Below is a collection of nomination letters submitted by readers who have given The Boston Globe permission to publish their letters online. If you cannot find a letter, it most likely means we did not receive the proper permissions to publish it in time.
Addison Gilbert Hospital, Lahey Health
Team Nomination: RNs and Nursing Assistants at the Senior Adult Unit
Addison Gilbert Hospital, Lahey Health
At the Senior Adult Unit at Addison Gilbert Hospital, the RNs and their assistants care for our most vulnerable older adults. Acute Geriatric Nursing requires knowledge of Evidenced Based Nursing Practice and a heart that understands the complexity of both the medical and emotional needs of elders and their families. The RNs who work at the Senior Adult Unit approach their work with positive attitudes and understanding of illnesses that may have affected their patients in devastating ways. Day in and day out, the compassion and kindness provided to their patients is immeasurable. Please salute the Nurses of the Senior Adult Unit. —Nominated by Shirley Conway
Alden Court Nursing Care & Rehabilitation Center
Marilyn Jacobs , Alden Court Nursing Care & Rehabilitation Center
Marilyn works as a nurse unit manager on a long term care unit at Alden Court, a skilled nursing facility. Marilyn exhibits everything you envision when thinking about what a nurse should be. Marilyn is “old school” in her work ethic. She shows compassion to all the residents, family members, and staff. Marilyn’s day-to-day interactions with some of the “more challenging” residents never seem to deter her from the mission of providing quality care.
A few years back, Marilyn lost her daughter. I honestly was worried about Marilyn coming back to work after her bereavement time as I felt it might have been too difficult for her. Although she mourned her daughter’s passing, Marilyn never let that deter her from the mission of caring for the residents. I trust Marilyn and am honored to salute and nominate her for this award.—Nominated by Brad Truini, executive director, Alden Court
Anna Jaques Hospital
Deborah Burke , Anna Jaques Hospital
Deb is a nursing supervisor for the hospital that I work for (Anna Jaques Hospital) as well as a nurse manager in the emergency department at Melrose Wakefield Hospital. I have worked with Deb over the last four-plus years as a medical-surgical nurse with Deb as a supervisor. Deb does not just demonstrate compassion for patients and their families, but her colleagues as well. Any time a nurse on the floor needs assistance with a difficult situation or even just to place an IV, Deb is there without complaint and with a willingness to help. She genuinely loves what she does and it shows through her enthusiasm to educate others in a way that makes them feel accomplished and competent. When a nurse is going through a difficult time or has an emergency, she goes out of her way to make any accommodations possible with staffing so that that nurse is able to tend to her family or personal matter. She interacts with patients and their families and is always there for anyone.
When Deb’s husband was sick this past year, Deb was still there with a smile on her face to teach a PALS class that I was taking at the hospital. When she lost her husband that same month she had a line of support out the door with colleagues from both hospitals attending the wake.
Deb deserves all the recognition for being an exceptional nurse and someone that I, and many others, look up to as a true compassionate leader with a love for what she does.—Nominated by Keri Ciofolo
Anna Maria College
Eileen Kane , Anna Maria College
Nursing school is not easy. Luckily, I have had the honor to have Professor Eileen Kane by my side during the first semester of my junior year. Not only was she knowledgeable inside the classroom, but Professor Kane also displayed compassion and care to her students outside the classroom. She comes to class positive and upbeat, making me eager to learn. I want to thank her for helping me through such a tough semester and being a role model for the future nursing graduates at Anna Maria College.—Nominated by Julia Raskind [Bay Pointe Rehabilitation Center] Baywood Unit Nursing Staff] Bay Pointe Rehabilitation Center For the past two years, our family member has been a long-term patient at the Bay Pointe Rehabilitation Center in Brockton on the Baywood Unit. Her struggle with dementia reached a point where her memory was no longer reliable and she needed help with all of her daily activities. Over the past year, she has experienced a progressive decline and is now no longer able to recognize her family. During this period, the nursing staff at Bay Pointe have provided her with a friendly and warm environment where she has safe surroundings and all her needs are met. We visit on a regular basis and are greeted by long term staff who are knowledgeable about the day-to-day events of our family member. The nursing staff understand the complications and behavioral issues that develop in those with dementia and provide the appropriate treatments. Our family also appreciates the activities both large and small that bring a measure of joy and dignity into our loved one’s daily life. Nursing staff who perform this work do not get the recognition that they truly deserve.—Nominated by Sharon Sullivan
Beaumont Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Center
Ann Spaulding , Beaumont Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Center, Natick
Ann Spaulding is a true extrovert who is energized by people. She has great stories about her upbringing and nursing experience. Most importantly, she strives to be a good person and succeeds. Ann gets to know residents individually, as well as their families. She dedicates as much time as needed to make them feel comfortable, to educate them, and answer questions. She sits with residents to comfort them, sings and dances with them, and advocates tirelessly for them. She can be found walking the halls with a dementia resident; she really knows her patients.
When Beaumont at Natick was built, Ann was looking for a part-time job as her kids were in school. She started working here before residents were admitted. Some 15 years and “many hats” later, Anne has done so much. Being from Natick, she knows many of our residents or their families. People find this quite comforting, especially if it is their first long-term care experience. Family members call Ann with questions and concerns about their loved ones long after they leave our facility. She is an integral part of this institution.—Nominated by Michele McGovern
Linda Dutile , Beumont Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Center, Northborough
Linda Dutile began her career in 2009 as a recreation assistant. Her passion as a caregiver grew and lead her to train as an LPN. Not long after becoming an LPN, Linda pursued and acquired her RN. Currently, she is a nursing supervisor at Beaumont at Northborough. Linda has worked very hard to develop her nursing career; a career she truly loves and one for which she most definitely was meant. You can ask any staff member, family member or resident here about Linda and you will most definitely hear praises. No matter how busy Linda is, she will stop in her tracks to say a genuine “hello” to a visitor or to greet a resident who smiled at her. One of Linda’s roles is that of mentor nurse, a role that entrusts her with the responsibility of training new nurses. Their training is a responsibility she takes on wholeheartedly, knowing that she is helping shape the next generation of nurses. It is for her dedication to her nurses, the residents, and the family members that Deb Wade nominates Linda Dutile.—Nominated by Kathleen Lynch
Patricia Marengo, Beaumont Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Center, Worcester
Patricia Marengo began her career at this community in 2007, before it became Beaumont at Worcester. Patricia comes from a family of nurses, as both her mother and sister are nurses. In fact, she began as a nurse’s aide under the supervision of her mother, who was her charge nurse. Pat is truly remarkable in the number of roles she performs. She is flexible in her role of charge nurse, patient when training new nurses, and kind and sensitive in managing staff. Leadership is innate for Pat. A self-motivated nurse, Pat sees a need or a job that needs to be done and she just runs with it. She is detail-oriented, highly trained, and motivated to always learn more. She takes the time with MDs and NPs seeking to keep everyone up to date and informed. Her empathy and compassion come through when she is dealing with families struggling and residents nearing death. Pat keeps comfort the priority at all times. While she has held many roles, all of which have brought clinical experience and mastery of nursing skills, Pat enjoys the time she has with residents above everything. Pat is seen as the go-to nurse by her colleagues for help or ideas. Her co-workers have the utmost respect for her. On behalf of her co-workers, the residents and their families, Deb Audet, RN, nominates Patricia Marengo.—Nominated by Deb Freedman
Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hosptal, Bedford
Nancy Bergin, Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital, Bedford
She was my preceptor and was a wonderful person. Her compassion towards her patients was excellent. She always went out of her way to accommodate the needs of her patients. She inspired me to be the person I am now.—Nominated by Mano Joseph
The Falls at Cordingly Dam, Benchmark Senior Living
Anita Lewis , The Falls at Cordingly Dam, Benchmark Senior Living
I nominate Anita Lewis of Hudson as a true medical wonder for helping me and my wife, who suffers from severe Alzheimer’s and is a resident in the Memory Care Unit of a Benchmark assisted living facility in Newton Lower Falls. The facility is not a hospital or a rehab center; they stress that they run on a social rather than a medical model. The caregivers, nurses, and staff are very compassionate and professional. When Rosalie, my 77-year-old wife, was transitioned into her new bedroom and began falling as she was walking around and not sleeping deeply at night, I couldn’t figure out for the life of me who had responsibility for all of her physical and mental (meds) needs. That was until the house psychiatrist suggested I speak with his colleague, Anita Lewis, a private, visiting home care nurse who was a board-certified, advanced-practice, psychiatric RN versed in neuropharmacology. I was feeling helpless and desperate, and then, like manna from heaven, Anita came on scene. She immediately took charge and consulted with the psychiatrist on Ro’s meds and other safety related matters. Wow. Relief big time for me. Anita has been a conservative, compassionate, caring, extremely capable nurse, seeing Ro four to five times a week. That’s why I nominate Anita Lewis as so deserving for your Salute to Nurses. She’s the best.—Nominated by Mitchell Rudnick
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Emer O’Shea, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Emer O’Shea has gone so far above and beyond the call of duty in providing amazing care for my wife Amie, that she without a doubt deserves to be honored. When Amie’s oncologist said that treatment was no longer working and recommended hospice care, Emer immediately stepped in and provided our whole family the most phenomenal support. She was the most compassionate and caring person we could ever have asked for to care for Amie. While working full time at BIDMC Emer was also in our home providing round the clock care and support. She even recruited and coordinated a crew of three other spectacular nurses to be here when she had to be at work or home caring for her own family. Emer would often sit in a chair at Amie’s bedside overnight allowing our family to get some much needed rest, secure in the knowledge that Amie was in the best possible hands. She was able to explain and manage a constantly evolving complex pain management regimen in a way that enabled all of us to assist. She was able to talk with everyone about difficult issues in a thorough, compassionate, respectful and direct way. She always had the utmost grace and composure and never missed a single point of medical or emotional care.
There is no possible way to clearly put into words how much Emer means to all of us. She made an unbearable situation bearable and will forever be a part of our family. Emer O’Shea has the heart of an angel and is truly the best of what nursing should be.—Nominated by Greg White, Dr. Leonard Shapiro, and Tobie Shapiro
Anne Riskin , Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Anne is my neighbor and until my recent very serious surgery, I had no idea how skilled she is. Anne is very unassuming and never shared her varied nursing background with me. I now know she has about 40 years of nursing and teaching nursing experience, and now volunteers her time back at the BI Hospital.in the surgical unit.
With her specialty in surgery, Anne has supported me with my recent surgical recovery . . . as my neighbor. She checked on me constantly. I discovered that she has it all for your survey. Along with her deep breadth of knowledge, Anne is compassionate, has excellent clinical and communication skills, is beyond trustworthy, and has a very loving and tender professional way. She personifies her profession of surgical nurse. I do not know more specifics about Anne, but if you are looking to honor someone in the nursing profession, what I do know is that Anne is the one.—Nominated by Dee Dee Wilcon
Serena Skiffington , Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Serena Skiffington is by far the best NP at BIDMC. In the last two years, I have had 19 surgeries and have been blessed to have met Serena. She is one of the first people I see in the morning when they do rounds and one of the last people I see at night when she takes the time to check on me. Serena truly cares for her patients, be it bringing in home cooked meals to CVS runs when you need something.
More importantly, she takes the time to listen to you, especially when you have been in the hospital for 10 days and are having a bad day. She makes you smile and feel as though you are the most important patient in the hospital. Nurses are the backbone of every hospital and BiDMC is lucky to have Serena.—Nominated by Julie Schuder
Patricia Shafer, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Patricia Shafer is an epilepsy clinical nurse specialist at the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and the associate editor and community manager of epilepsy.com for the Epilepsy Foundation. She has been involved with epilepsy.com and the Epilepsy Therapy Project for many years. She currently coordinates the ambulatory nursing program in epilepsy and provides ongoing care and education to people with epilepsy and families.
She is a past member and past chair of the Epilepsy Foundation’s Professional Advisory Board, a past member of the board of directors of the Epilepsy Foundation, and a long-term member of the Professional Advisory Board of New England. She has served on the American Epilepsy Society board of directors and numerous committees and workgroups. She has also participated in the creation of the North American Declaration on Epilepsy, a public health agenda for epilepsy, and guidelines for first seizures and women with epilepsy. She is an affiliate member of the CDC-funded Managing Epilepsy Well Network and she has served on numerous research review panels and advisory committees for regulatory reform, disability concerns, and public health concerns in epilepsy. She brings a personal perspective, having lived with epilepsy for many years.
The fact that I get to say that I had this ambitious woman a part of my surgery team to implant my vagus nerve stimulator, which has dramatically helped with my epilepsy, is amazing. She had the last words before I went in, “I know your story and you will be in good hands” with sincere compassion. I knew all would be OK. To know now that she helps author articles and run conferences for the epilepsy foundation, I feel honored and know empathy for patients and passion for epilepsy awareness is selfless and never ending.—Nominated by Kim Covell
Kaitlin Morse , Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
I worked with Kaitlin in the Infectious Disease Clinic at BIDMC. At the time, they had lost two of their three nurses. Kaitlin herself, was doing the jobs of 3 nurses. Despite the stress this placed on her, Kaitlin always came into work with a smile. Kaitlin worked extremely hard during the few months with no extra help. She often stayed late to help the physicians finish out patient care. Her workload was enormous, but she managed to stay calm, and make her patients her first priority.
I witnessed several interactions between Kaitlin and her patients. She greeted each new patient with a smile and did her best to make them feel at ease. In the clinic, patients are often times very sick, or have just received new and difficult diagnoses. Kaitlin always did her best to make these patients feel comfortable. Education was her strong point, and she made sure each patient understood their plan of care and why their treatment was necessary. Kaitlin has a wonderful bedside manner and it showed through the thanks patients would give her at the end of their visits. When patients needed a new medication or a new treatment, Kaitlin would spend the extra time making phone calls to pharmacies and other doctor’s offices advocating so that her patient’s received the best care as quick as possible. Again, this often meant that she stayed late to put her patient’s care first.
As a fellow nurse, I look up to Kaitlin and I aspire to be like her in my practices. She is a stunning example of what the nursing profession values, and I am honored to call her my coworker.—Nominated by Jessica Ansel
Rose Marujo , Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
I would like to nominate Rose Marujo as a special nurse and a special person. I have been under the care of Rose since October of 2013. As a nurse in the Oncology and Hematology Department at BIDMC, she and her colleagues have followed my care in a very special manner. I travel to the clinic where she works every other week and Rose has become my constant advocate and good friend.
She has a wonderful way of making a stressful situation calming. She is an ultimate professional and caregiver but has the humor and constant positive attitude that helps the stress of the situation be bearable. So much so that instead of dreading my visits, I look forward to the appointment. Rose oversees my care in a clinical trial. She vigilantly performs her duties as the sponsors nursing overseer of the studies protocol. In doing that she keeps me constantly informed of all medical aspects of my participation. She makes sure I am healthy during my participation checking to be sure all chances of adverse reactions are monitored and addressed. She keeps me informed and is in constant contact with me both on and off campus. Rose has my phone and e-mail and I have hers. She is instantly available for questions, direction, and as a sounding board any time of the day and weekends. She makes me feel at ease and opens the line of communication, which is important in me maintaining good health. Some may say the road to the long term recovery in cancer care is paved in positive thinking. I believe the positive support and great care I am afforded by Rose Marujo and her team is winning that fight in my battle.—Nominated by Paul Crowley
Kara Keith , Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
I spent the fall semester of my junior year of college receiving cancer treatment at BIDMC. You may think I would never want to return to that building where my life was turned upside down; but most of the time when I return for a check-up I am excited at the possibility that I get to see Kara. Kara was my chemotherapy nurse for almost all of my treatments and all of my lab draws. She got so good at accessing my port, there were a few times where I felt nothing. It was so valuable to have the same nurse every week. She learned about my life and my family. When my family was bored during chemo, Kara was there to chat with. When we were busy having our own discussion, she would scoot in and out of the room without any notice. She answered all of our questions, helped us to stay calm, and cared for me like her own daughter. We had one scare of recurrence almost six months after I finished treatment. When we found out that the cancer had not returned, Kara came running into the room to give me a hug. She told me how nervous she had been all weekend and that she was so happy to hear that I was OK. I never felt like just another patient to Kara. I did not feel like she was just pumping me full of chemo and sending me out the door. She helped me process what was happening and helped me to keep moving forward with my life. It is strange that a chemotherapy floor could feel so comforting, but I give Kara all the credit. I miss her every day and could never thank her enough for her constant support.—Nominated by Rachel S.
Julie Mack , Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
I cannot express how comfortable Julie made me feel physically and mentally. Seems every time I looked around during my cardiac ablation procedure she was there with words of encouragement. While I was in recovery hours later she stopped by to see how I was doing. Julie made the entire process a breeze. Can’t thank her enough.—Nominated by John Zaniboni Precious Malloy Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center I have worked with Precious Malloy since August 2015 in clinic. She is a phenomenal nurse—she is always so patient, explains things to patients in detail, and thinks one step ahead. She is trustworthy, has good clinical acumen, and, more importantly, is kind and empathetic. She comes to work every day with a smile on her face and makes my day at work so much easier. As an ob/gyn, the majority of my patients are pregnant. They have so many questions and concerns about pregnancy, and Precious does a wonderful job addressing those concerns. I truly believe she deserves recognition for all that she does.—Nominated by Huma Farid
The Entire Pre-Op, OR, and PACU Nurses , Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
It would be impossible and incredibly unfair to pick just one nurse. I have been a patient in the BIDMC OR over 15 times in the last year and a half. I myself am a Registered Nurse who lives in South Carolina but travel to BIDMC for their top notch medical care. I have never experienced nurses who work together like a well-oiled machine. Every single one of my needs is not only met, they have the clinical expertise to navigate my entire pre-op through recovery experience. Not one of them ever looks for recognition. Every time I am there, they treat me like I am family: constantly reassuring me, talking to me and making sure I am as safe as possible before, during, and after surgery. Not just me, as a nurse myself I am very observant of how they are treating patients who are combative and confused. They always are kind, loving, and reassuring. I have had some horrible experiences at other hospitals throughout the country where I have woken up from anesthesia afraid, confused, and alone only to be yelled at for my confusion. When I first came to BIDMC, I knew right away I was going to have an amazing experience. I look forward to my check-ups that I have to have done under anesthesia because it is like going to visit family. In all my years and in all the hospitals I have been to, never once have I witnessed such an an incredible team, over and over again from start to finish. My hat goes off to the entire BIDMC OR nurses. They always display the true spirit of nursing. I am forever grateful for them.—Nominated by Jennifer Champy
Theresa Forbush , Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Teri has been an amazing partner in my journey through pancreatic cancer. Her professionalism and calm presence have made the chemo process a less frightening experience. She is warm, wonderful, and empowering, explaining every option and always putting my needs first. She never treats the disease but she treats the person and I am grateful she is part of this journey.—Nominated by Geraldine Nichols
Mimi Gallo , Beth israel Deaconess Medical Center
As in the past, Mimi Gallo ran my most recent urodynamics study, an uncomfortable test to see how much urine the bladder can hold, with a cheery efficiency that makes the procedure bearable. She talks with me as she would with a friend while expertly inserting a catheter, and without even trying, she distracts me from pain and discomfort. She talks about her sons and her obsession with running as she monitors the computer and asks how I’m doing. She treats me as an equal, an adult, counteracting the uncomfortable effects that come with any invasive test. I’m grateful Mimi does her job in such a caring way.—Nominated by Sarah Fishman
Maija Galvin , Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Maija was the nurse on-call to always answer my questions throughout my pregnancy at Boston OBGYN. When I went into labor, I was so happy to hear that she was working that day at BI and was assigned to be my L&D nurse as well. Her compassion, kindness, and knowledge exceeded my expectations. She started her shift by holding my hands and helping talk me through getting an epidural and helped deliver my son into the world prior to the end of her shift. As a nurse myself, it was scary to let go and be the patient, but her reassuring, comforting, and calm demeanor helped ease all of my fears and made for a wonderful delivery experience.—Nominated by Beth Hawkins
Anny Garcia , Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Anny is truly the nurse we all hope to have at our side; I was lucky enough to have met her the morning my son was born. Anny has an uncanny clinical acumen. She knew right away when I dilated over 6 cm in a hour by my nausea and rigoring during the epidural placement. She reassured me and keep me calm (and my husband out of the room) when my blood pressure dropped after the epidural. And in a calculated manner for over 3.5 hours she devised a systematic plan of labor positions to help minimize my back labor and help my baby boy descend. Anny was amazingly malleable to the moments of labor. She was calm and gentle and supportive, but at the same time she kept us focused and effective. I remember being quite anxious about pushing “correctly,” but Anny steered me to the end in a gentle and supportive manner. She even stayed past the end of her shift so that shift change did not affect my labor and our progress. She was one of the first people to hold my first baby boy and I could have not asked for anyone more loving or trusting to do this. She is an admirable and intelligent OB nurse. I am extremely grateful she was there at my side.—Nominated by Luisa Solis-Cohen
Christine August, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Christine was my day nurse while I was inpatient at BIDMC’s Surgical ICU. She went way above the call of duty and took such exceptional care of me. She hardly ever left my room. Even though I was confused and on a lot of medication, I distinctly remember her loving words, her encouragement to not only me, but my friend and family that were with me. We were all so impressed with her skill and compassion. She related to me not only as a patient but as a human being. BIDMC is certainly lucky to have such a compassionate and skilled nurse. She brought so much comfort and eased my mind so much.—Nominated by Jennifer Champy
Meredith Perry , Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Meredith Perry has been my nurse several times now while I was a patient in BIDMC’s OR and holding room area. Meredith has always gone way out of her way for me to make sure I am comfortable, not scared and that all my questions are answered. She makes it her priority to put my safety first. I have to have a lot of OR procedures done and when I see her face, I know for sure that I will have all my needs cared for. BIDMC is lucky to have her.—Nominated by Jennifer Champy
Maureen O’Donahue, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Maureen, or Mo as she goes by, was my nurse on the night shift in the Surgical ICU at BIDMC. She was my nurse every night for the few nights I was in the unit. I had just had my second major airway surgery and I was really out of it. When Maureen came on duty, she completely reassured me, listened to me ramble and talk endlessly in a drugged state of mind. She was so professional, so kind and so loving not only to me but to my friends and family that were with me. We all just fell in love with her and how gentle she was with me. She didn’t have to say much, her presence made me feel safe. I am so grateful for her and the chance to be under her care. Usually patients that are in the ICU do not remember their stay very well. I remember very clearly that outstanding care I received from Maureen.—Nominated by Jennifer Champy
Salvatore Tassone, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Magic, Shaq, Cher, and Prince…some people only need one name. The Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center has “Sal.” He started at Beth Israel in 1971 and very early on in his career established a name for himself, just to be known as Sal. He presently works on the IV team and part time in the Infusion and Pheresis Unit. He calms his patients with his witty quips,calm manner and his superb skill. Naturally these same attributes make Sal a pleasure to work beside. We are all more joyful when he is around as are his patients. The relief is palpable on the patient’s faces as he enters the room as they are confident they will only require 1 attempt to have their IV placed. For all the above reasons the staff of the Infusion and Pheresis Unit would like to salute Sal.—Nominated by Michelle Knox
Mark Toland, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
I wanted to thank all the nurses at Trauma SICU, but especially my husband’s nurse, Mark Toland, for getting my family through the toughest times in our lives. Mark demonstrated utmost compassion and care for both the patient and me, the spouse. During the three-and-a-half weeks my husband was in the SICU, Mark was kind enough to narrate, explaining all the procedures my husband was going through. I was there the whole time; I slept in the chair or in the waiting rooms. You don’t always run into a nurse who takes great care of his patients and the family members, who were very emotional and very anxious. I am grateful that we had Mark Toland looking after us. Thank you, Mark, for everything you did and the compassion you showed.—Nominated by Juliet Soohoo
Myrielle Whittle, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Shapiro Cancer Center
Every nurse at Beth Israel’s Oncology ward in Boston needs to be saluted.
My nurse, Myrielle Whittle, has been by my side for 25 years and God willing a few more. I love everyone and have so much support by all the nurses and aides. And everyone knows my name.—Nominated by Martha Afentakis
Myrielle Whittle , Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Shapiro Cancer Center
Almost every morning since May 7, 2006, I’ve had a cuppa tea with Myrielle Whittle, my infusion nurse on Shapiro 9 of the Shapiro Clinic at Beth Israel. I had finished two years of treatment for breast cancer that day. For two years Myrielle had expertly coaxed my 60-year-old veins to carry the chemo and a year’s worth of weekly herceptin infusions to my body to bring me to a prognosis termed Excellent.
That morning of my last treatment, Myrielle gave me a picture frame with Emerson’s poem “Celebrate Life.” that urges people to celebrate “that which lies within us.” I put a picture of Myrielle and me at my #10 chair in the frame, and it has been at my easy chair ever since.
One thing I found “within me” was the desire to volunteer in the Cancer Center to help others as they undertook the journey like mine, and I worked Friday mornings in the unit for 10 years.
Six months ago a pain in my left ribcage sent me to the emergency room, and scans and tests led to the devastating diagnosis Stage IV metastatic breast cancer in my bones. During this recurrence, Myrielle has guided me to the decision to have a port inserted to take the strain off my now 70-year-old veins. She held my hand while reminding me of the effects of taxol, including again losing my hair. She has celebrated with me each encouraging lab report, as the drugs seem to be successfully doing their job. Instead of being another frightening experience, treatment in her care is comforting and assuring. I and her other patients on Fridays on Shapiro 9 are all so very grateful for her professionalism, her dedication, and her friendship.—Nominated by Martha Remsen
Laura Zuccaro , Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
My husband John is a kidney and liver transplant patient. He was hospitalized beginning in February 2013. His most recent hospitalization was March 1, 2016. This is where he would celebrate his 3rd anniversary of his life saving transplant. The surgeons did their job and did it well but now it was up to Laura Zuccaro and the nurses of Farr 10. My husband has named her his “angel.” Farr 10 can have the most critical cases outside of the intensive care units. During these last three years she has answered all my questions without ever making me feel like I was asking a silly question or that I was imposing on her time. She would explain John’s meds and the reason why he was receiving them. Both before the transplant and after there would be times of despair. Again Laura would be the “cheerleader” for John’s emotional wellbeing.There were also times when someone was not as lucky as our family and this is the reality of what Laura and the many nurses on Farr 10 face. Even under these sad circumstances they put their thoughts aside for the time being and focus on the tasks at hand. With Laura we have shared the laughter and the tears. When John has to be admitted there is always a welcome sign on the board in his room. What makes Laura so special is the fact that I am certain that the love and care she displays to John and his family is also the same any patient receives under her care. We are not that special patient…we are just lucky enough to have that special nurse.I would be remiss not to acknowledge all the special people who make Farr 10 so exceptional.—Nominated by Patricia Hatch
Nicole Graber , Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center-Needham
For the past five months, my wife has received chemotherapy at Beth Israel Deaconess Cancer Pavilion in Needham. While the new building alone is beautiful and cheery, it is the pleasant people inside who elevate the spirit.
Nicole Graber has been with Sally every Tuesday. Expertly and efficiently she draws blood and monitors Sally’s counts. She infuses a multiplicity of drugs into Sally’s bloodstream. Serving these cocktails via IV drip is a mechanical task, but Nicole makes us feel as if she’s hosting us in her living room. She is polite, highly empathetic, sensitive to Sally’s needs, and ever-watchful. Reactions to chemo are varied. When anything goes awry, Nicole responds quickly, gathering Sally’s vital signs, summoning the right personnel, and attending to even the most minute problems. Her suggestions, tips, and experience are welcome knowledge.
We’d like to compliment the entire staff at this suburban outpost of BIDMC: Inah, Ayata, Linda, Beth, Carrie, Jane, Kevin, and Nathan, among the many other nameless, upbeat nurses and assistants. Their fantastic teamwork enables Nicole to deliver comforting care and keep Sally smiling. Hard to believe we’ll one day miss trips to the cancer clinic, but there it is. Hospital visits made pleasurable. Imagine.—Nominated by Stu Cartwright
Jennifer Varey , Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center-Needham
Every patient deserves a nurse like Jennifer Varey. As an expert in the field of Advanced Wound Care, an exceptional blend of skill, compassion and innovation is reflected in her practice within a busy wound care clinic that serves a diverse and complex patient population. Jen consistently goes beyond duty to coordinate consultations and support services for patients. She anticipates challenges that our patients may face with insurance coverage and service, providing them with much needed support as they navigate an ever changing health care system. I have seen the relief in the eyes of patients and caregivers because of the care and attention she provides, and I have felt the tremendous gratitude and sense of trust that they feel toward her for commitment to their care.
