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Allerton House at Central Park in Weymouth
Assisted Living Nurses, Allerton House
Kathy Boyle, Melanie Cosato, Margaret Ruhiu, and Victoria Shanahan are the unsung heroes of this community. Assisted living nurses don’t always receive the appreciation they deserve. Their unusual position is sometimes overlooked and misunderstood. The job is complex, diverse, entertaining, rewarding, and always evolving.
The nurses are responsible for residents 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and on any given day they might become case managers, nursing assistants, educators, maintenance people, cooks, housekeepers, and social workers. They are also knowledgeable, friendly, professional, compassionate, and dedicated to providing exemplary care.
I entrusted these women with the care of my mother, my mother-in-law, and my sister-in-law, knowing that my loved ones would receive the best. The nurses were kind and loving during my mother’s last days, spending time with her, keeping her comfortable, and being compassionate to her and our family. They provide the same level of care to all of the residents and families in the community because that is who they are. You can’t teach compassion. My family benefited from their kindness and will always be grateful for the love and care that my mother received.—Nominated by Ellen Laramee
American Renal Associates
Michelle Salvato, American Renal Dialysis Center
I have been receiving dialysis for the past three years. The nurses’ aides and staff at American Renal Center are fantastic, but Michelle stands out. She knows very well that dialysis is a grind on the body, and I cannot remember one day that she didn’t greet me with her infectious smile. She asks about my wife and kids with genuine sincerity. She knows when I am down, and even if she is not assigned to me that day she comes over to see if she can get me to smile and appreciate the day.
I have only touched the surface about Michelle, but I cannot think of anyone I respect more as a nurse. She is my unsung hero.—Nominated by John Sforza
Art of Care Home Health Services
Pahada Hanscom, Art of Care
I couldn’t be happier with Pahada (pronounced pay-da), the visiting nurse assigned to me through Art of Care. She always calls with her proposed time of arrival and calls again if she is delayed. But being on time is the least of her good qualities. I especially appreciate her cheerfulness; she is always smiling, and that is helpful in itself. She is efficient in changing my [pain drug] patch and checking the dressing near my coccyx, and always asks if she can do anything else to help me. Going out is difficult for me, and she once went out of her way to get me an over-the-counter medicine. She spoke up for me when Art of Care wanted to cut back her visiting hours. There is no one I trust more, and I see lots of other good nurses on my weekly visits to Beth Israel Deaconess.—Nominated by Anne Tolbert
Atrius Health Cardiovascular Center
Arlene Kelley, Atrius Health Cardiovascular Center
I have had the pleasure of working with Arlene for almost four years. She is a vital member of our team and is always ready to jump in where needed. Our physicians depend on her skills and know that their patients are getting excellent care when they see Arlene.
I work in cardiology testing and have had countless patients express their pleasure with her. “That Arlene is wonderful.” “She just explains everything.” “What a nice lady.” These are just some of the quotes from patients.
I am usually one of the last persons in the office on any given day, with the exception of Arlene. Her schedule is always full with appointments. She is often here past 5:30 in the evening, meticulously documenting her patient visits and calls for the day. Whether it is answering patient questions about sodium intake for management of congestive heart failure (CHF) or dietary suggestions for patients with diabetes, Arlene patiently responds with compassion to each and every patient. She is also a blessing to have as a coworker. She is always willing to answer any queries from employees, like myself, who may just have general health questions. Arlene took time out of her vacation to answer my text messages when my father was hospitalized with CHF. Arlene is a true professional. Her expertise is admired and her work ethic appreciated. She sets a wonderful example and is a role model for many of our younger staff. What I believe sets her apart is that nursing in not just what Arlene does; it is who she is.—Nominated by Cindy Liuzza
Bayberry at Emerald Court
Cathie Milliken, Bayberry at Emerald Court
I have worked in the same building as Cathie at an assisted living facility with an Alzheimer’s/dementia unit for several years. Cathie is a non-stop nurse who goes beyond her duties every day, running from one side of the building to the other, constantly putting in more hours to ensure that every resident who needs attention gets it. She assists everyone in the building and is a role model for other nurses and aides.—Nominated by Ellie Silva
Carly Mailloux, Baystate Medical Center, Baystate Health
On one of the most emotional days of my life, I had just given birth to twin boys nearly two months early due to severe complications. My husband and I were scared, excited, nervous, and worried, all at the same time. After my cesarean section, I was placed in the post anesthesia care unit with a wonderful nurse named Carly. After 10 minutes, I told her that I wasn’t feeling well. The next hour was a complete blur. I was having a postpartum hemorrhage—a potentially deadly complication that affects over 125,000 women annually in the US. Although I struggle to remember details, Carly was incredibly calm, yet assertive, while under tremendous pressure. When a team of additional medical professionals arrived, Carly began to give everyone orders. Everybody in the room had a clearly defined role and Carly was constantly running through procedures, making sure that things ran smoothly. I never sensed any anxiety from her. Carly stayed right next to me (at my request) and made sure that I was never alone. I truly believe that her calm, assertive demeanor contributed to my complete recovery. Continuing to display her compassion, Carly even stopped by to see me the next day in recovery. I will never forget her name—and, more importantly, how much she helped me both physically and emotionally on that day.—Nominated by Meghan Kirby
Tracy Saracino, Wesson Women & Infants Unit, Baystate Health
Tracy was my labor and delivery nurse when I had my son. I can’t quite put into words just how special she is to me, even though our interaction was short. She cut my son’s umbilical cord even though his father was there. She is truly one of a kind: a wonderful person and a skilled nurse.—Nominated by Victoria Langlois
Karissa Gorman, Baystate Health
Clinical nurses here are in the process of rolling out a revised model of care called Compassionate Connections in Caring. One of the key behaviors in the model is called “A Moment of Caring.” Nurses are sitting with patients for three to five minutes to make a personal connection.
