Salute to Nurses 2017 Letters: Hospitals C-G

Cambridge Health Alliance

Shamsher Bam, Cambridge Health Alliance
Shamsher Bam, born and raised in Nepal, graduated from UMass Boston and has been a registered nurse since 2009. He has been a compassionate nurse and has taught me what it means to be a nurse colleague. He takes care of patients at the TB clinic and sees public health cases in Cambridge. He gets to know the patients on a deeper level, asking about their culture, learning their language and how it is living their life daily. I can share anything with Shamsher and he will help me when I am dealing with a difficult situation without having to compromise my trust. He advocates for patients with his patience and knowledge. We tried to draw blood on a 6-year-old patient when I thought we can just go in without negotiating or give up when I saw no blood return. Shamsher kept trying with his patience and his kindness to put the patient at ease, and finally we got the blood and the patient did not feel anything. He will always ask if someone looks lost, he would always smile and make a joke every day. He precepts me about TB disease as I am new to this job in public health. I really appreciate his work and can see what he does for patients. –Nominated by Karen Chui


Cambridge Health Alliance/Elder Service Plan PACE Program

Balaram Shrestha, Cambridge Health Alliance
Balaram Shrestha demonstrates professionalism with a calm, welcoming demeanor. A native of Nepal, Balaram carries himself with a constant smile on his face. He is willing to help when a nurse is out sick, when a patient requires more attention, when he is called on the weekend by fellow nurses asking for assistance. Once he walked in a snow storm to visit his patients so they would not have to go to the Emergency Department for their care. –Nominated by Tara Sherman

The Cambridge Hospital

Marya Peterson, Cambridge Hospital
Marya Peterson is an ever-present breath of fresh air on our unit. She happily gives 150 percent of herself to her patients and colleagues. We are blessed to work in an environment that provides opportunity to see new lives born every day. As wonderful as this is, it can also be very busy and sometimes sad. Marya never needs to be asked to help; you turn around and she is there (with a smile). She cares for patients, their families, and visitors with an unparalleled loving kindness. New families require a great deal of attention and education, both of which Marya thoroughly and happily provides.
Marya possesses clinical expertise in both labor and delivery and mother-baby care, despite having been a nurse for a short time. She eagerly accepts challenges with grace and is not afraid to seek guidance when needed.
About a year ago a plan was made for our nursing staff to designate an area of nursing focus with the choices given: Nursery, Labor and Delivery, and Mother-Baby. Marya was one of few who asked to remain cross-trained. Marya knew her passion for the care of women, newborns, and their families could not be contained to one area. One of the most impressive reasons she chose this appears to be that she genuinely likes to help her colleagues.
When I walk on the unit and realize Marya is working, I smile. I know that anyone who comes in contact with her will be smiling too. In a time when we all could use more smiles, I wish the world had more nurses like Marya. –Nominated by Melissa Abell-Bardsley


Campion Health Center

Sam Katende, Campion Health Center
Growing old is no fun. Everybody knows that, or will, sooner or later. Body parts weaken, sometimes falter. What once was easy is now a real challenge. People don’t always appreciate what elderly folk have to endure. Life in a nursing home can be quite dull. The bright edges of one’s social life inevitably become dimmed. But then along comes a Sam Katende. Sam is a nurse with a winning smile. When Sam enters a room, the whole atmosphere brightens up. Sure, Sam is trained, competent, caring, cooperative . . . a real professional. But Sam’s smile is something else. Its brilliance alone is therapeutic. It’s tough to be a medical student, to be forced to live very frugally, to corral resources for survival, to pay off student loans, to maintain equilibrium in chaos, and to nurture our failing health. But Sam continues to do it all and smiles in open joy to be of help. Somehow, he will fulfill his dream: He will one day be a doctor. Meantime, Sam brightens our lives. Bless him. –Nominated by Simon Smith

Cape Cod Hospital

Diane Robertson, Cape Cod Hospital
Diane Robertson was such a blessing in my journey as a new mom. She is a lactation consultant at the hospital, and she is passionate about the women who attend her classes. Diane’s warm disposition and compassion made us feel comfortable as new parents, and her continued support postpartum was unmatched. When we found out we were expecting our second child, I was excited to know she would be there for the birth. She has inspired me to pursue a career in nursing. –Nominated by Melanie Mimmo


Care Dimensions

Sherry MacKenzie, Care Dimensions
Sherry MacKenzie is a compassionate hospice nurse who consistently gives excellent care to all those fortunate enough to be her patients. She works closely with her patients and their families to determine the best course of action for each person, ensuring optimal patient-centered outcomes. She is very articulate in explaining complex treatment plans to those with serious illnesses, and she makes sure families understand and agree. This is no small feat.
Sherry has great skill in navigating the often difficult emotional journeys that the terminally ill and their loved ones are on. As a colleague, she is congenial and a pleasure to work with—always professional, knowledgeable, and courteous. She is an effective team leader, coordinating the various disciplines so people at the end of life can be supported physically, emotionally, and spiritually. When I am nearing the end of my days on this earth, Sherry is the person I would want as my caregiver and advocate. –Nominated by Marcia Feldman

CareGroup Home Care

Helen Tieger, CareGroup Home Care
Helen Tieger has been my mother’s nurse for years, off and on, as her condition requires it. Helen’s most recent time with my mom was this fall. My mother’s doctor wanted to have a nurse back in to monitor her condition. My mom’s response was, “Only if it’s my Helen.” That shows the connection between the two of them. In the beginning, we thought Helen was coming into our lives to do her job. A job that she does very conscientiously. I always felt that my mom was in good hands. Helen was friendly and thorough. She opened a good line of communication between the two of us and the doctors. When my mom had to be hospitalized, Helen would call me at night and on weekends to check in on her. She wanted her to know that she would be there for her, when she got back home. It was obvious that this was more than Helen’s job. She genuinely cares for my mom. Helen quickly learned my mom’s likes (watching baseball, classic movies, and feeding those who enter her home). Helen would take the time to chat with Mom about her favorite home team’s games and ask questions about the classic movies playing in the background. She also learned her dislikes (having blood work and blood pressure taken). But, Helen found ways to make it as painless as possible. We all bonded over our common loves of family and food. Helen became part of Mom’s medical team and our family. Hopefully, all the good Helen does finds its way back to her. –Nominated by Diane Arciero