As a leader in our clinic, Jen is an invaluable resource for our entire team. As humble as she is competent and compassionate, she is an outstanding teacher who is always willing to share her expertise. Through her excellent example and generous nature, Jen makes us all better clinicians and is source of strength for our team. I have always believed that Nursing is a true blend of art and science and that blend is embodied in Jen’s practice. She is one in a million and our clinic, the community and the profession is immeasurably better off for her contributions.—Nominated by Erin Hanley
Natasha Glushko , Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center-Needham
We would like to nominate Natasha Glusko for the Boston Globe Salute to Nurses. Natasha is the infectious disease (ID) nurse at Beth Israel Medical Center-Needham. The infectious disease nurse’s role is one of the most important for nursing and patient safety. She provides constant surveillance, advice, education, re-education and support. She bases information the information she provides on research based information and qualified sources. Often, her job is not an easy one and she is frequently met by staff with attitudes of frustration and resistance but those feelings quickly disappear as we acknowledge our extremely low infection rates The nursing staff is grateful to work with someone who is rich in ID experience and is able to problem solve so that compliance is achieved. We adhere to our precaution policy for patients who are currently ill or with a history of infectious disease. If there is a question, Natasha is available to staff 24/7. Her joy for her job and her enthusiasm are contagious. She has the ability to take an issue or concern, pull the group together, have a robust discussion about patient safety, and as a team we are able to identify areas that need improvement and effectively implement the necessary change. Working with Natasha is a very positive experience for all of us. It is because of this relationship that Natasha has developed with each and every team member that makes us so effective and creates a dialogue that offers positive outcomes and safety measures for the patient and staff at our hospital.—Nominated by Team Reward & Recognition, BID-Needham
Cherrie Acheson , Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center-Needham
Cherrie is a Case Manager at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center-Needham. She has demonstrated one of our core values of compassion. Cherrie was assigned a patient who lives in Nova Scotia who did not have a local primary care physician or US health insurance. The discharge plan was complicated and detailed as she needed home oxygen on discharge in order to drive back to Nova Scotia. Cherrie reached out to several oxygen companies, eventually finding one that would allow the patient to leave the country. She also arranged to have the patient return the oxygen concentrator once she arrived home. This was a very complex discharge plan and Cherrie’s compassion and thoughtfulness made it happen seamlessly for the patient.—Nominated by Team Reward and Recognition, BIDMC-Needham
Claire Darrah , Beverly Hospital
My husband was in the critical unit for a week at the end of November 2015. This nurse was one of a team who were all very efficient, but she exhibited a caring and compassionate demeanor. Even though my husband was on a respirator, being tube-fed, she could get a smile, even a laugh. She even got him sitting in a chair for two hours, which was a huge gift to him. Her care and compassion extended to me as well when I spent the night with him. I will never forget her kindness. My husband died on Dec. 1.—Nominated by Connie Perron
Blaire House of Tewksbury
Maureen Kear , Blaire House of Tewksbury
Nurses who work in nursing homes don’t get enough credit for the care and love they give their patients. Maureen Kear was one of my father’s many nurses at the Blaire House. All of the nurses were so patient and caring, but Maureen stood out. My father had dementia and wasn’t always easy to deal with, but Maureen knew just what to do to make sure he was well fed, clean, relatively pain-free, and most importantly, safe. After six months of living at the Blaire House my father’s condition worsened and we knew his time was limited. The absolute devotion and love that Maureen showed to him was astounding. She was like a family member to him. She would come sit with us and eat her lunch instead of leaving the floor and getting some much deserved rest. As he neared the end of his life, Maureen even came in on her day off to check on him. She always told him she loved him and would give him a friendly kiss on the cheek each time she left him, which could be several times a day. The support she showed me and my family during that most difficult time was endless. Whatever we needed, whatever my father needed, Maureen made sure we got it. She taught us how to care for him as he quickly declined. She made sure I was not alone as I sat with my father when was administered Last Rites by the local priest. Whenever I had to leave for whatever amount of time, Maureen was always there with my father, advocating for someone who wouldn’t know enough to ask for help. I trusted her wholeheartedly. We’re eternally grateful that my father was lucky enough to be cared for by Maureen.—Nominated by Jane Walsh
Boston Children’s Hospital
All the staff , Boston Children’s Hospital
Boston Children’s has been a big staple in my lifetime. For as long as I can remember. the staff is phenomenal. Caring and loving. Not only did they make a lifetime friend comfortable and feel loved and appreciated.but they are amazing with my stepson who suffers from CF. I honestly believe this hospital to be the best in the nation. Nurses are 2nd none, doctors are amazing and caring. I couldn’t ask for more.—Nominated by Jane Jeanine Lembo Tyler Blanchard Boston Children’s Hospital My daughter spent almost 300 days in the SICU at Children’s Hospital so we certainly had our share of experience with nurses. There were several that were amazing but Tyler Blanchard sticks out as extra special for our family. He was with our daughter from the beginning to the end of her stay at BCH. There were many ups and downs and days we weren’t sure she would make it. Tyler always treated our family with sincerity and compassion. He explained things when we couldn’t understand, is extremely knowledgeable about her condition, and always advocated what was best for her. We are forever grateful for his dedication and he truly made our experience at BCH better in so many ways.—Nominated by Toula Porter
Annette Baker, Boston Children’s Hospital
Annette has been taking care of my son Christian Williams at the Kawasaki Disease Clinic at Boston Children’s Hospital for five years. She is knowledgeable, kind, and compassionate. And to a mom who is worried about the health and wellbeing of her child, that smile, that reassuring pat on the shoulder, and that kind word means everything. So Annette, this is to let you know we appreciate all you do for Christian and our family.—Nominated by Lori Williams
Margaret Adamchek, Boston Children’s Hospital
Our daughter Ellie had open heart surgery this past December and Margaret (Mags), was her nurse immediately following her surgery. Not only is Mags a talented and dedicated nurse, but she was kind and compassionate during a difficult time. She constantly kept us updated on what she was doing and Ellie’s current status. Fortunately, she was Ellie’s nurse on other occasions and we got to know Mags well. Though we were relieved to have Ellie discharged from the CICU, we were sad that Mags would no longer be her nurse. We will never forget Mags or the things she did for our family.—Nominated by Jessica McCabe Margaret Adamchek Boston Children’s Hospital My newborn granddaughter underwent open heart surgery when she was three days old. We got to know and trust many nurses in the CICU. One in particular stood out. As a lifelong registered nurse myself, I probably had a more critical eye when assessing her caregivers. Mags was the most competent, caring, efficient, and warm nurse I have ever met. With her skill and compassion, she put all of us totally at ease. She took care of my precious granddaughter during an especially critical time post-operatively and made everything look easy. I could hardly believe how many lines and tubes were attached to this little baby but Mags made it all seem so manageable. She explained everything she was doing in a calm way that all could understand. When surgery number two rolls around this spring, you can be sure I will be looking for Mags.—Nominated by Deborah Pothier
Krista Bradbury , Boston Children’s Hospital
My daughter was admitted to 8 East in October after her second cardiac arrest. During her stay Krista was her nurse quite often. The bond that Krista and Cheyanna had was amazing. Krista made a point to come in early to spend time with Cheyanna and during down time would come and spend time painting her nails or playing games with her. On the day of her transplant, Krista made sure that she was Cheyanna’s nurse, which was the best thing for my daughter. Krista made sure her last few hours before her surgery were happy times and a lot less scary. She was extremely comforting for Cheyanna and us, often looking at her as more of a little sister than just a patient. Krista was a blessing to our family, making our stay and experience more tolerable. There were times when Chey and Krista were together that Chey almost forgot she was even in the hospital, which is more than we could have ever hoped for. The memories we have are priceless thanks to the amazing, kind-hearted, and genuinely thoughtful nurse Krista.—Nominated by Kellie Robinson
Kayla Costa , Boston Children’s Hospital
Kayla is one of many outstanding nurses we have had for our daughter at BCH since she was born. She was one of her first nurses after her surgery at 6 days old and became a favorite. We recently had to bring Elodie in for an emergency room visit and she was admitted. Nothing could have been nicer to have reached the 10th floor at 2 a.m. and to see Kayla waiting for us with a smile and reassurance. She had seen Elodie’s name and asked to receive her upon admittance to the floor. Our daughter has had multiple surgeries in her 6 months and to know we have nurses looking out for her beyond surgical recovery and who want to take care of her is something you cannot put into words. Kayla quickly turned a long and exhausting night full of worry into a comfortable and reassuring one as we knew that she was there for us and Elodie. Kayla goes about her job in a way that almost makes you feel at home in some of the most trying circumstances. We saw this back in August when she was one of Elodie’s nurses and she confirmed it again just a few weeks ago when she helped take care of us again. We have many favorites at BCH but it’s easy to put Kayla Costa at the top of our list and we hope she gets some recognition she so greatly deserves.—Nominated by Jeremy Fucile
Kim Darr , Boston Children’s Hospital
Kim was one of our daughter’s primary nurses in the NICU at Boston Children’s. Since the day Leah was admitted, Kim was so genuinely caring and treated our daughter with so much love. She cuddled her for us when we weren’t there, talked to her, gave her her first Wubbanub pacifier, which my daughter wasn’t seen without during her entire 2-month stay at Children’s and, most importantly, provided her with the most incredible nursing care we had ever seen and could ever ask for. During a particularly rough weekend for Leah, Kim saved her life more than once. Kim was the first person to let us hold our daughter, feed her, change her diaper, dress her, and she taught us how to give her a good bath. After Leah was discharged from the NICU, Kim would come visit us on the 10th floor. Every time she walked in the room, Leah would perk up and look around for her friend Kim. It quickly became obvious that Kim means just as much to Leah as she forever will to my husband and me. We are nominating Kim because we want to make sure she knows just how much she means to our family and how very, very grateful we are for the care she provided to our daughter Leah. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.—Nominated by Julie Payton
Jennifer Fleming, Boston Children’s Hospital
My wife is an oncologist nurse at Children’s. Jenni has worked at Children’s for over 20 years and has never once complained about her job. I know I’m bragging about my wife, but her humble personality is incredible. I believe if you do a little research, you’ll find Jenni is one of the best at one the best oncology floors in the world. Look her up.—Nominated by Sean Fleming Dori Gallagher Boston Children’s Hospital Dorothy was amazIng. Helping me every step of the way. Every time I called they knew be my by name. Without her help I would have never felt so confident with coming to Boston. She is the best.—Nominated by Crystal Truong
Dori Gallagher, Boston Children’s Hospital
We will be forever grateful for this amazing nurse and person, Dori Gallagher. My son Lucas was born with Esophageal Atresia and kept having complications so I wanted a second opinion and started researching on the internet and made a phone call to Boston. I received a call back from Dori that same day and she was so kind, knowledgeable, caring, compassionate , and confident when we spoke. It was the first time I had actually spoken with anyone who was as concerned as I was with my son’s condition. She instructed me to send a disc of my sons esophagram and said they would review it and call me back. Not only did she call me back within a day of receiving the disc, but she had me speak with an actual doctor who was a member of the specialized treatment staff. I was blown away as I have never been able to speak directly with a doctor over the phone for a consult, even after going through numerous screenings. We were so impressed and even more concerned for the safety of our son that we got on a plane the very next day and flew to Boston. We spent four months in Boston with the Esophageal Atresia Team and I am so happy we made that decision. The team in Boston truly saved his life and gave him the best quality of life we could hope for. She always has a smile on her face and always finds time for her patients. Boston Children’s Hospital is very lucky to have Dori on staff and so are the many children that have been blessed to be in her care. Dori deserves to be recognized for her hard work and big heart.—Nominated by Stacie Rosenlund
Dori Gallagher, Boston Children’s Hospital
Dori is a nurse practitioner for the Esophageal Atresia program at Boston Children’s Hospital and assists the wonderful thoracic surgeon, Dr. Russell Jennings. Dori is an amazing practitioner who has both compassion and sharp skills. She understands the challenges that children with esophageal atresia face which is such a blessing. As a parent of a child with esophageal atresia who has required multiple surgeries and interventions on his esophagus and airway, we are so grateful to have access to the esophageal atresia program at Boston Children’s Hospital. The life saving surgery that Dr. Jennings invented for our children has literally changed our entire family’s perspective about the future. Dori’s ability to help assess the patients, coordinate the care, help triage her team all with grace and compassion should be recognized. She has really made the terrifying experience of traveling across the nation to have your child undergo major thoracic surgery an amazing experience. We are so grateful for her.—Nominated by Lenna Martyak, MD
Dori Gallagher, Boston Children’s Hospital
Dori is amazing. She is compassionate, knowledgeable and efficient. Even though she has so many patients that need her help, she makes you feel like your child is her most important patient.
Dori is part of the best team in the world for treating babies with Esophageal Atresia/Tracheo-Esophageal Fistula (EA/TEF). Our baby was born with EA/TEF. We were being treated at another hospital, when our baby had two life-threatening events in as many weeks. We contacted Dori for help. It was immediately apparent that Dori was an expert EA/TEF. She diagnosed the issue with our baby even though it had alluded our many doctors at home She helped us coordinate the transfer to Boston Children’s and ensured that everything was covered by our insurance (which is no small task). Once we arrived, she made sure we felt welcome and were fully informed.
Our baby successfully underwent surgery with Dori’s group at Boston Children’s which was lead by Dr. Rusty Jennings. Without that surgery, our daughter might have died. She is now a normal, happy baby.
Dori helped save our daughter’s life and helped us through the most stressful time in our lives. She does this for her patients and their parents every day. We feel so lucky that we found Dori. She will always have a very special place in our hearts.—Nominated by Michael Wussow
Dori Gallagher , Boston Children’s Hospital
Dori was amazing a nurse to my son that spent the first four months of his life at Boston Children’s Hospital She was understanding and took care of me and my family as well as my son. Words cannot describe the gratitude that I have for her. she was a godsend to us while we are going through the hardest time in our life . We were one of her first families/ patients while they were building up the EA team and that was five and a half years ago. She deserves to be nominated one of the best nurses in the world. Thank you for considering her.—Nominated by the Zaniboni family
Dori Gallagher, Boston Children’s Hospital
On May 3, 2011, at 32 weeks, we were told our child would be born with a rare form of a rare birth defect. Less than 24 hours later she was born. She wasn’t a full day old before her first surgery, which was filled with complications. Her doctors in NY saved her life but after 4 months, they recommend we be transferred to Boston. The team there specialized in her condition, the only program like it in the world. We were hesitant and scared. Our doctor called Dorothy Gallagher the coordinator of the program. Our doctor said: “You’ll be in good hands with Dori, would love to go have a beer with her,” silly as it seemed it put us at ease.
We met Dori our second day in Boston and immediately we loved her. A former New Yorker herself, she answered questions and address our concerns. We saw her daily. There was not a day she wouldn’t stop by and make sure we, too, were OK. Our daughter was one of the early patients of this program and we didn’t have the easiest road but Dori advocated for our daughter And during our hardest moments she was always our solace. We are extremely grateful for so many people at BCH, but Dori is truly #1 on that list. We now go up annually, at our last checkup in January and the post-op nurse was surprised by how well Dori knew our daughter. To this day we joke that our daughter is her favorite patient, while we begrudgingly know this is not true the fact that she makes us feel this way means so much to our family. Every family should feel like they are the favorite patient and that is how Dori makes all her patients feel.—Nominated by Silvia Cardinale
Dori Gallagher , Boston Children’s Hospita
l She goes above and beyond with our medically fragile son. She is the advocate we are all looking for when in the hospital.—Nominated by Stacy Spry
Dori Gallagher, Boston Children’s Hospital
Wherever the art of medicine is loved, there is also a love of humanity.—Hippocrates
Jason and I are so grateful and appreciative of how smoothly our journeys up to Boston Children’s Hospital go, and that is in large part due to Dori’s hard work and dedication. When I reached out for help to my EA/TEF support group, I was inundated with responses of: Call Dori at BCH. She is the one to talk to. She is quite famous in our circles.
From the minute I spoke with Dori, I felt listened to. For parents of children with medical issues, this in and of itself is so appreciated. Her knowledge and helpfulness was akin to holding hands with a parent as we crossed a busy street and navigated our way through a big city. This was quite an overwhelming experience for us, with a lot to process and absorb, but knowing we had Dori to guide us along was a comfort.
In this day of age of automated phone messages and a hurry-up attitude, it was so refreshing to partner with her. We knew we would be listened to, have our questions answered and be looked after. She has a wonderful ability to comfort, educate, and coordinate medical care for children. Never once did Jason and I feel left-out and uninformed about what Jojo would be experiencing at BCH. Thank you Dori, you are excellent at what you do. I am sure BCH is well aware and appreciative of how big your contribution is in the success of the EAT Program.—Nominated by Ellen & Jason Dove (Jojo’s parents)
Dori Gallagher , Boston Children’s Hospital
There is really only one choice for this award, Dori Gallagher. While the doctors at Children’s Hospital do unbelievable work, that is only part of a very difficult process. You meet with the doctors after surgery and speak with them, but it isn’t until after you think of many more questions. That’s where Dori comes in; it’s funny you don’t even know her last name until you’re filling something like this out. Since my son has been home, we’e run into issues with paperwork for the insurance company, that’s where Dori comes in. There are so many other ways Dori makes an extremely difficult time in our lives go smoothly, I’m not sure 300 words is enough. I will say BCH has been there for my son since 1990 and it is because of people like Dori who make our family feel like she is only assigned to us. I cannot think of an issue or need that wasn’t met, a question that wasn’t answered or a home care plan that wasn’t easy to follow. There are many staffers at BCH but there needs to be one point of contact to tie it all together, that’s where Dori comes in. We travel from the Washington, D.C., area to Boston Children’s Hospital to get first class medical care and superior support, which begins with Dori Gallagher. Our son John’s quality of life can be attributed to the doctors at BCH and our low level of stress can be attributed to Dori Gallagher. Whatever the outcome this selection committee decides, our family knows we have the best to help care for our son, Dori Gallagher. Thank you and may god bless us all. —Nominated by James Emory
Dori Gallagher , Boston Children’s Hospital
Dori was the first phone call I made hours after hearing the devastating news that my daughter had a rare birth defect, esophageal atresia. Dori calmed me down and very clearly set forth invaluable information that would guide my journey. In the months following, she was so supportive as we waited for my daughter to grow and transfer from our home in Kansas to Boston. She was instrumental in every step of the way, always responding quickly to my questions concerning my daughter’s care, the logistics of getting to Boston and endless insurance issues. She even gave me her personal cell phone number over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend to ensure everything went well with our transfer to Boston. When we made it to Boston, she was at our bedside in minutes and came by every day to check on us, give us a hug, and celebrate milestones. Since we have been home, she continues to be an incredible resource and always helps with questions, prescriptions and a million other things. Dori is incredible at her job; she is prompt, thorough, and brilliant. But she also has that special intangible quality and a beautiful heart. She deals with parents who are stressed and pushed beyond belief, and handles everyone with such care and compassion. She is a true angel to our family and we are so thankful for the love, understanding, and compassion she poured into us. Our little girl is doing great now, and it is all because of the incredible team at Boston Children’s. Dori is the face and heart of that team, and I will spend the rest of my life being thankful for her.—Nominated by Molly Gordon
Dori Gallagher , Boston Children’s Hospital
We first met Dori in October 2011. Our son was born in May 2011 with Esophageal Atresia and Charge Syndrome at another hospital in Boston. We were close to losing hope that our son would live or even be healthy enough to leave the hospital and come home. We were living a nightmare and had become desperate for answers and treatment that would help our little one. After many phone calls and transfer of medical records to her, she gave us the words that we thought we would never hear . . . “Dr. Jennings agreed to accept him as a patient and we will get him transferred to Boston Children’s . . . everything is going to be OK and we will get him healthy.” That day Dori became my sons angel. From the first day at Boston Children’s we knew that our son was in the right hands. Dori was always there for us. She always informed us of the next steps, treatment plan, prognosis, and most importantly she always gave us hope that our son was going to be OK. There was never a doubt in care and we always trusted her no matter how difficult the news may have been at the time. To this day, Dori is always there for us and our son. Even when he is hospitalized for something unrelated, she is always there to check in on him and to see if we need anything. She always takes the time even on the telephone if we have any questions or concerns. Dori holds a special place with our family and in our hearts. We thank God every day that she is in our lives and that she cares for our son Matty. We honestly do not know where our son would be today if it wasn’t for Dori Gallagher.—Nominated by Renee Libro
Dori Gallagher, Boston Children’s Hospital
I had spoken to Dori once before my baby, Mila, stopped breathing. In a panic I called Dori from Colorado for advice after Mila was given CPR. Dori walked me through how to get Mila flown to Boston and provided her spot-on clinical analysis about Mila’s congenital condition and how her team can help. In the end, the surgery that Mila received in Boston saved her life. We are eternally grateful for Dori’s analysis, responsiveness, and follow through.—Nominated by Alina Nisenzon
Dori Gallagher , Boston Children’s Hospital
When we uprooted our lives from LA and moved to Boston for an indefinite amount of time, Dori truly was a rock for us to lean on. We didn’t know what we were doing or what the road ahead looked like for us, but if it wasn’t for her quiet confidence, mothering nature, and all around disposition, those five months would have been far more excruciating. The bottom line is that we were in a very scary time. A very uncertain time. We didn’t know what the road ahead looked like for us, but we leaned heavily on Dori to help us understand everything that was going to happen to our newborn baby girl. At the same time, she was also a strong advocate to ensure we received the best care in the NICU, and often times attends to us on a very personal level. Her nurturing spirit as a mother shines through every day as a nurse, and I know whoever is lucky enough to work with her or be treated by her will undoubtedly be left with a lasting positive impression.—Nominated by Nicholas Birren
Dori Gallagher , Boston Children’s Hospital
Dori was our first connection to Boston Children’s hospital. We came with our son from Germany and needed a lot of help and someone with an open ear, and that was Dori. She was always there for us and helped us in an outstanding and excellent way. We want to say thank you.—Nominated by Kerstin Schillings Dori Gallagher Boston Children’s Hospital When our son was born in St. Louis with Esophageal Atresia and we found that he had the rarest form of the defect, one of the first people who talked to us about his prognosis in a positive and optimistic light was Dori Gallagher. Dori is the point of contact nurse for Boston Children’s Hospital’s Esophageal Atresia Treatment program and she’s usually the first reassuring and knowledgeable voice that parents of EA kids hear. She schedules consults, answers unending lists of questions from parents, and manages the doctors of the EAT program with amazing grace and a smile. She helped coordinate our transport from St. Louis, reassured our fears, and continues to support our family as our son grows and develops as a typical, thriving kid. Dori has made an immeasurable impact on our life and she more than deserves this recognition.—Nominated by Brianna Lennon
Dori Gallagher , Boston Children’s Hospital
We are from N.Y. and Dori was incredible in helping us getting our son into the EA clinic. She answered all our questions, set everything up and more. When we arrived at the hospital, she was there to greet us and made us so comfortable with our situation. She made special trips to our hospital room and was our rock the entire two weeks we were there. Best nurse I have ever met.—Nominated by Kris Blair
Dori Gallagher , Boston Children’s Hospital
Dori is a beacon of kindness and information in the chaotic EA/TEF world. All parents want is the very best care for their kids, and time after time Dori helps families get just that.—Nominated by Nicole Spiewak
Dori Gallagher, Boston Children’s Hospital
Dori is absolutely superhuman, compassionate, caring, thorough, kind, responsible, I could go on and on. My son needed to travel from California to Boston for two major surgeries in order to be treated at the esophageal atresia center. Our son, Logan, had all of his major (he has had 48 procedures) surgeries in Colorado and Minneapolis and we had no idea how to begin the process to have him admitted and taken care of clear across the county. Enter Dori, she took care of everything. She loves her patients and their families and makes everyone feel at ease. After Logan’s great success with his surgeries, we returned a year later to honor the surgeons who started this esophageal center at BCH. I needed help in arranging a party to honor the surgeon who developed the technique that saved my son’s life and those at BCH who specialize in the craft. How did I organize a party from thousands of miles away? I called Dori. With her organizational skills, we planned an entire weekend of activities that lasted three days. Over 180 people attended, some from as far away as Italy.
Dori not only helped with this, but she gave up her much-needed weekend of relaxation to attend all the parties, supply the food, drinks, and desserts. Heck, she even brought flowers from her own garden to match the color of our birth-defect theme when she couldn’t find anything at the local garden store. Her follow-up with patient’s families make you feel like she is your favorite aunt in the family. No one deserves this honor more than Dori. Just move her to the top of the list, because that’s what she does for us. We love this gal. Thanks for allowing us to honor someone who truly deserves it. —Nominated by Mara Lee Ebert
Kimberly Hayes, Boston Children’s Hospital
Kim was such a great nurse to our daughter while she was at Boston Children’s Hospital. London would ask for her by name with every one of our hospital stays. Even when Kim wasn’t our nurse she would come and see London throughout her shift. London still to this day talks about her. Kim’s compassion and love for her job shines through in her care of the children she takes care of. Kim is a shining example of what a children’s nurse should be. I can’t praise Kim anymore for her care of our daughter, even when London was on a transplant floor and having a bad day the child life specialist paged Kim who was on another floor to come and calm her down. Kim’s relaxed and joking nature always helped London to calm down even when there was a procedure she didn’t want to go through. Kim was always very attentive to my husband and me, she always took the time out to ask us how we were dealing with everything. If anyone deserves this recognition, it’s Kim.—Nominated by Leah Mello
Danielle Healy , Boston Children’s Hospital
Our baby girl Ellie was born at Brigham &Women’s Hospital this past December and then had a 6-week stay at Boston Children’s Hospital for heart surgery. While in the Cardiac ICU, exceptional nurses like Danielle, took care of Ellie day in and day out. Fortunately, Danielle was Ellie’s nurse on more than one occasion and we got to know her well. Beyond being a talented nurse, Danielle is kind, understanding, and supportive. After Ellie left the ICU and was transferred to the inpatient unit, Danielle came to visit her more than once during her lunch breaks. We will never forget Danielle or the rest of her colleagues that took such amazing care of our little girl during a very difficult time. Thank you, thank you, thank you.—Nominated by Jessica McCabe
Karen Horn , Boston Children’s Hospital
My son was born with a severe heart defect. We spent all of his six-month life on the eighth floor at Children’s. Karen was a nurse whom we had when my son was born and many times during our stay. Karen has been working in the cardiac ICU for over 20 years and her knowledge and care of the children she works with goes above and beyond. There was many times would Karen would send me a text telling me that my son had a good night and that I should let myself get some extra rest. I could fully trust her with the care of my child no matter what situation came up.
On the day my son passed away (Oct. 21), Karen was our nurse. We knew he was dying but we did not know when it would happen. Karen made sure that we had everything done that we wanted, from taking family pictures to molds of his hands and feet. As the day went on, things started to take a turn for the worse and Karen looked at me with tears in her eyes and said, “It’s going to happen today.” Karen stayed after her shift ended so that she could be there when my son passed. She took care of him until the very end, but she also took care of me. Karen came to my son’s wake and also stayed till the end. This is only my story, but I know that Karen shows every amazing quality that a good nurse should have to every family she works with. She goes above and beyond any nurse I have ever spent time with.—Nominated by Paige Caruso
Katie Hoskins , Boston Children’s Hospital
We knew the night of Feb. 1 that, after a long fight with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome and Jacobsen’s Syndrome, we were going to have to say goodbye to our four-and-one-half-month old, Mila Rose. Throughout the early morning hours, we had many doctors and nurses visit. When Katie Hoskins walked in our door just after shift change, I immediately cried, hugged her, and thanked her for loving us so well.
Katie had given us exemplary care throughout our time at Children’s. But that day it was a true gift that she was our nurse. She comforted me, kept Mila comfortable, cried with us, and interacted with our 3-year-old daughter as well. Katie allowed me to help care for Mila by bathing her and dressing her. She explained what we could expect when it came time to let Mila go. I remember that day as peaceful and not scary. Our room was filled with so much love and compassion, in great part because of Katie. Her knowledge and sharp nursing skills, her gentle and loving spirit are what make her such an amazing nurse. She provides the perfect balance of professionalism and heart in her work. We are forever grateful for Katie. She is now part our family forever.—Nominated by Lisa Bocan
Toni Imprescia, Boston Children’s Hospital
My daughter Brianna was admitted to Boston Children’s Hospital in July 2015, and diagnosed with Dilated Cardiomyopathy. Days later, without any warning, she went into cardiac arrest. She was rushed over to the ICU and was placed on the heart/lung machine. Toni Imprescia was the first ICU nurse we encountered. She was an amazing nurse who immediately eased our anxiety by her calm, compassionate, and professional nature. She explained to us everything that had happened, what had been done, what she was doing and what we could expect in the coming days. A day or two later she overheard someone from the financial department talking to us about issues with the insurance company and the potential for a huge hospital bill. Toni gave us invaluable information that assisted us in dealing with that burden. That night I asked her, “How can you do this job ?” Working with the sickest of children, day after day seemed overwhelming to me. She said, “I don’t do it for this. I do it for what comes after, you will see.” What we saw was nothing less than a miracle, after a week Brianna went into surgery, and had an LVAD (a temporary way to support the heart) placed, on Sept. 29, 2015.
Brianna underwent a successful heart transplant. When I was a child, laying in my bed, scared of the dark, my fear would go away once my dad woke and put on the kitchen light that would shine through the bottom of my bedroom door. The light would reassure me, telling me I was safe, and everything would be OK. While in our moment of fear and trepidation, Toni was that light shining through the bottom of a scared child’s bedroom door.—Nominated by Michael Seaver
Diann Antonetti, Nicole Collins, and Janet MacDonald , Boston Children’s Hospital
Janet MacDonald, Nicole Collins and Diann Antonetti are nurses in the dialysis unit at Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH). We first met them when our newborn girl was a patient at BCH. She was one month old, two weeks removed from having a kidney out, and preparing to begin Peritoneal Dialysis (PD). Adding to the intensity of the situation was the daunting news that my husband and I would be taught PD, and we would be responsible for our baby’s daily treatments when we were sent home. We laughed first. Then we cried. The idea that we would be managing her lifesaving dialysis treatments felt like too much to bear and seemed so very unlikely. Over the course of a few weeks Janet, Nicole, and Diann took turns teaching us PD in our daughter’s hospital room. At a time of great anxiety, fear, and vulnerability, these three individuals demonstrated tremendous expertise, flexibility, good humor, and compassion. Their daily teaching sessions quickly became something to look forward to- like an old friend walking through the door.
Our baby was discharged after two months in the hospital, and we happily manage a few more items than that of a typical baby- a feeding tube, dietary restrictions, and countless medications every day. Thanks to Janet, Nicole, and Diann, the nightly dialysis treatments feel like the easiest part of our day. Our daughter is six months old now, and because her dialysis is ongoing, we check in with one of these three nurses every day, along with their outstanding colleagues on the renal team. Their care for our daughter and sincere commitment to our family’s well-being is something for which we will be forever grateful.—Nominated by Kara Keenan & Brian Rodman
Julie McCarey , Boston Children’s Hospital
Julie, a young nurse, was not only a professional nurse who did her job the best that could have been done, but also showed compassion and loving care for my daughter. We really felt her true interest in my daughter’s well being. Excellent, with the patient and me, the parent. Orthopedics surgeons must be proud of her.—Nominated by Marisa Dicicco
Blake Moloney, Boston Children’s Hospital
Blake is a hoot. The quintessential pediatric nurse. He’s always upbeat, friendly, and a perfect mix of comedian and highly competent RN. Working in a pediatric practice where procedures are often done, it is really a joy to work with Blake. Even the most nervous boy or girl is totally at ease and laughing within minutes of walking through the door. Because that’s what Blake does, he makes kids feel comfortable, at ease, and well cared for.—Nominated by Carolyn Rogers-Vizena Carla Moriarty Boston Children’s Hospital Carla is an incredible OR nurse. She cares about patients so much and it shows. She wears her heart on her sleeve. She also cares for her co-workers, and frequently makes lunch for her colleagues because she worries they don’t get enough nutrition. If my child ever needed surgery, I would want Carla to be in the operating room with him/her.—Nominated by Justin Barad
Carla Moriarty , Boston Children’s Hospital
Carla is a daily ray of sunshine as OR nurse at BCH. She takes extra care of patients, making them feel comfortable and tells them jokes during one of the more stressful times of their small lives. She puts her patients first every day. In addition, she is a welcoming joy to all staff. She has an incredibly positive attitude that makes everyone’s day better. Her attitude lends to better teamwork by all, resulting in better patient care. I salute Carla.—Nominated by Amanda Whitaker
Abby Munson , Boston Children’s Hospital
Shortly after meeting Abby, I told my family she was like an angel sent from heaven (and I am not religious). I was very stressed, as my daughter had just had brain surgery and was going through a difficult recovery. Abby took amazing care of my daughter and also me. She made sure that my daughter had everything she needed and assured me I did not have to feel bad that my daughter was yelling at everyone who entered the room. She talked to me about normal everyday things to take my mind off of what was really going on with my daughter and definitely lowered my anxiety level. She was professional, calm, knowledgeable, and reassuring and we were lucky to have her as our nurse. Thank goodness for Abby Munson. I will never forget her.—Nominated by Amy LePage
Rhonda Gropman , Boston Children’s Hospital
I have worked alongside Rhonda for over four years in our outpatient neurology practice at Boston Children’s at Peabody. She is dedicated to her job and her patients. She receives innumerable phone calls each day from parents who have children with complex medical and psychological needs. She is a great listener and shows compassion to each and every patient and parent she comes in contact with. She is so knowledgeable and does an amazing job educating parents. She ensures that patients receive exceptional care. All of the physicians, nurse practitioners, and administrative staff who work with her adore her just as much as our patients and families do. Thank you for everything you do every day, Rhonda.—Nominated by Melissa McGinn
Olivia Oppel, Boston Children’s Hospital
Olivia Oppel is a tremendous example of outstanding leadership in patient support and care. Olivia works closely with newborn babies born with cleft lip and palate. Due to the nature of the cleft palate diagnosis, many of the children suffer from immediate feeding issues following birth. Specialty cleft-feeding bottles are used to ease the feeding process. However, the cost for families to use the cleft-feeding bottles can cause quite a financial burden, especially since families are only given one in clinic and must purchase the rest on their own. Olivia noted the financial hardship facing many families for an item that is such a clinical necessity and decided to submit a grant to the feeding bottle company to request a donation. Per her grant request, she was awarded 400 bottles, a value of approximately $10,000. Families are now able to receive several bottles during their clinic visit. Olivia’s actions went beyond the notion of simply treating the patient’s physical health. She was concerned with the financial and emotional health of families and went out of her way to calm their worries of an increased financial burden.—Nominated by Angela Bacon
Emily Powell , Boston Children’s Hospital
Emily was the nurse for our 4-year-old daughter, Maggie, who was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) in November 2015. In total, Maggie spent nearly 40 unexpected days inpatient at Boston Children’s Hospital and Emily was the primary nurse assigned to Maggie’s care. Aside from Emily’s complete competency as a nurse, she connected with Maggie on such a personal level making her stay at the hospital dare I say, an enjoyable one. Maggie called Emily her “best friend” and they developed a sweet bond that created a level of trust for Maggie that assisted with her treatment, including taking her medicine. Emily went out of her way to make Maggie feel special. Not only was Emily exceptional with Maggie, she was great at handling us as parents as well. She took the time to patiently answer our questions and explain things as many times as we needed. She was informative, compassionate, and understanding of our situation. She showed a real interest in our family, but most importantly, Maggie. Emily was Maggie’s first introduction to the medical care she will receive over the course of the next two years. To have such a positive experience has definitely helped Maggie adjust to this new normal and has laid the foundation for Maggie’s perception moving forward. Throughout Maggie’s stay at the hospital it was not unusual to hear her remark about how much fun it was there. She had this attitude despite the pain and discomfort she was in. Emily had a lot to do with that. As a parent, knowing the intense medical battle Maggie was fighting, we were absolutely blown away by Maggie’s point for view. We couldn’t have been more grateful that her experience was one that she has such positive thoughts about.—Nominated by Renee Hawk
Samantha Rosen , Boston Children’s Hospital
There are no words to convey what Sam has done for our family. Our son Carrick was born with AML and from day one until today she has been a great support. We recently discovered Carrick is in heart failure due to the chemo. This year at Christmas we yet again were inpatient at BCH. Sam immediately came to see, Christmas gifts and fellow nurses in hand. She checked on us everyday even though we were no longer on the oncology floor. Three hundred words is just not enough to say how wonderful Sam is.—Nominated by Crista Wood
Rebecca Sherlock, Boston Children’s Hospital
Nurse practitioner Rebecca Sherlock’s dedication to her patients extends well beyond the walls of Boston Children’s Hospital. Rebecca is clinical coordinator for the Spina Bifida Center, where she knows her patients on a personal level and provides individualized care. Inside the hospital, she helps families navigate the multiple specialties this complex diagnosis requires, responding quickly to parent worries and building a strong sense of trust with patients and families.
Outside the hospital, Rebecca serves as the board chair of the Spina Bifida Association of Greater New England, spending a significant amount of her off-duty time volunteering for an organization that provides tremendous support to many of her patients. Last spring, one of my daughter’s physicians decided my daughter needed a cast to help heal a wound on her foot. I knew Lena’s semi-formal dance was a few days later and worried that she would be upset to wear a cast with her fancy dress.