Karissa, a medical-surgical staff nurse, realized that death was imminent for one of her elderly patients. She connected with the patient’s wife and, when she learned that the wife had no mechanism to come visit, called and paid for an Uber to transport the wife. She then met the driver and helped get the elderly woman out of the car and up to be with her husband. The couple was able to spend the last moments of his life together.
Personal connections seem to come naturally to this outstanding clinician. Last week, she noted that one of her patients was very anxious about a scheduled procedure. Upon learning that the woman loved and collected lighthouses, Karissa crafted a handmade lighthouse out of surgical supplies. Hoping to alleviate the patient’s fears, she placed the lighthouse on top of a note with words of encouragement.
Karissa’s moments of caring are shining examples to all BMC nurses that reaching out and connecting with patients is truly the greatest reward of being a nurse.—Nominated by Christine Klucznik
Beaumont Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Center
Barbara Shmidt, Beaumont Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Center
Barbara is the kind of nurse we all hope to have beside us at the end of our lives. She lovingly cared for my father-in-law Nick as if he were her own family. Nick lived independently for most of his 96 years. When he entered Beaumont, Barbara assured us that he would be treated with dignity and respect. He came to love every day there. After a year of the most wonderful care, Nick’s life came to an end. Barbara stayed with him and supported our family, reaching out to make sure that we were able to grieve the loss of this beloved man.—Nominated by Joanne Rosato
Berkshire Medical Center
Nancy Hopper, Berkshire Medical Center
My mom has worked as a nurse in Pittsfield, Mass., for more than 35 years, as well as being an elementary school nurse at Craneville School in Dalton, Mass. She shows compassion to every patient she has, whether they’re 5 or 95. In fact, her passion for the sickest patients was one of many reasons that I decided to become a nurse myself. I remember visiting her at work every Sunday and saying, “I want to visit the broken people,” meaning the rehab patients. I am honored to work alongside her now at the same hospital that I used to visit on Sundays. Without Nancy’s dedication to nursing and her compassion for her patients, I wouldn’t be who I am today: a nurse, just like her.—Nominated by Kate Hopper
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Melissa Ball, Transplant Institute, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Melissa is a liver transplant coordinator helping patients navigate their way through medications, tests, and appointments with members of the transplant team and specialists in other disciplines.
I had a liver transplant recently. Melissa’s care commenced about a year prior to that, and she still follows me today. She stood by me during the waiting and the recovery period, which was a physically and emotionally difficult time. The transplant team and Melissa worked tirelessly to keep me alive while waiting for a liver. She took time to visit me in the hospital.
Melissa coordinated my medical care, keeping up with changes and helping set up and juggle various appointments with team doctors and other specialists. She informed me of medicine changes and the necessity of checking into the hospital.
The mediation administration is a balancing act on a tightrope. It takes a lot of expertise to get things right. Melissa meticulously interacts with the doctors and the transplant team to ensure that this complicated process is working correctly. This can involve lengthy hours, and Melissa has called in the evening many times.