CareGroup VNA

Rosemary Mangan, Caregroup VNA
Rosemary Mangan cared for my elderly uncle who was home-bound for many years. She cared for his wounds and for his heart and spirit. Her dedication was unsurpassed. She was an invaluable support to our family on countless occasions. And she was there for him and for us in the end when he passed. She is the model of what it means to be a nurse. We are very grateful to her for all she did for my uncle and for his family. –Nominated by Ellen Rothstein

CHA Somerville

Lynne Crawford, CHA Somerville
Lynne Crawford is the sweetest soul I ever met. She has a true interest in my well-being, and no matter how simple or big my issue is, she always puts me at ease. Lynne Crawford is my hero. –Nominated by Helida Anderson

Chelsea Public Schools

School Nurse Team, Chelsea Public Schools
The Chelsea Public School nurse team consists of 11 nurses who care for more than 6,000 students in a very busy urban school setting. They are dedicated, professional nurses who choose to work in a community environment to better the lives of the children they serve on a daily basis. Each nurse works collaboratively within each school setting to triage, assess, treat, and plan according to the needs presented to them. They care for illness and injuries, meet with parents around specific medical plans of care needed during school, and maintain records and immunizations.
Historically, school nursing started in 1902 in New York City to support educational achievement by promoting attendance. We, as school nurses, have not strayed from this role and have expanded it to include chronic disease management, behavioral health assessments, case management, as well as illness and injury care.
The nursing team in Chelsea continues to strengthen their individual practices, share in the district’s goals for educational achievement, and mirror the philosophy of the Whole School, Whole Community, and Whole Child model. This team deserves to be recognized for their dedication to the students in the Chelsea Public Schools. –Nominated by Marie Washington


Comfort Home Care

Margarita Fajardo, Comfort Home Care
Margarita Fajardo is a godsend. She cares for our mom as though she were her own. She is loving, funny, gentle, and kind. Margarita goes to great lengths for our mom, and Mama loves her so much. My 87-year-old mama would probably not be here today if not for the amazing care Margarita provides. Margarita is part of our family, and we’d be lost without her. Thank you for all you do, Margarita Fajardo. Comfort Home Care is very lucky to have her on staff. –Nominated by Norma Huard

Countryside Healthcare, Milford

Kerry Kiley, Countryside Healthcare, Milford
Kerry Kiley is a nurse practitioner. I had the opportunity to observe her skills and interact with her over the past several years as she provided care for my mother. She possesses an exceedingly positive and cheerful personality and helped my mother and me through several difficult decisions and medical situations. Kerry’s clinical competency is outstanding. When asked a question about a medication, she is able to immediately run through the interactions with other existing medications. She is able to quickly sort through various symptoms and arrive at a diagnosis that leads to a treatment plan.
She makes herself endlessly available to her patients and their family members. She is highly valued by the nursing staff she works with and interacted seamlessly with my mother’s primary care physician. Kerry’s presence at Countryside Healthcare significantly improves and extends their ability to provide high quality care. I am forever indebted to her. –Nominated by Richard Morrison


CVS Minute Clinic

Jessica Osenton, CVS Minute Clinic
I had never used a Minute Clinic and didn’t expect to encounter a highly qualified nurse practitioner there. But then I met Jessica Osenton. The previous day I had experienced shortness of breath and extreme tiredness. Janet took my blood pressure, pulse, and temperature. She suspected I had the flu, and took a nasal swab. The reading came back Flu A. She then prescribed TamiFlu, Tylenol, nasal spray, and a cough medication, helping me find all the products.
I left CVS and the Minute Clinic feeling I had met a wonderful medical professional who quickly diagnosed my problem, helped with the medications, and gave me a detailed medical plan for the next five-to-seven days. Jessica also made a follow-up call to check on my progress. She was everything I could have wanted in a caregiver. –Nominated by Robert Shuba

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Shannon Byrne Antman, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
This nurse is taking wonderful care of a very good friend of mine. She is devoted to him. Nothing more to say. –Nominated by Sue Auclair

Kerry Beliveau, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Hearing you have cancer has got to be the scariest words a doctor could possibly say. My nurse, Kerry Beliveau, was my saving grace. The first day I arrived to get my chemo treatment, she made me feel comfortable in the most uncomfortable of situations. She explained everything that was happening with an ease and grace that settled me down and made me feel at ease. From that day on I knew how lucky I was to have her as my nurse. Every time I arrived for treatment, there was Kerry waiting with the biggest smile and arms open wide to welcome me. Her funny stories and undivided attention actually made me look forward to going to chemo treatments. When she cared for me, she truly made me feel like I was her most important patient. I felt the love she had for me, my family, and her job. When I got a little nauseous, there was Kerry, ready to do anything to make me feel better—different medications, a warm blanket, or a funny story about her family. The day I lost my eyebrows completely was a gut-wrenching realization about what I was going through. But there was Kerry, her high heels clacking to my room, ready to spend 40 minutes with me in order to show me how to use an eyebrow pencil to get the most perfect, natural brow. The stories of her selfless dedication to her patients and me are endless. No written testament could come close to the gratitude I feel towards this amazing nurse. She was much more than my chemo nurse, she was family. –Nominated by Alexandra Durand