Rebecca engaged Lena in a conversation about the dance, suggested we coordinate the cast to the dress, and even recommended a store that sold matching accessories. Lena left there as happy as can be and later gave Rebecca all the credit for what a great time she had at the dance. This is just one example of what Rebecca manages to do every day, taking kids with complex medical challenges, giving them top-notch clinical care, and then sending them off with a smile on their faces.—Nominated by Aimee Williamson
Critical Care Transport Team, Boston Children’s Hospital
I am a long-time employee of Boston Children’s Hospital who worked for nine years with the Critical Care Transport Team both as an administrative assistant and communications specialist in the late 1990s. I have been in the medical field for a long time and have learned quite a bit, but my experience with this world class team was unimaginable. What they do and how they do it seems to go unnoticed in so many ways. This team can take a baby that is prematurely delivered and transport it with expertise to the hospital where the child will grow and live to go home. Then they turn around and travel through a snow storm when no medical helicopter can travel to pick up a young trauma patient. And all the while, they are treating not only the emergency of the patient in front of them but the family that is in turmoil. They are truly amazing and deserve to be highly recognized and honored. They wouldn’t think so because they do it out of love and respect for life.—Nominated by Debra Ricottelli
Mary Beth Sylvia , Boston Children’s Hospital
During the past year that I’ve worked with Mary Beth, she’s shown such benevolence toward every single one of her patients. She has a true passion for her work and it really shows in her treatment of the patients and her colleagues. Mary Beth has taught me that teamwork really does make a difference. It helps the clinic run smoothly for the administrative staff and healthcare providers, but it also ensures that the patients and their families will have a better experience. She’s shown all of us that on a team, no one is subordinate to anyone else because we all need to put in the same amount of effort. The patients deserve no less than the best that we can give them. Mary Beth has really been exemplary of this statement. She is an amazing healthcare provider and I am so lucky and proud to have had the opportunity to work with and for her.—Nominated by Linda Han
Jena Teuber, Boston Children’s Hospital
Being in the hospital months at a time is always hard but one thing that got me through these hardships is the extraordinary care from Boston Children’s Hospital’s 9 south pediatric nurse Jennifer Tueber. Jena always treats every patient with respect and is very caring and compassionate towards her patients and also her co workers. Jena always displays professionalism and takes pride in everything she does. Jena has been taking care of me in the hospital for over five months and she always treated me with care and respect, she truly cares about her patients with all her heart. Jena ensures her patients are comfortable and advocates for her patients when they are unable to do so. When I got transferred to a different floor in the hospital Jena always comes to visit even after my major surgery she came to make sure my family and I were OK and that I was recovering well and healing. Jena communicates to the doctors and her co-workers how her patients are doing and if they have any problems questions or concerns. Jena displays professionalism, compassion, clinical competency, excellent communication, trust in care, and advocating for patients. Jena has really impacted me in more ways than one she has inspired me to become a nurse and be just like her.—Nominated by Laura Wyne
Kristina Tracy , Boston Children’s Hospital
Even Kristina couldn’t save my daughter. She tried tirelessly, relentlessly, boldly, compassionately, and spectacularly. After almost two months in the MICU, Catherine died on AUG. 8, 2015, of complications from metastatic sarcoma cancer. Kristina was Catherine’s lead nurse. Kristina took care of Catherine (and our family) as if Catherine were her younger sister. The two formed an immediate bond late at night when Catherine was in pain and couldn’t sleep and Kristina would literally work all night to adjust Catherine’s pillows and heat packs to make her comfortable. They would talk about life, boys, TV shows, etc. In high school they both played field hockey and wore the number 16. They both sang in their high school elite singing group. Kristina was closer in age to Catherine than she was to me.
Kristina advocated relentlessly for Catherine, making sure she had the right attention from doctors and the right drugs to make her comfortable. She was a fierce protector of Catherine. After her shift she would go home and research Catherine’s very rare cancer and come into work the next day with suggestions for Catherine’s team. Kristina would bring shampoo and toiletries from home so she could bathe Catherine in the manner to which a 16 year old is accustomed. Kristina would bring me coffee in the morning when she arrived for her 7 a.m. shift. On the night Catherine died, Kristina came in to the MICU when she wasn’t on duty. She took over and orchestrated the most loving and peaceful death that one could possibly ask for in a MICU. Kristina is an incredible nurse.—Nominated by Jennifer Goodwin
Jill Twomey-McLaughlin, Boston Children’s Hospital
The idea of needles plunging into my skin terrifies me every four weeks at Boston Children’s Hospital at the Center for Ambulatory Treatment and Clinical Research. Jill, a Child Life Specialist, is the shining beacon of hope that gets me through.
Ever since I began my infusion journey three years ago, she was the first face I met. Her bright, friendly face conveyed a nurturing soul; I trusted her instantly. I knew from that moment all would be well. Jill sets out my favorite movies and magazines, along with ice packs, blankets, and little gifts. She once gave me a Keep Calm and Carry On poster that reminds me despite anxiety, I can move forward. Jill holds my hand during the IV placement, talks to me, and doesn’t let go until the catheter is inserted. Even at 23 years old, Jill makes me feel at ease and not ashamed of my needle anxiety.
I’ll never forget one special gesture. My photographer friend wanted to photograph my infusion. Jill went out of her way to contact the appropriate staff, and my friend was granted permission. Wearing a blue princess dress, teal high heels, and a tiara, I smiled into the camera, feeling beautiful with my hospital bracelet and hooked up to IVs. The picture was featured on the Boston Children’s Hospital Facebook page, where it has more than 4,000 likes and hundreds of words of encouragement from people I’e never met. On days when I’m feeling tired, I’ll look at the comments and be grateful for the inspiring words. I have Jill to thank for it all.
I look forward to my infusion visits because of Jill. My time there has become my safe haven. And I know Jill will be there with a smile to welcome me back every time.—Nominated by Lauren Feeney
Boston College Health Services
Boston College Health Services
Donna Warner is a nurse at Boston College Health Services Primary Care Center who has worked the nightshift for several years. Donna is an amazing nurse and colleague. She demonstrates incredible compassion, clinical competency, and trust while working with the college population. Donna has cared for and advocated for thousands of Boston College students over the course of many years. She is a true professional who never waivers in her calm and steady manner while dealing with even the most intense college health situations. She is a wonderful nurse mentor, colleague, and friend. Her colleagues at BCHS wish to honor Donna by nominating her for the Boston Globe Salute to Nurses. It is well deserved.—Nominated by Mary-Beth Muckian, BSN, RN; Maureen Mullowney, BSN, RN; Jaqui Mullowney, BSN, RN
Sonya Cruz , Boston IVF I
have had the pleasure of being Sonya’s patient for the past six years. She has been an instrumental part in the building of my family. Her compassion and care is extraordinary. Whether she is delivering bad news or good news, she is always patient, caring, and incredibly calming. I always wanted to hear her voice on the end of the phone when receiving any kind of results or news (good or bad). She is an amazing and compassionate nurse who is exceptional at her job. I can’t thank her enough for all her support and love while helping my husband and I expand our family.—Nominated by Liz Levesque
Heidi Atherton, Boston IVF, The Brookline Center
I was approved for my medication the week of Christmas. When I was to start my medicine, I hadn’t gotten it yet. She stayed late to ensure I had my medication before they closed early for the holiday. She was on the phone most of the day trying to get another carrier to allow my medication, due to my provider not being open on the holiday. This woman and the whole staff at Brookline IVF helped me so I stayed on track for that current cycle. I’m so grateful to have such an amazing team by my side during this time. I’m grateful for all their hard work.—Nominated by Sandra Barillot Susan Barry Boston IVF, The Brookline Center Susan Barry is an amazing nurse. She has such compassion for her patients who are trying to get pregnant. Dr. Riley depends on Susan to answer all their questions. Patients call her all the time about the concerns they have when they do conceive.—Nominated by Patricia Monsini
Boston Medical Center
Saliha Abdal-Khabir , Boston Medical Center
Saliha is a nurse extraordinaire. Having worked with her in our clinic for several years, I have witnessed her compassion on numerous occasions. She has warm, caring relationships with our patients. She puts them at ease when they are nervous, encourages them when they have made strides (whether this be smoking cessation, weight loss, or medication adherence), engages with their children who have come to the appointment with them, and genuinely expresses her empathy. Whenever she is out, our patients always ask if she is OK and when she will return.
Beyond her compassion, Saliha demonstrates a clinical competency and calm under fire that is exemplary. When a patient developed an acute reaction during a clinic visit, Saliha immediately called for an ambulance, assisted with our response to the situation, and was extremely effective in calming the patient down. She even accompanied the patient to the emergency room. Ultimately, Saliha is a nurse who cares for her patients and advocates for them; patients in turn trust her, and clinicians admire her. I am profoundly grateful for having had the chance to work with her.—Nominated by Natasha Hochberg
Saliha Abdal-Khabir , Boston Medical Center
Saliha Abdal-Khabir is a highly devoted, compassionate nurse who has been a powerful advocate for patients in our clinic. She helps with travelers, HIV+ patients, and recent immigrants and refugees. She works overtime to help make sure their needs are met. She communicates extremely well with patients and providers. She has been an absolute pleasure to work with and one of the best nurses with whom I have worked in the last 25 years.—Nominated by Davidson Hamer
Carol Crosslin, Boston Medical Center
Carol Crosslin has been a dedicated nurse with Boston Medical Center for well over 25 years. I have had the privilege to work with her personally for 10 years. Carol is an outstanding nurse in the Orthopedic Surgery Department. The practice is extremely busy and Carol handles it with grace each day. She is knowledgeable, compassionate to our patients, and well respected by her colleagues. Carol will always put the patient first and will always go out for each one. We often have patients who are in pain in wheelchairs and stretchers and Carol treats them like her own family. She will assess their sugar levels, assist them with oxygen, transport them to radiology, or even take them to the bathroom. I am grateful that she is a part of our department. She brings our quality of care to another level with her wisdom, intelligence, and compassion. I am thankful to work with her each day.—Nominated by Melissa Poleo
Cynthia Funderburg , Boston Medical Center
Cynthia Funderburg has been administering chemotherapy and immunotherapy to cancer patients for decades. She is so very graceful, honest, organized, humble, and effective. There is no patient scenario, acute or chronic, that she can’t handle almost effortlessly. Whether it is being the best at gaining venous access or deftly managing all the psychosocial, cultural, and medical challenges, she zeroes in on any vulnerability and patches it. Cynthia is a true professional who helps patients in the most dangerous period of their lives. Beloved by all, she is much admired among Boston’s best.—Nominated by Omar Eton
Virginia Gaudiel , Boston Medical Center
Virginia Gaudiel is a committed labor and delivery nurse who has decades of experience training nurses with varying levels of education. Her patience and calm demeanor make her a delight to learn from. Ginny’s influence can be seen in each nurse’s practice on the unit. She promotes dialogue within the interdisciplinary team to provide patient-centered care. She relentlessly advocates for her patients in all aspects of care, including pain management, cultural competency, community resources, and guidance during the labor process. Ginny’s ability to ease the concerns of her patients stems from the evident aura of experience demonstrated in her holistic practice.—Nominated by Crystal Alcantara
Karen Higgins, Boston Medical Center
Our Family would like to see this nurse honored for all the kindness she showed us when our 72-year-old mother fell and was sent to her unit. There were 12 of us and she knew how to answer each of our questions and how to handle us individually. I can’t say enough about how grateful we all are. She helped to put our minds at ease.—Nominated by Debbie Winer
Maryann Lyons , Boston Medical Center
Maryann Lyons works at Boston Medical Center in the department of oral and maxillofacial oncology. She is a great advocate for patients, making sure they get the care and treatment needed. Maryann takes great pride, making sure she is there when they need her.—Nominated by Sillorys Caminero
Suzy Messer, Boston Medical Center
When a person makes such a significant impact on your life it is hard to find the right words to precisely convey your appreciation for them. But I’ll do my best because Suzy Messer, a labor and delivery nurse at Boston Medical Center, is so very deserving of being recognized. I am writing as my 3-month-old daughter, Autumn, sleeps soundly in my lap. Often times, I look at her and can’t help but think of her journey into this world and specifically the individuals who ensured her swift and safe delivery. Being a nurse myself, I thought I was so prepared for the birth of my daughter but, now I know, that nothing can ever prepare you for childbirth. After 17 hours of laboring at home, I arrived at the hospital in pain and feeling overwhelmingly exhausted and scared. Suzy showed us to our room around 7 p.m. and didn’t leave my side for the greater majority of her 12-hour night shift. When I reflect upon some of the most difficult parts of my labor experience, I remember only hearing Suzy’s calming, encouraging voice and feeling her hug, rock, and sway with me through each painful contraction. In a time where so little was in my control, Suzy held me (and my husband) together. She was exactly who/what we needed. It’s a tricky thing to make childbirth in the hospital setting a truly intimate experience but Suzy made that possible for us. She is not only smart and creative but she practices with her whole heart and we felt it. I can assure you that she will always have a special place in our hearts and our little family. It’s an extraordinary thing to receive care from someone who truly embodies the spirit of nursing in such a profound way.—Nominated by Rachele Williams
Suzy Messer , Boston Medical Center
Suzy Messer is a dependable, knowledgeable and selfless colleague who serves as an exemplary role model for both new graduates and seasoned nurses alike. As a Labor & Delivery nurse, she always remains at the patient’s bedside and consistently provides amazing support and encouragement when they need it the most. She adapts to each unique patient, providing personalized nursing care. She creates a bond that establishes a relationship rooted in trust amidst the miraculous moments of childbirth. Suzy’s colleagues look forward to a night when she is working because they know that no matter how busy it gets, she will always lend a helping hand.—Nominated by Sabrina Caraffa
Bernadine O’Donnell, Boston Medical Center
My mother is a fantastic nurse. I always knew that, but I never knew what it really meant until I became a nurse myself. When a patient simply holds my hand and thanks me, I now know how my mother feels.
I never understood how wildly intelligent she was until I learned all the components she had to juggle, the values she had to keep in her mind, the complicated medications she had to give, and how unstable the patients she cares for can be.
I never understood how thoughtful she was to not only me, but also to everyone she meets until she told me of a patient from 10 years ago who she learned now mentions her in his motivational speeches.
I never understood how special being a nurse makes her until I became one myself. I have always admired and been inspired by my mother. Her influence has made me a better person, friend, daughter, and girlfriend. Now she inspires me to be a better nurse, a job that I love and value, which is something else we share.—Nominated by Katie O’Donnell
Linda Snow , Boston Medical Center
It is always the quiet ones, the unassuming people who give the most but without the fanfare. Even people who work with them everyday may not really know the full extent of all that they do that affects others. This really describes Linda Snow. She has been a nurse at Boston Medical Center for 15 years and for about 5 years my coworker in the Cancer Care Center. BMC cares for many patients who have limited resources and language barriers. Patients often do not have the family support they need to go through treatment. Linda cares for many complex patients, mainly working with lung, head, and neck cancers. I have witnessed the emotional and even financial support she provides. Linda has often brought breakfast and slipped patients money to get transport home. As a coworker, she is always willing to help when things get busy and lend a hand. These are just some of the reasons I and other coworkers feel Linda Snow should be recognized in the Boston Globe Salute to Nurses.—Nominated by Margie Garity
Briarwood Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center
Kulsom Nsereko, Briarwood Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center
I interacted with Kulsom for the last three years at the skilled nursing facility where my parents resided until my mother passed in November and my father followed soon thereafter. Kulsom was incredible with them and amazingly supportive to us (five daughters) in some very trying times. She is one of the most caring and yet professional and no nonsense individuals I have encountered in the medical profession. She is direct but effective and her compassion has been demonstrated many times, hugs included. Early on, as I observed her working, I saw not only a high level of competence but an uncanny ability to figure out what worked best for each individual. It’s a very challenging environment with challenging patients but her patience was amazing. My dad, who had severe dementia, could physically resist even just having his blood pressure taken, but Kulsom became someone he knew and trusted. And my mother, who suffered a severe brain injury, was incredibly distrustful of so many people and things there, but Kulsom won her over as well. And I saw her do it with others. She also had to deal with the families, like us, with varied opinions, who are often unhappy about something, but she made you feel heard. One of us was there scrutinizing and advocating every single day. But it became clear that Kulsom was my parents’ advocate as well, and I was comforted when I knew she was there because she had their well-being, and ours, at heart. I don’t think nurses in these facilities get their just rewards. Kulsom excelled not just in providing treatments but in providing a sense of trust, and comfort, when there was no treatment left. She even contacted me again recently just to see how we were doing Simply amazing.—Nominated by Christine Mason
Kim Burns, Bridgewell, Inc.
I am manager of a group home for the developmentally disabled. Kim Burns is the program nurse for the five individuals who live at Lakewood Terrace. In this role, she continually goes above and beyond my expectations for the role as program nurse. She is always available for appointments and always advocates strongly for this vulnerable population. She also ensures that any questions about needed treatments or doctor visits are quickly and accurately answered.—Nominated by Mike Jascowski
Kim Burns , Bridgewell, Inc.
Over the past year Kimberly has demonstrated compassion for our residents, has been a tireless advocate, and through use of her clinical skills has been able to help many of our residents. Kimberly is a nurse consultant in our 24/7 Care Residential group homes. On a Sunday night, she drove from New Hampshire to Mass General Hospital to assist a resident in advocating for her care while she was being admitted. Kimberly has shown compassion for our residents by always being there to assist them when they have a concern, and attending appointments with them if they ask. Kimberly has been able to show her clinical skills by ensuring that our residents are able to explore alternatives to traditional medication. As such she has been able to assist one of our residents in having her medication switched to a medication that does not require frequent blood draws as this was a source of anxiety for this individual.— Nominated by Vincent Van Der Linden
Elma Chauke, Bridgewell, Inc
I would like to nominate Elma Chauke, RN. Over the past year Elma has demonstrated compassion, dedication, and commitment to the individuals we serve. Elma works as a nurse in Residential Group homes, she has been instrumental in assisting us in obtaining massage therapy services specifically targeting those residents who are in wheelchairs. Elma is always available for consultation, and is a tireless advocate for our residents. She ensures that our medications are and remain in great shape, through use of her clinical expertise and skills. We would like to thank Elma for all she has and continues to do for us.— Nominated by Vincent Van Der Linden
Courtney Murphy , Bridgewell, Inc.
Courtney Murphy is the healthcare coordinator for the Bridgewell, Lowell/Merrimack Valley Region. As such, I have had the pleasure of working with her in many situations and found she dedicates herself to the professional development of those she encounters while encouraging and aiding both residential staff and those within their care to obtain the best possible care. Additionally, she has shown herself to be innovative in her field, creative in her solutions, and is able to include all involved parties when trying to obtain a solution.
She frequently travels and attends appointments and meetings for residents in need of care when other nurses are not available. She always maintains up to date information, advocates for everyone in her care, and is able to communicate findings effortlessly to staff, providing continuity of care. She always seeks to expand on her clinical skills and has been able to assist and educate staff and community members on appropriate care and advocacy for our residents.
One example of her efforts was the instrumental education and examples that she was able to provide to staff in the healing of a very deep wound of one of the residents. Due to her efforts, the wound healed quickly and has not returned. We would like to salute Courtney and thank her for everything she does.—Nominated by Vincent Van Der Linden
Courtney Murphy , Bridgewell, Inc.
I admire and respect Courtney Murphy, who is a healthcare coordinator of residential services for Bridgewell. Over the three years that I have worked with Courtney, I have seen the many hats that she wears. She is a nurse who provides direct care to individuals in their times of need; she is a nurse educator who works tirelessly to teach the direct care staff how to confidently carry out various nursing skills; and she is a manager who leads by example to motivate her nurses to provide compassionate, competent care. Courtney takes the time to get to know each individual she serves on a personal level. She seeks to understand them in order to make sure that they are receiving the best possible care under Bridgewell’s services. She cheerfully volunteers to take on tasks that may seem daunting to some.
I recall one particular day that Courtney was at my program when an individual was homesick. When Courtney went into his room to check on him, he appeared disgruntled and reported to her that he had refused to shower that morning. Although this is not part of her routine job duties, Courtney, without hesitation, gave him a shower herself. More recently, an individual with remarkable psychiatric and medical challenges moved into a new residential program. Courtney stayed at the program from the time he moved in until the last medication was administered at 11 p.m. in order to provide support and ensure that the transition went smoothly for the resident as well as the staff who cared for him. Courtney is always receptive to questions and concerns and assists with devising successful plans for care. It is for all of these reasons and more that I wholeheartedly salute her.—Nominated by Jamie Hersey
Courtney Murphy , Bridgewell, Inc.
I am the manager of a group home for the developmentally disabled. Courtney was acting as the program nurse for the five individuals who live at Lakewood Terrace. In this role, she continually went above and beyond my expectations for the role as program nurse. She was always available for appointments, always advocated strongly that this vulnerable population always be treated fairly and thoroughly. She also ensured any questions about needed treatments or doctor visits were quickly and accurately answered.—Nominated by Mike Jascowski
Grace Martins , Bridgewell, Inc.
Over the summer of 2015 one of my residents suffered from a massive stroke and doctors were not very optimistic. This individual fought hard and was able to return to his group home because of a nurse who advocated for him and ensured that his staff would be able to care for him at the level he needed. This nurse is RN Grace Martins, who is also Bridgewell’s nursing manager. Once he was cleared to come home, Grace made sure that every single staff working with him was fully trained. This meant that Grace was working very long days and would come into our house to conduct trainings at midnight or 5 a.m. (sometimes both). The trainings were not easy and she was training many staff that did not have much (if any) medical background. They ranged from using mechanical lifts to how to administer food and medications through a G-Tube. She even pulled a few all-nighters and stayed here all night with him to make sure he was receiving the care he needed at night, allowing me to sleep so I could provide the best care possible during the day. Grace always had a smile on her face and made sure trainings were thorough, whether at noon or midnight. Without her dedication, compassion, and advocacy, his quality of life wouldn’t have improved as much as it did.—Nominated by Shannon Winn
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Ann,Pam, Ellen, Mary Beth, Karen, Jo-Anne, Stephanie, Patti, Maureen, Pauline, Kathy and Kristin
Brigham and Women’s Day Surgery, Foxborough
Unfortunately I have been to the hospital five times within the past year for surgery. Fortunately it has been to the day surgery at B&W in Foxborough. This is the greatest team effort to be found. All nurses are extremely attentive at one time or another. Comfort before and after surgery is their motto. All are very kind and friendly during my stay. They constantly stop by to make sure I am comfortable before and after surgery all with smiles and asking, “What can I do for you Mr. Smith?” They greet me as I walk in with smiles and pleasantries. If they are not assigned to me on a particular visit they stop by to chat and catch up on how I have been doing. I cannot pick out one nurse as they are a team and I am so fortunate to be there with them I salute all nurses wherever they may be, but the nurses at B&W Day Surgery in Foxboro are the best. God Bless them. I thank them for being there to care for me, and although I prefer not to have the surgical procedures, but I will probably be back there in a few months and walking through the door to the unit is very comforting for me.—Nominated by Mel Smith
Hayley McGrath , Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Hayley is a wonderful, caring RN, polite and kind. She goes out of her way to help her coworkers, her patients, and their guests. One particular patient was difficult to deal with because his disease was now affecting his mental status. One moment he was forceful, verbally abusive and belligerent. The next he was barely interactive. Throughout it all Hayley maintained her calm, cool exterior and only ever treated him with the utmost respect and dignity. He was a handful for sure. As his prognosis grew more acute and life-threatening, she continued to provide him with the best of care. She recognized his wife’s concerns and often found resolution for all of them. She gave an information-filled pass off at change of shift that never allowed you to feel in the dark about any aspect of the care. If I was in the hospital requiring care Hayley would be the one I want to take care of me. It is an honor to work with her and learn from her.—Nominated by Cynthia Bannon
Laura Barrett , Brigham and Women’s Hospital
I am nominating my coworker Laura Barrett because she displays competency in many ways ranging from correctly identifying patient needs to taking charge of the unit and helping out her co-workers whenever necessary following and being aware of updates or changes in treatment protocols as well as sensitively and compassionately interacting with both the patients and their family members. She advocates for the patient by communicating effectively with the physicians and other members of the care team about patients’ needs, well being, and concerns ranging from getting a dietician consult to obtaining a written order allowing the patient to leave the floor for some fresh air. She actively involves the patient in their care by keeping them abreast of any medication changes scheduled testing or changes to the patient plan of care. She is also very honest and kind to her patients their family members and well as to her coworkers and other staff. She is very positive and has a good sense of humor, which is appreciated by her patients, their family members and her co-workers. She has proven time and again that she is dedicated and is not afraid of hard work. I strongly believe she is deserving of recognition for all the good work that she has done and continues to do.—Nominated by Dominica Campbell
Mary Berry , Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Last February, I entered Brigham & Women’s Hospital to give birth to my first baby. It was then that I met nurse Mary Berry. Nurse Berry stayed by my side through a very difficult delivery that lasted 30 hours and culminated in an emergency Cesarean procedure. She even returned early the following days to be able to spend extra time with me before her shift to assist in my recovery and help manage my newborn Ethan, who was having breathing problems. Nurse Berry clearly loves her job and is a superstar at it. She gave me the physical, mental, and psychological care that I needed to begin healing and to care for my baby. Her bedside manner is so calming during the pain of labor, and I will never forget her true concern and care in the days that followed. Nurse Berry deserves to be saluted for her wonderful work in bringing new life to this world.—Nominated by Eugenia Coleman
Tricia Blaine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
My wife was diagnosed with cancer after we learned she was pregnant with our first child. We were overcome with juxtaposed and powerful emotions: exhilaration about our baby and distress about my wife’s health. We had begun a new ride on the proverbial roller coaster. This is a story about two nurses who helped us endure the ride: our baby’s caretakers, Tricia and Phil.
Mira was born at 29 weeks and began her stay at the NICU on Feb. 12. Immediately we were greeted by Tricia and Phil who stood like compassionate soldiers beside Mira in her incubator, poised to take excellent care of her. They reassured us that although Mira would encounter ups and downs, she would get through this. Mira was doing wonderfully for about three weeks, but then one afternoon, she began having repeated apnea spells, her color turned grey, and she became unresponsive to stimulation. Quickly, Phil recognized Mira was ill, supported her with oxygen, and moved her to immediate, enhanced care. Her life was at stake. She had developed sepsis. This was an extremely stressful time, as Mira began antibiotic treatment, had a spinal tap, x-rays, brain EEG recordings, ultrasounds, and endured numerous intravenous sticks and blood draws. Yet, through all of this, Tricia and Phil maintained calm and worked patiently and tirelessly to care and advocate for Mira, while also attentively addressing our questions and concerns, mine sometimes pointed (perhaps annoying). Slowly, Mira started to improve, and one week after treatment began, she awoke as if she was a newly born child, with spunk, flare, and maybe even a bit of attitude. We were elated to see Mira well again. We owe gratitude for the care that Mira received from Tricia and Phil. They literally saved her life, and helped us endure this ride.—Nominated by Clint Canal
Katherine Brooks , Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Katherine Brooks is a newly graduated nurse who began practice a year ago. She works on an oncology/palliative care unit. As her coworker over the past six months I have seen Katherine display maturity and professionalism beyond her years, allowing her patients and their family members to feel at ease and confident that they will receive the best care possible. On our unit we deal with end-of-life issues on a daily basis, which can be difficult for young inexperienced staff. Katherine has taken the reins over the first year and really excelled in this area. She is compassionate and empathic and listens to her patients’ wishes developing an appropriate plan of care that maximizes comfort and dignity for these very sick patients. It is rare to find such a young nurse who is so talented and gifted in nursing. I feel very lucky to practice alongside her.—Nominated by Karen Legere
Mary Cote , Brigham and Women’s Hospital
I work with Mary at BWH on the cardiac surgical step-down unit. She is a senior level RN, a nurse in charge for the night shift and works 40 hours per week. I have been at BWH for 14 years and she has worked there for over 20 years. She is compassionate with her patients, spending time with them, chatting with them, and just getting to know them on a personal level that enables both to develop trust with each other. She is a true champion when it comes to being her patient’s advocate. She is the voice of her patients when she talks to a doctor about procedures, a medication, or a lab. If the patient is extremely unstable she is there making sure that they are safe and being cared for. As a nurse in charge for the night shift she deals with not only patient issues but all staffing issues. She will be the first one to stay late if needed. She advocates for colleagues and is a dependable resource for all staff.
Our unit is a specialized unit, mechanical circulatory support with specific types of ventricular assist devices that are used by patients to pump blood through their heart. Mary’s knowledge of these machines is extensive. She has trained many nurses on how these machines work. The best way to put it is that if as a nurse, if I were sick I would want Mary to be my nurse.—Nominated by Debbie Reynolds
Frank Denaro , Brigham and Women’s Hospital
I had a stem cell transplant in 2007. Like many patients I have dealt with an ongoing post-transplant complication called Graft Versus Host Disease. Frank is my nurse at my weekly pheresis appointments that help manage the GVHD I spend 3-4 hours hooked up to a machine. I have had more than 200 such treatments.
There is an art and a science to excellent nursing, and Frank is a master of both. He always finds my vein, which is a real gift for those of us who receive multiple treatments. He expertly monitors my condition during treatment and makes adjustments. He communicates my condition to the attending physicians to ensure we are all on the same page. But more than performing his job at the highest level of proficiency, Frank understands the human component of nursing. He knows when to chat, when to back off. When to joke, when to simply offer a supportive nod or hand squeeze. He not only cares for me as a patient, he cares about me as a person. He has the gift of being able to be serious about the work without having an overly serious demeanor. He radiates positivity and good cheer. His colleagues love him and so do his patients. In short, knowing I’ll be hanging out with Frank makes me almost look forward to my treatments. I think that’s the highest praise any patient can offer.—Nominated by Esther Zaff
Sara Dagen , Brigham and Women’s Hospital
I had an aneurysm clipped in 2013 and Sara was amazing. She provided me with her personal e-mail to reach out to her whenever I had questions post op and would respond to my e-mails promptly even on the weekends she still even now will answer my e-mails and all my questions no matter the time or day. She was so caring and compassionate with me before during and after my treatment.—Nominated by Elizabeth Vazquez Aguilar
Mary (Tricia) Flynn , Brigham and Women’s Hospital
I am nominating my colleague Mary (Tricia) Flynn for her kind and compassionate care she gives everyone of her patients. She takes care of not only patients’ physical needs but is empathetic and offers emotional support. She is an experienced clinician and is always available to help new staff. She has many years experience and uses her skills to optimize patient outcomes. She is a role model patient advocate and dedicated nurse who I am proud to work with.—Nominated by Anne McCormack
Hallie Greenberg, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
I would like to say thank you to Hallie for being my preceptor. She is so committed and dedicated, the very essence of what a nurse should be. She always anticipate the needs of others and acts on any event that may arise when interacting with patients.She goes beyond the call of duty for patients and families. She is involved in being accountable and committed to promoting health and wellness to her patients. Hallie provides patients with outstanding care. be. She is committed to the educational needs of her students and staff nurses and allows them to grow into competent and caring nurses.—Nominated by Sue Vargas
Nancy Kelleher, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
It is my pleasure and honor to nominate Nancy Kelleher, RN MSN, for the Salute to Nurses. I have worked with Nancy as a care coordinator for five years.
Nancy has been a care coordinator at BWH assigned to 14B, a GMS unit with medically complex patients, working very closely and collaboratively with many members of the interdisciplinary team. She is described as a most valued member of the team and stands out as one of the best individuals to work at BWH. She is extraordinarily flexible, willing to meet early or late with the team patients and families. She demonstrates amazing insight into facilitating transitions of care from inpatient to outpatient. She makes daily huddles an educational experience for the team, sharing her insight into what would work best for the patients.
