mom. –Nominated by John O’Connor

Bridgewell, Inc.

Anmarie Cote, Bridgewell, Inc.
Anmarie Cote is a nurse for individuals with a variety of intellectual and developmental delays. She is one of the friendliest and most devoted nurses I have ever had the pleasure to work with. On a daily basis, she puts those served before herself no matter the need or time. She makes herself available after hours by phone with the addition of her on-call rotation. She meets with each group home in her care (11 total) once weekly; however, she is always flexible if emergencies come up at other houses. All in all, she cares. She has passion pouring out of her every pore and she is one person with whom I trust my individuals at Bridgewell. –Nominated by Christina Gould

Courtney Murphy, Bridgewell, Inc.
Courtney Murphy strives every day to put the patient first. It can be argued that most nurses do that as well. But Courtney not only has to give direct care but in addition supervise over 100 group homes and nurses. She gets to know each person individually, knowing their story and life. She shows that direct-care nursing is not only about providing medical care but also a holistic, all-encompassing, complete care that takes mental well-being into greater account. After a hiring freeze, Courtney does the work of two supervisors. She has stepped up with a positive attitude and delivered the highest quality care anyone can ever hope to receive. She is an inspiration to all who are lucky enough to know her. –Nominated by Robert Gustison II

Brigham and Women’s Hospital

ICU and Step-Down Nurses, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Shapiro Cardiac Center
Having just had extensive mitral valve, triple bypass, septum reduction and pacemaker surgery on Jan. 10, I was more helpless than a newborn. The recovery room nurses (whom I don’t remember), the ICU nurses, and Step-Down nurses were all knowledgeable, compassionate, and explained all that they did so I was a participant in my care. After surgery, you rarely see a doctor (unless something is very wrong), so your care is in the hands of these wonderful people. The fact that I can write this, and am not listed in the obituary column, speaks well of our Boston medical scene. –Nominated by Richard Montross

Pat Aylward and Tower, 14C & D, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
I had a rare auto-immune disease that caused a serious blood disorder and stroke. After three days in the ICU, I was still in tough shape when they took me up to 14D, where I spent an additional 10 days. The first few days in the unit were very tough due to the stroke and my altered state of mind. The nurses treated me with care and compassion as I underwent numerous rounds of blood exchange treatments. As I slowly regained control of my behaviors and actions, I began to recall some of the troubles I had put these good people through. I thank my lucky stars that there are people out there doing these jobs and doing them so well. Pat Aylward should be commended for putting together such a great team. I was fortunate to be in their care during an otherwise trying and challenging time. –Nominated by Stephen Mowles

Laura Calderone, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, NICU Growth and Development Department
Laura Calderone was my granddaughter’s nurse during her stay in BWH Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in the Growth and Development Department during the last few weeks of February. Laura was gentle and reassuring to the young parents (my son and daughter-in-law), and taught them (and me) how to care for and support our tiny baby. Having a baby in NICU is very difficult, and is not part of anyone’s plans as they envision the birth of their child, but Laura helped to make the experience of “living” daily in the hospital, loving a tiny baby in an incubator, seem almost normal, so that never did our little one feel out of place or stressed. That is a skill that cannot be taught. Laura is a true hero to our family and to the many families she supports every week. Our baby thrived in her care, gaining weight and lung strength. –Nominated by Lisa Schoelles

Michelle Clancy, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
I was hospitalized for several days at the Brigham’s cardiology unit in December after a heart attack that took me and my family completely by surprise. During this time, while a parade of (wonderful) doctors, residents, and interns came in and out, Michelle Clancy was my constant, offering not only medical care and assistance, but endless cheer, comfort, and encouragement. It was like having a loving, competent sister looking after me. Over the course of a few short days, we talked about our families, our kids, our faith. We laughed a lot. She calmed me when I was feeling panicky, listened to my worries, and made me feel every moment as if I were in capable, caring hands. I’m sure she treats all patients this way, but I’ll never forget it; I’ll be grateful forever. –Nominated by Sarah Lydon

Stewart Fenniman, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Stewart Fenniman was our nurse when my father was admitted to the cardiac ICU at Brigham and Women’s Hospital last August, and he was there on the last day of my father’s life, which was four days later. I say “nurse” because on that final day, Stewart not only took excellent care of my father, who was on comfort measures, but also of my family, who’d been called to the hospital in the middle of the night when the medical team thought the end was near. Even though he was extremely busy, as all ICU nurses are, he took time to hear our stories about my dad. As it turned out, my dad did not die that night but stayed with us through the next day. We were so stressed and sleep-deprived that we became a bit loopy, poking loving fun at my dad while we still had the chance. Stewart took his cues from us, and kept the mood as light as possible while never forgetting his patient. Stewart’s demeanor made a huge difference on a terribly stressful day. –Nominated by Lauren Goldberg