Kathy Bielagus, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Kathy Bielagus has been the oncology nurse following my friend’s treatment at Dana-Farber for almost 10 years. Kathy is one of the most caring, thoughtful, sensitive, compassionate, understanding people who treated my partner. Kathy treated her with dignity, was very concerned about her feelings, and made sure she was comfortable during her chemo treatments. She monitored her constantly and was in touch with her oncologist at all times. Kathy even found time in her extremely busy schedule to visit Sharon numerous times when Sharon was hospitalized on St. Elizabeth’s oncology floor. Kathy also offered to come to our home to administer Neupogen shots if we weren’t able to find a nurse through VNA to administer them. Kathy goes all out to make this happen for her patients. She is one in a million, a hero in our eyes. –Nominated by Marie Fernandez

Cindy Cao, Dana-Farber Yawkey Center 10th Floor Infusion
Cindy Cao has shown a truly dedicated compassion for my wife’s care. She is highly professional, personable, and caring with patients going through what is a very trying time in life. She exhibits knowledge beyond her years as she interacts with patients and prepares and dispenses infusion (chemo) therapy. She always remembers our names and takes an interest in how we are all doing as patient supporters. Cindy makes sure patients understand what she is doing for them, and she provides explanations to the patient support team. She offers heated blankets, asks if she can get us snacks, water, etc. We are so fortunate to have her as our nurse. She makes us feel like family, and we feel the same about her. Cindy is proof of what makes Dana-Farber such a special, wonderful institution. She is an asset to her profession and to any group lucky enough to have her on their team. –Nominated by Blair Mehan


Krista Cardini, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
As a nurse myself, I hold pretty high expectations, especially when it comes to the care of my son, but I can say with absolute certainty that all the nurses I have come in contact with at the Jimmy Fund Clinic are a certain kind of amazing that I have not found elsewhere. Krista Cardini was assigned as my son’s primary infusion nurse shortly after he was diagnosed with a rare brain cancer at 3 months old. For such a scary, uncertain time, we were able to laugh and smile when I never thought it would be possible. We went in at least once a week for weekly infusions for 60 weeks and looked forward to seeing Krista’s smiling face. She truly cared for our son and was always willing to teach and explain any bumps in the road. She was a shoulder to cry on during the really hard days, and she always has a sweet, kind, and quiet disposition even when our son was not in the best of moods. Clinically, she was not afraid to speak up and seek out answers when he had a reaction or labs weren’t looking great or if he just wasn’t acting like himself. She is absolutely the epitome of a selfless, smart, and caring nurse; she is who you want taking care of you in your worst of times. For the horror that is pediatric cancer that these nurses witness day in and out, they always handle everything with such grace and never cease to amaze me. We cannot thank Krista and all the nurses at Jimmy Fund Clinic and 9 North at Children’s enough. –Nominated by Amanda Schneider


Carla Chapman, Dana-Farber Susan F. Smith Breast Cancer Treatment
Carla Chapman was my nurse at the start of my treatment for breast cancer, which began in April of 2016. She was a calming force when I had a reaction to a drug on my first visit. She has been with me for the past year as I have gone through chemotherapy and then another IV therapy that I have. Carla has been my constant companion and excellent caregiver throughout. She has been extremely knowledgeable about the side effects I was experiencing. She completes her job with confidence and skill and has advocated for me. Most importantly, she has been positive and compassionate, and always smiling. I know Carla has been a great nurse, because I am a nurse myself. I am extremely particular about my health care. Traveling to a hospital for treatment has consumed my life for the past year. Knowing that I had my top-notch nurse at my back to remember to ask about all my troubles, which I would rather forget, has made this process more than bearable. The last session I had with Carla, I told her that coming here for treatment no longer felt like treatment, but a social event where I saw old friends. In addition to the health care stuff, we talk about her family and my family. So, can a nurse make a difference is your life? Absolutely. –Nominated by Jeanne Carey

Kimberly Coleman, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
There are so many great nurses and support staff that attended to my care coordination, discharge, and unparalleled cross-border communication. Kimberly Coleman stands out because of her daily, interactive, and almost immediate care since I was discharged from my stem cell transplant on Dec. 14. Kimberly shares her professional polish, deep care, intelligence and passion, fitness in character, and really nice balance as a parent and advisor. Kimberly’s support, navigation of care, medical intelligence, and team building have enabled me to regain hope and the physical and mental strength to keep climbing back. –Nominated by Kirk Roth


Heather Cushing, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Heather Cushing was my sister’s infusion nurse at DFCI. My sister was a type 1 diabetic in a battle with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. Her goal was to live to see her 18-year-old adopted daughter graduate from college and get married. An unrealized goal. Heather helped Lynn focus on this moment and each weekly treatment. Never discounting Lynn’s goals.
Heather created positivity in her work with Lynn, (who was a counselor) and who was in denial about her own demise. Her empathetic ways served Lynn, her daughter, my younger sister, our 94- and 90-year-young parents in understanding what Lynn’s journey would entail.
Heather was direct, honest, humorous, and well equipped to support us in life and in loss. Lynn’s daughter has been in denial as any teenager would be when losing their only parent. Heather supported her with love and caring ways.
I cannot even put into words all the TLC Heather offered our family. She has always had a positive attitude and to this day we get together to celebrate life on a regular basis when I come to DFCI to donate platelets on a bi-weekly basis. Heather put medical terms into plain English and shared openly and honestly with Lynn and our entire family. –Nominated by Don Greenstein

Kathie Flagg, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Kathie Flagg is my oncology nurse at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Katie was assigned to me on my first day of treatment, and we connected immediately. I was obviously very scared, given my recent pancreatic cancer diagnosis. Katie was very compassionate and took her time to get to know me and my family. She educated us on my chemotherapy infusion and the expected side effects. She always answers our questions and even researches the compatibility of certain drugs with my infusion drugs. She does this on her own time. During my second infusion, I began having an adverse muscle reaction to one of the drugs. Katie immediately paused the infusion and called our oncologist. She researched and advocated for a certain medication to relieve the side effect. The medication worked and is now part of my care plan. Through the months, my treatment has been delayed and we’ve missed our regularly scheduled appointments with Katie, but she will track me in the system and either try to be assigned to us or leave us messages. She welcomes e-mails from us in between treatments with any questions or concerns. Everything about Katie is positive and compassionate. She has cried with us during the bad days and rejoiced with us when we’ve received positive news. Chemo infusion is not easy due to the side effects but knowing Katie is my nurse provides me great comfort. Being a nurse is not just a job for Katie, it’s who she is. –Nominated by Kevin Chouinard