There are many qualities and characteristics that I admire about Nancy that are apparent on a daily basis. Her nursing practice reflects the principles of the Relationship Based Model of Care we hold dear at BWH. She approaches each patient with a calm grace and dignity, communicating her interest in knowing more about the person. There is never judgment or labeling. A patient was frequently admitted with multiple medical problems refusing to take any of his medications and hoarding them instead in his car while also refusing to accept VNA services. With concern and empathy, Nancy would meet with him trying to understand his circumstances, working with him to negotiate a discharge plan. He is never labeled as non-compliant she knows there is more to the situation and every patient is deserving of a good discharge plan. Nancy worked tirelessly to set up services for him only to comment, “I want to give him a hug.” She sees the individual person, communicates each patient’s uniqueness to the team and community agencies.—Nominated by Terri O’Sullivan
Kelly Pavidis, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
My husband Joe was Kelly’s patient for about a 36-hour period in the Neuro ICU. He suffered a brain hemorrhage and Kelly more than cared for Joe. She made him comfortable and moistened his mouth so he could say his last good night and I love you to our daughter over the phone. Little did we know this would be the last time we would hear him speak. My family and I were so happy to see Kelly arrive the next morning to care for Joe again. She gave us the privacy we needed to say our final goodbyes and made sure all our needs were met. When my son needed medical attention, Kelly is the one who wheeled him down to the ER, brought him to the head of the waiting line, explained the situation and had my son treated immediately so he could be with his dad. Kelly was our guardian angel during our hours of need. She made sure my son flying home from California made it here in time to say his last goodbye to his dad. Kelly leads by example and follows the Golden Rule of treating others as you would want others to treat you. And that is exactly what she did for Joe. We will never forget you Kelly, you know the true meaning of being a nurse.—Nominated by Donna Gavaghan
Jennifer Mosaheb, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Jenn is a wonderful colleague. She is always even-tempered and kind to patients and staff. She is also very talented and an expert with all of the new technology. She is also always willing to teach and help out without being asked to do so. She is a special nurse among many good nurses. I have been in the field for 30 years and haven’t seen many like her.—Nominated by Catherine Derman
Maryellen Muszynski , Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Maryellen Muszynski demonstrates her commitment to babies and their families every day she works in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. She listens with patience, giving the time to each and every family she cares for despite the chaos in the background. She sits and spends one on one time with the babies she cares for and supports the family’s choices for their babies even when they may be very different than her own. She is respectful of cultural differences and supports parents to ensure a smooth transition from illness in the hospital to wellness on the journey home. Maryellen, fondly referred to as Mel by her peers, is always where her feet are planted at the bedside with the baby and their family, celebrating them as a whole unit and encouraging their active participation in the delivery of newborn care.
Mel offers to assist her peers whenever there is a need and celebrates the strengths of every discipline involved in caring for these complex neonatal patients. She has been a knowledgeable preceptor for over two decades, sharing her pearls of nursing wisdom with students and new hires. She is most deserving of acknowledgment in the nursing field. Thank you for taking the time to celebrate our wonderful profession and the privilege of being able to practice in such an enriched environment.—Nominated by Kathleen Murphy
Kerry Noonan , Brigham and Women’s Hospital
I have been a patient of DFCI and BWH since 2008 and while in recovery from surgery on Dec. 23, 2015, at BWH I was fortunate as I have been since my first treatments in these amazing, outstanding, and dedicated facilities to have another of these angels that epitomize the passion and care giving in one Kerry Noonan. He was just incredible in his patience and understanding of my pain and along with his fantastic sense of humor made my short stay a comfortable one. He was great with my wife and family in easing their concerns and set an upbeat mood in the room. It was very apparent that he loves what he is doing and that his comments and words are genuine. Nurses like these are your foundation and it seems that Kerry picked the correct calling for, in my experience with DFCI and BWH, they do the best job of any facility in the world and I would travel halfway around it just to take care of a hangnail because of people like Kerry Noonan.—Nominated by Michael Trombetta
John “Jay” O’Reilly , Brigham and Women’s Hospital
I met Jay over a year ago. He is a nurse who had been working in the ER at BWH many years and had just moved to our department. He truly is amazing at what he does. He is married with two beautiful girls. He starts his days early and gets to work early. Once he has changed into scrubs, he first makes a phone call home to say good morning to his girls who he doesn’t see until late if he does see them at all on the days he works. Then when the work day begins, he gives the patient and everyone he works with his full attention. Always asking do you need anything can I help you with anything? He is always willing to go the extra step to help out a patient. I was on call with him one night and we had an emergency the patient was in the ER and was supposed to come to our department for a procedure and ended up being a tough situation and the patient went to the OR first. Jay went up and helped transport the patient to the OR.—Nominated by Angela Schiavone
Alice Realjo , Brigham and Women’s Hospital
On March 7, Alice displayed her usual calm demeanor, excellent communication skills and empathy that is felt by all who interact with her.
On March 6, a patient was told that he needed to choose between a difficult bone marrow transplant with unknown outcomes or face certain death from his disease. He was given until noon on the 7th to make his decision. He was distraught over concern for whether his wife would end up needing to care for him in a chronic fashion after his bone marrow transplant. He said she had a really good life now and he didn’t want to ruin it. The patient has told me that Alice was an excellent nurse and that he wanted her to take care of him that day because he felt that she would be very helpful in facilitating the discussion between him and his family. Alice had social work assist in the discussion. Alice spent over an hour in the family meeting helping him decide. With her great communication skills and empathy felt by all, Alice helped him make a rational and informed decision. Patients tell me all of the time how much they enjoy having her care for them. As her colleague, she is a pleasure to work with. I can’t say enough about how wonderful she is.—Nominated by Robyn Vincent
Leanne Schreiter , Brigham and Women’s Hospital
It takes a very special nurse to stand out among an impressive cadre of nursing staff at one of the best hospitals in the world. Leanne Schreiter did just that as she took care of our young father at the end of his battle with cancer this past winter. Not only is Leanne’s clinical skill set impressive, but her delivery of care, with the utmost compassion and centered around the patient and family, should be used as an example for how to be a provider of healthcare. During some of the most difficult days we ever had, Leanne brought us peace and a feeling of control in a situation where all bets were off. She patiently listened to our father’s stories, advocated for him when he couldn’t do so for himself, eased his mind when he was anxious, and truly took care of him, treating him with respect and dignity.
Leanne was everything we could have ever asked for in someone taking care of a loved one, and in fact, took tremendous care of us as well. When extended family traveled from Florida to spend time with our dad in his last days, she organized food to be delivered to us and secured us some space to have an impromptu reunion party, which provided happy, bittersweet memories that will last us a lifetime. These are invaluable to us, and we are so grateful to Leanne for helping to make them happen. While we were in a very unfortunate situation, we were lucky to have Leanne in our lives, and we’ll never forget her or the care she provided.—Nominated by Julie Bryar Porter
Cynthia Slater , Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Cyndi is a charge nurse who works in a very busy recovery room at Brigham & Women’s hospital. She is always very patient with her staff. She always manages a cheery disposition and when things can get heated, she quells the chaos. She is very sharp, intuitive, yet kind and never acts rushed. Her phone rings constantly and she has the burden of fielding patients to the appropriate zone for proper care in the recovery process.
I have seen her interact with difficult situations and she never utters a word of negativity. She addresses each conflict and moves on. She welcomed me with open arms as a newbie in a unit of very professional seasoned nurses. I can trust her with my inner turmoils and with knowing that my assignment will be fair and manageable because Cyndi cares to make sure that it will be.—Nominated by Geri Levinson
Erin Kelleher , Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Erin is the nurse educator on our busy intermediate medical floor caring for 31 patients and supporting over 60 staff members. She works tirelessly five days a week to educate encourage and professionally develop best nursing practice. She communicates in a kind and compassionate manner, always listening and present in the moment. Erin’s altruistic nature creates a healing and caring environment for all of us and I am so grateful to have her on our health care team.—Nominated by Lauren Wolf
Stephanie Keller , Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Stephanie treats patients in our men’s health clinic. She has a keen appreciation of the particular challenges and concerns our our patients have. Our patients undergo treatment for conditions that require support and understanding from the clinical staff. Stephanie exemplifies that understanding and has a great ability to communicate positively with patients at their most vulnerable.—Nominated by Martin Kathrins
Lynn Lopes , Brigham and Women’s Hospital
I understand that that my interaction with Lynn Lopes, RN, must be confined to the past year. However, I must explain my first encounter with her as my nurse 10 years ago. Lynn has been a dedicated nurse at Brigham & Women’s Hospital for 38 years. Ten years ago I was diagnosed with prostate cancer and Lynn was my radiation oncology nurse working with Dr. Anthony D’Amico. It was a trying time for my wife and me, and Lynn was there for 45 days of radiation and follow-up visits, giving us support and making a difficult time easy to finish.
In January of this year I was diagnosed with esophageal cancer and have been under the care of Dr. Harvey Mamon. Low and behold, when his nurse came into the room, it was my angel of mercy, Lynn Lopes. She immediately gave me a big hug and put me at ease once again as only she can do. She has been with me every step throughout the past six weeks of treatment. She has always made herself available, answering all questions and issues I have had. Her kindness and caring are not limited to me; she is this way with all her patients. I do not know if she has been nominated or recognized before. However, since she has cared for patients for 38 years, I believe it is long overdue.—Nominated by Jerold Berman
Alexias Marcous , Brigham and Women’s Hospital
As a young woman in my 30s living with a stage IV cancer, it is so comforting to be cared for by some of the very best doctors and nurses in the country. After my second liver ablation surgery in February, I was admitted overnight at the Brigham & Women’s Hospital and taken care of by Alexia. From the moment I met her I felt like not just a patient, but a human being. She not only exhibited tremendous knowledge about just how to take care of me (the correct dosage of medications, offering guidance on how to recover, caring for my pain) but she also helped me with the emotional piece, as well. She went for walks with me around the floor, encouraged me to keep living with this like a chronic disease (which is my mindset) and even when we found out that I needed to have another surgery, was all in when helping me to figure out how to get ready physically for this next challenge She was proactive in making sure that I had everything that I needed, from medications to paging doctors when need be. She made sure that all of my needs were met at a time when I was feeling so vulnerable and could not care for myself. She listened to me with such kindness that sometimes, I almost felt as though I was her only patient (and I know she took great care of other patients as well). Her calm but lovely, quiet spirit gave me comfort in a time of turmoil, and for that, I can never truly thank her enough. It is because of people just like Alexia that those of us living with tough illnesses can live with hope. She is now part of my “Team Lozier.”—Nominated by Samantha Lozier
Robin Sheridan , Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Robin is an excellent nurse and cares a lot for her patients. Always will do more than she was asked to help patients and co-workers. Robin deserves a purple heart.—Nominated by Ibrahim Haboub
Tower Four B, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
I cannot nominate a single nurse, but rather the nurses of a whole floor and the Patient Care Assistants as well. My father has been an inpatient at Brigham & Women’s for nearly two weeks on Tower 4B. In his tenure, he has met many nurses, formed relationships, learned about the care being provided and had numerous questions answered. When we were kids he always asked just one more question. I do wonder how the nurses put up with it sometimes. However, I can tell you the nurses on this floor provide complex care with compassion, warmth, and empathy. They have all made life in the hospital a little more bearable for my father.
One played basketball with him; this consists of tossing empty plastic water bottles from the bed to the sink. Sometimes it is the little things that make hospital life better. Others have paused to talk with him about life, about anything other than IVs, temperatures, or tests. One nurse procured scrub pants for him; he was wearing jeans in bed. To care it takes many people, nurses, family, and staff. Tower 4B deserves recognition for the care that they provide.—Nominated by Michael Spooner
Nori Vincitorio, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Nori is the true essence of nursing. She is the most caring individual to her bone marrow transplant patients. Often taking the most difficult and challenging assignments, these include critically ill and long term patients who often have difficult social situations as well as medical. She often will bring them in certain foods they like or a movie to watch. She always supports them emotionally as well. She also often provides them with the spiritual care they often need. She really is a true angel of mercy.—Nominated by Pamela Thomas
Jenna Watson , Brigham and Women’s Hospital
This nurse has demonstrated such a sense of passion for her career especially in her field of neuro. I have seen her treat her patients with the utmost of care. Her compassion for each and every patient is inevitable and makes their stay more enjoyable.—Nominated by Marissa Sullivan
Brookdale Senior Living, Attleboro
Rita Cronin, Brookdale Senior Living, Attleboro
I have somewhat arbitrarily entered the date of interaction as the date of my father-in-law’s passing since the actual incidents I am referring to occurred over a period of three years and particularly during the past year. My in-laws were living at the Brookdale assisted living facility, and Rita’s constant attention to their needs was always admirable. Awhile back my mother-in-law fell and broke her hip (beginning the health decline that she would never come back from). Rita held her hand until the ambulance came so she would not be afraid. For that alone I am eternally grateful. However, in the fall my father-in-law fell, suffered a nasty wound, and was admitted to a rehab facility. Rita found the time to call my husband regularly to check on his father’s progress. This seemingly small act was extremely kind and reassuring to my husband in a very difficult time. Her compassion and kindness in addition to her formidable nursing skills made us truly feel that my father-in-law was special to someone else and not just a faceless patient. He was special to us. Thank you for this opportunity to mention my gratitude. I am sure that Rita (an unsung hero in my book) treats all her patients as special.—Nominated by Jeannine Hunter Lazzaro
Cambridge Health Alliance
Deborah Main , Cambridge Health Alliance
Debbie Main and the rest of the night nurses at the ICU in Everett at the former Whidden Memorial Hospital are the best nurses in Massachusetts. Many have been there for over 30 years and have stuck with the hospital through thick and thin. They have had new ownership, contract battles, and bad managers, but have stuck together. These nurses treat some of toughest patients. They were on the front line of the opioid epidemic before it became national news. They treat some of the most vulnerable patients in the state. Many of the patients lack health insurance, family, money, and the ability to speak English. Regardless of what has happened at the hospital or the changing demographic, they treat every patient with love and compassion. I recently asked Debbie does it ever get easier to see people die. What happened next was shocking to me. She started to tear up and cry a little. Even after being spit on earlier by a patient and punched in the arm she still cared dearly about everybody. That shows compassion beyond anything I had realized. Nurses have a tough job especially when dealing with the types of patients sent to the ICU. I can only hope that Debbie Main receives the recognition she deserves.—Nominated by Clancy Main
Denise Landrigan de Filippi , Cambridge Health Alliance
Denise Landrigan was amazingly helpful to me before, and after, my breast cancer surgery. On the date of my operation, the doctors had to cancel. They said it was necessary for me to have an MRI (which would take at least two weeks to schedule). Needless to say, I was ready to walk out, but on my way Denise sought me out, talked to me, and as busy as she was said she would try and get an MRI test sooner. Because of her wonderful support and networking, I received the MRI that same day, and was operated on the following Friday. I can’t say enough about Denise and The Cambridge Health Alliance is lucky to have her.—Nominated by Elaine Dailey
Elizabeth Kaloustian, Cambridge Health Alliance
It was pretty scary for my mother . . . she was not only dealing with a new diagnosis of breast cancer but she was also facing the first surgery of her entire life. The entire pre-op , surgical day care and operative process is overwhelming for anyone. The good thing is that it goes by so fast and before we knew it the entire ordeal was over and I was being called into the recovery room to comfort my mom after surgery. This is where my mom first met her angel in blue.
The entire CHA PACU RN staff is amazing but on this morning we were blessed to be under Betty’s care. Her pleasant smile and calm, warm demeanor were more than comforting during my mother’s recovery. Her outstanding competence . . . clearly from years of experience were obvious from the intensive monitoring required in the first post-op hour, or the pro-active management of symptoms without being told one thing by my mother (she just knew) to the personalized, easy to understand discharge education and instructions. I was never in doubt that my mother’s post-op care was in the best possible hands. Utmost trust is how I would categorize this brief but impactful recovery room experience of care.
Thank you Betty Kaloustian for the amazing care you provided to one of the most important people in my life. Cambridge Health Alliance is so lucky they have you . . . as are all of the patients that will have the honor of you laying your hands on them.—Nominated by Suzanne Dailey
Cape Cod Hospital
Heather Eldridge, Cape Cod Hospital
Heather was my nurse all three times I have had cardiac intervention in the past two months. She is intelligent, respectful of all patients in her care as well as the other nurses and doctors in the unit. She has a great sense of humor and a very compassionate demeanor. Each time I was cared for, Heather was always helpful and relaxing, addressing any and all of my anxieties and those of my wife. Heather never seemed to be in a hurry or directing any part of her attention to anyone but me which was comforting and admirable given the constant activity level in the prep and recovery unit. She related well to all other technicians who needed to help.—Nominated by Ted (Edward) Ruegg
Kim Giammasi , Cape Cod Hospital
Kim Giammasi is my sister. Her nursing specialty is labor and delivery but her nursing skills have shown through in taking care of our mother the past 15 months. Our mother had a grand mal seizure on Dec. 24, 2014, and it’s been quite the long road. We have been down every road from ER to ICU to rehab facilities to two assisted living facilities, all the while without much of any assistance or guidance. She has been the best nurse, advocate and champion for my mother than I think anyone could ever be. If the mothers and babies that she helps to bring into this world receive even one tenth of the care that my mother has received, then they are very lucky to start their life assisted by such loving and caring hands as hers.—Nominated by Karen Labbe
Christina Carron, Mary Kaldis Thompson, Cape Cod Hospital
I was diagnosed with breast cancer in May and after a bad experience with chemotherapy at another center, I opted to have my care at Cape Cod Hospital. From the minute I met with Tina I felt like I had my own personal nurse. She explained my treatments, drugs, symptoms, and helped me through a very difficult time with care and compassion. She called to check on me more than necessary just to make sure I was feeling good and answer any questions I might have about the side affects of treatment. Mary was my chemo nurse and it was like havng my best friend take care of me. I had bad veins and Mary made sure I was able to get my treatment with as little pain as possible. She was kind, knowledgeable, and helped me understand what was happening with my body as I went through chemotherapy. I went from being scared and feeling helpless to feeling calm because I knew that I could count on Tina and Mary to get me through the bad days. I live on the north shore of Boston and drive to the Cape once a month for my follow-up care and treatments because of the care I received from these nurses. The years of experience and communication skills combined with the fact they truly care about all their patients shines through. I had 14 weeks of chemotherapy and they helped me get through it like it was nothing. I can’t thank them enough for their care and concern. They made a horrible summer bearable.—Nominated by Valerie Corrente
Phoebe Potter , Cape Cod Hospital
Phoebe is truly a remarkable nurse. Back in December, after working a long night shift, she was on her way home when she came upon a car on the side of the highway with a woman crying outside the vehicle. Apparently, this woman and her husband had hit black ice, which caused them to spin out and hit the guardrail. Phoebe stopped to see what had happened and realized quickly that the husband was in the front seat injured. The sobbing wife explained that she’d tried talking to him and he was unresponsive. Phoebe immediately checked for a pulse and was not able to find one. She directed the wife to call EMS while she started CPR in the front seat of the vehicle. Truly an act of kindness when no one else stopped to help.—Nominated by Susan Belanger
Phoebe Potter , Nantucket Cottage Hospital
Phoebe was the on-call supervisor on this date and I was the charge nurse in the emergency department. The ED was full when I got a call we were getting three near drownings. I called Phoebe. She was very professional, didn’t waste time on phone with a lot of questions. She arrived within 10 minutes of call, ready to work. She provided excellent clinical care while showing compassion and concern for the staff as well as patients. After the crisis was over and Phoebe had gone home, she called back several times that shift and rest of weekend to check on status of patients and offer her assistance.—Nominated by Helen Long
CareGroup Parmenter Home Care & Hospice
Kathy Hyde, CareGroup Parmenter Home Care & Hospice
Kathy is the nursing supervisor at a very busy home care agency. I have had the pleasure of working under her since she started here. She is a caring and compassionate leader with a vast background in nursing. In this type of work, having a good nursing supervisor is critical, and Kathy is excellent. Nurses making visits in patient homes must have someone they can depend on, who has clinical knowledge and excellent communication. Kathy has at times been the nursing supervisor for both the home care and home hospice programs. She never hesitates to jump in if she sees a need. Sometimes when the home health aide scheduler is sick, Kathy will call aides and patients. Kathy always treats staff and patients alike with respect and kindness. The nurse I admire most is my 85-year-old retired mother and Kathy is the same type of nurse. They went to school when there were no computers. You spent hours writing notes, making beds, and giving direct care. There were not automatic IV pumps or aides to give a bed bath. Kathy has come full circle to learn several different computer systems. She makes it all seem like a breeze. Always available with a supportive ear and a calm caring manner, Kathy has even seen us through a recent merger with Caregroup. Everything went smoothly but just knowing she would be here made all the difference.—Nominated by Ellen Ruskowski
Eileen Stupik, CareGroup Parmenter Home Care & Hospice
Eileen has been a nurse at the hospice residence in Wayland for over a decade. At the 10-bed facility for people who are at the end of life, Eileen makes every resident feel like a king or queen despite how battle-scarred they’ve come after years of punishing treatment for cancer, kidney failure, heart disease, or other terminal illness. After Eileen’s TLC, we see smiles when there was sadness, get requests for a meal when none were eaten for days, and friends are invited to visit when they were held at bay. In Eileen’s care, residents are able to live fully, even joyfully, until death finally comes. Eileen is truly an angel whose gifts to vulnerable people at the end of life should be celebrated.—Nominated by Andrea Heinlein
Helen Tieger, CareGroup Parmenter Home Care & Hospice
Helen has been so helpful in caring for my mother who is living with me recovering from a stroke. She has been patient with all of our questions and has taken the time to explain exactly how we need to address specific care requirements she has. She does this all with a great sense of humor to match my mother’s while maintaining her professionalism. We had a little bit of a health setback along the way and she managed to fit an extra visit in to assess the situation and give us guidelines to watch for to ensure things didn’t progress further. She followed up with us by phone as well to see how we were both doing. Helen has strong knowledge and skills and presents it all with a big heart. It’s a pleasure when she makes her visits to our home and we rest easy knowing mom is in such capable hands.—Nominated by Diane Wright
Pamela Von Busch, CareGroup Parmenter Home Care & Hospice
My elderly father, who lives at home with assistance, has had many physical challenges that have exacerbated his cognitive diagnosis. Caring for my dad, formerly a strong and dignified business leader, requires tact, intelligence, thoughtfulness, and skill. Fortunately, Pam Von Busch was assigned to us and she continues to treat and monitor my dad.
It is incredible to watch her interact with both of my cognitively impaired parents, with whom she speaks in a dignified and respectful way. She interacts with our geriatrician and involves us all in her observations, assessments, and recommendations. Pam has become the center of our circle of care for my precious father and I am grateful for her clinical and interpersonal skills. She is the epitome of what I understand nursing care to be: compassionate, attentive, responsive, serious, kind, gentle, and loving.—Nominated by Heidi Price
Pamela Von Busch, CareGroup Parmenter Home Care & Hospice
Pam is the kind of nurse that we all want to care for us when we are sick. She is kind, compassionate yet is an expert in her field. Even if she is worried about a patient, she never lets it show. She is calm, yet persuasive. Even the most obstinate patient seems to follow her recommendations, and then they feel better. She is dedicated to all of those she serves and is an excellent team member, constantly collaborating with the rehab team and her home health aides.—Nominated by Christina Della Croce
Stacey Farnham, Carney Hospital
My brother who was a patient awaiting a kidney transplant was admitted to the hospital with complaints of pain and weakness. He was sick due to years of taking lithium as he was a diagnosed patient with bipolar disorder or, as it was called in 1980 when he was diagnosed, “manic-depressive illness.” When the doctor told him from the x-ray he had what looked like a mass in his lungs he asked if it was cancer. The doctor states they would do more tests and confirm what it was but he wanted to admit him.
My brother was not an easy person to deal with on a normal basis and then to add this to his sick condition he wanted out. Stacey was incredibly gracious and patient with him and convinced him to stay. She told him he could get those tests done and have his dialysis done on site. She brought him some soda and juice and ordered food for him and told him she would let him know when his bed would be ready. He was diagnosed with liver cancer that had spread to his lungs. Unfortunately, his mental illness kicked in and he couldn’t keep his focus on what he needed to do to get well. He left Carney and was re-admitted on April 29, signed himself out, and passed away on May 27. One of his last statements to me was how kind Stacey had been to him and how convincing she was to get him to stay that first time.
The Boston Globe was one of my brother’s favorite places to go to exercise his first amendment rights in the editorial column, not to our family’s liking most times. His name was James T. Richards and his legacy is over unless Stacy gets this award.—Nominated by Patricia Stevens
Easton Center School
Colleen Clark, Easton Center School
It was a typical day at the Center School in Easton, with children laughing and running around outside during recess. For one little 6-year-old boy, the day suddenly became anything but normal on a visit to the nurse’s office. He told school nurse Colleen Clark that he had heartburn and that his heart was “burning.’’
Clark thought this was a somewhat unusual complaint. So she took her stethoscope to listen to his heartbeat, which was extremely rapid, in excess of 200 beats per minute. She immediately had the boy bear down, a procedure used to try and lower his heart rate. She called 911 and when the paramedics arrived the young boy’s vital signs were stabilized and he was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital and then transferred to Children’s Hospital.
Thank God that Clark was on the scene and took the kind of action I’d never think of. It’s the kind of stuff they are trained to do under pressure. She was credited by the paramedics and hospital staff for her quick action. This happened on Nov. 10 and the young boy is fine now after having surgery on Nov. 18 to repair a rare genetic disorder affecting his heart.—Nominated by Tim Heffernan
Comfort Home Care
Dawn Burke, Comfort Home Care
Dawn Deroche Burke is a visiting nurse with Comfort Home Care. She repeatedly goes above and beyond for patients, often sacrificing family time among other things. She spends countless hours talking to medical professionals on behalf if her patients, all uncompensated and never asks for anything in return. Anyone else at Comfort Home Care will tell you the same thing.—Nominated by Michael Burke
Cooley Dickinson Hospital
Rebecca Puchalski , Cooley Dickinson Hospital
This young woman was there with me every step of the way throughout the cancer treatment. She was never any further away than a phone call or an e-mail. She answered every question I had and if she didn’t know the answer (which was rare), she would get back to me with the answer. Becky, thank you, you are the best.—Nominated by Jane Welsted
Dee Winslow, Cooley Dickinson Hospital
Dee Winslow spent 60 years as an Emergency Room RN at the Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton. Upon relocating to Florida, she continued to teach nursing students at the local community college. Sadly, Dee was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer earlier this year and will finally hang up her nursing spurs to become a patient after decades of demonstrated compassion to trauma victims (including a young Ted Kennedy after his plane crashed), teaching best practices in clinical competency to nursing students, and serving as a role model for nurses and doctors in Western Massachusetts. She has raised four sons, dozens of dogs and cats as family pets, and personifies the qualities of the best of nursing.—Nominated by Dan Winslow
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Paula Aguilera, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
All of the nurses I’ve encountered at Dana-Farber have been great, but Paula stands out in terms of her mix of efficiency, competence, and kindness. As an infusion nurse, she never holds herself back, dealing with patients as humans and friends. She is consistently helpful in making the patient and caregiver comfortable, and in making sure that treatment is administered correctly and safely. But most of all, by sharing herself with us, she changes what should be the grim process of dealing with stage IV melanoma into one that is bearable, and on occasion, enjoyable.—Nominated by Terri Seales
Michele Daly , Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Brigham and Women’s
Michele is a chemotherapy nurse and an angel of mercy. She got me through a lung cancer treatment and I am now in remission. She literally saved my life at South Shore Hospital, which is affiliated with Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Brigham & Women’s.—Nominated by Richard Gelinas
John Christopher , Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Brigham and Women’s
Having been diagnosed with breast cancer in October, I was extremely apprehensive about beginning and receiving my chemotherapy drugs. I met John Christopher, my chemo nurse, for the first time on December 29 for my first infusion of 12 treatments at the South Shore Hospital’s Infusion Unit, which is affiliated with Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Brigham & Women’s. John always put me at ease explaining what was going to happen and all drugs/medications that I was about to receive. This was a very nervous time for me but John always talked quietly and confidently and put me at ease. All procedures were explained in terms that could be easily understood by a nonmedical person like me. John was always checking on me during the hours-long treatment process to make sure I was fine and everything was going smoothly and if I required anything. I appreciate his professionalism and would like to nominate John for the Globe Salute to Nurses.—Nominated by Carol Bailey
Cherie Medeiros , Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Brigham and Women’s
Cherie is an experienced oncology nurse at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Brigham & Women’s at South Shore Hospital in Weymouth. She has made an ordeal of chemo treatments so much better for myself and my wife. She is unfailingly cheerful and efficient and has observed me and determined when something is wrong that we were not even aware of. She is just wonderful and makes the treatment so much more bearable. We just love her.—Nominated by Wayne Lundgren
Jennifer Ahern, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Jennifer has been there for me every time I have to go in for my treatment. This was a monthly chore for me for a long time, just recently spreading out to once every three months. Knowing I had to make this treatment every month was hard to take, but I found myself looking forward to seeing Jen. When I realized that, I realized how special she is. And I watched her with other patients and saw how comforting and compassionate she is while exhibiting total confidence in what she is doing. I thank God for her.—Nominated by Francine Fitzgerald
Shannon Antman, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Shannon Antman made going through two rounds of chemo for stage 3 rectal cancer easier because of her compassionate, caring, and dedicated attitude towards her patients. She was a bright light in what could have been a very dark place. She didn’t allow me to be nervous or scared because she had a positive attitude from the first day I met her and it was infectious. Shannon would go out of her way to make sure I was comfortable during infusions and that all of my questions and needs were attended to, always with a smile on her face. She would always remember family members and the things we’d talked about the last time she’d seen me. You knew she cared, and she became a part of your life. I spent my birthday (which she remembered) getting chemo and we celebrated together during my infusion. I had some problems with my ileostomy bag during one infusion and Shannon went beyond her responsibilities to me. She helped, advised, and most of all comforted me and made me feel whole at a time that my own body was making me feel so out of control. When my second round of chemo ended, Shannon gave me a congratulations card that still sits on my desk. I looked at it often when I went through a second surgery. It makes me think of the special way Shannon made me feel, the strength she shared, and the optimism she exuded.—Nominated by Carrie Trabucco
Lynn Bell , Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Lynne is truly passionate for what she does as an employee of the hospital as well as a person of life. Lynne spends an incredible amount of time with patients sharing her personal thoughts, medical insights as well as taking time to understand the concerns of others. Works well beyond the expectations of all. I highly recommend the nomination of Lynne for any and all things.—Nominated by William Benoit
Katlin Boudreau, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
From the first time we met and until today, Katlin continues to show me how caring and compassionate she is. Not only does she care about me, she cares about my family and their well being. I could go on and on about Katlin but I can’t say it all in 300 words, so please consider Katlin for this award.—Nominated by Sheila Dern
Pamela Calarese , Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Pam Calarese is and has been my nurse practitioner at DFCI since 2007. For any problem or complication from chemotherapy treatment she is always there with her abundant knowledge, compassion, and willingness to help me. As with any cancer treatment there are many issues and problems that arise. Pam’s competency and wisdom in handling my problems, is extremely consoling. Whether it be stomach problems, fevers, or colds, Pam is never more than an e-mail/text away. Early or late, weekends or holidays, she responds within hours. Pam never makes you feel like you’re a burden or your question/problem is unimportant. This is so comforting to me and my family to know she is with me every step of my journey battling this horrible disease.—Nominated by Mary Meighan
Pamela Calarese , Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Pam Calarese has been my nurse practitioner since I was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in April 2013. She is always compassionate, caring, and understanding. On Dec. 1, during my weekly check-up before chemo I was complaining of headaches and blurry vision. She immediately set me up for an MRI of my head to make sure my cancer had not metastasized to my brain. Concern was on all our faces and we discussed plans if it had. I had my MRI the next day and saw Pam two hours later. I knew I would know the results as soon as I saw her face. With a smile on her face she said all they found was my brain. Pam is like family to me and I’m so blessed to have her as my nurse practitioner.—Nominated by Deborah Spada
Beth Crosby, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
When I went to Dana-Farber for my initial chemotherapy treatment in December 2015, I was very nervous and afraid of all the side effects that I’d been warned about. I knew I had to go for 12 sessions and that my hair would fall out, I’d feel sick, I’d be fatigued, and coming back each time would probably fill me with dread. However, while some of those things are true, I do not dread chemo. Actually, I look forward to it because I know that the wonderful, funny, and compassionate Beth will be there to greet me with a smile, a joke, and lots of laughs. I always look forward to going because I know that she is there all day looking after me and helping me cope with everything. While I will not miss the side effects, I will definitely miss my Thursdays with Beth once chemo ends. She is the most wonderful, caring nurse and a kind person with a good sense of humor. When I am at chemo I don’t lie around feeling bad because she takes my mind off all of that. In fact, chemo day is a day where I laugh a lot because Beth keeps me in cheerful spirits and makes me smile.—Nominated by Alice Smythe
Jennifer Cruz-Flores , Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Jennifer took care of my dad for the last three years at the Dana-Farber, 11th Floor. She made my dad smile, her compassion for him showed in how she spoke to him and embraced him during his visits. She really went above her duties when we were there, even when my dad had shingles she remained the same in her care. My dad was not eating much, couldn’t walk very well, her compassion was overwhelming to me and my mother. She is the type of nurse you’d want to take care of someone you love because she is a trusting, caring, and compassionate. My dad recently passed, we recently went to Dana because my mother is a patient as well. We visited with Jennifer to let her know because she felt like part of our family and we knew she would want to know. She already did, she knew he was not well and took it upon herself because she really does care about her patients. Jennifer is going to school to further herself in a medical career. Whatever she decides or wherever she ends up she will be fantastic because of her ability to relate to patients and their families.—Nominated by Sharon DeMarco
Bonnie Dirr, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Bonnie has always been very upfront with us about Roland’s conditions and very understanding of our concerns. We feel very confident in her treatment always. Very attentive.—Nominated by The Rioux Family
Lisa Doherty, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Lisa Doherty has been my oncology nurse for brain cancer for 16 years. Over the years she has been the greatest influence in my care. She is always available, 24 hours a day, by phone, e-mail. Often when it is her time off. She directs my care, medicine, other appointments, communication between other doctors. She has welcomed my son, family, and friends on many visits, and never once were we rushed, we were explained in great detail test results, plan for treatment. She has empathy, a heart, and love, if she treats every patient, and I believe she does, as she does me, she is wonder woman. If she can not be rewarded for the exceptional example she is to true health care, nobody should be.—Nominated by Daniel Shattuck
Megan English, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
I received amazing care from many providers at Dana-Farber and Brigham & Women’s during my treatment for breast cancer. For 16 months (September 2014-December 2015), from diagnosis through treatment, and ending with a program for survivors, extraordinary individuals participated in my care. My oncology nurse, Megan English, exemplifies the caring professionals who made up my tremendous team. In addition to providing me with wonderful medical care, Megan was my cheerleader, ally, confidante, and friend. It may sound strange, but I got to look forward to my (very) frequent visits with Megan. Each visit, she prepared me for what was to come, explaining everything that was being or going to be done to me, and making sure I understood what might happen after. She repeated herself tirelessly, never letting on that she might already have explained something four times that day. She knew I hated needles and knew exactly what to do to distract me, and she knew immediately without my asking when it was time for the cold cloth on the back of my neck. She would conspire to get me a “chair with a view” if at all possible for my infusions. If there was a medical question she couldn’t answer (rarely), she would call or page someone who could. She got to know my husband, my friends who sat with me during infusions, my children, she talked me with me about sharing my diagnosis with my elderly mother. She was there and made me feel special every step of my journey. I miss her.—Nominated by Mary Jo Benjamin
Melissa Houston, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
I fell in love with Melissa Houston during my first infusion following my second bone marrow transplant. Her infectious smile, and quick wit instantly put me right at ease. She explained the infusion in terms that I could comprehend, not too technical or dumbed down. Before long we were talking proudly about our children and grandchildren, and how they enrich our lives. Each visit she takes the time to find out how I am doing as a person, not just a cancer patient. All the while my focus was taken off the medicine and its side effects, and the anxiety that inevitably accompanies the 2-hour procedure. I consider myself to be very fortunate having Melissa Houston as my nurse, but even more so to call her my friend.—Nominated by Garrett Cooney
Danny Johnson, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Danny draws my blood and inserts an IV line for me every few weeks. He knows exactly how to do this with the least pain and discomfort. He is friendly, compassionate, caring, and extremely competent. I wouldn’t let anyone else do this. And no one else has been as good as Danny is at this.—Nominated by Ruth Brown
Christie Klisz , Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Christie Klisz was an integral part of my husband’s care in a 12-year cancer journey. She demonstrated, over and over, her concern for both Bob and me. She became a friend, “daughter,” and competent guide in this journey She responded to our every need by e-mail, phone, and on every visit we had to Dana-Faber. After Bob passed away, Christie met with me to help me process this journey. She demonstrated compassion and caring that I really needed. She is wise beyond her years. I thank God for sending her into our lives.—Nominated by Julie Stanton
Stephanie Linskey, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
I would like to begin my story of an incredible individual who has shown compassion, polished skills, and kindness since coming into my life this past year. The story begins when I was diagnosed with cancer. My doctor recommended that I go to Dana Faber for my treatments. As I was sitting in a room to begin my first treatment I looked up and saw this nurse with a big smile on her face and a sparkle in her eye introducing herself and saying hello to me. After explaining the treatment plan and getting everything in order to begin my first chemotherapy, which I was a little scared of and had no idea what was going on, she inserted the needle into me and I jumped and she said, “I’m sorry and I didn’t mean to hurt you.” We started talking and she asked me where I was from and I said Cape Cod. She told me that she traveled in from Rhode Island. I felt so comfortable with her that I scheduled my treatments, two courses of nine weeks with weekly visits, around her schedule. After I finished by first treatment I knew I was in good hands. Going through cancer treatment is a scary thing, but this nurse took away my fears. This special nurse is Stephanie Linskey. I would listen to her when she would be taking care of another patient and she was the same way to that patient. It is my honor to nominate Stephanie as a person who has changed my life, She has put sunshine into my chemotherapy days. She is well deserving and Dana Faber should be honored to have her as an employee on Floor 7.—Nominated by Eugene Zicuis
Jennifer Low, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
My nurse has demonstrated compassion, understanding, and a vast experience in the treatment of patients with cancer. She has been a strong supporter of mine and my husband for more than a year at Dana-Farber. I can’t imagine how hard it would have been to deal with the illness and the treatment if it were not for the excellent care and understanding I have received from all the staff. However I choose to nominate my nurse because she has been there for me every step of the way throughout my care and continues to provide knowledge, excellent care, understanding, and a strong voice of reason and calm. She has always treated me as a valued individual and not just another person with an illness. She’s got us through some dark times and we will never be able to thank her enough.—Nominated by Maria Mosto
Karen Murphy , Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Karen Murphy is one of the most spectacular nurses I have interacted with during my 10 years of receiving chemotherapy at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. When she enters a room it is filled with sunshine as her smile can brighten up any gloomy day. She always makes you feel relaxed and comfortable no matter what the procedure is that you are about to experience. She is by far the hostess with the mostest.—Nominated by Robyn Nasj
Karen Murphy , Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Karen is not just a nurse she is a great human being, very knowledgeable. Most of the time if I have a question she is there for me. Karen has a lot of patience for the patients and their family members. She never disappointed me, every time I have chemo she is there for me and answers all my questions to the best way she can or calls my doctor to get help for me. She works in the chemotherapy department on the 9th floor of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. It seems to me that she treats me like a family member. Even though dealing with cancer is not easy but she made it easy to accept it. Every time I go there she asks me about everything and gives me advice. I see how she treats all patients the same. I wish her the best. I hope you recognize a wonderful nurse like Karen Murphy.—Nominated by Mahvash Haimi
Elizabeth Newins , Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
As a cancer patient, it can be difficult to tolerate the numerous needle sticks, hours of waiting, poking, prodding, and terrible side effects of medication. Liz is the kindest and most thoughtful nurse. She seems to understand this and goes the extra mile to make her patients comfortable; she offers tea, a warm blanket and pillow during chemo infusion, and always begins each infusion by clearly explaining what side effects can be expected. I always know what I am in store for, and I know that she will do her best to answer my questions or find answers for me. She is gentle and this makes and this makes a world of difference. I really appreciate her care and gentle thoughtfulness.—Nominated by Leah Erdos
Whitney Norby, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Always reviewed what’s happened since last visit with genuine interest and concern. Always wants to know if I have any concerns and addresses them immediately. I feel she’s accompanying my family and myself on this journey with genuine concern and caring.—Nominated by Russell Fox
Suzanne Oliver , Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
I would like to salute Suzanne Oliver in the Thoracic Unit. She has been my husband’s primary nurse since he started chemotherapy in September 2015. Paul now receives chemotherapy every other week at Dana-Farber. Suzanne is very professional at her job as well as being a warm and caring human being. She takes special care of my husband to ensure that he is comfortable and understands what he is expected to do during his treatments. Suzanne asks me, as his wife, if there is anything she can do to help me cope with his care at home. She is supportive and a good listener, especially when I am not having a great day. Nurses are special people. Suzanne is definitely one of those special persons.—Nominated by Susan DiBenedetto
Sandra Ruland , Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
My wife is a wonderful nurse. I am a patient at Dana-Farber, although not cared for by her. When I have an appointment and staff members see my last name I hear so many wonderful things about Sandra and her dedication to her patients. I’d like to see her recognized.—Nominated by Fred Ruland
Sandra Ruland, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Compassion is truly woven into the DNA of Sandra. She has been “my” nurse for six years. Caring for me and my husband since my initial diagnosis and then through two surgeries and treatment. She has been a sympathetic, professional, insightful resource for us at every turn. Ask anyone who has followed my cancer journey and they know about Sandra, my “incredible nurse.”
