Surgery, and all the fears associated with it, can be a daunting, often scary experience. In addition, recovery after surgery and the quality of care one receives can make all the difference. All those fears and worries were quelled when I had the good fortune to meet Debbie Bethel following a recent surgery; she is a day nurse on the fourth floor of MetroWest Medical Center. Debbie communicated her knowledge about my recovery process in a clear manner and she remained thoughtful and consistent in her approach during my stay. In so many places in our lives we encounter individuals who, after many years at their job, succumb to complacency. Not Debbie. It was clear that she was the consummate teacher to the newer staff, a silent leader who showed by example what it means to treat patients with respect and dignity. Debbie’s compassion stretched beyond an obvious concern about my medical needs. Her desire to know about “me’’ was not some contrived act, and she treated my family and friends who visited me with the same genuine interest. Her knowledge of what I needed to do to most effectively recover from my surgery was second to none. What was even more impressive was the caring way she communicated that knowledge to me, the result of which made my experience at MetroWest Medical Center far better than any patient could expect.
—Nominated by John Spellman
About two weeks prior to New Year’s Eve, my mother, Joan Ferri, was having trouble breathing from a combination of COPD and a cold. Not wanting to go to the hospital over the holidays, Joan tried to handle her breathing problem at home. On the morning of New Year’s Eve, Joan’s breathing became worse. I called Brenda, my nurse sister-in-law and asked her if there was something we could do to help my mother if she insisted on staying home.
It was Brenda’s day off; she was out shopping in preparation for New Year’s Eve. She called my mother and explained to her that she needed to use oxygen and persuaded Joan that the best place to be was, in fact, in the hospital. Brenda dropped what she was doing, picked Joan up, and took her to the emergency room herself. There she assisted her co-workers in helping Joan get checked in and settled. As it turned out, my mother had pneumonia and was hospitalized for several weeks. My mother wouldn’t have gone to the hospital, if it weren’t for Brenda.
Brenda’s education and experience, coupled with her wonderful sense of humor, her thoughtfulness, and caring spirit have always been a gift to our family. In addition to being a reliable medical resource, her calming nature has brought sanity to many anxious healthcare issues for my family for over 20 years. Brenda, like all the emergency room nurses at MetroWest in Framingham, manages to mix humor with humanity. They provide wonderful medical care with a smile and a laugh everyday.
—Nominated by Ellen Ferri