Danielle Johnson, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Danielle Johnson has been drawing my blood and inserting the IV needed for my MRs every three months for over 20 years. He makes a very difficult and anxiety-producing procedure nearly effortless and almost painless with his gentleness and humor. –Nominated by Ruth Brown

Elizabeth Lynch, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Elizabeth Lynch has been my primary nurse for almost three years. She is exceptional, always professional and makes sure all of my meds are right. I have chemo every two weeks and she is always a ray of sunshine. Even when I don’t have her for Infusion, she will always take time to stop and check up on me. She always makes me feel secure. She is knowledgeable, passionate, and extremely caring. Always has a smile, and I look forward to seeing her every visit. –Nominated by Greg Grass

Jennifer McKenna, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
I first met Jennifer McKenna, nurse practitioner extraordinaire, in July of 2009, just days after my stage 3 breast cancer diagnosis. She guided me through a very difficult year of surgery, chemo, and radiation. She was always very considerate and knowledgeable and made me laugh and smile during difficult treatments. On the fifth anniversary of my breast cancer diagnosis, Jen was compassionate when I found out that I now had stage 3 thyroid cancer. She offered expert advice and care and reassured me when I was afraid.
Two years ago, when I had pain in my hip, Jen immediately followed up and ordered necessary exams, which eventually revealed metastatic breast cancer and, a few months later, metastatic thyroid cancer. She helped me understand the treatments and kept me hopeful about my prognosis. My monthly visits with Jen for my treatments are always a wonderful mix of clinical guidance, compassion, and positive conversation.
As a patient thriving with 2 metastatic cancers, I understand the importance of having a strong team of caregivers as I am now in treatment for the rest of my life. Jen McKenna has encouraged me in all of my fund-raising and advocacy work, she has helped me stay positive in light of the two cancer diagnoses, and she has demonstrated expert clinical knowledge. She is there to remind me that I am living and thriving with cancers and that I should remain hopeful with new treatments that will help me live a longer, happier life. For all of these reasons, I am forever grateful to my nurse Jen McKenna. –Nominated by Carol Chaoui


Karyn O’Rourke, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Karyn O’Rourke, whose nickname is Kay, takes care of me from the start of treatment until the end like a mother. She always knows what to say to put a smile on my face, always knows what I need to make me comfortable during my infusions. Overall, she’s just an awesome person and the best nurse I ever had. I miss having her as my nurse every week. –Nominated by Tiffany Fernandes

Sandra Ruland, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Sandra Ruland is warm and personable. She listens well and takes your condition to heart. She makes a little small talk to warm you up and build comfort. She’s a wonderful nurse. –Nominated by Andrew Parthum

Elahe Salehi, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
In December 2015, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was 34 years old, and my son, Wes, was three months old. I have never been so scared. My husband and I immediately knew we would go to Dana-Farber. As soon as I met my oncology nurse, Elahe Salehi, I immediately felt connected to her. She took time to get to know me as a person, not just as a patient, and that was so important to me. I saw Elahe regularly during treatment and she assured me at each visit that the chemo was working. She understood how important those visits were to me—mentally and physically—and she genuinely felt the happiness that I felt each time she gave me good news. After five months of chemotherapy, I was cancer-free. It was the best news we could have asked for, according to Elahe, and she was there to celebrate with me. –Nominated by Katie Meinelt


Marnie Salkovitz, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
The last week of August, we took our 5- and 8-year-old daughters to their favorite beach in Rhode Island. Olivia, the 5-year-old, said this was going to be her perfect day. While my wife was putting suntan lotion on Olivia, she noticed a large, firm mass on the girl’s left flank. I felt it and a sinking feeling washed over me.
At Boston’s Children’s Hospital, an ultrasound confirmed a tumor the size of a cantaloupe coming from her left kidney. We left the emergency room that day knowing she would need an operation to remove the kidney and that her prognosis was dependent on the stage of the cancer (Wilms’ Tumor).
After surgery, Olivia started chemotherapy. Marnie Salkovitz was her assigned clinic nurse and always greeted Olivia with a warm smile and comforting conversation. Olivia was petrified of the process and cried hysterically. But Marnie was experienced, comforting, and flexible.
Marnie took the time to learn Olivia’s favorite activities and the importance of her stuffed kitten, “Dirty Kitty.” At the Jimmy Fund Christmas festival for pediatric patients, Marnie could be seen mingling with her patients, warmly and openly welcoming them to the party. Olivia’s face lit up when she saw her. Her chemo now finished, she misses those Tuesday opportunities to spend time with Marnie. –Nominated by Robb Kociol

Rachel Shaw, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Rachel Shaw is an infusion nurse on Yawkey 8 and has been my husband Peter’s nurse for many years. Peter has battled lymphoma for the past 13 years and has had two stem cell transplants over the past two years, which required chemotherapy and many blood transfusions. Rachel has been a source of comfort and compassion for not only Peter but for me as well. I don’t know how we would have handled things as well as we did without her. She has such a calming presence, and it is evident that she truly cares for Peter and wants the best outcome for him. She always takes the time to listen and offer her support and advice. Even when Peter doesn’t have to see her but has an appointment on the floor, Rachel makes a point of finding us and checking to make sure Peter is doing well. We have had many ups and downs over the past few years with lots of tears and moments of joy. Rachel has been there throughout. –Nominated by Margie Burke