Although we sensed we could trust her from the beginning, what’s really been so beautiful is how much we’ve realized we trust her even more deeply now that we’ve been under her care for so long. She’s proven over and over how knowledgeable and resourceful she is and, more important, how much we seem to be her central focus. She makes us feel like God put her directly in our lives to be an instrument for our care. I hope other patients feel for their nurses like we do for Sandra. Along with our doctor, she’s a pivotal part of our “quartet.” God bless her.—Nominated by Brett Johnson
Sandra Ruland , Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Sandra Ruland has helped me a lot in the four years I have been treated for brain cancer. She spent a lot of time with me and would come tell me my MRI was good when the doctor was running late. I had surgery, radiation, chemo pills, and endless MRI’s to treat my cancer. I could always e-mail Sandra and tell her when I didn’t feel well and she would always suggest something so I would feel better. When I went to another hospital for a biopsy, I was just a number. At Dana-Farber, nurses like Sandra know you by name. I want to thank the nurses and all the great people at Dana-Farber who have pulled me through my cancer.—Nominated by Nicole Pantaleon
Robin Sommers , Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
I’ve been a patient at DFCI for 5-plus years. All during that time, Robin Sommers has been my nurse practitioner. Robin is a kind, dedicated, caring person as well as askilled practitioner. Robin cares about the patient’s well being and not just from her nurse/patient relationship. She cares about the patient as a person.
It’s really hard to express the level of comfort she transmits to me as a patient and although it’s no joy being a patient she somehow manages to make my monthly visits palatable. She is truly a credit to her profession and the institute that employs her.—Nominated by Michael Glass
Marie Zano , Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Marie
Zano has been my infusion nurse since I was diagnosed with lung cancer in April of 2013. Chemotherapy can be very trying but she was, and is, always there with a smile. She has a wonderful understanding of what you are going through and can tell if something is wrong just by looking at you. There have been calls from her to make sure I’m OK after treatment, always looking out for me. We’ve shared laughs, tears, and we are truly blessed to have such a compassionate professional taking care of me.—Nominated by Deborah Soada
Tracy Daly, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Brigham and Women’s
My great-aunt, a 98-year old Sisters of Charity of Montreal Grey Nun named Sister Marie Cecelia Lefevre, was recently admitted to the Brigham. She had a large tumor on her thigh, recently diagnosed as myosarcoma, and had fallen and broken her femur directly under the tumor. Her care was complex, involving a large team of physicians and nurses from oncology, radiation, orthopedics, and others. Over the course of her stay she had surgery to repair the bone and radiation to treat the tumor, but really just wanted to be left in peace. Once we knew that the amazing doctors had done all they could to treat the treatable issues, attention turned to her comfort and reassurance that she would not have to endure any more treatments. It was difficult to understand all the issues, and many teams had to weigh in. Tracy was the glue that held it all together for my family. Over the course of many days she met with us and my great aunt, listening to her wishes and our input, and advising us on what was possible. Through it all she kept my aunt’s wishes paramount, advocating for her with doctors and nurses regarding pain control, discharge plans, etc. And she also visited with my aunt frequently, just to check in and see how she was feeling. We were all so glad to hear that Tracy came by her room just before her discharge last week, and was able to say a final goodbye. What a wonderful resource she was for our family, and we will not forget her.—Nominated by Christine Garner
Dedham Middle School
Nancy Greeley, Dedham Middle School
I would like to nominate Nancy Greeley, who provides special care to the students of Dedham. Nancy works in a very busy middle school health office. On a daily basis, she provides compassion to a large number of students. She listens to their complaints and assesses them to the best of her ability. There are many students with quick-fix problems, but there are also students who come in with a simple complaint that ends up being something much deeper. Through active listening and use of her clinical skills, Nancy asks the right questions and gets the students to open up and confide in her. She is able to get them the help they need, whether it is in-school counseling, clothing, food, or just a hug.
For example, there are many times students will come into the office with a complaint of a stomach ache. After thoroughly assessing the students, Nancy sits down and asks them more details about their eating habits. Recently, she had detailed conversations with two students that resulted in them telling her they are unable to eat breakfast in the morning because they are responsible for taking their younger siblings to school and don’t make it to school in time to eat. Nancy took it upon herself to advocate for them and call their siblings’ school about her concern She was able to work out a schedule so her students would be able to drop off their siblings and then make it to school in time to eat. This may seem minor, but to a group of kids who are in need of nourishment to keep them learning and in class, it is a big deal. I learn from Nancy every day and am proud to call her a colleague and friend.—Nominated by Kristie McManus
Element Care also Special Olympics of MA
Kathy Savage Element Care also Special Olympics of MA
My wife Kathy is a remarkable nurse. Besides working as a nurse practitioner with an elderly population doing home visits, she spends most of her spare time volunteering for several organizations including Special Olympics, where she has been the volunteer medical director overseeing the medical volunteers for a number of years, she is also active in coaches training of CPR and 1st Aid; the MS Society, where she is a medical volunteer and has volunteered not just locally but in other states with events. She also teaches CPR in the community. Other volunteer efforts include public service events as a ham radio operator.
It is very rare that she will turn down an opportunity to volunteer and help out. Please consider honoring her in this year’s Salute to Nurses.—Nominated by Richard Savage
Edie Tonis, EMD Serono
Edie brings a unique approach in how she works with MS patients. Her background working as a case manager in the insurance industry as well her extensive experience as a staff nurse, including roles working as a psychiatric nurse, allows her to understand the patient experience throughout the healthcare system. She also prides herself on being able to understand the whole scope of challenges facing MS patients, including the emotional issues they may be dealing with and therefore provides advice that seeks to address their mental and physical wellness.
Edie is known as a partner and collaborator and was part of a team from across the organization that instituted the utilization of Facetime as a CHAT program with her patients in Atlanta. The use of Facetime at CHAT program is now being rolled out across the country to highlight the nursing services as an educational tool and also improve patient relationships making the interaction more real for the patient. A patient recently called in to let us know Edie not only helped them get through difficult times but has helped them have a better outlook on their future and how they deal with their disease.—Nominated by Julia Compton
Julie Dwyer, EMD Serono
Julie’s role on the MS LifeLines Nurse Patient Support Center team is to offer helpful resources and individualized support to help people living with relapsing multiple sclerosis (MS) start and stay on therapy. The MS LifeLines support center, which averages more than 300,000 annual connections with MS patients and their caregivers, is available to answer calls 24 hours/7 days a week.
Due to Julie’s extensive background in case management and her time spent working with patients in various care settings, her recognition and appreciation for the full view of the patient enables her to navigate the patient through the complicated healthcare world. Having been on the team since 2003, Julie is indispensable in mentoring her colleagues. The feedback we consistently receive is that her insights were critical in helping others get up to speed. Julie travels to attend programs led by her field nurses, to meet patients in person and demonstrate that there is a full team supporting them. A patient recently called us to thank Julie for her thoughtful and thorough approach to helping them through their journey with MS, and getting on their therapy. The patient was overwhelmed with gratitude to know there was a nurse with her knowledge, from dealing with insurance to providing information on MS available to assist them.—Nominated by Julia Compton
Kendra Delcore , EMD Serono Inc.
Kendra is tireless in her support of MS patients and their needs as well as the needs of the patient’s families and care partners. As a veteran on the team, she is seen as a role model and is regularly asked to train and mentor new nurses. She takes on these added responsibilities with a positive energy and a focus on helping her colleagues learn the necessary communications skills to best serve the needs of the MS patients. Her colleagues talk about her endless patience when working through difficult situations and her ability to keep the patients’ needs at the center of all she is doing. She is committed to finding the best ways to provide support and in that spirit has welcomed change and new protocols and tools that help provide additional support to those seeking assistance.
One example that exemplifies Kendra’s dedication to MS patients is the fact that at the same time every week she receives a call from a patient to talk about their MS. This patient is no longer on a therapy of EMD Serono’s but every week continues to seek guidance and support from Kendra as they trust her.—Nominated by Julia Compton
Susan Cohen , Emerson Hospital
When we arrived on Feb. 18 in labor with our daughter Danika, my husband and I were excited and nervous, but also realistically prepared for labor pains. I anticipated managing my pain with medication, but my labor accelerated rapidly and for a variety of reasons pain medication wasn’t a possibility. I was beyond scared and in incredible pain and my husband was heartbroken to see me in agony. But, Susan Cohen was right there beside me every step of the way. Susan was my rock, my coach, my angel, and my sister in arms fighting right alongside me in the trenches. Susan held me and rubbed my back and rocked me and told me I could do this and gave me the courage and confidence to ride out each contraction and, when the time came, to push, without medication. While I sobbed like a baby to bring this beautiful infant into the world, Susan Cohen held me and comforted me like a baby as well, and I needed that. I am forever grateful. Susan demonstrated sincere professionalism, love, and support. I felt it every step of the way. People like Susan make this process a joy-felt experience. I am thankful for all that Susan did for me and all that she does for every mother who waddles into labor and delivery at Emerson Hospital.—Nominated by Tiffany Pellegrini
Ellen Harland , Emerson Hospital
When the nursing staff at Emerson Hospital’s Birthing Center look for a role model, a mentor, the epitome of the perfect nurse, we look no further than Ellen Harland. From childbirth education instructor to labor and delivery, nursery, and postpartum, Ellen teaches and cares for each patient and family as though they were her own. She is the gentle cheerleader, coaching Mom through the final pushes after an exhausting labor. She is the confident leader jumping into action when a baby needs resuscitation. She is the voice of experience as she teaches parents what to expect during their labor, and later, how to care for their new precious baby. Countless parents, babies, students, and nurses have benefitted from her wise and compassionate counsel.
I have witnessed Ellen’s exceptional patient care both personally and professionally, but one example in particular comes to mind. We had a Rapid Response on our unit, as a new mother had a serious reaction to a medication. Nurses, doctors, and technicians swooped in, caring for the patient’s physical needs, performing the required tasks to help correct the issue. Ellen came into the room after several minutes, slipping through the chaos to the patient’s side. She gently took her hand and said, “My name is Ellen, I am going to be your nurse for the rest of the evening. I will stay here with you and explain what is going on. Don’t be afraid.”—Nominated by Susanne Miele
Yvonne Phillips, Emerson Hospital Home Care
Yvonne Phillips is dedicated, devoted to her patients, who are usually older and alone. She goes way beyond her nursing duties to assist to their personal needs, all the little items that the older patients simply cannot do for themselves. Her patients look forward to her visits because she makes them feel secure. Yvonne has a beautiful heart, an engaging personality and is a physically beautiful person. She is my favorite nurse of this year and every year.—Nominated by Anglaw Weiland
All Students in NURS 4170 Health Promotion Class This Semester, Emmanuel College
This group of Emmanuel College’s RNs has volunteered over 6,000 volunteer hours in their care, service, and education to the most frail, vulnerable, and underserved members of society. They have served at St. Francis House, two adult day health centers, local schools, public health settings, hospitals, and to our US veterans. While providing these community service-learning endeavors, these nurses also work full-time, care for their families, and spend hours preparing and studying to achieve their Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing from Emmanuel College. These students include: Lisa Comis, Diane Costello, Kesnal Edouard, Lilly Issac, Julie Joby, Mano Joseph, Fabianne Lundy, Andris Soble, Susan Vargus, and Aphrodite Winston. They carry out the mission of Emmanuel College each and every day creating healing environments at all levels, provide loving-kindness, compassion, offer hope, provide education, and assist with basic needs, sustaining human dignity, as they work to assist at improving the lives of others.—Nominated by Nancy Matthews
June Nichols , Faulkner Hospital
This past year, our institution moved to an electronic medical record. This endeavor changed the playing field for our profession. June represented our coworkers on this epic event to assist in training, making sure the changes were safe and relative. To teach and provide feedback, to cheerlead and encourage. This meant better caregivers to care for our patients. She is polite and professional, a true asset to the nursing profession.—Nominated by Christopher Malone, RN, BSN, MPA, CPAN
Karen Buenaventura, Faulkner Hospital
On Christmas Eve, I had an unexpected visit to the Faulkner Hospital Emergency room with atrial fibrillation. I had never had this condition before. When a room was ready, I was taken to 6 North. The first person who welcomed me into my room was Karen. She was very kind to me and my daughter. During my stay of nine days, she took such good care of me and explained medications and procedures so well. She was also very kind to my family and they were very impressed with her also. All of the nurses and personnel were great but it was Karen that especially made my stay at Faulkner a pleasant experience. She is an exceptional nurse.—Nominated by Jean Greeley
Leanne Fitzgerald, Faulkner Hospital
Leanne Fitzgerald, RN, has impacted our lives. She takes pride in her job at Faulkner Hospital and enjoys dealing with the variety of patients and families. She is grateful for the opportunity to work alongside so many knowledgeable, caring professionals When speaking of her job, she is always positive and upbeat. As her parents, we are sure that this happiness and her competence comes across to her patients and their families and the quality of care they receive from her. Her attitude and pride in a job done to the best of her abilities has inspired us to reevaluate the impact we have on others at our own jobs.—Nominated by Linda Fitzgerald
Amanda Nasson , Faulkner Hospital
Nurse Nasson was ready at all times during my wife Iris’s colon operation as well as a severe leg infection on a previous stay. Nurse Nasson was attentive and assuring during this difficult time. The coordination with the doctors, the execution of therapy and prescriptions were administered with care and concern. Many times in the past, Nurse Nasson has responded to requests to aid in restoring patients to health, whether in her care or outside of her care. Outstanding giving to all in need.—Nominated by Ronald Nasson
Fenway South End/FCH
Danielle Slepian , Fenway South End/FCH
As the team nurse for my primary care physician at Fenway South End, Dani often has the responsibility for the follow-up and is frequently the contact person with test results, follow-up recommendations. Her patience, compassion, and follow-up to additional queries is always delivered with a smile when appropriate and a sense of sincere concern when necessary. She is a pleasure to interact with and despite being responsible for a tremendous case load as the team nurse. She makes the patient feel as if their respective case is the most important. So, in conclusion, I say thank you, Dani.—Nominated by David Cameron
Fuente DE VIda Adult Day Care
Zeny Mejia , Fuente DE VIda Adult Day Care
The nurse manager Zeni Mejia, at Fuente de Vida,an Adult Day Care for elders in Boston is a person-oriented nurse. She has an excellent way to communicate with people, even the angriest participants, to earn their trust first, and therefore their acceptance to give them care with compassion, respect, empathy . . . that describes this nurse leader. She is my preceptor. I am doing clinical practice to graduate and get my bachelor degree in nursing on May 14 at Emmanuel College. She makes sure that I do not forget any important point when I do a monthly review assessment on a participant. She wants me, for example, to question the participants about their social support at home, about any fall. Zeni Mejia likes accuracy when taking the participants’ vital signs. She teaches me a lot . For instance,last week, she was explaining to me, with maestria, why participants taking coumadin, a (blood thinner) medication, should not be served at lunch green vegetables (a blood thickener rich in vitamin K for stopping bleeding) in order not to increase risk for blood clotting, stroke, heart attack, or pulmonary embolism. Nurse Zeny Mejia said an embolism can be deadly. Thank nurse Mejia for teaching me about the therapeutic and adverse effects of medications in order for me to become a knowledgeable nurse practitioner.—Nominated by Kesnel Edouard RN
Good Samaritan Medical Center
Brandon Reynolds , Good Samaritan Medical Center
People in the medical profession will always tell us that no thanks is necessary for a job well done and this is typical of the response that you will receive from the staff in the Emergency Department at the Good Samaritan Hospital. In particular the day that I came there with this heavy, weighted feeling in my chest that eventually led to open heart surgery.
I would like to thank Brandon Reynolds for not only the knowledge and skill that he brings to his profession but the genuine caring and patience that he shows to everyone that he comes in contact with. My wife would also thank him for his insistence to my stubborn self that I contact her as to my medical situation. I realize now that was the right thing to do, but that is Brandon.
Also thanks to charge nurse Deborah Hayes for her quick response and caring enough to look in on me, something her coworkers see every day.—Nominated by Joseph Arruda
Hallmark Health VNA and Hospice
Kelly Kane, Hallmark Health VNA and Hospice
Kelly Kane’s visits to my home always begin with her infectious smile and wonderful personality. She is meticulous in every facet of her treatment of my medical situation. Kelly displays tenderness, compassion, and exactness in treating me. She always makes certain there are adequate supplies available. If she requires further information concerning my treatment, she contacts my physician for assistance. Kelly personifies the very essence of nursing. There is nothing more she would do to make my medical and psychological condition more pleasant.—Nominated by Anthony DiPietro
Gina Serino, Hallmark Health VNA and Hospice
Gina Serino has consistently demonstrated strong advocacy and caring in her role as a nurse clinical team manager. She models effective nursing skills to others extremely well. When she provides direct nursing care to patients, she is thorough, compassionate, and patient— even under the most trying conditions. This past January, Gina was to join her colleagues at a team bowling event but she had to cancel as a patient was being discharged from a Boston hospital into hospice care. Gina wanted to ensure a smooth transition for the patient and family, so she went to the patient’s home to admit him for service, provide the necessary nursing care, and ensure his comfort for the first night home. She embodies all the great attributes of an excellent nurse.—Nominated by Diane Farraher-Smith
Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates
Helen Donato , Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates
I have Asperger’s and a number of medical conditions, including syncope and asthma. Doctors make me very uncomfortable, so I seldom do my due diligence in keeping my appointments. Helen really cares about me. If I miss an appointment, or if I’ve been a while without visiting the office, she will reach out to me and make sure I’m OK. She is patient, tolerant, understanding, and genuinely cares about me as a person. She embraces who I am and doesn’t talk down to me or make me feel badly because of it. She’s kinda amazing.—Nominated by Neil Papamechail
Sally Faggella, Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates
Sally Faggella has decided to retire this year and it has become more and more evident what a big set of shoes she will leave behind. She has been the energy and soul behind the creation of our Pediatric Medical Home. She understands that medically complex children require an entire team approach and many, many touches to keep their lives and their families’ lives in balance.
Sally has endured personal loss, yet she always has more to give others. She attended a Compassionate Care conference last year, not only to help heal herself, but to learn how to help heal others when they are grieving. She has an extraordinary capacity for empathy and compassion. She spends some of her time doing phone triage and when I have had the privilege of listening to her, I know that if I were the parent on the other end, I would feel well attended to and very informed.
This nomination is not about one particular moment, but an entire career of someone who embodies the true tenants of nursing. Sally cares deeply for others and she has made a difference. She is currently facilitating some empathy forums our organization is promoting for all staff and she is a natural at it. If there is a new health issue (Ebola, Zika, mumps, etc.), she is the first to research it and make easy to understand bulletins for the other nurses.—Nominated by Margaret Byrnes
Sally Faggella , Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates
Sally Faggella, RN and site nurse leader for the Chelmsford Practice of Atrius Health completely embodies everything wonderful that a patient or colleague could ever wish for. She is a strong advocate for nursing, safety, and excellent patient care. She demonstrates compassion in every interaction and never walks by without a friendly hello or an inquiry of concern. She is the go-to person for operational, infection control, or nursing-related issues. She thinks outside the box and advocates for patient services and care. Most recently, Sally volunteered to be a facilitator for our “Empathy Forums.” She is a role model for demonstrating empathy and has done so her entire career. She is a trusted resource for information, care options, and advice. I salute her for her daily demonstration of clinical competency, leadership, true patient centered care, and compassion.—Nominated by J. Kirby
Mary Ann Frazier, Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates
I have never met Mary Ann Frazier and I don’t know where her office is. I know her only by phone and e-mail. Mary Ann is an anticoagulation manager at Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates. Her job is to keep people like me protected from strokes by monitoring our dosages, a tricky business both technically and psychologically. She calls me after every blood test or bugs me if I am late.
When I first came under her care, I needed a test every week; she even arranged for me to get tests on my way driving to and from New Orleans. I have two other unrelated medical conditions that sometimes require coordination and I have learned to go to her to get the doctors onboard. She has been helping me for several years. She even once called me from her home in a blizzard.—Nominated by Roger Demler
Nancy Salonpuro , Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates
I would like to nominate nurse Nancy Salonpuro. Nancy is so passionate about her oncology role at Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates. She spends time with her patients and demonstrates compassion wherever it is needed. Nancy is our newest direct care infusion nurse and I have spent time with her as the educator and I work beside her often. At times she has had to give support around bad news or prognoses of patients. I admire her sensitivity and resilience even though the days and work is so hard and that is challenging most of the time.—Nominated by Susan DeCristofaro
Janice Micale, Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates
Pediatrics was exceptionally busy. Janice was expected to see 12 patients, however, she added on so many patients that she ended up seeing 20. She gave exceptional service to each and every parent/patient. She is clinically adept (as a Nurse Practitioner) and always available whether she is on or off the clock. Janice knows most of her patients. She is now on third generation with some of them. Janice leads by example and chips in all the time.—Nominated by Mary LaRosee
Health Imperatives/DYD Adolescent Services
Theresa Szymczuk, Health Imperatives/DYD Adolescent Services
Theresa is the consummate professional, offering compassion and excellent care to incarcerated youth. She has patience, is kind, caring, and listens to her patients. Sadly, sometimes it is the patient’s first time being listened to and cared for by anyone, including a parent. She maintains strict confidentiality, which her patients are grateful for. She advocates for these youth, so when they get released, she hopes they never return. I nominate her as her patients cannot do it themselves. My wife has a genuine interest in today’s youth, often comes home saddened by the stories of abuse and neglect, but gets up the next day and goes to work anyway. Please give her nomination special consideration given her patients’ situation and lack of resources to nominate her.—Nominated by Dana Szymczuk
Hebrew Senior Life
Nancy Matthews , Hebrew Senior Life
I am nominating nurse Nancy after witnessing her hard work and dedication to vulnerable elders she cares for at the Hebrew Rehab Center adult day care program. She is my preceptor for a clinical I am doing for my BSN. She is a wonderful advocate. She makes it a point to know everything she can about patients, assesses them daily for the slightest change, and collaborates with families, staff, and primary healthcare providers to make sure each patient receives the best care to maintain health and stay in their homes. I have seen her talking with family members, helping them cope with behavior or new diagnoses of their loved ones. She makes a special impact every day.—Nominated by Aphrodite Winston
Alona Sas , Hebrew Senior Life
I’ve known evening shift nurse Alona for eight months but she attracts my attention by a careful and individual approach to every client and detailed consideration of health conditions. Moreover, despite a short period not working as a nurse, she demonstrates deep knowledge in medical conditions and diseases, and administrating complicated situation and ability to prove her decision based on evidence.
About one month before one patient was brought back from medical facility after a small procedure, in examining the patient and measuring vital signs, she suspected something wrong in his health. She shared her thoughts with a supervisor who recommended one additional instrumental measurement. Its result confirmed Alona fears and the patient was taken to the medical facility for further treatment and returned back to HSL in three days.
She has great respect among people she supervises. She uses every opportunity to explain to us every aspect of internal policy. As a result, evening shift under her leadership has great job performance. Moreover, in February she got recognition of her work.—Nominated by Gulnara Hajizada
Michelle Rubenstein, Hebrew Senior Life Hospice
Michelle visited my husband regularly from early January until his death on Feb. 2. She was consistently kind, compassionate, skillful, and competent. She made sure all the services, equipment, and support needed were in place not only for the patient, but for all the family. The difficulty of getting through this terrible time was eased by her unfailing honesty, patience to explain each step of the way. She (and several from the hospice unit) even came to the funeral. Michelle visited us at home on her own time while we were mourning. Others from the Hebrew Senior Life Hospice Unit were also wonderfully helpful, but Michelle was the linchpin of the wonderful care my husband (and the rest of us) received.—Nominated by Iris Saltsburg
Lisa Sullivan, Heywood Hospital
I was a patient in February after I fell down the stairs and fractured my hip. Lisa was my nurse days and she was fabulous. I just felt that she had an empathy for me and managed my pain medication perfectly. She seemed to know exactly how I was feeling. I really appreciated her help.—Nominated by Miriam Tudman
Holy Family Hospital
Lauren Myers , Holy Family Hospital
I am writing to nominate my niece as she has taken me by quite surprise in becoming an RN. I salute her in the profession she has chosen as I never expected her to become a person who devotes herself in taking care of others. Since Lauren has become an RN, she has matured and taken on responsibilities that make me feel she has picked the right profession. I have told her how proud I am so when I read the article Salute to Nurses, I felt what better way to let her know I am so proud of her.—Nominated by Lynda Myers
Home Health VNA
Melissa Campbell , Home Health VNA
Melissa Campbell is an RN working in home healthcare who has advanced certification in wound, ostomy, and continence nursing. Melissa provides highly skilled care to patients with acute and chronic complex wounds and new or difficult to manage ostomies. Melissa teaches patients and families how to care for their conditions and optimize healing. She partners with physicians and wound care centers to ensure that evidence-based care and treatments ensure the best possible chance of success in wound healing. In the several years that I have worked with Melissa, I have witnessed her caring nature, compassion, and communication skills, both with patients and families.
Melissa often develops long-term relationships with patients who have non-healing wounds, seeing them through months or years of treatment. In these cases, Melissa’s advocacy is critical as the patient and family navigate the complex healthcare system. She has spoken on behalf of non-verbal patients and for patients who otherwise would have fallen through the cracks. Her knowledge, skill, passion, and drive make her an extremely valuable resource to our agency and to the care of the population we serve.
