Nomination Letters – Boston Children’s Hospital

6 East Nurses

In April 2013 our 11-month-old son, Sean, was diagnosed with Stage 4, high-risk neuroblastoma. He was immediately admitted to the 6 East section of the oncology floor at Children’s Hospital, where he remained for much of the next month. Those days were a blur; we had a ton of new information thrown at us and we were scared beyond belief. What I clearly remember of those first few weeks is the way the nursing staff made us feel. Not only did every single nurse provide exceptional care to our son, but they also took excellent care of two very scared and traumatized parents with warmth, compassion, and love. I can’t single out just one nurse because they all went above and beyond for our family. Sean is still in treatment and continues to receive top-notch care from these nurses every time he is admitted.

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—Nominated by Sara Marshall

6 North and 6 West Nurses

The nursing staff on 6 North and 6 West took wonderful care of my eight-year-old daughter, Gabrielle, during her five-month stay while being treated for melanoma with a bone marrow transplant. Day and night, the nurses provided comfort during all of the treatments and procedures. 6N and 6W made sure her birthday and all holidays were still special. The night nurses would play games with her at 4 a.m. when she could not sleep. Thank you to all the nurses for their support and excellent care.

—Nominated by Alysha Morgan

10 South Nurses

Every nurse on 10 South (transplant floor) deserves recognition. My daughter was there six weeks after her transplant last year and they were absolutely amazing. They were always there for her, for me, and for the rest of the family. They talked to us as people, not just patients. They shared themselves with us. They made sure she was entertained, as well as cared for. And they even did a late night search for a missing necklace when we changed rooms. They laughed with us and cried with us. But mostly they were not just nurses; they were friends.

—Nominated by Karen Racine

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All Cardiac ICU Nurses

My son Ari had his second open-heart surgery when he was just five months old; he’s going in for more surgery shortly. We’ve been keeping track of the number of nurses who have been assigned directly to his care in either the Cardiac ICU or Cardiac Recovery floor. His nurse count is currently at 103. We salute them all.

—Nominated by Mike Shults

Claudia Chase

Our daughter Shelby was in the NICU at Boston Children’s Hospital for the first five months of her life (October 2013-March 2014). All the nurses were amazing. We want to single out Claudia Chase who was one of Shelby’s primary nurses and helped navigate the discharge process for us. We love our nurses and Claudia.

—Nominated by Nicole Feeney

Cathy Curro-Harrington

A baby was given a seizure medication in the hospital and a prescription upon discharge, but the insurance was out of state and forms had to be completed and the insurance company wanted a million pieces of documentation. During this process, the family ran out of the medicine they were sent home with, and were running into a holiday weekend. Cathy spent hours on the phone with the insurance staff, peer review, writing letters, trying to find some compassionate way to provide the medicine until the insurance would approve it. She stayed late into the evening to make sure that all the bases were covered and the child would be provided the medicine he needed. She is a wonderful, compassionate, critical thinker who goes above and beyond so much of the time. She has raised the bar for nursing since she arrived at Children’s Hospital 10 years ago. I’ve had the privilege of working with her for many years.

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—Nominated by Alcy Torres

Colleen Dansereau

Colleen Dansereau is the Nursing Program Manager for the newly developed Gene Therapy Program at Boston Children’s Hospital. She has, with her physician colleagues, developed a novel international program for children who have rare illnesses that, up until now, have had no lifesaving treatment alternatives. Most of the children and families are international patients requiring highly coordinated, culturally competent care. Colleen has done everything from arrange for visas, seek sources of funding, move families in her own car to appropriate housing, and provide the very highest level of nursing care and support to these very vulnerable families. Colleen has a small staff of one additional nurse and a clinical research coordinator who assists her with this very complex care. She and her highly committed team are the “gold standard’’ in compassionate family-centered nursing care.

—Nominated by Lucinda Williams

Stacey Gennis

Nurse Stacey Gennis worked with our daughter, Monti Ellen, after her open heart surgery and cardiac arrest. She worked with Monti—and entered into our hearts—even as we had to take our daughter off of life support. It will always be the most terrible and difficult day of our lives. I would want no other nurse to have been with us on that day. The care, love, advice, and support she gave to us were invaluable.

