I am a primary care physician at Cambridge Health Alliance, where I have practiced internal medicine for the past 12 years. I met Barbara Stephen when she started working at our clinic in 2002 and have been on the same medical team with her for the past three years. We have cared for countless patients together over the past decade. Barbara’s patient care skills are exceptional. She thinks with unusual clarity about the care she provides to our patients. She regularly brings new information to my attention such as updates on medications and vaccines. It is a great privilege to have her as a teammate as I can always trust her clinical assessment of our patients.
Barbara is particularly interested in caring for the underserved and she makes a special effort to reach out to even the most difficult patients. Over the years, I have been touched by the very meaningful bonds she has formed with our patients and their families. The family of a patient of ours with anxiety and hepatitis C, who unexpectedly died at age 51, tremendously appreciated Barbara’s attendance at his wake. This is not the exception, but rather just one small example of the over-and-above care that she provides. She is not only beloved by our patients, but also by dozens of Cambridge Health Alliance residents and Harvard Medical School students who frequently spend a year or more at our clinic. She immediately develops independent relationships with them, and they quickly learn that she is someone whom they can ask for help.
—Nominated by Dr. Pieter Cohen
Barbara Hume took the time to talk to me about my high blood pressure meds while giving me a Depo-Provera shot. She asked questions about my lifestyle and gave me tips even though the focus of the visit was birth control. I love providers who can see the whole patient. Kudos to Nurse Hume at CHA.
—Nominated by Erlinda Bodden
I have been a medical interpreter at the Cambridge Health Alliance for nearly 10 years. During these years, I have worked closely with many wonderful nurses. Today, I am proud to nominate Bridgit Paula for the Boston Globe’s Salute to Nurses. Bridgit is currently a nurse and bereavement counselor for pregnancy loss at the obstetrics and gynecology department of our women’s health center. Her commitment to her patients is evident in her compassion, respect, and warm assistance. Bridgit’s sympathy for women who have miscarriages was so sincere that she wanted to give more than just a rushed scientific explanation for their losses; she wanted to acknowledge their pain in a meaningful way. When a patient suffers such a loss, she can meet with Bridgit, who encourages her to start healing. I have seen countless patients leave the clinic knowing they have received special attention.
—Nominated by Aurea Siewert
I would like to nominate Elaine Valerio, who passed away on November 6, for the 2013 Salute to Nurses. Elaine worked in the Emergency Department of the Cambridge Health Alliance. She LOVED taking care of pediatric patients. I only worked 3 shifts with Elaine before she became acutely ill and was diagnosed with a condition that would take her life several months later. Elaine loved life and enjoyed it to the fullest. She was engaging, drawing you in with her funny stories, exceptional patient care, and friendship and support that she shared with the staff. You couldn’t help but smile when she walked into the ED. She cared for everyone, including the entire staff, the patients, and their families. For sure, she was smart. You valued her advice and expertise. On the last day that I worked with Elaine, she bought a lanyard from the gift shop that had small pieces of nursing equipment attached to it. She said that the kids would love playing with the pieces while she took care of them and they would forget to be scared. Little did she know that her time on earth was coming to an end. After her passing, the ED staff was bereft, unable to find closure. The staff held a small ceremony in the ED to acknowledge and appreciate her funny, kind, sweet spirit. Perhaps Dr. Lobon said it best when he, too, found it difficult to accept her death. He said that maybe God knew that he would be receiving 20 angels from the Newton tragedy and he needed a Pedi Nurse to help him. I think it was the best reason we could use to accept her passing.
—Nominated by Judith King
Suzie Stathopoulos is one of the best nurses I have ever seen. She believes that patient care is very important and so is being very respectful to her co-workers. When she comes in the building, she is prepared to work hard and gives the patient one hundred percent.
—Nominated by Wendy Crawford