In addition to the wonderful job she does working with our patients, Melissa is a tremendous educational resource for all of our nurses. She is a wonderful role model and also serves as an expert consultant who is always available to our nurses. Her years of experience combined with her education provide her with a fund of knowledge in the area of wound care, enabling her to make recommendations to our physician partners and home care clinicians.—Nominated by Karen Gomes
Stacey Geary , Home Health VNA
Stacey Geary has been with Home Health VNA for 16 years as a Maternal Child Nurse (MCH). Stacey optimizes the role of a visiting nurse. Her case load consists of many children with cancer along with mothers with wounds and anyone in between. She never refuses an assignment and drives many miles to cover patients in two states on any given day. She often takes on more than her share of patients to help the team out. Stacey represents the team on the wound committee, frequently teaching and advising other staff members on clinical options and products regarding wound care. Stacey is an active member of the Boston chapter of APHON and has presented workshops on the role of the home care nurse after a child with cancer goes home. She is frequently requested to care for children by providers throughout our community and Boston. Stacey has so many strengths that have been appreciated by both her families and the leadership team at Home Health VNA. She has exceptional critical thinking skills; she is a huge advocate for her patients, and she has excellent nursing skills. Stacey is a quick learner and a team player. She is a tremendous asset to our agency and the MCH team. I highly recommend Stacey for this recognition.—Nominated by Vivian Burton
Mary Jo Matachun, Home Health VNA
Mary Jo has over 20 years experience in the nursing profession. In her work as a visiting nurse for Home Health VNA, Mary Jo exhibits excellent clinical judgment, assessment skills, knowledge, and management of her patients on a regular basis. She often looks outside the box to ensure her patients receive the best, most appropriate care. She is an outstanding patient and family advocate. Mary Jo is a caring person, able to provide safe and exceptional care regardless of the situation. I have witnessed Mary Jo handle difficult situations and I’m proud of her professionalism, commitment, and compassion towards her patients. She involves other clinical disciplines in her cases to ensure her patients reach their goals and maintain long-term independence. She is well liked and trusted by her patients and other clinicians. Mary Jo is a pleasure to work with. As her manager, I am honored to recognize her for her excellence and dedication to the nursing field.—Nominated by Nancy Dogil
Carrie Ann Finch, Home Health VNA/Merrimack Valley Hospice
Carrie Anne is the nurse coordinator of our palliative care service for Merrimack Valley Hospice. She is the glue that holds us together. In her role, she processes referrals to our service, coordinates care with their other providers (oncologists, PCPs, hospitals, etc.), and is the first contact patients and our families have with our service. She is a staunch patient advocate and makes sure patients get the care they need. For those of us in the field, she is a great resource, if you ask Carrie Ann to do something, or follow up on something for our patients, you know it will get done. Our patients are very ill and often very vulnerable, her gentle manner and commitment to care is so essential. Both providers and patients are so very lucky to have her.—Nominated by Lisa Bradshaw
Misty Rivera , Home Health VNA
Misty has over 15 years experience as a nurse. As a visiting nurse, she shows excellence in the care she provides to her patients. Misty has superior clinical judgment, knowledge, and clinical skills in the management of her patients. She is an excellent resource and patient advocate. It is evident that Misty takes pride in her commitment to managing her patients care, and she finds fulfillment in the nursing profession. I have personally witnessed Misty’s interaction with a complicated case and her ability to support the patient and caregiver was admirable. She continuously builds a trusting relationship with both her patient and their family while maintaining professional boundaries. Misty understands patient care needs are priority and she is always professional, even under stressful circumstances. She is reliable, flexible, and well respected by her peers. It is a pleasure to work with Misty as her manager, and an honor to recognize her for her excellence and dedication to the nursing field.—Nominated by Nancy Dogil
Kadre Health Solutions. Inc.
Virginia Gutierrez, Kadre Health Solutions. Inc.
Virginia interacts very professionally and respectfully with everyone she meets. Everyone she deals with comes away with a very favorable and positive experience. She’s very honest, to a fault and will do the right thing for clients and patients, even if it’s information that might not be what someone wants to hear. She’s an exemplar of the nursing industry and represents that in every capacity.—Nominated by Bruce Goldberg
Virginia Gutierrez, Kadre Health Solutions, Inc.
Virginia is my connection to healthcare for members of my Fire Department. I am a Fire Chief in the Commonwealth and rely on her expert opinion and exams of members who have been injured on the job. I always seek her input on the readiness of a member before returning to duty. Virginia always is thoughtful of the patients issues and is fair and understanding to all involved in this complex equation. There are many issues of trust when it comes to returning to duty from injury. Virginia has a very professional way about her where she makes all parties feel comfortable. I could not think of a better person in dealing with workplace injury than Virginia. I have a lot of respect for her in all decision-making situations. Virginia is a kind human being and a gift to work with.—Nominated by Chief Anthony Greeley
Virginia Gutierrez , Kadre Health Solutions, Inc.
Virginia provided outstanding service in communication, paperwork and tests with our drivers.—Nominated by Valeriy Okonechnikov
Virginia Gutierrez, Kadre Health Solutions, Inc.
I have worked with Virginia Gutierrez since 2013. She handles all of the worker’s compensation injuries. Virginia is wonderful with the staff I send to her and she understands worker’s compensation and how it works better than any other provider I have ever used. I salute Virginia for her dedication and compassion she shows to her patients. Thank you Virginia.—Nominated by Amanda Matukas
Virginia Gutierrez, Kadre Health Solutions, Inc.
The company I work for sends many of our new hires to Kadre Health where Virginia works. I can tell she is very passionate about her work. If a potential candidate has any health issue she advises them to contact their physician immediately, and this is because she cares about the well being of that individual. She is extremely knowledgeable and very kind. She respects the confidentiality of patients’ rights and I respect that of her.—Nominated by Kristie Grossi
Virginia Gutierrez, Kadre Health Solutions, Inc.
After being involved in a motorcycle accident, I was treated by Virginia. She took exceptional care of my wounds and took the necessary precautions to make sure there were no further complications from my injuries. She was thorough, had a full understanding of the procedures to deal with the accident, and effectively communicated future treatment and care of the wounds. I had no doubt in her abilities to provide care and properly assess the injury. Dealing with her was far more pleasant and assuring than any other experiences I’ve had with nurses of any level. She was calm, patient, and comforting, which made the traumatic experience far more bearable. She was not just going through the motions while administering care. She approached the situation with a level of expertise, understanding, and energy that separates her from other doctors and nurses I’ve experienced. In the end, all of the conclusions she drew from her assessment were valid and her ministrations were done efficiently. She serves as a model of how the healthcare professionals should conduct themselves when administering care.—Nominated by Mark Bruce
Kittredge Elementary School, North Andover
Mary Hadjian, Kittredge Elementary School, North Andover
My wife has been an elementary school nurse in North Andover for over 20 years. She and her colleagues are at the front lines of caring for little kids in some of their most needy and sensitive years. She comes home every night with stories of treating everything from little cuts to serious accidents and life threatening allergies, to children who need a change of underwear because of an “accident,’’ to dealing with the sad and unfortunate issues of parental and family dysfunction that leave children poorly cared for, to children who simply need someone to listen and understand their anxieties and to offer comfort and a soothing voice. Every day offers new challenges. Sometimes the stories are wonderful. Sometimes very sad.
My wife is just the tip of the iceberg of an army of school nurses who provide invaluable service and caring to little children who represent the future of our country. They work behind the scenes and under the radar, but deserve enormous credit.— Nominated by Richard Hadjian
Lahey Hospital & Medical Center
Brittany Collins, Lahey Hospital & Medical Center
Brittany is an amazing nurse. For the past few years she has been juggling work with school to advance her nursing career. Yet she is more than willing to volunteer for many organizations such as Special Olympics of MA; National MS Society, where she was awarded a Volunteer of the Year Award this past year.
She is a very caring and knowledgeable nurse who has a very professional, calming way about her, and she always makes her patient feel right at ease. She is also an excellent teacher and role model for other staff members and a great mentor for nursing students. Please honor her and give her the acknowledgement she deserves for being a model nurse.—Nominated by Kathy Savage
Jennifer Kulins, Lahey Hospital & Medical Center
Jen would kill me if she knew I’m nominating her for this honor. She is truly humble and she would never ask to be thanked for what she does day-in and day-out to keep her patients safe. She is the type of person people fist-pump to hear is on with them, knowing she will have their back. Jen works on ICU/CCU, where she was placed about two years ago after working in an intense step-down unit. Her calm demeanor makes her an ideal candidate for the often overloaded critical care staff of the 5 Central unit. Always willing to lend a helping-hand, Jen is always eager to learn. She is the first to offer to take the sickest of patients, including those with ventricular assist devices, where others may be hesitant to do so. She would note that the most critical patients are those that stand to improve the most if treated early and appropriately. This like nothing else, energizes her to be the best at her job. I recall a situation when a patient had a prolonged admission after a medical mistake, which created an often difficult and untrusting atmosphere between the patient’s family and the critical care team. Jen was absolutely instrumental in bridging the gap of trust and communication that is often created by an overworked housestaff team and a grieving family. And when the patient recovered and made it to rehab, it was Jen who was caring for the patient on that day. When Jen is not at work, she is single mother to a beautiful 5-year-old boy, Kalen. She deserves this recognition more than anyone I know, and I am blessed to be working with the best.—Nominated by Alaa Ayyoub
Nancy Murphy , Lahey Hospital & Medical Center
Nancy Murphy is a nurse practitioner in the gastroenterology department.When I visited last year, she was extremely understanding, had a great sense of humor, and was quite adept at listening, asking questions, and assuaging my tendency to think apocalyptically. She ordered an endoscopy, which was normal. Fast forwarding to this past February, when I was experiencing discomfort and saw Nancy again. She had another nurse with her in training and I felt confident that Nancy would be a great mentor.
Nancy, once again, listened, examined, and ordered an ultrasound, which also was normal. Nancy, I am sure, picked up on my tendency to be a bit of a hypochondriac, but she did not dismiss my concerns and was very thorough in her approach. Nancy ensured that I follow up on other appointments and provided a prescription for Omeprazole, which has been helpful.—Nominated by Lisa Kennedy-Cox
Elizabeth Terchiak, Lahey Hospital & Medical Center
Elizabeth is an operating room nurse who I have worked with for three years. She exemplifies the qualities of outstanding operative patient care, dedication to her patients with a professional and team work approach. She is always willing to take on additional duties in improving the experience of our patients, who have to go through the stressful experience of undergoing an operation. Her calming and compassionate behavior has made many of our patients feel much at ease. She does an amazing job, with attention to detail and an eye towards efficiency and quality improvement. Her set up of the operating room and surgical instruments with a close attention to detail has significantly improved my ability to provide excellent care.
Elizabeth stays late after work hours to make sure that all patients are taken care off at the highest level. She never complain about being over-worked. The team feels completely confident with her management of patients with routine and unusual problems. She is kind, supportive, and humble. She never expects a reward. She is the epitome of excellence in the field of operative nursing care; as many of my patients have attested to.—Nominated by Thomas Schnelldorfer
Lynn Kimball, Lahey Hospital & Medical Center
The department I work in, interventional pain management, is one of the most challenging, involving many complex patients. Pain is something that is burdensome for us all and requires a special and graceful touch. I have seen pain providers and nurses become desensitized as they are mentally drained from the demands of pain patients and can be judgmental of the drug seekers and chronic opiate users we encounter. I can say with confidence that Lynn Kimball, who is certified in pain management nursing and has 17 years experience in addiction medicine, is not one of those nurses. She interacts with our pain patients in such a compassionate, graceful, and nonjudgmental way. She takes the extra time to make our patients feel like someone is actually listening to them without discounting their most trivial concerns. I have heard on multiple accounts from our patients about how great she is at giving them good attention and making certain their concerns are addressed.—Nominated by Brad Manuel
Lowell General Hospital
Karen Gallagher , Lowell General Hospital
Karen was very instrumental in opening a much-needed diabetes center at Lowell General. She also takes a personal interest in everyone she treats to make sure they get well again.—Nominated by Joseph Blanco
Kelly Sullivan, Lowell General Hospital
He was there when she took her first breath, and she was there when he took his last. A loving daughter, who began her nursing career by persuading her father to get a lingering cough checked out, and then when the diagnosis was cancer, she began the grueling two-year journey of both keeping him alive and then letting him die. Through her clinical knowledge, she was often the first one to diagnose a chemo complication and through her advocacy, she made sure his needs were met in the hospital and hospice setting. It was she who traveled to his treatments, mustering the courage to challenge protocol when it didn’t make sense to us, and it was she who would go to the hospital every morning before her own shift to wash, shave, and get him cleaned up for the day. I always knew she was a wonderful daughter, but the compassion and kindness she afforded her father in the clinical setting truly was extraordinary.
Soon after my husband’s death, I received a letter from his oncologist at Dana-Farber, who wrote, “Peter was particularly proud of Kelly. It meant a great deal to him that his daughter had such unwavering devotion to his care. It was quite obvious to him and me that she chose the right profession and she will make an amazing nurse.” So on behalf of her father, it is with tremendous gratitude I salute Nurse Kelly Sullivan.—Nominated by Maureen Sullivan
Susan O’Neil , Lowell General Hospital
I nominate Susan O’Neil from the cardiac rehab department of the Lowell General Hospital. She is very competent and knowledgeable of all aspects of her position. She is a credit to the program and I salute her.—Nominated by Jonathan Boyd
Lowell Veterans Administration Hospital
Kathleen Mullen, Lowell Veterans Admnistration Hospital
In addition to her many roles, Kathleen Mullen is the first stop for veterans who have doctor appointments. She takes their vitals, asks for general and specific health information, and responds to questions asked. She facilitates the weight-loss programs, collects toiletry items for homeless veterans, and collects school supplies for children in need. She volunteers wherever needed.
Veterans come to the clinic with a variety of physical and psychological problems. Many times these problems overlap, demanding a caregiver’s full attention. Kathleen has the right professional bearing to treat and work with these veterans. She always makes you feel you are the most important person in the room and, no matter why you are visiting the clinic, she is there for you. She has all the compassion of a mother and, when needed, the presence of a drill sergeant. Kathleen has all the qualities of a caring nurse. She is professional, dedicated, and has an endearing sense of humor. I cannot think of anyone more deserving of recognition.—Nominated by Charles Coppola
Lynnfield High School Clinic
Mary Homan , Lynnfield High School Clinic
Mary Homan not only provides healthcare and information to the student population of LHS, but to the faculty and staff as well. I am a teacher and have blood pressure issues. Mary keeps track of my blood pressure on and charts it so I can bring the data to my doctor visit. (She provides this service to any staff that requests it.) Mary is knowledgeable about prescription drugs and will give advice if asked. In addition every year, she offers Wellness Days where various clinicians, health advocates, nutritionists, etc. come to the school for a fair. Students and staff are given an opportunity to interact with the presenters and learn about such subjects as smoking, tanning, sugar intake, and other dangers to health as well as positive steps that one can take to promote a healthy lifestyle. This has included booths that offer healthy food samples and physical fitness tips.—Nominated by Michael Boulay
Marino Center for Integrative Health
Nancy Bartleson, Marino Center for Integrative Health
Nancy has been seeing me for over 10 years for women’s health; this visit had tender emotional issues with it and she was very technical, informative, compassionate, and also practical and helpful. My concerns were addressed and the instructions I was given were easy-to-understand plus immediately useful. She is quite wonderful at her job.—Nominated by Julie Kuhn
Marshall Middle School, Billerica
Helene Sullivan, Carolyn Caliente , Marshall Middle School, Billerica
I am saluting Helene Sullivan and Carolyn Caliente, whom I have been working with at the Marshall Middle School. Both demonstrate the care and compassion that the middle school children need due to diverse and challenging scenarios. These two work collaboratively, providing physical and emotional support to the students as they efficiently assess the complaints of children constantly visiting the nurse’s office. They have an open rapport with the children, caring for their needs in a supportive and comforting manner. They are understanding and I can see how naturally the children respond to them due to their friendly and positive approach. Not only do they care for the students, but the teachers frequently come down with questions about their own complaints. These nurses are true advocates as they are nonjudgmental, actively involved in initiating programs at school to address the diverse cultural needs of LGBTQ gender expression. This has been a wonderful learning experience for me as I pursue my BSN at Emmanuel College as a senior nurse.—Nominated by Lisa Comis
Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary
Ruth Angel , Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary
Ruth tended to me for the first three days after my laryngectomy. She taught me how to take care of my stoma and maintain the lary tube and other devices. Ruth worked with me on my speech by providing constant support and encouragement. Thanks to Ruth’s efforts and dedication I became self sufficient and was discharged and on my own five days after surgery.—Nominated by Dick Spiers
Massachusetts General Hospital
Julie Palafox, Massachusetts General Hospital
The Massachusetts General Lung Transplant Department is extraordinary, and Julie Palafox in particular. She is a nurse practitioner who basically does everything. She is the person I contact for questions concerning medications, dosages, and side effects. She handles all refills and questions that arise needing prior authorizations. She is extremely caring and a great clinician. She is always the first and last person I see on my constant visits. Julie really loves her job but I’m sure not the hours. She spends her days rounding for the hospitalized patients in the program and the newly transplanted patients; she also has clinic duties on Mondays and Thursdays. The program is always expanding, which makes handling her duties all the more difficult. There is not enough time in the day for Julie to handle all her tasks. But you can be sure she answers her personal line in her office late into the evening to answer never-ending questions.
Because we are immune-suppressed, we are very susceptible to infection and must call in at the slightest change in our health. Julie is always there for a quick answer or to set up an immediate visit. I think I would be lost without Julie’s personal care, incredible knowledge, attention to detail, and overall bedside manner. That is why I am nominating Julie Palafox for having a great impact on my life.—Nominated by Sean McCarthy
Erika Rosato, Massachusetts General Hospital
I especially remember quite vividly that Saturday morning when I called you at your home in the morning and told you about the great difficulty that my dear Mary was having with her coordination. You were kind enough to drop everything and within three minutes you were at our home to evaluate her condition. After your evaluation, you determined that my dear Mary must go to the Massachusetts General Hospital Emergency Center. When the private ambulance arrived to take her to your great hospital, you made sure that everything was proper before the ambulance personnel left our home.
After my dear Mary was transferred to the ninth floor in the Lunder Building at your great hospital, you then proceeded to visit with her every morning and then every evening. She asked you to consult with the nurses and explain the treatment program that was started when she arrived at the Lunder Building. Your consultations with my dear Mary and our family were incredibly important for our understanding; as my dear her condition was becoming most critical. Although we had extensive questions each and every time you visited with Mary, you were able to answer all of our concerns in a most professional manner; that really relieved our growing anxiety. Although my dear Mary lived for three weeks after her admission, we all believe and know that your visits were the highlight of her day. The early evening that my dear Mary entered into heaven, you were by our side to guide us through the final steps of her condition. You were able to comfort our family with your words of wisdom and condolences to all of us. Thank you very much.—Nominated by Robert Hunt
Sarah Floyd, Massachusetts General Hospital
What happens when a shy nurse who worked hard to get through Birmingham Southern, a liberal arts college in Alabama, is voted one of the 1,000 best medical professionals at Mass General, as she was last year? Despite breaking her wrist, which now has a metal plate in it, she hurried back to work in order to get the computer training she needed to be a more efficient employee of GoldFinch Physicians.
After 15 years in the ER at another hosptal, she transferred to Mass General after being reprimanded for spending more than 20 minutes with a patient who had broken her arm, was stabiized, but had lost her husband, who died in the same accident she was in. Insurance companies insist on timing of nurse-patient interaction and the time it took to emotionally stabilize a woman who had just lost her husband was not figured into the equation.
Sarah received her first nursing experience at Jacksonville, N.C., (or Parris Island) where the Marines receive their training. Since then she has continually kept up with the training that makes her a nurse worthy of the high standards at Mass General, this year No. 1 in the nation. She also teaches nurses, as she has at Mass Bay Community College and Massassoit Community College. But her primary love is the direct care of patients. She was born with a loving heart and is very compassionate. As a single mother, she gave her two sons the courage and perseverance to graduate from college: one on a wrestling scholarship and the other attending Framingham State to become a software engineer for the state of Massachusetts.—Nominated by Alice Brown
Mary Ellen Koutsainis, Massachusetts General Hospital
There are many fantastic nurses, however my daughter cared for me during a very serious illness at Sturdy Memorial Attleboro, Mass General, and Lindon Ponds in Hingham — simply the best.—Nominated by George Carey
Annette Moore, Massachusetts General Hospital
After contracting uncontrolled edema from venous impairments, and serious skin infections over large areas on both legs, which proliferated during a hospital IP evaluation of metastases of abdominal cancer, Nurse Moore has repeatedly addressed the infections post-release over intervals of three and seven days, for weeks — adjusting treatment modalities (bandaging, compression stockings, wet or dry dressings) to decide which would be most effective, depending on the recovery developments. Had the infections progressed internally to invade bone tissue, it would have been life-threatening. Because I have limited mobility and require a wheelchair, I require specialized positioning for skin treatment, and she has always respected that and frequently makes valuable suggestions.
Nurse Moore connects repeatedly with my PCP to update him, and she is warm and compassionate about many of my medical problems, which have nothing directly to do with her specialty. She has made me feel especially welcome and encouraged me to call her voicemail outside of office hours if necessary. In comparison with other of my caregivers, Nurse Moore stands out through her caring presences without time limits — professionalism and warmth of this order is not anything you can pay for, it’s either offered freely or it is not. So she creates for me a happy and healing experience, that I eagerly look forward to at each visit, and I feel fortunate to have Nurse Moore continuing in my caregiving family.—Nominated by Brad Butler
Transplant Nurses, Blake 6 and 12, Massachusetts General Hospital
The nurses were attentive and caring day and night. They are part of the reason that my recovery is going so well. I love all of them and will be grateful to them for the rest of my life. They listened to me and comforted me whenever I needed it.—Nominated by Mary Laskowski
Virginia Capasso , Massachusetts General Hospital
Since 1989, my husband has suffered from leg ulcers. He was treated by many doctors at various hospitals. He had much pain and infections. They were very hard to heal due to a filter in his chest put there before brain surgery in 1987.
In 2006, he was hospitalized for over two weeks because his legs began to give out causing him to fall. While in the hospital and rehab, he had major seizures for the first time. No one could find a cause and suggested he use a wheelchair indefinitely. Our doctor suggested he go to nurse, Virginia Capasso, at her Wound Care Clinic at Mass General Hospital. He did and after only three visits, she noticed a rash on his arms. This turned out to be a latex allergy. This is why he was falling. So, not only did she control and heal his ulcers, she improved his quality of life, allowing him to not need the wheelchair. This is only one story from one of her patients. My husband was so fortunate to have been in her dedicated care.— Nominated by Etta Manning
Stephanie Christopher, Massachusetts General Hospital
Starting off as a Certified Nurses Assistant to work through college at Salem State University my sister Stephanie developed a love for nursing. Since graduating three years ago, she has worked at Massachusetts General Hospital, where Stephanie has put it upon herself to act as an advocate for many members of our family and her community.
Her understanding of the system and the best ways to navigate it has helped many. I’ve watched her pack surgery wounds with gauze over her dining room table and accompany sick loved ones to the doctor. Since returning home from college, she has acted as our grandmother’s primary health reference and our grandmother’s health has taken a great turn for the better. My parents own a local flower shop in Winthrop and often her patients will unknowingly call my mom and dad to send her flowers.
Stephanie’s big heart and unwavering dedication to her patients has made her an excellent professional. No challenge at the hospital seems to put her in a bad mood or gets in the way of her goals. Having Stephanie and other nurses like her as a resource has helped make our community a healthier and better place. She does so with very little fanfare and deserves to be recognized.—Nominated by Peter Christopher
Grace Deveney Massachusetts General Hospital My wife was taken to South Shore Hospital by ambulance from Cohasset. Grace Deveney, our neighbor, came from work at MGH on her way home and saw her condition was serious and felt that she should be transferred to MGH due to the severity of her condition. My wife received excellent care both at South Shore and MGH thanks to Grace Deveney. —Nominated by Arthur Oclear
Jan Dempsey , Massachusetts General Hospital
Jan Dempsey is the nurse manager for my urologist Dr. Frank McGovern at MGH. Although my last interaction with Jan was in January of this year, I have had numerous interactions with her over the years because of my history with prostate problems. I will be turning 90 this year and there have been many times I have been in immediate need of medical attention. On every occasion, Jan has told me to “come in right away’’; and if the doctor wasn’t immediately available, she was always willing to do whatever she could to allay my fears and perform whatever procedure was within her scope of responsibility. After discussing the results with Dr. McGovern, she would either report the findings back to me or have the doctor call me personally. Jan is one of the most competent, knowledgeable, compassionate and dedicated nurses I have ever had contact with.—Nominated by Marshall Sloane
Elizabeth Ditavi, Massachusetts General Hospital
Dealing with cancer and its complications is not a walk in the park or a world cruise, but a series of seemingly endless appointments, worrying about findings, sitting, waiting, and dealing with boredom.
Elizabeth has been a constant presence in my care providing clarification when needed, psychological stroking when necessary, tending to my medical needs, while maintaining a positive attitude that is reassuring. She has an ability to lighten up the moment. Her care and concern extended to my husband and family. A specific example of her care and professionalism occurred when we left our Cape Cod home quite early to beat traffic We arrived at the hospital to discover my oncologist was ill and that my appointment was canceled. The scheduling staff apologized but indicated there was nothing they could do. Elizabeth understood my situation. Without hesitation she advocated for me and was able to arrange for another physician to address my needs while she assured my port was clear and my other medical needs were resolved before we left for home.
I have been impressed by a large cadre of nurses who have ministered to me over the years. While they have been excellent and caring, Elizabeth stands head and shoulders above the others.—Nominated by Christine Lapuc
Peg Nelson , Massachusetts General Hospital
Peg Nelson is my sister but I think she is the nurse of the year. Besides her job saving the lives of the youngest patients at MGH, she also has a family of 11 brothers and sisters, two elderly parents, and an elderly aunt to who she devotes her care and medical knowledge also. Last summer my father in Florida was brought to the hospital, she flew down there on a moment’s notice to help with his care. When we decided that our parents needed to move back to Mass she helped pack up their house and take them home. Soon after arriving home (they stayed at her house), my mother was taken to the hospital with congestive heart failure. She translated the doctor’s orders to the rest of us and stayed with my mother 24/7 until she left the hospital.
My brother was diagnosed with leukemia three years ago and she has helped with his care and difficult decisions regarding treatment with other complications that have come up. She has helped their family in numerous ways. My great aunt has also had many health issues in the past months and Peg has volunteered to be her health proxy and has intervened with her doctors. All this while devoting all her scheduled work hours to her babies in the NICU at MGH. I have met some of their parents and they sing her praises constantly.—Nominated by Cathy Emery
Peg Nelson, Fenway Health/South End, Massachusetts General Hospital
Nurses are all unsung heroes. All nurses deserve a salute. I would like to salute and nominate Peg Nelson. I am on a new medication that requires a doctor’s preauthorization for each refill. As with any medication, a missed dose is not a good thing. My medication was coming due and was ordered a week before I was to run out. I had received a call from the dispensing pharmacy saying there was an insurance issue and that the doctor needed to re-authorize the order. Peg immediately jumped into action and submitted a required 20-page appeal. Not only this, but she also called the insurance company to speak to them personally on this issue. It took Peg a full day to complete this appeal on top of her other nursing duties. The end result was that I had the medication the very same day with no missed doses. Peg deserves to be a 2016 Salute to Nurses recipient.—Nominated by Ernie Berardinelli
Catherine O’Neil, Massachusetts General Hospital
My grandmother had surgery at MGH to address a dangerous abdominal aortic aneurysm. Every person on Bigelow 14, from the surgeon to the PCAs were absolutely fantastic, but Catherine O’Neil in particular made a permanent impression on our entire family.
Not only was she was attentive, thoughtful, and caring, she went so far as to personally monitor her minute by minute. My grandmother, a high risk patient due to a number of concurrent serious health issues, had significant complications in the hours after surgery. Her issues were too many to list; if not for Catherine’s determination and passion to deliver superior nursing care, I am absolutely convinced my grandmother would not be with us today. By observing carefully the subtle clues that would indicate severe problems were on the horizon, Catherine acted quickly to treat problems as they arose, and went so far as to swiftly move my grandmother to the SICU (Surgical Intensive Care Unit) when it appeared that the problems became too acute to treat on BIG 14.
Her compassion was like nothing I have ever encountered from a medical professional. She provided a calm, reassuring presence, and when the situation became particularly worrisome, she acted with confidence and seriousness that should serve as an example to all in the medical field.—Nominated by George Sousouris
Massachusetts Mental Health Center
Veronica Besancon, Massachusetts Mental Health Center
I am a primary care doctor I work at the Brigham & Women’s Primary Care Center at Massachusetts Mental Health Center where Veronica Besancon, RN, is the nurse manager of the ambulatory clinics. Veronica has been a psychiatric nurse for over 40 years. Our patients are chronically severely mentally ill. Veronica shows up every single day determined to do what she can to get every patient’s needs addressed. Over the course of her career she has driven patients to the hospital in labor gone to their homes and taken them out to lunch in order to persuade them to get necessary testing or accompanied them to doctor’s appointments, arranged transportation for patients who can’t come for appointments because they’ve run out of money for transportation. She bothers to find out why people aren’t getting the care they need and goes the extra mile to help them get that care. If anything looks off about a patient, she notices and steps in to express her concern and help. She speaks up to all the members of a patient’s team to ensure that they get the care they need whether that be money for food, help obtaining medication, or a few extra minutes of consideration from a physician. I can’t stress enough how deserving she is of this award for using her considerable tenacity and compassion in the service of these most undeserved stigmatized patients.—Nominated by Gail Levine
Patricia Fredericksen , McLean Hospital, Massachusetts Hospital School/Randolph High School/Rosie’s Place
Imagine a nurse who is so compassionate and able that families would send their sick high-school-age children to school rather than take them to a physician; one so valued at the McLean Hospital that they created a position for her after she suffered a heart attack and survived a triple bypass; one that poured her heart and soul into her work helping women get back on their feet at Rosie’s place; and one who followed the advice she gave over 50 years and resolved to not give in to a major stroke, one that doctors said would leave her in managed care for the rest of her life. That is our mom. And now she continues provide compassionate care to her three children and five grandchildren. Some people who have the gift of caring/healing stop to pursue other vocations. Some stop caring/healing when they have enough to retire. And some view caring/healing as a true gift and will stop when they can no longer do it. Our mother has not stopped yet.—Nominated by Patrick Fredericksen
AnneMarie Lyons, Rebecca Sanford, Arpi Sarian, Kathy Smith, Sandra Thompson, McLean Hospital
For many years I’ve scanned your annual Salute to Nurses, and this year I’d like to point out your annual omission: psychiatric nurses. You omit them because, due to the pervasive stigma attached to mental illness, patients do not openly recognize and honor these nurses. By continuing to ignore the huge number of psychiatric units and their workers, you are continuing, even supporting the persistent stigma of seeking help for psychiatric illness. You will not see heartfelt gratitude to a nurse written by a grateful patient that would expose that person to the public as a “loony” and no one wants that. Yet almost every general hospital has a psych unit or sends its many psych patients on to a psych hospital, and those units are full to bursting.
Please help to at least acknowledge this incongruity. Highlighting the availability of mental health treatment might show your readers that help is accessible. This is no longer the era of “One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” Nurse Ratchett is long gone. In fact, many of our smartest new RN graduates are choosing psych, finding it to be a fascinating, challenging field that is utilizing new therapies based on a tremendous amount of research done in recent years. But I am now suggesting you honor five veteran nurses who have been working in the Admission area of McLean Hospital for many years. They have seen so much, dealt with so much, and never know who, or in what condition, will come through the door that day. And more than one reader of this paper will recognize them: Arpi Sarian, Kathy Smith, AnneMarie Lyons, Rebecca Sanford, Sandra Thompson. Thank you.—Nominated by Jeanette Kingsley, RN
Melican Middle School, Northborough
Linda DeFeudis , Melican Middle School, Northborough
Linda has been my preceptor for my clinical practicum for my BSN. She exemplifies what it is to be a school nurse. She is professional, caring, compassionate, and well invested in her position as school nurse at Melican Middle School. She knows most students by name. She wears several caps as a collaborative member of the school team and works from her heart. She is a medical expert, a confidant, a counselor, and a tremendous human being. She treats each child as if he/she were her own. The kids love her and even stop in just to say hi throughout the day. As a nurse myself for 37 years I truly can appreciate how hard her job is and I thank her from the bottom of my heart.—Nominated by Diane Costello
Melrose Wakefield Hospital
Valerie Fusco , Melrose Wakefield Hospital
After recently being hospitalized with mononucleosis and no sign of improvement, my family and I were beginning to become very worried about my health. My sister, Valerie, a nurse at Melrose Wakefield Hospital, saved my life. My condition deteriorated every day. The medical care I was receiving wasn’t what I expected from the hospital I was staying at. My sister would advocate for me daily with the medical staff. I had yet to see a doctor for three days, she was becoming very worried for not only my safety but medical care.
