Out of dozens of nurses I encountered in the seven weeks I was hospitalized, Tracy is the one who understood me when no one else could. I transferred to rehab from a big hospital and Tracy was very thorough in her evaluation of me. She carefully reviewed my history and medicines, and she was extremely patient with my wife, who had many questions and concerns during the transition. Tracy made sure that I was comfortable and was quick to arrive whenever I pressed the call button. I knew she was special when she told us that she loved being a nurse and “could not imagine doing anything else.’’ She will always be number one in my book.
—Nominated by Leo Pfieffer
Our colleague, Nancy, serves as the nurse in our Adult Day Program, which is called “Great Day for Seniors.’’ There couldn’t be a more fitting name given the care and attention Nancy gives to the 30 plus seniors who arrive six days a week for the program. Every morning at 8:30, Nancy greets every participant as if they were members of her family, encouraging each one to choose the activity of their choice. Even the most reclusive participant will succumb to Nancy’s good cheer.
Nancy’s infectious smile and her welcoming nature truly provide “A Great Day’’ to each one of the program’s elderly participants. She understands that “laughter is the best medicine’’ and doses it out generously. Whether it’s a discussion with residents about world events, where to find the best pasta in Boston, or just shared memories of grade school antics and vacations, it’s never long before laughter erupts when Nancy is there. She has a gift for helping people see the brighter side of things. She also administers medications, refers participants to physical, occupational, and speech therapies, and monitors the overall health of the participants.
Nancy Matthews is an unsung hero. The majority of her work is not recorded in a medical record, and details of the day are often not communicated by the participants to their caregivers as most of the participants are cognitively impaired. Their joy is fleeting, given their medical diagnoses, but Nancy’s commitment to each and every participant and their families is steadfast. Nancy impacts their lives a moment at a time; she recognizes that acts of kindness, a shared laugh, and a hug are the most valuable gifts for an elder.
—Nominated by Carol Holleran and the Clinical Coordinators at HRC