Rachel Shaw, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
I dealt with a rare cancer called double hit lymphoma and one of the major reasons I made it through was thanks to the work and kindness of a nurse named Rachel Shaw. Nurse Shaw’s smiling face was the first I saw on my very first day of treatment. Nurse Shaw treated me with kindness, caring, knowledge, intelligence, and so much more during my battle with this rare beast of cancer. The work, care, and kindness for me through the many dozens of treatments was nothing short of amazing. Nurse Shaw is the primary reason I made it through, and I owe my life to Rachel Shaw, Dr. David C. Fisher, and Dana-Farber. –Nominated by Daniel Totten

Robin Sommers, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
I’ve been receiving treatment at the DFCI for about seven years. Robin Sommers has been my nurse practitioner all that time. Her dedication and genuine concern for her patient’s well-being is without question. I’m certain there’s a Robin Sommers on each floor at DFCI but I’m blessed that on the seventh floor, she’s my nurse. –Nominated by Michael Glass

Katherine Stephans, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
I met Katie Stephans in 2013. She was part of my post-stem-cell transplant team at Dana-Farber. There was never a time when she wasn’t able to understand my needs and guide me through recovery, and she has been with me ever since. In November of 2016, when I was faced with the news that my leukemia had returned and only limited treatments were available, Katie once again comforted me and, most importantly, listened to me. The most difficult part of my ordeal should be now as I face end-of-life issues, but Katie has held my hand, cried with me, laughed with me, and taken the time to comfort me and my family. I am at peace. She has so lovingly given me the strength to live each day with the care of hospice. Katie will be in my heart forever. –Nominated by Ellen Bruce


Katherine Stephans, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Katie Stephans is a nurse practitioner on the leukemia/lymphoma floor at Dana-Farber. My husband Peter has battled lymphoma for the past 13 years and Katie has been there for most if not all of that time. Peter’s disease progressed rapidly a couple years ago and although a CT scan didn’t show disease progression, Katie wasn’t convinced and ordered a PET scan. I will never forget waiting for the news in one of the exam rooms. Peter and I were hoping for the best, but when Katie and Dr. Arnold Freedman walked in the room, we knew it was bad. Katie and Dr. Freedman were both overcome with emotion and quickly delivered the news but also gave us the plan of attack. I mention this because Peter and I both felt the love and compassion, and we knew that even though it was bad, they were going to take charge. That was two years ago and since then, Peter has had a stem cell transplant, a relapse, and another transplant for which our son was the bone marrow donor. This last transplant happened in July and was very difficult. Peter has battled infections and needed to have more stem cells from our son in October. Katie has helped me and Peter through this crisis. I remember running into her at Dana-Farber when Peter was hospitalized at Brigham and Women’s with a terrible infection. I was in tears and filled with fear until I saw Katie. She comforted me and instantly I felt stronger. The staff at Dana-Farber are all amazing but Katie is extraordinary. She always takes time for not only Peter but for me and my million questions. She is a shining example of humanity at its best, and we are thankful she is on our team. –Nominated by Margie Burke


Lisa Stewart, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
I am a leukemia patient. Or, I should say, I was a leukemia patient. Yes, I survived the 62 days as an inpatient along with chemo, a bone marrow transplant, relapse, acute GVHD, 22 bone marrow biopsies, etc. But, you cannot survive that unless you have support from many sources. Moreover, you cannot thrive afterwards without understanding the importance and endurance of that support from not just your own nurses, but from all the nurses and patients who had traveled the road before you. For me, it isn’t about just one nurse or even one doctor or donor. It’s about a cooperative river of support. It’s about an army of nurses and a platoon of physicians. It’s about millions of people who had joined “The Match,” so perhaps one match could be found for someone like me. It’s about hundreds of technicians, lab and pathology assistants that I never saw. It’s about the nursing staff in radiology, the infusion crowd, and the cleaning crews at night. Understand, that traveling along my little adventure with leukemia, there has been a steady, almost endless supply of empathetic, understanding, competent, bright, funny, humble, and dependable nurses who touched me, who changed me. You want names? Try, Kerry Hogan at BWH. Or, how about Susan Buchanan at DFCI? Don’t forget my current nurse, Lisa Stewart at the Farber. She is terrific. The list is long. Recognize that the nurses that so critically helped me in the first months, passed that support to other nurses in year two. This seamless river of cooperative support as my needs and condition change, is astonishing. No, it is life-giving. It is something we can all learn from. Boston knows about this. Boston lived this notion of cooperative support at the Marathon. Let’s pass that on to the patient ahead. –Nominated by Brad Else


Lisa Stewart, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Since my stem cell transplant in 2013, Lisa has been available to answer and ease my mind every time I have a question. In March of last year, I was dealing with some very challenging symptoms that eventually led to a diagnosis of pneumonia and was being treated in another hospital in the area. My wife was not happy with my treatment and called Lisa for advice. She could not have been more caring, and eventually calmed us by explaining that, though my symptoms were similar, it was not a relapse of my cancer. She helped us understand why. This gifted nurse is a saint among us. –Nominated by Rich Cormio

Charlotte Stone, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Charlotte Stone worked at the Jimmy Fund while she was taking care of her twin sisters, who both had nervous breakdowns within a year of each other and who were both hospitalized at McLean Hospital and in Brookline. She was also going to school, studying for her nursing boards, and also had to deal with her grandfather dying. She is an unbelievable daughter, student, and loving sister. –Nominated by Colleen Stone

Caitlin Stratton, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Shortly after my daughter was diagnosed with cancer, we met Caitlin Stratton. When we first met her, we had no idea the impact should would have on our family during this frightening journey. She was one of many nurses assigned to us for home care during the week. One night, we called Caitlin in a panic because the VNA hadn’t shown up yet and our daughter desperately needed her medication. Caitlin flew over and said, “I’m fixing this. I’m going to be your only VNA nurse from now on.”
Caitlin was also a part-time nurse at the pediatric infusion clinic and worked full time on the floor where my daughter had a bone marrow transplant. When I awoke in the hospital those mornings, I would find coffee next to my cot left by Caitlin. Caitlin was around every corner of our lives for those few years, saving us all.
Caitlin was honest with us, above everything else. She told us what to expect at every phase of treatment so we never went in blindly, allowing us to make better decisions about our daughter’s care. She made all the scary stuff so much easier for such a young patient who could not understand what was happening to her. When Caitlin came into our house, she was greeted with hugs by my daughter every time with, “Hi Caitlin! No medicine.” We laughed as that became Caitlin’s new name.
She chose one of the hardest careers imaginable as a pediatric cancer nurse but one that she was clearly built to master. She was our angel all of those years and every day since, we are thankful she was placed in our path. –Nominated by Heather Ingrando


Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center

Ayla Priestley, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center
On Jan. 18, my mother suffered a terrible and unexpected rupture of an undiagnosed brain aneurysm. During the first several weeks of her stay in the ICU at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, my mother was blessed to receive the care of Ayla Priestley. At a time that was so critical to her survival and when our family was so vulnerable to the fear of uncertainty, Ayla gave us comfort, hope, friendship, and certainty in her dedication to the most important woman in our lives. Not only did Ayla exhibit incredible finesse in her nursing skills and attentiveness to mom’s comfort and volatile condition, but she also possessed the necessary compassion for the human element of the patient and family. As Mom was unconscious, Ayla was her advocate medically and our family’s advocate emotionally. Ayla made a very scary time and place in the ICU bearable and was always very open about answering our questions when she could see concern on our faces. Our most comforting days in the ICU with were those we shared with Ayla tending to our wife and mother. It takes a very special individual to recognize the profound significance of the consistent care of our loved ones to the family of those who are at their most vulnerable states. Ayla certainly exceeded this element of nursing. While nursing is a skill, it can also be a calling, and it is without a doubt that Ayla was meant for this. We attribute our mother’s survival to the care she received over the many weeks she stayed in the ICU. Someday, we pray that Mom will be able to thank Ayla personally for her participation in saving her life, from one nurse to another. Thank you, Ayla. God bless you. –Nominated by Lauren Nall


Davita Dialysis Center, Woburn

Dana Naso, Davita Dialysis Center, Woburn
Dana Naso, clinical leader and nurse manager, is the most exemplary nurse leader/manager I have interacted with in 40 years of nursing. As a patient, I have witnessed and benefited from her expertise in dialysis management, her knowledge of every patient in the unit, and her ability to assist staff when complications require that a patient be transferred to a hospital. Dana is a positive role model and advocate for patients. She calms them, educates and reassures them, and often helps them make better decisions about their care. She is kind, friendly, and compassionate, and, when she laughs, it is infectious and a joy to hear as I sit there for a depressing, four-hour treatment. She brings me and other patients joy and comfort. –Nominated by Janet Spellman

East Boston Neighborhood Health Center

Kelly Hennessy Gordon, East Boston Neighborhood Health Center
Being a nurse myself, I know how exhausting this career can be. My daughter, Kelly, is a nurse practitioner who exemplifies what it is to be an excellent nurse both in the clinical setting as well as her home life. She lives close to my elderly mother-in-law, so she is always on call. She gets calls any time of the day or night for issues that arise and always rises to the occasion. She never complains about getting a call at 2 in the morning and still manages to go to work and do a full case load. I’m not certain how well my mother-in-law would be living were it not for Kelly, but I do know that she has been instrumental in enabling things to go as smoothly as they do. When my mother-in-law has doctor appointments, Kelly will often go with her to speak about issues and advocate for her. –Nominated by Maureen Hennessy


Veronica Moore, East Boston Neighborhood Heath Center
Veronica “Ronnie” Moore has delivered compassionate, clinically expert care to patients in East Boston and Winthrop for more than 20 years. She currently is the Clinical Coordinator of the Family Medicine Practice at Winthrop Neighborhood Health, operated by East Boston Neighborhood Health Center. She has embraced the role of primary care nurse for community health, a critical role for the wellness of the community, providing chronically ill patients with the resources to manage their care at home and avoid unnecessary hospitalizations. Patients know and ask for her by name, trust in her advice, and bring their children and grandchildren to see her. From health promotion and coaching to hands-on care, Ronnie is a trusted source of comfort and wellness for our community. –Nominated by Cathy Franklin

Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans’ Hospital

Jan Farrington, Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans’ Hospital
Jan Farrington works out of the Edith Nourse Rogers VA hospital in Bedford. My father was a disabled World War II veteran who died there last year at the age of 95. Dad’s very long life and painless passing are in great part thanks to the exceptional care that Jan provided. The VA hospital staff was terrific, but my father was hospitalized for only two weeks before he died. For several years before that, Dad was cared for at home by Jan and the VA home care service. Through weekly home visits, Jan monitored my father’s cardiomyopathy and dementia. Visits with Jan were filled with joking and joy as she carefully monitored Dad’s mental and physical status. She communicated directly and frequently with Mom and me, physicians, specialists, and finally hospice workers to calibrate Dad’s medications so that he was able to enjoy the best possible quality of life at home even as we watched him slip away.
When Dad became truculent, Jan charmed him into compliance. When he refused to bathe, Jan cajoled him into the shower with military precision and the profound respect she has for all who serve this country. Jan’s careful, ongoing assessment of Dad’s status and her sensitivity toward my mom and me helped us care for each other even as we prepared for Dad’s “good death.” When home care was no longer an option for my father, he was admitted to the VA hospital. Jan visited on her lunch break and checked in with the clinical team. Her careful, sensitive, and thorough care for my family helped us weather the long and difficult process of dying with grace. I lost my father last April but found an amazing friend in Jan Farrington, who exemplifies the best of her profession. –Nominated by Gloria Cole