—Nominated by Joanie Valios

Chris Hopkinson

Chris is one of the most genuine persons I’ve ever met. Even when he does not have me as a patient for the day, or when he is not working the floor, he always finds time to stop by for a visit. He has provided so much compassion over the last four years, and he is largely responsible for my decision to become a nurse.

—Nominated by Jillian Murphy

Megan Hardy Labriola

Megan knew my son for almost five years. She helped him after his lung transplant in 2008, and then this past year, she took care of him in the ICU. She loved him like a family member and she comforted him, and me, when we were told he was dying. She made his final month of life memorable and shared so many memories of my final days with Jonathan. When he died, she was at the hospital for almost 24 hours.

—Nominated by Marlene Waldron

Karen Horn

Never has a person so expertly balanced an outgoing, easy personality with professionalism like Karen Horn. Our infant son was in the midst of his two-month stay at Children’s Hospital when he stopped breathing and had to have an emergency intubation. Karen was suddenly everywhere—working with the doctors to intubate him, explaining things to us terrified parents, managing everyone’s phones/pagers, and also keeping us and our baby as comfortable as possible. Karen saved his life and our sanity.

—Nominated by Kerri Vautour

Cassandra Hunter

Cassandra took such amazing care of my son when she nursed him back to health after his open-heart surgeries. She was professional and always listened to make sure our needs were met. Cassandra has a special attention to detail that is truly outstanding. I am so thankful to have had her be a part of my son’s recovery and I know without her, it would have been much more difficult. Cassandra nursed my son in 2006 and 2008. There’s something to be said that after all these years, I still feel it’s important to share my experience. Nurses like her are special and deserve recognition regardless of how much time has passed.

—Nominated by Suzanne Symington

Andrea Jacovides-Desantis

Scared and feeling very alone, we were waiting for our three-month-old son’s pre-op open heart surgery testing. It had already been a long tiring day when we learned his surgery was being postponed till later due to lack of space. Frustrated and weary, we went for the sedated echo. That’s where we met up with Andrea, who took Brady and treated him as if he were her own child. She made me feel comfortable enough to leave and get a much needed cup of coffee. Andrea was my savior for the next six days.

—Nominated by Michelle Robertson

Bill Kerr

Bill Kerr is compassionate, caring, and honest, and he became a beloved part of our family. Most people think that nurses are expected to be at the bedside at all times, but what they don’t see is the work that goes on behind the scene in the clinics. As the primary caregiver for a family member, Bill took the time to make sure my emotional needs were met as well. Bill embodies everything a nurse should be.

—Nominated by Rebecca Wiederhold

Jennifer Lewis

With the amount of time I spend in-patient, I know all the nurses on 9NW at Boston Children’s. I’ve had a hard time narrowing my nominating choice down to just one, so I picked the one that I’ve been closest to as a friend. Jen Lewis means the world to me. I always ask if she’s working whenever I am in-patient and I enjoy our little private conversations. She gives me the inside scoop on everything and is always on top of her game. Jen always demonstrates outstanding commitment to her patients.

—Nominated by Natali M.

Karen Maggio

Words cannot express how thankful we are for the care that was given to our son, Connor, by the staff at BCH, especially Karen Maggio, a nurse on 7South. She went above the call of duty each time Connor was admitted to the hospital, during his initial visits and during his eventual lung transplant. He never complained as long as Karen was working. Even when she wasn’t, she would call or visit. Her sense of humor and understanding of the needs of a critically ill 15 year-old boy were unmatched. She helped us all get through!

—Nominated by Jennifer Flanagan

Jennifer McCrave

A 10-year-old boy was seen in Neurology in our Learning Disabilities Clinic for testing/evaluation. The child wet his pants and was soaking wet. Jen heard about this and rather than give him a pair of baggy hospital one-size-fits-most pants, Jen asked his mother what size he was and called down to the Center for Families. She then walked down and brought back some clean new underwear and sweatpants. When she tried to deliver them she was told, “He’s almost done with his testing.’’ Jen made them stop the testing so he could be cleaned up, as all he would think about, sitting there in wet pants, was how uncomfortable he was. Mom was very grateful Jen advocated for him. This is the type of compassionate care Jen aims to provide every day to our patients. Putting children first.