When a nurse practitioner finally saw me, Valerie suggested to her I had pneumonia and needed a chest x-ray. She dismissed this claim and said that it was simply the mono that was causing me to have fevers of 105 and extreme difficulty breathing. Valerie was fighting for me when I was unable to. As another day passed, I only got worse. Valerie now demanded I get a chest x-ray. When the results returned, the nurse practitioner apologized for her error and applauded my sister’s ability to spot the symptoms of pneumonia.
Valerie is a recent graduate of Regis College. She is only 22 years old. She has been a nurse at Melrose Wakefield for the last nine months. I had no idea of the incredible knowledge she possessed, until I saw firsthand. What she lacks in experience, she more than makes up for in her vast knowledge of the medical field. I can’t thank her enough, I love my sister.—Nominated by Ron Fusco
Joan Keneally-Nies , Melrose-Wakefield Hospital
Joan works in the cardiac rehabilitation department for Hallmark Health at the Melrose-Wakefield Hospital. I met her after having heart valve replacement surgery and began my cardiac rehab program under her guidance. She epitomizes professionalism and dedication to all her patients, keeping us on track in what is a daily and lifetime commitment to heart healthy exercise and lifestyle. My surgery was five years ago and I am now in cardiac maintenance with many others who have stayed in the program due to Joan’s commitment to us. She never stops educating us about a healthy lifestyle and provides us the inspiration to continue in the weekly maintenance program—something that would be easier to stop going to sometimes. Joan is the most committed nurse I have met who on a weekly basis keeps her patients needs first and foremost. She never hesitates to keep us on the straight and narrow for our heart health.—Nominated by Kim Altschul
MetroWest Medical Center
Jessica Messier, MetroWest Medical Center
My diagnosis of a rare autoimmune disease required intense infusion therapy that was administered at MetroWest Medical Center in Framingham. The strong, bossy woman that was me disappeared every time I entered the small urban chemo center. I hardly recognized the quiet, scared, and vulnerable person I had become.
One of the most positive women impacting my recovery was my oncology nurse, Jessica Messier. Gentle, patient, well trained, and efficient, Jess possessed character and skills they just cannot teach in nursing school. I wasn’t an easy patient: I was needle phobic, with zero pain tolerance. But Jess was great with a needle . . . a nearly painless stick. She was upbeat, with a great laugh that I can still hear in my mind when I come across something I know she would think was funny. I observed first-hand the dozens of miles each day she put on her white-clogged feet, running between (sometimes difficult) patients, doctors, and the nurses station. She was intelligent and thoughtful, qualities too often overlooked among nursing responsibilities. Complex dosing and dispensing of medication and careful monitoring of multiple patients requires sophistication, focus, and the intense ability to multi-task. At my darkest hour, Jess was relaxed and easy-going, soothing and purposeful, and an invaluable, informative conduit between my busy doctor and me.
As much as I dreaded the nearly year-long process of what was ahead of me, I looked forward to having the welcome distraction of seeing Jess and the other nurses that made up this special nursing community. Her friendship and humor provided support and a therapeutic peace that no medicine could match. Although I clearly don’t miss my infusions— I sure do miss my days spent with Jessica, to whom I will be forever grateful.—Nominated by Debra Teperman
Morton Hospital and UMass Dartmouth School of Nursing
Maria V. Vazquez , Morton Hospital and UMass Dartmouth School of Nursing
I nominate my wife, Maria, not because she is my wife and I can’t really speak of her nursing skills, but because she took the time to understand kidney donation and made a decision to provide me with one on Dec. 13, 2013. Since that time, she has written a paper for Nursing 2015, espousing kidney donation and the process, that encourages nurses themselves to consider donation. She has undergone a transformation in nursing, being a hospital/nursing home/rest home clinical nurse for well over 30 years. She is prepared to give a paper on nursing transplantation to the International Transplant Association in October, and been forward in providing those suffering from kidney failure to the process and positive enforcement of transplantation, independent of application to a transplantation list. While her clinical nursing has been of many years, this nurse has not only sacrificed a critical organ to her husband, but now seeks a second life in bringing the wonder of donation and kidney transplantation to those who need assistance in understanding the process, beyond what doctors can offer.—Nominated by Patrick Rogers
Mount Auburn Hospital
4th Floor Nursing Team, Cardiac Unit, Mount Auburn Hospital
I would like to take this opportunity to nominate the nursing team of the Mount Auburn Hospital 4th Floor Cardiac Unit (my dad was in Room 410). It was not an easy time for our family because we knew my father had only a few days. He was 91 years old with cancer and two significant hematomas. The nursing staff was by far the most caring and compassionate team of nurses I’e ever met. Every single one of them treated my dad with dignity. It was difficult to watch him die, they really were compassionate and spent so much time with our family making us feel comfortable and allowing us to be with him every day and night. Nurses are one of a kind, not everyone is cut out to be one, the nursing staff on the 4th floor from day to night from the time frame of Feb. 14-25 took incredible care of my dad and my family for that matter and I will be forever grateful to each of them.—Nominated by Sharon DeMarco
Violetta Alvarez, Mount Auburn Hospital (currently at MGH)
Violetta Alvarez was a nurse at the chemotherapy center at Mount Auburn where I have been treated for the past nine years. She is thorough, careful, observant of patients’ reactions to the chemotherapy at the same time that she is warm and personable. She also has a great sense of humor. Her qualities made me feel that I was in good hands, when I have felt so vulnerable with my illness. Recently, she took a job at MGH. While all the nurses at Mount Auburn are highly competent and professional, she stood out as a skilled nurse with an unusual amount of caring and empathy. I miss her a lot.—Nominated by Ellen Holtzman
Phyllis Butler , Mount Auburn Hospital
Phyllis Butler is a labor and delivery nurse at Mount Auburn Hospital. She has delivered thousands of babies from all over the world. She remembers every patient and every birth. I am lucky enough to call her my co-worker. She shows the patients respect and kindness, strength and resilience. She is the nurse who will hold your hand, hug you, or even yell at you when you need it.
A pregnant patient came in with bedbugs. Most people would run. Phyllis was the first one to offer to take care of that expectant mom. She showered with soap and water and love. Never have I been so impressed with a nurse. She got right in the shower with the woman. Her kindness is not only to the people she takes care of but also to the staff around her. Her stories are folk tales; we listen like kids around the campfire. This 60+-year-old nurse is an amazing asset to the Boston community, Mount Auburn Hosptial, every pregnant patient lucky to have Phyllis at her birth, and all the nurses she has ever worked with. She is a living legend in the world of nursing.—Nominated by Elizabeth Dragone, RN
Sandra Chang , Mount Auburn Hospital
How do you encourage your 89-year-old mother, who spent nine days at Mount Auburn Hospital suffering a bowel obstruction? You watch and learn from nurse Sandra Chang.
In the presence of frantic adult children anxiously circling their mother’s bed, Sandra would glide in and expertly manage us all, even as she directed her attention to the patient. She would say, “Hello, Dimitra, I see your daughters are here again today. You must have always been there for them.” Sandra would look my mom directly in the eye and sincerely ask, “Where is the pain?” She would then listen.
Sandra explained how the body worked to heal and why rushing into surgery wasn’t always the best route, especially in older patients. Sandra encouraged my mom to walk and move as much as she could to help the body in the process. She kindly showed us how we could be useful by taking our mom for walks, even down to the lobby. When, finally, my mom’s strong body did what the doctors had hoped and she had come through the ordeal and could go home, it was Sandra she wanted to thank.—Nominated by Linda Perlman
National Institutes of Health
Susan Soto, National Institutes of Health
Susan Soto is an excellent research nurse, demonstrating what it truly takes to support a patient through a clinical trial. From the first interaction with her patients, Susan demonstrates the ability to act as a trusted healthcare professional on which patients can rely on every step of the way. She has spent the last several years at the National Institutes of Health working with patients who have chronic lymphocytic leukemia, and other types of rare blood disorders. As her colleague, it is safe to say that she is well loved by every single one of the patients in her care. She is trusted and depended upon not only by her patients, but also the physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals she works with as well. She provides leadership and accountability for each piece of the research process and always advocates for her patients. As a former colleague, I can truly say that I feel honored to have worked on a team with Susan Soto and would like to recognize her for her efforts.—Nominated by Amanda Bray
New Bedford Jewish Convalescent Home
Donna Callahan , New Bedford Jewish Convalescent Home
There is no one on the face of this planet who deserves such a recognition as Donna Callahan, and for the following reasons. My wife and I have observed her working assiduously and lovingly with patients, and on many occasions. (She took care of Betty Abesh, our dear friend, who died just a few days ago.) She pours her heart and soul into her work, and is a professional par excellence. Succinctly, there is no one who gives more of herself to her noble profession of nursing, and she always does this with a smile on her face. Here is a woman who lives, breathes, and talks nursing, and she is without the slightest doubt a quintessential professional. This is why I have taken it upon myself to write a letter of recommendation for Donna Callahan, who objectively deserves a Nobel Prize for sainthood for the work she is currently doing, and has done for eons. She is my wife’s and my hero, and she would be yours if you met her.—Nominated by Professor Mel Yoken
New England Baptist Hospital
Nursing Staff, New England Baptist Hospital
I’d like to nominate all of the nurses in the prep, recovery, and hospital room for my surgery this past February, which was conducted by Dr. Jawa. The staff was phenomenal.—Nominated by W. Patrick Lentell
NewBridge on the Charles
Claire Hunt , NewBridge on the Charles
This is my fourth or fifth letter nominating Claire Hunt for this prestigious honor. Claire works on the Memory Support Unit at NewBridge on the Charles. She interacts with residents living with all types of dementias, including, but not limited, to Alzheimer’s. In the six years I have known her, first as my mother’s primary nurse, and since my mom’s death as a volunteer on the MSU, I can attest to the consistency of care, passion, and compassion that Claire exhibits to residents, their families, the staff, and visitors to this community. She has a pulse on the entire floor, looking and assessing what each resident needs, be it a hug, a snack, a quick check of a pulse, etc. Her skills truly get better with time, no burnout here.
She doesn’t sit still and has never been without a smile, an encouraging word for the person who needs it. Her assessments of my mother’s condition and her plans-of-care were outstanding, succinct, and motivated by what would make my mother most comfortable. I am convinced that my mother’s last years were ones that were nurturing, comfortable, as happy as possible, all thanks to Claire. The staff on this floor are as outstanding as Claire – because she is a leader. I watched Claire tend to my mother the day before and the day of my mom’s death; I was so touched by her gentle touch, her calm voice telling my mom that everyone loved her, and that she wasn’t alone; and Claire was in the room tending to both my mother and me when my mother passed. She continued to tend to me, a gift that I treasure. And then she hugged a resident.—Nominated by Esther Schneiderman
Diana Ostrofsky, NewBridge on the Charles
Compassion, love, and caring: these are some of the traits Diane Ostrofsky shows to her patients. Even when I did not call for a nurse’s services. she would stop in to chat and see how I was. Diane would check my leg (I had cellulitis) and if my skin looked dry. she would rub it in with a lotion. She was my cheering squad when I would walk further and further with the therapists, egging me on to do a little more. There are times I feel sad that I will not see Diane every day as I have been discharged from the unit.—Nominated by Herbert Schwedock
Newport Hospital, R.I.
Patricia Sousa-Cooper, Newport Hospital, R.I.
While my wife endured treatments for Metastatic Breast Cancer, to which she would eventually succumb on this past Feb. 21, Patricia Sousa-Cooper was not only one of the chemotherapy infusion nurses, but also a care coordinator for other diagnostics. During our treatments from Aug. 2 through Feb. 15, she was not only technically sharp and skilled, but also connected her dynamic levels of compassion to meet the needs of my patient wife, as well as our daughters. Later in the treatment cycles, she was a staunch advocate for necessary genetic testing and helping gain approvals for various treatments and support services.—Nominated by Jerry Hobbs
Newton-Wellesley Hospital, New England Hematology and Oncology
Wendy Kear , Vernon Center at Newton-Wellesley Hospital, New England Hematology and Oncology
The Vernon Center is a busy treatment center for cancer and other serious medical conditions. Many patients are frequent visitors and many are very sick and worried as they go through a difficult time. I have been a patient and observer at NEHO since 2004. Everyone working there is exceptional and the interaction between staff and patients is noticeably kinder and gentler, when compared to traditional medical appointments and interactions. A shining light among them is Wendy Kearn — all who have interacted with her would agree, she radiates hope and kindness. Wendy has provided my treatment since my first visit in 2004. I am fortunate to be among the lucky ones and as long as I keep up with my monthly visits, I continue to be very healthy. I noticed while waiting in the busy lobby to meet the doctor on my first visit to NEHO that this is a place where many people are sick and fighting for survival. Enter Wendy Kearn, a sassy and ever positive personality. Wendy’s compassion and positive energy radiates from her soul as she enters the lobby and calls out for her next patient. Several patients visibly perked up and smiled just seeing her walk through, clearly familiar with her special way of making everyone feel a little better, a little more like a normal person, and a little more hopeful. On holidays, she dresses in costume and all eyes follow her and smile. Devoted to her patients, Wendy has a special gift that has a healing effect that transcends illness and brings a little reprieve from the rest. Most importantly, Wendy makes a positive difference in the lives of all she touches and lifts all spirits by being herself.—Nominated by Susan Butterworth
All of the nurses on Floor 3West, Newton-Wellesley Hospital
I was hospitalized for eight days back in August 2015. This was my first time staying in the hospital overnight since age 16 (I am now 75). I was overwhelmed by the entire caring nursing staff. Each nurse that attended to me throughout the days and nights made me feel like I was the only patient on the floor. They were all so attentive to my needs, extremely efficient, compassionate, and clearly knew what they were doing. I never doubted their skills. What stood out the most were their sparkling personalities. I did not want to be in the hospital, but the nursing staff was so great that I almost did not want to leave.—Nominated by Robert Hutchinson
Jacqueline Machain, Newton-Wellesley Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital
Jackie Machain has been my husband’s nurse for over five years. She works side by side with Dr. Kwolek, a vascular surgeon at Newton-Wellesley Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital. Prior to and following my husband’s leg amputation and many other medical problems, Jackie has always been there for us. Having major surgery and chronic health issues can be an emotional roller coaster. She has been the rock that has helped us get through these ordeals.
Jackie treats you as if you were the only patient on her busy schedule. She never rushes us through visits and truthfully answers all of our questions. Jackie does all of this with respect and a smile on her face. She is a trusted patient advocate, who is available day and night, when families are going through the hardest days of their lives. We as a family could not ask for a more skilled, bright, and kindhearted nurse.—Nominated by Carolyn Dobies
Nursing Staff, Newton-Wellesley Hospital
I had two procedures in February and March. I would like to nominate the nursing staff who took wonderful care of me and thank them from the bottom of my heart. Yolanda, Laurie, Jennifer, Monica, Nancy, Annie, Gail, Marti, Amy, Jean, Patty, Mary, Liz, Steve, Jan, Patrick, and Sally-Ann. Pre-op nurses, post-op nurses, anesthesiology nurses, and pre-test nurses, these are the best of the best. They work as a team and check in with you to ensure you are as comfortable as you can be. As a patient in unfamiliar and scary territory, they hold your hand, rub your arm, explain everything that they’re doing, tell you what’s happening next, all with a kindness and humanity that is astounding. From wrapping your arm in a warm blanket so the IV goes in easier to making jokes to put you at ease, to answering any questions you may have, to bringing you ice chips and crackers to quell the nausea, these talented and dedicated professionals do so with a genuine smile and a caring touch. In the simplest of terms, they make you feel better and more at ease with what’s ahead. Their compassion, clinical competency, and need to ensure I was doing OK is beyond remarkable. I am on the road to a full recovery and it’s because of these incredible women and men. It’s hard to put into words the gratefulness I feel for these very special people.—Nominated by Caren Carpenter
Norfolk Center for Cancer Care & Hematology
Cathy DaSilva, Norfolk Center for Cancer Care & Hematology
Cathy is an oncology nurse, working in an outpatient infusion clinic. The reason I am nominating her is because of her unyielding love and support for her oncology patients. She is an excellent nurse manager and her staff respects her. Cathy works hard without a complaint and the compassion she has for her patients is beyond words. She will bend over backwards to help a patient in need. Because of her strong clinical background, her patients trust and love her. You can clearly see how much she cares for these patients and wants to help them in anyway possible. I know her patients feel safe when they come for their treatment and know they will receive the best care while they are there.—Nominated by N.D.
North Hill, Needham
Wilson Auguste, North Hill, Needham
A common experience for a lot of families is the transition of a loved one to a skilled nursing facility. Three years ago, my family had to make this decision and moved our mom into North Hill in Needham. What makes someone exceptional in the profession of nursing? Sometimes the positive impact is from a brief exchange or one experience but for my family it’s been the day to day consistency of care for my mother provided by Wilson Auguste. He is a compassionate and caring nurse who uses critical thinking and advanced practice in his decisions. He plans her care, changes his plan as her health dictates, and always keeps her family informed. He treats her in a holistic manner, always. If Mom has a change in her status, Wilson immediately reacts, reviewing everything that could impact her condition. Wilson has been there for her; assessing, planning, and implementing her care, reassuring her when she can’t remember where she is or why she isn’t home. Wilson is a trusted nurse and friend. When Mom and I talk about Wilson, her only complaint is that he is like a butterfly, “flitting in and out- I wish he could sit and stay awhile.”
My mom went from a terrified, frail, disoriented person to someone who feels safe, trusts in the people around her, and now is home with her “new family.” It has been a truly amazing experience for all of us. I am able to visit with my mom as her daughter (instead of her nurse), leaving her at the end of the visit, assured that Wilson and the team will provide exceptional care for my mom, emotionally and physically. For all of these reasons, I would like to nominate Wilson for The Boston Globe Salute to Nurses.—Nominated by Jill Sullivan
North Shore Medical Center
Leslie Day, North Shore Medical Center
Leslie Day is the most trusting, compassionate nurse anyone could ask for. She has been caring for my mother, who was diagnosed with seven aortic aneurysms at 78 years old. She became very anxiety-ridden over the diagnosis and amazed that she made it through an operation and lived through it all. Leslie treats my mother just like she would treat her own mother. She is always extremely attentive, respectful, and extremely kind to my mother. My mother gets very upset when another nurse has to cover for Leslie. My mother would love to have written something special about Leslie because it is very evident that, being a former kindergarten teacher, her handwriting is not the same. Please acknowledge this wonderful woman, mother and special nurse.—Nominated by Lorraine Bingham
Nancy Johnson , North Shore Medical Center, Union Hospital
You said it all in the issues to be addressed in nominating. She demonstrated this type of behavior continuously.—Nominated by Scot Johnson
Norton Hospital, Kentucky
Jordanna Twilly, Norton Hospital, Kentucky
I cannot say enough great things about Jordanna, as our friend, neighbor, and fortunately a fantastic nurse as well.
She very quickly befriended my daughter who has significant cognitive challenges and several medical diagnosis, including several rare conditions. She has volunteered her time and most importantly given her friendship. I cannot thank her enough for the times she has helped us by taking a look at my daughter Cari Jo, encouraging, directing, educating, advocating, locating resources, attending doctor visits and surgeries, all on her own time, after her numerous extended shifts at the ER at the Norton Hospital in Louisville, Ky.
Jordanna is one of the most dedicated, educated young nurses I have ever had the pleasure of being friends with. I feel like I have a new daughter and my daughter has a new sister and the world is blessed to have a fantastic nurse.—Nominated by Tammy Bailey
Jack Kearns, Norwood Hospital
I’m sure you have heard the line many times, “the nurse saved my life.” However, Jack Kearns actually saved my life on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2015. A group of us old guys play “pick up” hockey on Sunday evenings in Hyde Park. During the game, an errant puck struck my chest. I suffered commodio cordis. What I am told, Jack Kearns came to my aid and took charge of the situation. He cleared my airway and began CPR. Another player grabbed the rink’s AED and told the rink employees to call 911.While I was being dragged off the ice, so the AED could be used on a dry surface, Jack Kearns had other players push him, so he could continue administering CPR. Two Dedham firefighters, McDougall and Chin, were playing the following hour. They assisted Jack Kearns with CPR and administering the AED. Boston EMS arrived in time to administer the second shock with their AED. The rink AED did not have enough power for a second shock.
I was transported to Brigham & Women’s Hospital. I was informed that, had Jack Kearns not administered CPR and the AED shortly after my heart stopping, then you wouldn’t be receiving this notice. I was released on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015. I did not suffer any heart damage and have returned to playing hockey, thanks to a lot of great people, but especially Jack Kearns.—Nominated by Ed Walsh
NRS Group Home, Tewksbury
Diane Swindells , NRS Group Home, Tewksbury
We met nurse Diane Swindells when our disabled son Dennis moved to the NRS Group Home in Tewksbury a year ago. She was so welcoming and compassionate and caring. She has made extra efforts and has gone over and above her duties to assist our son with his many challenges, in-house walking, and helping to improve his stamina. She is a special person, very committed to each and every delayed individual at the group home. It is a privilege to know her.—Nominated by Jean K. Walsh
Orchard Cove, Hebrew Senior Life
Orchard Cove Nurses , Orchard Cove, Hebrew Senior Life
The Orchard Cove nurses have the greatest expertise and competence in person-centered care. They form meaningful relationships with all of their residents. This team enables the residents to live their best life. Each nurse is astute in clinical performance and ever mindful that comfort matters. For them, caring is paramount whether it be to residents, their families, or their teammates.—Nominated by Deb Symonds
Plymouth Regional High School
Denise Petrycki, Plymouth Regional High School
My daughter Marissa is a 15-year-old active cheerleader. Denise approached me with concerns about Marissa’s coloring. I had noticed that her color was a yellowish tint. Denise talked to me about what to do and how to go about asking for certain tests. The tests jn November showed Marissa’s levels were really off. She was admitted into Dartmouth Hitchcock medical center on Dec. 2. She was diagnosed with autoimmune hepatitis type 1 and fibrosis of the liver. Without Denise’s loving and caring heart, her time that she took to talk with me during the process, her guidance, and her friendship, my daughter could have ended up in a more severe condition. Denise is someone I would entrust my children to, someone I would lean on when I needed guidance. Denise takes her nursing career to another level with each person that she attends to. Denise has a very giving heart that shows each and everyday. Denise is not only a nurse she is a true gift. She has not only showed concern within the school, but she has stayed in contact with me outside of the school, checking on Marissa. With Denise’s busy life of raising her own two children, she still made time for my daughter. There were many nights that I called just to talk and Denise never once turned away, she answered the phone with care, concern, and love. Denise has not only been a friend but we consider her part of our family.—Nominated by Tammy Wells
Rogerson Egleston Adult Day Health
Linda Mahdee , Rogerson Egleston Adult Day Health
Linda, the nurse at our adult day program is very knowledgeable in treating the elderly and adult population. She is caring, detail-orientated, very patient, helpful, and understanding. She is exercises great judgment when there is a medical crisis. Linda has physical endurance and extraordinary communication skills when collaborating with our geriatric physicians. She is very outstanding and supportive to all of us here at the day program. She doesn’t make us feel left out or forgotten On behalf of the participants at the Egleston Adult Day Health Program, we would like to honor Linda Mahdee.—Nominated by Mary Spivey
The former St. Margaret’s Hospital, Dorchester
Eunice Parady Murray Conley , the former St. Margaret’s Hospital, Dorchester
On April 12 Eunice turned 98 years young, the oldest graduate of Massachusetts Memorial Hospital’s nursing program. This nomination is for lifetime achievement, caring, and selflessness in raising a family of four children as a single parent in the late 1940s and ’50s. Returning to nursing in the mid ’50s and assisting Dr. Kelly at St. Margaret’s Maternity Clinic for expecting mothers who could not afford private care and for unwed mothers who were provided housing, sustenance, counseling, and moral support until their babies were born.
She has been and still is the role model for two living children, Bonnie Bergdoll and Jack Murray, (daughter, Gail, and son, Lennie, have passed); daughters-in-law Sue Murray and Barbara Murray; eight grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren. She graces our presence at every family gathering with her energy, positive and caring attitude, smile, laughter, and wit. She remembers every birthday and every special occasion of her family members and writes words of wisdom and encouragement uniquely and individually composed and has little treasured gifts for the youngest children.
An avid reader, she stays up with the latest best sellers, “Nightingale” and “All the Light We Cannot See” have been consumed over the past few months. Also an avid Red Sox and Patriots fan, she could probably still throw a decent pitch from the mound.
For all her acts of kindness, putting others first, caring, and being an unsung inspiration to those whose lives she has touched, we believe she is deserving of lifetime recognition. Her nursing roots have been at the heart of her life and so wonderfully reflected in ours.—Nominated by The Murray Family
Salem High School
Elizabeth Evangelista, Ruthann Hatt Salem High School
Salem High School nurses Elizabeth Evangelista and Ruthann Hatt were called to help a substitute teacher who had a heart attack in the school. Ruthann Hatt started CPR and Elizaeth Evangelista came with the defibrillator. A student called 911 and the Salem Fire Department and police responded. Both nurses worked on the teacher and when Salem Fire arrived, the firefighters told us that if it wasn’t for the two nurses the man probably would not have survived. Both nurses were acknowledged by the City of Salem and the Salem School Department. We are so proud of our nurses.—Nominated by Gail Kucker
Salem Hospital, North Shore Medical Center
Lisa Furtado Salem Hospital, North Shore Medical Center
Lisa Furtado is truly an exceptional caregiver. She was a consummate professional. She not only accomplished all of her basic tasks with skill and a minimum of discomfort (changing IVs, shots, etc.) she did it with kindness and compassion. She also lifted my spirits when I suffered some setbacks that prolonged my hospital stay. She helped me understand my illness and the side effects I was feeling. She also helped me to manage my pain in a way that minimized discomfort but did not lead to a problem in the future. She also encouraged me when it came time for therapy before my discharge. I can honestly say that I think my recovery was directly hastened thanks to her. She is excellent at what she does and deserves to be recognized.—Nominated by Thomas Hennessey
Shriners Hospital for Children-Boston
Katie Marren , Shriners Hospital for Children-Boston
Katie Marren has a breadth of experience in pediatric burns and pediatric critical care. She has a calm and competent demeanor that goes a long way to defusing difficult situations. Many times, I have seen her effectively reassure and calm children and parents as they experience difficult times related to their injuries. She has a skill set that would allow her to work in a less taxing environment, but she chooses to stay with us in the burn unit where her skills are really put to great use.—Nominated by Rob Sheridan
James Bowden , Shriners Hospital for Children-Boston
James Bowden, the nurse manager of perioperative services at Shriners Hospital, is responsible for ensuring all staff in the OR are providing excellent service to every patient, every day. He has earned the respect of the surgeons and nurses by serving as a role model in our quest to live the Shriners mission. He exemplifies our core values of Excellence, Teamwork, Stewardship, Integrity, Innovation, Commitment, and Respect. He never hesitates to scrub into a case when needed and is a strong advocate for patients by making sure the staff have the tools and equipment they need in a compassionate and family-centered manner. We consistently receive feedback from our families regarding the outstanding care and service provided in the OR. I strongly believe that Mr. Bowden deserves to be recognized as one of the best nurses in Boston.—Nominated by John O’Neill
South Shore Hospital
Kathryn Googins , South Shore Hospital
I am writing this letter on behalf of my father-in-law who, if he were able to, would have jumped at the opportunity to nominate Kathryn Googins. Over the past 18 months, my father-in-law’s health has declined considerably and Kathryn has advocated for more suitable placement to meet his needs. Kathryn, with family approval, took it upon herself to hire additional nursing staff to make sure that my father-in-law receives quality care during the hours when he seems most susceptible to setbacks.
Whenever my father-in-law needs medical assistance, she always beats the EMT’s to his facility and determines whether or not he should go to the hospital for further treatment. This situation occurs often and I am so amazed that she is there every time to assist. Kathryn has implemented alarms on all of his chairs and on his bed to alert the staff when he might be trying to get up. By day, this special lady is an emergency room nurse at South Shore Hospital; she is also my wife. After her full-time job dealing with traumatic situations at the hospital, Kathryn sees her father daily and delivers unmatched care.—Nominated by Christopher Googins
Karen O’Connor, South Shore Hospital
Karen spends an hour on Thursday mornings, taking the blood pressure and pulse of all who ask at the South Shore YMCA, Quincy Branch. She gives record cards that people carry and she advises those who seem to have problems to contact their doctors. She has the most delightful personality of any nurse I have ever encountered. She shares her knowledge of health matters and acts as a friend. She is just the kind of person you would be happy to have come to your home. Karen has said that she loves this work. It is obvious that she does. People may pass her by for weeks before participating. I was like that at first. I thought “Why is someone offering this?” (I believe it is sponsored by the Y and the South Shore Hospital Home Care Division.) Now I find it provides a record I can present to my doctor.
Last Fall I had a very strong reaction to the high-dose flu shot. Karen missed me for the weeks that I didn’t attend my class at the Y. She was assigned to give flu shots elsewhere and offered to, and did, bring me an insert from the shots that she gave so I could compare my reaction to what the manufacturer found that others had experienced. Last, but not least – Karen provides informative handouts on health matters, including notices of presentations on major health issues.—Nominated by Anne Foley
South Shore Medical Center
Mary Ellen Choate , South Shore Medical Center
Mary Ellen began her career at South Shore Medical Center in 2008 where she was recognized as a nurse leader. She quickly became the director of clinical operations and had the distinct duties of supporting all nursing and medical assistants throughout our organization. Mary Ellen is a true leader, mentor, colleague, and most of all a nurse. She led the path for clinical staff to work up to their license and potential. Her vision for strong clinical education and patient safety led to new advancements and better work flows within the center. Mary Ellen is often seen in the hallways helping patients locate their destination and offers a kind word and helping hand to many throughout the day. She is a nurse at the highest level.—Nominated by Jeanine Farah
Spaulding Rehabilitation Center
Ronald Guertin , Spaulding Rehabilitation Center
Recently, I was hospitalized at Spaulding Rehabilitation in Charleston. While all of the nurses at that facility were excellent, there was one nurse who was entrusted with my care who embodied the very definition of excellence in nursing, that nurse is Ronald Guertin. The struggles of intensive rehabilitation can be overwhelming also, there is what I would describe as a certain loss of personal dignity. Those daily routines that we deem as private are gone and for a private person like myself that could have created a great deal of anxiety. Ron quickly identified that component of my personality and adjusted my routine to protect those personal privacies as much as possible. One issue is particular that was important to me was showering. Timing of showers and privacy when showering had to be incorporated with patient safety. Showers were normally given in the morning by the staff, who for the most part were not nurses. Showering first thing in the morning to me did not make sense when for three hours during the day one participated in therapies, which caused one to perspire. Ron recognized my preference and set aside a time in the evening to do this.
The list of the little things that Ron did to make what could have been a very unpleasant experience more pleasurable is longer but I think that it could be summed up by saying that he has an uncanny sense and ability to deliver high quality nursing while at the same time understanding and loss of dignity that we do at times experience during a serious hospitalization.—Nominated by William Mansfield
St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center
Theresa O’Connor, St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center
Terry O’Connor, RN, works in the Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center. Terry has been a nurse here for many years and her care for her patients, their families, and our staff exemplify her skills as a leader. In addition to being a charge nurse, Terry also organizes our annual reunions that bring together our former patients and their families with the staff who cared for them at such a critical time in their lives. It is one of the most joyful events of the year and a testament to staff of how their skilled care helped these babies and their families thrive despite challenging medical circumstances. Terry trains and organizes our Cuddler program, which is a volunteer program where people come in and hold the NICU babies, offering them an additional set of loving hands to help nurture them. Each year she also finds just the right person to play Santa in visits to the NICU, cheering our babies’ families.
Terry also plays a pivotal role on our Bereavement Committee, working with patients who have experienced the loss of their child. This delicate work demonstrates her empathy and compassion.
Terry goes out of her way to make sure that all families are treated with kindness, care, and respect. I am amazed at the amount of “things” that she does not only for the unit but for the babies and their families. This past year, one of the doctors wanted red hats for all the babies, so their parents would have a December baby memento. Within a week, Terry had them at the ready.