Emerson Hospital

Jennifer Camerano, Emerson Hospital Labor and Delivery
Jenn Camerano is my sister. Through my two children’s births, she was by my side, supportive and reassuring. She helped me so much through birth, my first at only age 18. Jenn spends her days as a very busy mom of three and works overnights bringing babies into the world, which she absolutely loves. With her kids’ school and extracurricular stuff such as sports, dance, and karate, she is always on the go and puts everyone else before herself. She recently underwent surgery herself and was out of work for six weeks and went crazy being at home for so long. She also recently was a nurse of my friend, who had a baby there in December and told me how great a nurse she was and how helpful all the staff was. Jenn is the type to give the shirt off her back to help and often wears her heart on her sleeve. She is well deserving of recognition for being an amazing nurse. –Nominated by Tracy Barnjum

Emerson Hospital Home Care

Diane Learned, Emerson Hospital Home Care
Diane Learned not only excels as a home care nurse, she is also compassionate and thorough and cares for my parents as if she were part of the family. Over many years, Diane has cared for my parents, both 91, and most recently cared for my mother after a fall in December. Her caring manner always puts my mother at ease, and she addresses all the needs of the patient including answering questions. Diane’s communication with doctors and the Coumadin Clinic are professional and she makes sure my parents understand treatments. After a visit with my parents, Diane always reviews the visit with me and wants my input. My questions are always answered. If she doesn’t have an answer, she’ll find it and follow up. I value Diane’s visits as much as my parents do. Between visits, if a situation arises, it’s not unusual for one of us to say, “Diane is coming, she’ll know what to do.” And, she always does. It is an honor to salute Diane. –Nominated by Mona Mondano


Evercare Health Care

Jill Medynski, Evercare Health Care
Sometimes extraordinary nursing care is provided at the bedside of a patient who has chosen to remain at home for their last days. The difficulty is that, not only does the patient need care, but also the family who is there as well. End-of-life care is not easy, as the patient cannot communicate their needs as they are dying. It is the skill of the nurse who must interpret what to do from the ever-changing signs that the patient is presenting. Is that shoulder twitch a sign that the patient is uncomfortable? Is the quiet breathing a prelude to the peaceful end that we all hope for?
I watched my daughter use her well-honed nursing skills to help her father and family to honor my husband’s wish that he die at home. It was a long and difficult five days. The hospice nurses provided intermittent support, but it was my daughter who provided the nonstop care. Her nursing expertise, combined with love, provided the kind of death we all wish for and deserve. –Nominated by Debra Cohen

Everett Care Center

Nadine Marsan, Everett Care Center
Nadine Marsan is a great person and nurse; she has a lot of empathy for our patients. She is always willing to help. –Nominated by Jessie Alas

Falmouth Hospital

Lora Tutuny, Falmouth Hospital
I am nominating my mother, Lora Tutuny. She has devoted her life to the medical field. She takes great pride in the work she does at Falmouth Hospital. Constantly putting in long hours, like most nurses do, and I may be a little biased, but she does so much more. Not only did she continue to work when she herself was diagnosed with cancer in 2013, but during the fall of last year when her sister fell ill, the nurse in her was by her side every single day off and weekend. Her sister had a short and tough battle with esophageal cancer, and my mother was a pillar of strength for our entire family. She didn’t leave her hospital room for the last week of her life, because she wanted to make sure she was comfortable and had everything she needed. She is an amazing mother and an extraordinary nurse. –Nominated by Elaine Tutuny


Faulkner Community Physicians at Hyde Park

Sue Webb, Faulkner Community Physicians at Hyde Park
Sue Webb joined our practice four years ago, after working at New England Sinai Hospital for 25 years. I am one of three physicians in the practice, which also includes one physician’s assistant. We serve a diverse patient population that includes the elderly and immigrants from the Caribbean, Central America, and West Africa. Many of our patients deal with mental health and substance abuse problems.
Sue is invaluable to our practice. She is always kind and patient and extraordinarily well organized. Sue is adept at coordinating care with patients after they are discharged from the hospital. She has a great rapport with many visiting nurse agencies that repeatedly tell me our office is one of the best to work with in coordinating patient care. This is largely because of Sue and her efforts. She has also worked to address the opiate addiction problem while ensuring that patients with chronic pain have their needs addressed. –Nominated by Ron Warner

Fenway Health

Peg Nelson, Fenway Health
Peg Nelson of the Fenway is a nurse who does impressive work and cares for others in ways that are beyond our expectations, but she is also an angel who is responsible for all the unnoticed things. Her duties are not only giving shots or taking temperatures. Peg also calls me often to check up on me, finds me to give me one of her warm and tight hugs, calls me when she hasn’t seen me, talks with me and holds my hand. She has become the caring and selfless person who personifies what being a nurse is, a simple statement with a powerful effect on me and many others. She is not only a great person in the office, but also a great nurse out of her office. I think of her as the angel of nurses and humans. –Nominated by Ernest Berardinelli


Fertility Center of New England

Katelyn Driscoll, Fertility Centers of New England
Katelyn Driscoll is one of many outstanding nurses at the Fertility Center of New England. She is an amazing, caring, and compassionate nurse. She accommodates her patients’ needs while they are going through such a personal, emotional, and challenging process. She always makes you smile and feel very comfortable; she makes you feel like you are a priority and a very important patient to both her and to the fertility center. She strives to make sure that her patients stay positive and reduces their anxiety no matter how the situation turns out. Katelyn is truly an astonishing nurse who deserves the highest recognition. –Nominated by Kerry Stephens

Alicia Paquin, Fertility Center of New England
Alicia Paquin is an amazing individual. She has so much dedication and compassion towards her patients. I’ve had many interactions and conversations with Alicia during 2016. Although I have never physically met her, I feel like I have known her for a long time. I never have to worry about getting a call back or response. She understands the difficulties I was experiencing and I could feel her empathy and compassion in every conversation we had. Every office needs an Alicia to comfort their patients and be their first line of communication. –Nominated by Jill Lacaillade