—Nominated by Cathy Harrington

Patricia O’Brien

Pat goes above and beyond to answer all my questions and check in with my son, even when she’s on vacation. Pat goes over information so that I can understand and follow every step. She’s an amazing person as well as being an amazing nurse. Every parent I have spoken with feels the same way about her. Because of the complexity of our children’s cases, it means a lot to have someone we can trust with our children’s lives.

—Nominated by Danielle Vieira

Nipali Patel

My daughter and son-in-law, Danielle and Matt, had my most precious baby granddaughter who arrived at Children’s weighing two pounds. She underwent surgery for duodenal atresia when she was 48 hours old; the most scary time of our lives. Nipali and all of the nurses were fantastic. I am an Ob/Gyn nurse myself and I cannot tell you how impressed I was with the care, understanding, patience, and helpfulness that Nipali showed for the eight-week-old baby, Madison, and her parents.

Nipali went out of her way to make Danielle and Matt comfortable and at ease with such a tiny bundle of joy. She made them realize that she wouldn’t break and gave them tips and ideas of how to handle this little gem. She would personally hold Madison to make sure she would eat if Danielle and Matt were not present or stuck in traffic coming in from the North Shore. She became family. Then, Madison made the transfer to Beverly Hospital to the step-down NICU. It was a bittersweet moment.

Boston Children’s Hospital should be very proud of all of the nurses who care for these tiny and very sick babies. They truly are angels in disguise. I can only hope that every family that passes through the doors of this most amazing unit can encounter the very special and amazing Nipali Patel.

—Nominated by Patti

Kelli Sheehan

My son Andy, 14 years old, had a stem cell bone marrow transplant. During the first few days at the hospital, we were feeling anxious about the transplant as we were getting to know all the people from the unit. One day, we heard monkey sounds in the hallway and then a knock on the door. The woman who opened the door had a big smile on her face and said, “Is there a monkey around here? Hola! My name is Kelli. I’m going to be your primary nurse.’’ There were dolphin and dog barking sounds and from that moment on, she was our best friend at Six West at Boston Children’s. Her animal sounds made all the procedures and medication side effects bearable.

During difficult moments, Kelli explained things clearly with simple words, and she made us feel part of the team. She explained our concerns to the doctors and gave us easy definitions of all the difficult medical terms. She even tried to explain things in Spanish hoping for a speedy “injecto.’’ Kelli was always teaching the new nurses the best way to do things around the unit; she showed exceptional teamwork. She was always the last one to leave and the first one to arrive during shift change. “Still here!’’ she used to tell me.

She made us feel safe and comfortable. Always full of positive energy, she had an enthusiasm that was contagious. She knew every single detail about Andy’s procedure and plan and always demonstrated exceptional care.

When we found out that Kelli was running the Boston Marathon, we asked her if she would consider running for the hospital in Andy’s honor. She lit up. “I see the bravest, strongest kids running their own marathons every day,’’ she said. “There are some days that I leave work wishing I could do more, so it’s a great idea to run for Children’s Hospital and honor one of those brave and amazing kids.’’

She ran for Andy. After the race, Kelli sent her marathon medal to Andy with a note that said, “He has earned it for all the ‘marathons’ he has gotten through! He definitely helped me get through this year’s race as well.’’ Andy still keeps Kelli’s medal hanging in his room.

During Andy’s treatment, we met more than 300 nurses in more than 700 days of hospitalization, and Kelli Sheehan was one of the best. We like to call her “Super Nurse.’’ We were so fortunate to have her as Andy’s primary nurse, because she made a difference. As a parent who cared for a boy with a significant disease, I wish all nurses could have a fraction of Kelli’s recipe for care giving.

—Nominated by Andres Trevino

Lynne Showers

I was diagnosed with leukemia in April, 2013. Lynne was very caring. She even made a cake for my birthday. I had a lot of complications and she did her best to make sure I was happy. She always knew what she was doing. If I had to get a shot, she would ask what would make me comfortable, because she understood that it’s painful. She was never mean even when I was mean; she knew I was going through a lot and was mad. I don’t think I ever saw her make a mistake. Lynne encouraged me to take care of myself even when I didn’t want to. When we went home, she would check up on my mom and me to make sure we were okay. Lynne is a great nurse and will always be my favorite.

—Nominated by Devin Depuaw

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