Terry is truly an amazing and dedicated nurse and one who I believe needs to be recognized and honored for all that she does.—Nominated by Julianne Mazzawi
Saint Francis Xavier School Weymouth
Bridget Jaklitsch, Saint Francis Xavier School Weymouth
For many of us, our first experience with a nurse was with the school nurse. The school nurse was that rarely seen individual that took care of you briefly before your parent arrived at school to take you home. That was a simpler time. The challenges faced by school nurses today are so much more than a generation ago. Many students are on medications and preparation for life-threatening allergies is a daily practice. Bridget Jaklitsch is the school nurse for Saint Francis Xavier School in Weymouth. She is a bright spot of optimism that makes everyone smile. Sometimes it seems that optimism is therapy enough on a dark winter day. That optimism comes with real compassion, interest, and nurturing . . . and a glass of water for everyone. Her duties range from handling stomach aches, allergies, drug interactions, and providing education about one of the biggest diseases facing young Americans: childhood obesity. She also provides nurturing of the adult teacher staff. She is a great healer. She is the finest representative of what makes nursing such a wonderful profession.—Nominated by Michael Jaklitsch
Saint Francis Homeless Shelter
Cecilia Ibeabuchi , Saint Francis Homeless Shelter
She does her job with commitment to the homeless, no matter who they are. Her compassion is shown in providing healthcare, preventing and treating illnesses from immunization and flu shots to foot treatments and basic common sense needs. She truly is a saint for the homeless. She is a gift from God.—Nominated by Andris Soble
St. Mary’s High School
Lisa Morin-Plante , St. Mary’s High School
Lisa Morin-Plante, school nurse at St. Mary’s, is the most enthusiastic person especially when she is helping others. Every day she provides excellent care to all the students. She teaches a health class which is very important to the students. Lisa heads up the Rachel Challenge here on campus which has many avenues. There are weekly meetings at 7 a.m. Tuesday when she gathers the students along with Mrs. Alberti and discusses the need of others and how the students can make a difference. Whether it is the mitten and hat drive, baking breads for the seniors or going to My Brother’s Table. Her biggest project is at Christmas when she gathers supplies for all families in greatest need. Numbers this year were at an all-time record, assisting over 150 people with Christmas presents. This past Friday she brought the students to ARC to help put on the annual Christmas party for their guests. Whatever Lisa does, she does from her heart with love, and she motivates everyone around.
The Christmas Project has existed for seven years, providing each person helped with presents worth over $100. Partnered with six organizations and 150 Individuals, it gave 1,500 gifts at a value of $20,000 in 2015. About 200 friends and family of St. Mary’s students and teachers participate.
Lisa believes it is not the gift itself that makes the difference but the love, kindness, and compassion that accompany the gift. This makes the value priceless. Nurse Lisa is the best and we couldn’t do it without her.—Nominated by Pat Gill
Stone Rehabilitation and Senior Living
Terri Killeen , Stone Rehabilitation and Senior Living
Terri Killeen has worked in long-term care for over 40 years. Presently, she is the director of nursing at Stone Rehabilitation and Senior Living in Newton Upper Falls. She is a consummate professional, always working to improve the quality of life for our residents; her first love is patient care. Day in and day out, she is a tireless healthcare professional who demonstrates compassion and patience in every encounter. Terri has a special way of connecting with residents that makes them feel well cared for and supported. Terri always makes time for family members, even if it has been a long and trying day. A great teacher who leads by example, Terri is the type of director who rolls up her sleeves and participates in patient care, working side by side with her staff. —Nominated by David Lewis
Soldier’s Home, Chelsea
Beth Moon, Soldier’s Home, Chelsea
Beth Moon cared for my husband for at least three years at the Soldier’s Home in Chelsea. There are many fine and caring nurses at this facility, but she stood out because of her gentle kindness to all of the men, and her ability and willingness to listen to both the patients and their families. We came to trust her judgment, and whenever anyone in the family had a question or needed reassurance, we would ask Beth. It is difficult to single out one instance of her compassion, but on the day my husband died, Beth was on duty and there for us in every way. She made certain that we had both privacy and knowledgeable people who had known him to keep us company from time to time. As always, she shared her stories with us (and we with her) and made sure that we had refreshments during our vigil. The fact that this was ordinary behavior for her during an extraordinary event for us is one of the things that makes her such a fine caregiver and causes us to be forever grateful.—Nominated by Patricia Collins
Thomas Upham House, Medfield
Heather Todd , Thomas Upham House, Medfield
I am a 78-year-old, newly retired (Dec. 31, 2015) town clerk. On Feb. 4, I was admitted to Norwood Hospital with three life-threatening infections. After 11 days I was sent to the Thomas Upham House in Medfield for rehab where I stayed for 23 days. I was fortunate enough to have a staff of trained nurses and therapists, but one nurse stood out above them all, Heather Todd. Heather is what I consider the model to have all young nurses emulate. She was attentive and compassionate, always with a smile and kind word. She advocated for me to the doctor and counseled with him when I had severe pain. I have tried to find a way to say thank you. If my granddaughter, when she gets married, has a girl I will lobby to have her call her Heather and if a boy, Todd. It seems like a fitting tribute to such wonderful caregiver, along with your salute to those who take care of us in our hours of need.—Nominated by Ronald Fucile
Susan Marriott , Tobey Hospital
Susan Marriot is an amazing person. We have had many interactions with her over the last three years since my daughter moved back from out of state with health issues that included severe migraines. Sue was one of the first nurses we saw at Tobey and one we always hoped we’d see again. She lives near us, but we never realized just how cool she was until we dealt with her while one of us was in severe pain. She is always cool, calm, and collected and makes sure that we are taken care of quickly and efficiently. I hope Tobey knows what a great resource they have in her. On that first visit, she realized we were neighbors and knew that my daughter had moved in with three small children. Sue had a swing set her kids had outgrown and asked if we’d like it. By the time we drove by her house a few hours later on our way home, we saw the swing set being loaded up to be delivered to us. Three years later the kids still play on it every chance they get. When I saw her in the emergency room last week, she stopped and asked if everything was OK. It was just routine blood work, but I knew I’d have been in good hands if I had had to stay. I hope Sue knows how much of a difference she makes in people’s lives when they are most miserable.—Nominated by Roxanne and Ellis Raymond
Tockwatton on the Water
Eleanor Smith , Tockwatton on the Water
I’m nominating my mother, Eleanor Smith. She has been a nurse for over 30 years. She sacrificed to go to nursing school when I was in high school, to become an RN. She graduated at the top of her class. She has the patience and compassion for the people she takes care of, like no one I have ever known. I think her most selfless act was when my father became ill with brain cancer. Overnight she became a mother, wife, and nurse on a daily basis for over a year, just so my father could stay home and not be in a facility. She cared for him, cooked, bathed him, was a chauffeur for all of his chemo and doctor appointments, until one day when we knew it was time. When we could no longer provide the care that he needed and he had to go into hospice.
But that didn’t stop her from being around the clock at hospice helping the nurses there take care of my dad. She is a true inspiration to many people. Her patients love her, their families are always giving her the highest praise. Her colleagues are inspired by her graciousness and compassion. She has tried to retire for two years and yet is drawn back into the field she loves where she feels she is needed to provide the elderly comfort in their final years. Her employer refuses to accept her resignation or retirement and keeps her on because she is absolutely the best asset to their facility. You will find no one to take better care of anyone than my mom, which is why I feel she deserves this award.—Nominated by Jennifer Smith
Tufts Medical Center
Patty Lyman , Tufts Medical Center
Patty was instrumental in my rather fast recovery from bypass surgery at Tufts. She encouraged and gently prodded me to get up and start moving toward my recovery and quick discharge from Tufts. My surgery was on the 13th and I was home on the17th. Through my experience with Patty I was out walking 3 to 5 miles every day and now I’m doing 5 to 7 miles and feeling great.—Nominated by Rob Robertsson
Maura McMahon, Tufts Medical Center
I nominate this outstanding individual for her skill, compassion, and support for her work in a highly stressful environment at the Tufts Medical Center cancer clinic. She always greets me with a hug and big smile,and always words of reassurance when I’m down. Her clinical skills as an RN are top notch and I have relied on her for advice after hours and weekends, and noting there hasn’t been a weekend where she hasn’t checked in on me by text or social media. I as a patient am very lucky to have such an outstanding medical professional working for me this past year as I get treatment from this clinic.—Nominated by John C. White Ill
Marc Silva , Tufts Medical Center, Floating Hospital for Children
In October, our family walked through the most difficult day of our lives as we lost our daughter and sister, Kayla, age 20, to leukemia. Marc Silva made this journey more bearable for us every step of the way. Marc never stopped as he managed her many challenges —from Down Syndrome, congenital heart disease, and the multiorgan failure that resulted from her chemotherapy. He advocated on her behalf with a steady presence despite the chaotic medical procedures surrounding her care.
Although Kayla was sedated during her stay, Marc took the time to get to know her. He told her stories about his son and a baby on the way and helped with singing songs from Kayla’s favorite film, “The Little Mermaid.” He listened to our stories, looked intently at her pictures, and gently placed Jeffrey, her stuffed giraffe, under her arm. After Kayla’s death, Marc requested a moment to free her from equipment, and when he invited us back into the room, she looked absolutely beautiful—at peace, with her baby dolls surrounding her. He stayed hours beyond his shift to see us through. His compassion was evident. It was like an angel taking care of our angel.—Nominated by Stephanie Joyce
University of Massachusetts Medical School
Margaret Ryder , University of Massachusetts Medical School
Margaret is a colleague of mine in the MassHealth Provider Compliance Unit and as our team clinical auditor she answers any medical necessity/utilization questions we have while we are reviewing providers for fraud, waste, and abuse. She is extremely articulate and insightful in helping us incorporate the clinical/medical aspects into our investigations, which ultimately help save the Commonwealth millions of dollars each year. This enables MassHealth to continue to serve disabled/indigent people, as well as ensure that Medicaid remains a system of high integrity and fairness. As a colleague she also helped raise awareness of healthy eating by promoting the Weight Watchers group in our building, which has helped several of us in the unit shed some winter weight. While her decades of patient care are behind her, she shares her nursing knowledge with our team every day and with her upbeat personality is a joy to work with.—Nominated by Jason Ganz
Danielle Willett , UMass Memorial Medical Center
After waking up from a routine colonoscopy in unexpected excruciating pain I was taken via ambulance to the UMass Memorial Campus ER where my husband and I met Danielle Willett. With her first words to us we knew we had just met the one person who was going to ensure we made it safely through this medical emergency. We trusted her immediately.
Danielle saw and realized the levels of pain and fear in me and began advocating for me immediately. The ER was chaotic and so crowded that my stretcher was parked in a busy hallway through which dozens of patients medical personnel and equipment passed but Danielle immediately had me registered and evaluated so within just minutes I received pain medication. We could see and hear Danielle from my stretcher and although she made us feel like I was her only patient she had many other lives depending on her clinical ability and her patient and soothing communication. She ordered my tests as fast as the ER physician asked for them and made sure I was expediently transported to x-ray and CT by singling out a transporter and directing him. Before I went for tests Danielle told the ER doctor I could not still have the level of pain so more pain meds were given to me.
Danielle met me when I came back from CT told us that the pain was from a ruptured spleen and immediately put us in a room and had the ER doc order stronger pain meds and explained the effects to us. Then it became Danielle’s mission to get me to a quiet hospital floor asap. I’ve been in ERs and hospitals before but I’ve never felt such a safety net of compassion wrapped around me as I experienced under Danielle’s care.—Nominated by Patricia Kelly
Heather Smart, Ursuline Academy
Heather Smart is the nurse at Ursuline Academy, a girls school for 430 students in Grades 7 to 12 (as well as the 70 faculty and staff). She daily has interaction with anywhere from 10 to 40 girls (or more). She assists them with minor ailments (not feeling well, cold/headache, etc) to more serious ailments/injuries, dislocations, concussions, etc. As the athletic director, I, along with our trainer, rely on her for advice and wisdom when the girls aren’t feeling well. Our student athletes are very comfortable going to her and talking to her not only about their illnesses but on some occasions, personal issues. She shows compassion to every single student and adult. The girls trust her so much that many times you can see her communicating with them in the hallways or at lunchtime. Girls who are injured, she checks on them daily. As the athletic director, she will guide me and the trainer when we have questions on whether someone should be allowed to return to practice or playing. Parents are very comfortable talking to her as well. She is proactive, she is helping us design a program to bring a nutritionist in to talk to the girls about healthy eating habits. She has been a wonderful addition to Ursuline Academy.—Nominated by Michael O’Connor
VA Boston Healthcare System
Nina Louison , VA Boston Healthcare System
My husband fell on the ice shoveling snow last winter and he broke his hip. Remember all that snow? His injury was extremely severe and he was housebound for a month. My daughter Nina Louison was finishing her final semester of nursing school at Simmons College, earning her BSN. After class and her clinical rotation at Boston VA Hospital (where she now works as an RN), she drove to our home in Concord to care for her stepdad and worried mom. Nina’s care and concern was the best part of her step-dad’s painful and challenging experience. She’s a ray of sunshine. I’m taking this opportunity to salute Nina for her unbelievable compassion and dedication to patient care. I may be a bit biased but I hope that doesn’t disqualify me to nominate my daughter as a very special nurse. She provided my husband with superior care and kindness. Nina Louison’s dream to be an RN began in the second grade and her dream has come true. I couldn’t be more proud of her.—Nominated by Mimi Woodman
VA Jamaica Plain
Mary Courtney, Kathy Connelly , VA Jamaica Plain
These nurses are always so kind and upbeat and caring with patients who have cancer.—Nominated by RoseMarie Clark
Visiting Nurse Association of America, Boston
Adele Pike , Visiting Nurse Association of America, Boston
Adele helped prepare my husband for surgery. Despite working full time, she came to our house each morning for 10 days to give him his Lovonox shots. She helped both my husband and me handle the aftercare in a most professional way. She was always cheerful and very compassionate and her presence relieved our family from the stress of many unknowns pre and post surgery. We were so lucky to have her outstanding care, compassion, and true expertise.—Nominated by Nancy O’Brien
VNA Hospice & Palliative Care of Cape Cod
Linda Accardi , VNA Hospice & Palliative Care of Cape Cod
Because I believe that in some instances less is more, below is an excerpt of the thank you letter that I sent to the VNA of Cape Cod: “No one wants to lose a loved one, especially to a disease like cancer. But when it happens, as it did in the case of my late wife, Diane, it is very comforting to know that an organization such as yours is there to ease the pain and sorrow of that loss.”
While all the nurses who ministered to Diane in her final days deserve our heartfelt appreciation for their kindness, I want to single out Linda Accardi for special mention. From the first day Linda became involved it was almost if our Lord sent down an Angel of Mercy to help Diane — and all of us — through those final days. Her calming presence, knowledge, wit, and sense of what was always the right thing to do shone through like a beacon guiding us in the right direction. During Diane’s final hours, Linda was there non-stop. She was unbelievable. What a hospice nurse does is a call to duty. What Linda Accardi did was beyond that call.—Nominated by John Leonard
VNA Hospice Care
Jessica ZuHone , VNA Hospice Care
I am nominating hospice nurse Jessica ZuHone, whom I am privileged to work with daily as she cares for patients, and their families, at end-of-life. Nursing requires a multitude of aptitudes and skills, particularly the work of a hospice nurse; he/she must be an active listener, an astute observer, a skilled negotiator, a detail-oriented, organized individual, must be up-to-date with governmental regulations, must understand pathophysiology and pharmacology to palliate both common and uncommon symptoms, must coordinate all aspects of patient care and interact with the multidisciplinary team, must be an advocate when the patient has none, and must, on a daily basis, support patients and their families through a journey that may be completely foreign and frightening to them.
I have watched Jessie perform all of the above tasks, in a way that meets and exceeds standards set in our area of medicine. I hear the praise from families she has worked with, even for a short period of time. She is similarly lauded by her team members who recognize her gifts. From my medical director position, I am confident when patients are under her charge that their care will be excellent. I know for certain that if she meets a new challenge that she will reach out to a colleague. I can identify one particular patient, a young woman with ALS, dying at home and resisting ventilator dependence. Jessie embraced the difficult challenge of supporting this patient’s goals, namely being comfortable and peaceful, dying naturally, refusing the dependence of a machine that similar patients would cling to. I remember being impressed that Jessie fulfilled those goals and learned an enormous amount in the process. It is a special nurse whose experiences with patients mold him/her into an even more exceptional person.—Nominated by Deborah Turiano
The Waring School
Janet Heintzman Lindsay , The Waring School
Jan Lindsay is our school’s wonderful and caring nurse. She provides a wide range of services to our students, from running our health education program, helping with on-field sports injuries, and increasingly, finding ways to help our students cope with their mental health and stress. Jan’s humble and cozy office is just off of the main entrance to the school, and in many ways is the hearth for many students.
This February, she helped me earn my CPR certification to continue with my teaching and coaching career. She has taken students on Mountain Biking trips and hiking excursions, teaching them all the important skills required to administer first aid when calling 911 isn’t an option. As both an amazing educator and healer, Jan Lindsay is a nurse worth saluting.—Nominated by Graham Rosby
Janet Heintzman Lindsay , The Waring School
Janet Lindsay has been Waring School’s nurse for many years. She is an invaluable part of the school fabric and culture, in and out of the nurse’s office. She is an integral part of our faculty voice, she is a supportive peer and staff member, and is beloved by her colleagues. Even though she has limited classroom contact with the students, she is well known to them and very well respected. Students feel incredibly at ease in her presence and there is no reluctance whatsoever to make nurse’s visits. Jan also runs the blood drive program, runs CPR and Heimlich trainings, and also coordinates travel/health concerns
Jan is going through a lot personally as her husband battles stage 4 lung cancer. Unbelievably, Jan has not missed a beat at Waring even through this crisis. This is a testament to Jan’s work ethic and of her being continually renewed and reinvigorated by contact with her work peers and friends. I recommend Janet Heintzman Lindsay to you without hesitation.—Nominated by Timothy Bakland
Janet Heintzman Lindsay , The Waring School
Jan Lindsay is the school nurse at Waring School, where I am a humanities teacher and also run the health program. I work with her closely, and she is the beating heart of the school. Her office is the place where everyone, students and faculty alike, go to tell the truth and receive comfort and counsel, and over the years, she has prevented more crises and facilitated more healing than anyone I have ever worked with. One good example: on Feb. 19, she ran a school blood drive, as she does every year. The entire community came together, parents, students, teachers, alums, to organize, help, and donate. Jan’s patient hard work, her medical savvy, and her indefatigable love for her community bring us together every day, and the blood drive is such a great example of the way that community-building benefits the wider world. From gently talking a transgender student through coming out to their parents, to organizing epi-pen training for the whole school, to bringing a staff member with chest pain to the ER, Jan makes our school work. She is our health and we love her, and I can’t think of anyone better to receive this award.—Nominated by Gallaudet Howard
Janet Heintzman Lindsay, The Waring School
Janet Lindsay is the school nurse for Waring School, a private, co-educational day school on the North Shore in Beverly. We have 150 students, and Jan cares for all of them as well as the faculty. She organizes blood drives, teaches health classes, provides professional development with CPR training for the staff, along with keeping tabs on the daily medical needs of all the students. Her communication skills with parents and the community are exceptional. At the beginning of each academic year, our school takes a camping trip to North Woods Camp in Wolfeboro, N.H. Jan assists students with homesickness, bug bites, athletic injuries, and nutrition. She wears many hats in our school, and she always has time for everyone. I can think of nobody in our school who has done more to promote mental and physical health. Jan always has time for everyone and is truly dedicated to our school and students. She is a great candidate for such an award.—Nominated by Timothy Averill
Janet Heintzman Lindsay , The Waring School
As an athletic trainer, working along side Jan has been an absolute joy. Waring hired me right after I graduated to cover their athletic practices and contests – and to help Jan in the nurse’s office twice a week. She has been incredibly helpful and supportive as I transitioned into professional work life. She is knowledgeable, patient, kind, informative, and such a natural with our students. They trust her, seek her guidance, value her opinion. I have learned so much about providing healthcare in a secondary school setting from Jan. She knows every student by name, knows their families, their situation. Her intuition is spot on. She has so much experience to draw from. She is involved, focused, and excited about what she does – it’s infectious. Working with her as a team, along with our athletic director, Mike Kersker, has made my job smooth and simple. We are in constant communication about the well being of our students. I follow Jan’s lead a lot of the time, and am so thankful for her presence here. She makes such an impact on everyone within the Waring community, and without her we would be lost.—Nominated by Colleen Jenkins
Janet Heintzman Lindsay , The Waring School
Jan is the school nurse where I teach. She is a paragon of kindness and compassion, always, and students and faculty flock to her for support, care, or simply a smile everyday. Her husband was diagnosed with lung cancer last year, but Jan never lost a step on campus, continuing her impeccable care for the community despite incredible emotional and logistical challenges on the homefront. There is always a student in her office, maybe in need of a Band-Aid or to lie down, but more often than not the student is there to talk to Jan or simply to be within her radiant joy and calm. Jan laughs easily and often, addresses serious issues in a thorough and tactful manner, and manages to make everyone she interacts with feel important and cared for. She makes sure that all of our students who struggle with serious ongoing issues – medical or emotional – get the care they need, and ensures that communication happens when necessary. In short, Jan is a gem of a nurse, all day, every day.—Nominated by Kristin Breiseth
Janet Heintzman Lindsay , The Waring School
Jan is a remarkably giving person. She takes care of our student body for everything from sniffles to concussions to allergic reactions to sprained ankles. She is patient and sensitive with students’ physical health issues, as well as their mental health issues. A colleague in preparing for a school trip: The receiving school was complicating the reception of our students because of their allergies and prescription medications – and Jan took care not only of the issue at hand, but also our colleague, who was frustrated and upset. Jan’s gentle sense of humor and compassion and knowledge of “the system’’ helped this teacher immeasurably – Jan was doing double duty. And at the same time that she is taking care of all of us, she is supporting her husband in his struggle with lung cancer, and she is more gracious and appreciative of her colleagues than anyone could possibly imagine. Today she is staying late at school teaching CPR. She is kind, generous, caring, and wise. I cannot imagine the health of our school community being in anyone else’s hands.—Nominated by Robine Vaneck
Janet Heintzman Lindsay , The Waring School
I wish to write about an extraordinary nurse. Jan Lindsay has been the school nurse at the Waring School for many years. She is at once a nurse, a counselor, a shoulder for colleagues and students to lean on, and a staunch supporter of all of our activities. As a nurse, she is capable and organized. Sick students and faculty are well taken care of. She has acted promptly and efficiently on the rare decision there was an emergency in order to save the life of both students and colleagues. She jump-started a CPR training program for staff, faculty, and students. She spearheads yearly blood drives at our school. She started a flu vaccination at our school. She created a program that allowed students who were curious about a medical career to shadow doctors, volunteer at Children’s Hospital, and witness surgeries. Thanks to this, our small school has had a number of students pursue medical careers.
Every school needs a person they know will be kind, supportive, a great listener. We are blessed to have Jan. Jan has been invariably giving and generous with her time, even when she is also giving increased assistance to people close to her who are unwell.
If it would at all be possible to acknowledge Jan’s selfless service to a large community as a nurse for many years, it would certainly be well deserved.—Nominated by Maureen Gedney
Wellington Regional Hospital
Ashley Duhaime , Wellington Regional Hospital
My wife has Alzheimer’s and gets agitated easily and extremely. When we went to the emergency room, she was screaming due to agitation, frustration, and impatience. Ashley saw the situation and took a couple hours to resolve it. She sat with my wife, talked quietly, adroitly, and compassionately. Although elderly I have never seen a nurse so competent, compassionate, caring, and patient. Her talent with mental health patients is superlative.—Nominated by Wallace Growney
Whidden Memorial Hospital
Nancy Ela , Whidden Memorial Hospital
As a police officer for the City of Everett for the last 31 years, there have been numerous times to respond to the Whidden Memorial Hospital for patients out of control, which has required a response from law enforcement. Nurse Nancy Ela has demonstrated compassion for her patients, a quiet, calming professional demeanor, empathy for her patients and their family members. She has been an RN at the Whidden Hospital for over 35 years and has become a veritable encyclopedia of medical knowledge. She is a true nursing professional who would not seek recognition. I am also proud to call her my sister and she is the person I admire the most.—Nominated by Lieutenant Frank Hoenig, Everett Police Department
William Diamond Middle School, Lexington
Barbara Schuster, William Diamond Middle School, Lexington
Barbara is a caring, compassionate, and selfless giver of her time, wisdom, and skill. Not only is she available to students and parents, but she is an incredible co-worker. Over the past 14 years, she has cared for thousands of students and has provided everything from Band-Aids for minor cuts, a shoulder to cry on, to health education for diabetics and cancer patients. All the time she maintains a professional attitude and sincere sense of kindness. Barbara is a fierce advocate for all of the people she cares for on a daily basis, and always follows up to ensure that children and adults alike are healthy and healing. She is so deserving of this nomination, and to know how much she has touched the lives of everyone she cares for.—Nominated by Kim Hogan
Williams Elementary School, Newton
Dolly Staulo , Williams Elementary School, Newton
Nurse Dolly has been the school nurse at Williams Elementary for over 10 years. She has shown compassion, humor, and a genuine love for all the children. My daughters both graduated from Williams and are now in middle and high school. We bumped into Nurse Dolly last September while participating in the Alzheimer Walk in memory of a loved one. She was doing the same. As we left her, both of my girls mentioned how they loved Nurse Dolly and it brought back fond memories of their elementary school years. That September encounter made us all realize her devotion to helping others. Whether it was a stomach ache, a hearing test, or just needing a high five, she was always there to care for our children. It’s obvious how much she loved her job by the legion of students who come back to school to visit her, the parents who honor her in so many ways and the families who send her Christmas cards, years after their children have graduated. I heard she is retiring from Williams at the end of this school year which is why I cannot think of a nurse more deserving of this award.—Nominated by Heidi Tobin
Terry Bomal, Maria D’Amato-Pecora, Valerie Joyce-Santini, Sheri Lanni, Shawna Paro, Brenda Roy, Serena Simmons, Rachel Sorrentino , Winchester Hospital
These are outstanding clinical nursing supervisors. In their roles, they are expert clinicians, especially in crisis situations. They make sure patients get the highest quality of care, they support the staff, they provide compassion and comfort to families in crisis and while doing all of that they manage to keep a hospital running. They are remarkable nurses.—Nominated by Marlene Williamson
Ann Tilley , Winchester Hospital
Ann Tilley is an outstanding nurse manager dedicated to patient care. Recently she led an interdisciplinary team to create an innovative approach for the care of our COPD patients. Her team is engaged and dedicated. Her commitment to our patients is impressive.—Nominated by Marlene Williamson
Chrissie Quill , Winchester Hospital
Chrissie Quill, a nurse manager, is dedicated to high quality patient care and creating a professional culture for her staff. Recently she led an interdisciplinary team to create an innovative approach for the care of our pneumonia patients. Her team’s results improved the lives of many patients. Her commitment and dedication to quality outcomes deserve recognition.—Nominated by Marlene Williamson
Kristi Toczylowski and Diana Frink, Winchester Hospital
Kristi Toczylowski, along with Diana Frink, are two nurses I have interacted with for several years at the Cancer Center. They have the most compassionate manner when handling all situations. Each patient feels like a special person when they are being treated for severe conditions, always with a smile and uplifting attitude and often a hug. They give you hope and optimism that you will feel better and to hang in there. If you have to deal with a not too pleasant diagnosis, having them treating your mental and physical condition makes you have some great luck on your side. I am so grateful to them both.—Nominated by Claire Murphy
Deborah Smith , Winchester Hospital
There are many different patients that challenge us as clinicians. Few challenge us as significantly as the alcohol- and drug-addicted patient. They exhaust our compassion, empathy, understanding, and hope for their future. Their struggle is so overwhelming that it diminishes their ability to connect and relate to others. They lose our respect and sometimes our willingness to see them as an individual beyond their illness. There is one caregiver, Deb Smith who never loses her empathy for patients struggling with addiction. First and probably foremost, she does not judge them, but instead gains their trust. She sees the true person underneath the addiction and offers them compassion.—Nominated by Marlene Williamson
Linda McGowan , Winchester Hospital
Linda McGowan is an outstanding critical care nurse manager. Linda has greatly influenced the professional development of the ICU staff and the quality patient care outcomes. ICU staff nurses, under Linda’s leadership, have championed a variety of quality initiatives and participate and lead nursing councils in our magnet shared-decision making culture. She leads by example and is certified in both critical care nursing and nursing administration. She has led her ICU to Beacon Award status. Linda has won the American Critical Care nurse award Circle of Excellence. Her team’s results are outstanding and improved the lives of many of our patients.—Nominated by Marlene Williamson
Loretta DiCenso, Winchester Hospital
Loretta DiCenso is the nurse manager of an oncology inpatient unit. Recently, her staff struggled with the loss of patients who they had developed close relationships with. Loretta recognized their grief and felt compelled to help and support them. She put together a day called “Nurturing Your Souls.” She engaged the hospital chaplains to meet and comfort the staff. She provided amazing comfort food for all three shifts and gave them the opportunity to sit together and talk about their feelings. She nurtured them and helped them come to terms with their grief. She is an outstanding leader.—Nominated by Marlene Williamson
The Labor and Delivery Staff , Winchester Hospital
The labor and delivery nurses at Winchester Hospital are collectively committed to providing the best experience possible for all patients who arrive on our unit. Their commitment to safety is paramount. They work collaboratively with obstetricians and neonatologists to ensure safety for moms and babies. Seventy percent are certified in inpatient obstetrics and several more staff are preparing to take the exam.
In addition, they provide compassionate care in the most difficult of situations such as a stillbirth, the death of a newborn, or a miscarriage. At least six of the nurses have been recognized with Daisy Awards (a national recognition for compassionate caregivers) in the past five years.They treat each patient as if she were a member of their family and serve as patient advocates. They have embraced changes in healthcare and seek to provide high quality evidenced-based care. They volunteer for extra shifts when patient volume is up and cover each other to promote work-life balance in the team. They have supported each other throughout life events, such as matchmaking their sibling with a new nurse, engagements, marriages, infertility problems, pregnancies, pregnancy losses, buying the first home, education, cancer diagnosis, divorces, raising children, coping with teenagers, empty nests, children moving back home after college, caring for aging parents, deaths of parents, siblings, and even their own retirement. They are an incredible team and I am lucky to be their nurse manager.—Nominated by Susan Petrosino
Judith Dyer, Winchester Hospital
Judy is an ACO care manager. She establishes relationships with her patients in the hospital and follows them at discharge. She consults on their care and pain management. She helps to find the right resources for patients needs. Judy had a patient with cardiomyopathy and other comorbidities. He was sent home with no services. Judy made a home visit to talk about how to prevent fluid weight gain with a low-salt diet and he was not receptive. He ate Chinese food and was soon back in the hospital with weight gain and severe shortness of breath. He was now ready to restrict his diet. Judy found a home-care agency that would give IV Lasix. He was not homebound so not eligible for home care. Judy looked into palliative care and requested a consult. He was soon hospitalized again. Judy advocated for treatment. His breathing improved. Judy pursued hospice and palliative care for which he was now eligible. Hospice later said they could not exclude one of his diagnoses and turned him down. Judy checked to see if he could have IV Lasix in urgent care and this became the new plan before he became short of breath. The patient became extremely compliant with the low-salt diet and his weight stabilized. He is hoping to go back to work. He realizes he is end-stage and has his affairs in order thanks to Judy’s advocation. He does hope to go back to Florida. This is just one example of Judy’s use of her caring and competence.—Nominated by Susan Powers
Bruce Lothrop, Winchester Hospital
Although Bruce is my brother, he is also a good friend, not just to me but the thousands of patients he has served and with hundreds of co-workers in his 50 years in the nursing profession. Presently he is part of the operating room staff at Winchester Hospital where the surgeons frequently request his participation on certain procedures. Bruce is the sort of individual who in the face of danger, while others are running away, he is running towards the danger to offer medical aid. During his career he has enjoyed various leadership positions, such as lead nurse, staff manager, union president. He is always a contributor.—Nominated by Gordon Lothrop
Alkeeta McManus , Winchester Hospital
Alkeeta (Katie) McManus is a compassionate critical care float nurse and more recently nurse manager. In her new role as manager she is also responsible for patient flow. Making sure patients move timely through the system and get to their appropriate bed is both a comfort and safety need. This is something Katie does with skill and empathy for both patient and nurse.—Nominated by Marlene Williamson
Windsor Street Health Center
Shannon Spiczka, Windsor Street Health Center
Recently I was having a problem getting my insurance referral for Rehab. I e-mailed the office of my healthcare provider. Within a few hours I received a response from Shannon Spiczka and she took control of the matter. She made sure that I was properly informed about the situations that concerned me. She has gone the extra mile and put out the efforts to help me with my insurance referral. She gets it done.—Nominated by Robert Shacklewood
Woburn Public Schools
Judy Hogan, Woburn Public Schools
My grandson was born with a brain-malformation that has left him with seizures and severe disabilities. He would not be able to attend school without having a full-time nurse assigned just to him. In his first months of school, he went through quite a few nurses and then we were lucky enough to be paired up with Judy Hogan. They bonded immediately. She has been great at keeping us informed about any medical issues, calmly handles his seizures, administers his meds and tube feeds. She rides the bus with him both to and from school so we get to see her twice a day for quick, face-to-face updates as well as the written ones.
It is such a relief knowing he is in such good hands each day and gives us a break from worry while he is at school. That peace of mind is priceless. (The date given is just a random one. Judy is there every school day.)—Nominated by Carolyn Cribbie