Franciscan Children’s

Jocelyn Cassola, Franciscan Children’s
Jocelyn is a charge RN here at Franciscan Children’s. Every day I work with Jocelyn I see her display compassion, clinical competency, excellent communication, and advocacy. Franciscan Children’s is a post-acute rehab that cares for pediatric patients with complex medical needs. Because of this, Jocelyn needs to be flexible and have knowledge in many different systems. We have many new nurses here, who turn to Jocelyn for guidance whether it be for communicating, engaging in family teaching, or performing a medical skill.
As charge RN, Jocelyn communicates with the interdisciplinary team, including not only the team at Franciscan Children’s but also outside providers. Jocelyn helps to ensure that communication among all of these people is as seamless as possible for the patients and their families. While excellent at communicating, she makes advocating for the patient a priority. Whether it be with the medical team, therapies, or case workers, Jocelyn is always reaching out and going the extra mile for the patient.
Families and patients praise her and the work she does. The connection she has with the families and patients is one that cannot be learned. She is naturally personable, caring, and trustworthy. She strives to improve the systems and processes at the hospital, working for the common goal of patient safety. –Nominated by Meghan Glynn


Christine Lyons Dunn, Franciscan Children’s
Christine Lyons Dunn is the Utilization Review Nurse for the McLean-Franciscan Child/Adolescent Inpatient Psychiatric Unit at Franciscan Children’s. She has been a nurse for many years working with children and families and now she advocates with insurance companies so the children we take care of can stay in the hospital for the length of time they need and get the services they deserve. She advocates daily, arguing with insurance companies to make sure each child is well cared for. She cares about every child she is reviewing on. She attends daily rounds to make sure she understands each child’s needs and can advocate for the clinicians’ treatment plans with the insurance companies. We are very fortunate to have her here at Franciscan Children’s. She is a team player, an advocate, and a very knowledgeable professional about mental health care, especially when it comes to work with children and adolescents with mental health struggles. –Nominated by Kara McTague

Christine Lyons Dunn, Franciscan Children’s
Christine Lyons Dunn is the utilization review nurse for the McLean-Franciscan Child Adolescent Psychiatric Inpatient Unit. Christine is extremely dedicated to her job at the hospital, and it is evident through every one of her interactions with the kids, their parents, the insurance companies she reviews with, and each social worker, nurse, mental health counselor, and doctor on the unit. Christine takes the time to get to know each patient’s case and advocate for them using her wealth of clinical knowledge and compassion for the kids/families on the unit. Christine will come to early, work through lunch, stay late, whatever it takes to do a job that makes her proud and makes all of her co-workers proud to call her a colleague. –Nominated by Katie Verhamme


Debbie Iavonna, Franciscan Children’s
Debbie Iavonna is stationed at nursing administration. She is a very friendly and courteous person. She is always ready to share her knowledge and expertise with me to ensure our children and staffs are in a safe and clean environment. It is my belief that her type of demeanor enables her to work well with everyone. I found her to be very respectful even when we are challenged. I am humbled to have such a privilege to work with her. –Nominated by Lionel Olivier

Meghan McCaffrey, Franciscan Children’s
I have had the privilege of working with Meghan McCaffrey for the past several months and have always noted her as bringing positive energy to our unit and great care to our children and families. As a social worker on our unit, I understand the challenges of burnout and how stressors can impact one’s ability to function at work. I’m consistently impressed by her ability to bring the same energy and positivity and care each day, no matter the circumstance. Most recently, I witnessed her provide compassion and care to one of my patient’s families. She took the time to really support the parents and spoke with them at length to validate the difficult time and help them provide care for their child. She exhibits tremendous care and compassion and is able to help our families feel supported and able to trust in the quality of care that our staff are able to provide. We’re very lucky to have a nurse who provides this level of compassionate care. –Nominated by KJ Lindquist


Phyllis McDonough, Franciscan Children’s
Phyllis McDonough has excellent skills in her proficiency as a nurse and in her social interaction with babies and their parents. She’s always cheerful and loving with the babies; she talks to them in her soothing voice. Her spirit is big and generous and loving. The parents are always comfortable in her presence. Phyllis is also very helpful with the nurses on her unit. Phyllis never acts tired or under pressure. I really admire her peaceful countenance. She respects every single baby and knows a lot about patience. There’s a rhythm in her pace that is very wholesome for healing. There’s never a doubt that babies are safe under her care. –Nominated by Carmela D’Elia

Fresh Pond Women’s Health

Carol Tallon, Fresh Pond Women’s Health
Carol Tallon always meets me exactly where I am—without judgment, haste, or superiority. She is like my angel. She took the time, (and always does) to find out what was going on, to make me feel heard, validated, remembered, and thought of. She treats me with authenticity, dignity, and utmost compassion. She understands the sensitivity of her job, and excels at it with grace. She gave me answers that nobody else took the time to find, and I always wish I could really thank her the way she deserves. I even have a line about her impact on my life in one of my songs. –Nominated by Sarah Blacker

Golden Living Center, West Newton


Gladys Dupuy, Golden Living Center, West Newton
Gladys Dupuy is a caring, supportive, and generous nurse. She watches over her residents and patients with a keen, observant eye, making sure they are doing and feeling well. She has been doing this job for more than 25 years, and her compassion and skill set are well honed. She earns the trust of everyone she encounters by following through on all aspects of their care, from contacting the medical provider to monitoring new updates to their care plan to teaching discharge skills—all with a sense of humor and commitment.
Gladys works quietly and efficiently with minimum fuss and maximum results. She truly represents the art and the science of nursing, and it is my pleasure to acknowledge her as a great nurse and a truly wonderful person. I salute you, Gladys Dupuy, for your kind and generous nature and your attention to all aspects of the residents’ care. –Nominated by Kathleen Lewis Wilson

Vera Fenell, Golden Living Center, West Newton
Vera Fenell is a very efficient nurse and very compassionate with staff and especially residents. She has a wonderful sense of humor. In seven months here, I’ve felt completely at home. She has an extraordinary attitude with the patients. She is the right hand of the CEO, who depends on her judgment completely. Her presence makes this a great place. –Nominated by Mary Kirst