Rita Ferris, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
I am nominating Rita Ferris, head nurse at the Cardiovascular Department at Brigham and Women’s hospital in Boston. Rita is a superstar. Can you imagine having someone who is compassionate (I mean really), professional, and efficient all in one person all of the time? Rita listens, and she shares her professional advice in a calm and soothing but professional manner. When serious problems come up, as they often do in heart medicine, Rita is quick to go to the medical professionals for their answers and advice. She is equally as quick getting back to you. As many patients as she has to support, Rita treats each one as if the only one. Her concern is real, and she understands your dilemma or sense of urgency. Rita is always there for you. Her support, understanding, professionalism, and help is so healing. She has a good sense of humor, too. –Nominated by Beverly Robsham

Virginia Hipple, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
My sister-in-law Ginny Hipple had just arrived home from her nursing job at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. She sat down to watch some television with my brother, her husband. She heard him gasp
and then he was unconscious. His heart had stopped beating. She called 911 and began
compressions. She kept them up for 20 minutes until help arrived. Her husband is now alive and
doing well due to her quick and knowledgeable actions. I know I’m very thankful that she was home
and able to help him because if he had been alone, things would have ended very differently. She hasalso been by his side to help in his recovery every step of the way. –Nominated by Christi McGinness

Janet Shea, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
When I came out of surgery for a brain tumor, I was put in the Neurology ICU. My friends and family visited during the day but when evening came, I was afraid, alone, and vulnerable. My evening nurse arrived and introduced herself. “My name is Janet Shea” (no relation, though I welcomed the coincidence as a good omen). She asked me if there was anything she could do for me. My reply was, yes, could you just hold my hand for a few minutes. Having worked in health care myself for over 30 years, I expected her to say she was too busy. Instead, she sat, held my hand, and helped me fall asleep. That was the only medicine I needed and she provided it. –Nominated by Judith Shea

Victoria Sherry, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
This year, Vicky Sherry retired after almost 40 years of clinical nursing. Every patient deserves a competent, caring, compassionate nurse like Vicky, and because she mentored so many new nurses, I am confident this will happen. Vicky emphasized the importance of communication with patients, families, and the entire surgical team. She’d say: Don’t assume patients/families understand the hospital process, tell them everything. The many letters of appreciation she received were a testament to her successful, compassionate approach. She taught me to be a true patient advocate and not to be intimidated by doctors. If something didn’t feel right, always question, even at 4 a.m. She honored every possible patient request she could—personal keepsakes, photographs, music, healing statements—all made it into the OR if it was important to the patient. Vicky empathized with each patient. If a patient was anxious, worried, or concerned about their loved ones, she took the extra step to comfort all of them. Many staff members have requested her care for their family or friends. Vicky is a self-motivated life-learner. She solves problems with an unconventional approach. She was actively involved with our professional organization (ASPAN), presented educational posters at national conferences, earned her CPAN certification, performed the role of staff educator and mentor for new nurses. As if that were not enough, Vicky made the decision to go back to school and earn her bachelor’s degree at 60 years old. She has had a significant role in shaping the next generation of nurses. –Nominated by Maura Buckley Stewart

Joanna Woodman, Brigham and Women’s Wound Care Center
Joanna Woodman is, without question, one of the most compassionate, caring, and dedicated nurses my family and I have ever known. Before I convince you of this, I should note that she is also my partner. I have first-hand experience with Joanna as a nurse. My mom has stage-4 breast cancer, which is a daunting reality for anyone, particularly given the regular appointments with her oncologist where she is told whether or not her treatment is working. Joanna is my mom’s rock. She attends every appointment to make sure all of the questions are asked and to ensure that my mom’s “Irishness” does not prevent her from sharing her aches and pains, no matter how much my mom believes them to be trivial. As a wound nurse, Joanna talks about her patients like they are all my mom. In fact, it’s an unusual week when Joanna does not share a patient interaction that makes her cry. Her compassion is endless. Thankfully, she, and her patients, also have a tremendous sense of humor, especially when she tries to speak Spanish or has to let someone know that she is not in fact Ellen Degeneres (even though she does kind of look like her). Oh, and finally, did I mention that she is an extremely knowledgeable and talented wound, ostomy, and continence nurse. Areas of medicine that I would think most people might shy away from, Joanna embraces with genuine curiosity and enthusiasm. –Nominated by Aileen Foley

Brockton Signature Healthcare Hospital

Heather Souza, Brockton Signature Healthcare Hospital
I have been married to my amazing husband for 10 years. We are a very busy military family with four beautiful children. My life is not the easiest, but this is the life we chose together and wouldn’t change it for the world. My children sacrifice a lot in life when Daddy is gone to school or on a deployment, but they show amazing strength and courage. All my pregnancies were very hard; I was sick throughout all four. I met Heather Souza when I was pregnant with my son Quinton in 2014 while my husband was deployed. I can’t begin to describe the comfort and warmth she gave me as soon as I was in the hospital. I was there so much that we developed a friendship. I got pregnant when my husband came home, and Heather was my nurse most of time while I was sick. Being a nurse takes a special kind of person and Heather is one of a kind. My family and I are forever grateful for her love and support through the hardest times of our life. Heather will always have a special place in our hearts and will always be a part of my story. Our family loves her. –Nominated by Melissa Johns

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December 12, 2017 | 12:52 PM