Melissa has been caring and kind, even when she has had to relay bad news. Information has been delivered in a straightforward manner, but with a touch of empathy in her voice. Without her expertise and caring, it would have been almost impossible to survive this experience. I am eternally grateful for her continuing help.—Nominated by Mary Collins
Kiana Barrett, Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital–Needham
Kiana has been a nurse at the BID Needham hospital for seven years. In the past year she has become a strong leader on the unit. She advocates for her patients, whether that means providing comfort to families or care to her patients, and she works well with the team of doctors and nurses to provide a great experience. Her patients love that she approaches her work with a smile, and that makes them smile as well. When you have a nurse who keeps her cool in challenging situations in the intensive care unit, you tend to have a great patient care experience.
Kiana has been developing her skills and her ability to work as a team member in the ICU, teaching new staff and student nurses her knowledge. She attends any educational opportunities that arise and is putting together opportunities for her peers to learn new processes in the ICU. Whenever a new challenge arises, Kiana is the first to take control and raise the patient’s care level a notch. She wants to care for the most challenging patients on the unit, but she provides the same thorough care to all patients she meets. Her ability to shine comes through in how she treats every patient, not just one, with dignity and respect and a smile on her face. Some patients come back to visit her after they are discharged.—Nominated by Christine McKee
Kiana Barrett, Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital–Needham
Nurses are special and should be recognized for the way they interact with patients and for their overall care. Kiana is exceptional. She took care of my dad extremely well, checking on him frequently and making him smile every time she entered the room. She introduced herself as soon as I came in and told me how he was doing and who he would be seeing that day. She explained to him what tests she was doing, and why, as well as what medications the doctor had ordered. She is so caring and thorough; she made my dad feel comfortable when he needed to use the bathroom—we couldn’t have done it better ourselves. When a loved one is not feeling well and you are nervous about what to expect, but you have an amazing nurse, nothing is hard anymore. Kiana is that amazing nurse.—Nominated by Mirna Roumali
Amy Baut, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Amy, who works in the post-anesthesia care unit on the West Campus, is the kind of nurse that I always dreamed of being like. She has really touched my heart in the several years that I’ve been a patient at Beth Israel. I was devastated when I received particularly bad news after a surgery. Amy took me on as her only patient and did one-to-one care with me. There wasn’t a whole lot she could do to fix me medically, but what she could do, she did well. Amy used old-fashioned nursing techniques on me. When I was distraught, she rubbed lotion on my feet and listened to me cry. She tried to make me laugh, which I greatly appreciated. I’ll never forget that day because I was so grateful for the love, compassion, and outstanding skill she used to take care of my emotional needs as well as my physical ones. In a day and age when technology has advanced so far, it is sometimes crippling for nurses to be unable to offer a cure. What Amy offered was love, support, encouragement, and humor. Instead of leaving me by myself, which she could have done because I was medically stable, she saw my emotional needs and didn’t leave my side. I will always be grateful for her kindness and care. Beth Israel is lucky to have her represent them so well, and her patients are even more lucky.—Nominated by Jennifer Champy
Ashley Bilbo, Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital–Plymouth
Ashley’s clinical abilities, such as administering medications and injections, are outstanding. When I asked her an odd question, she went to the Internet and found the answer, and she responded promptly to any requests for assistance. Not only is Ashley supremely confident; what really sets her apart is her consistent support for her fellow nurses. The team clicks when Ashley is on duty, and the atmosphere in 2 East brightens perceptibly.—Nominated by Brenda Boleyn
Barbara Buckley, Intensive Care Unit, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
My sister Barbara has worked as a nurse in the ICU for more than 40 years. When our mother recently received a grim diagnosis, my sister stayed with her 24 hours a day, until her death 11 days later. She hovered over Mom to make her as comfortable as possible, showing us how clinicians must make decisions based on the expertise that only they have—always smiling, talking, and even singing to her, when I knew that she was crying on the inside. She delivered all of the advice, comfort, and direction that my family needed. I might be biased because she’s my sister, but Barbara exemplifies what a nurse should be.—Nominated by Christine Buckley
Susy Carnevale, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Susy has been a nurse since 1991. She started at BIDMC in 1992 on a 40-bed, multi-trauma, surgical telemetry unit, and I have worked with her since 2011. She worked three other jobs back then, but despite juggling her roles and caring for her husband and three kids, she consistently brought energy, joy, and professionalism to work. Even now, more than 25 years later, she still brings that same enthusiasm with her every day.
You can see that she loves her work. She takes care of her patients the same way she would care for her family, supporting them through some of the most overwhelming experiences of their lives.
Susy recently cared for a 27-year-old patient with cirrhosis who was bleeding and eventually needed a liver transplant. He was recently married, and it was stressful for the new couple. Susy supported both of them not only clinically, but also emotionally, through his stay in the medical intensive care unit. The whole family expressed how much they loved having Susy as their nurse.
I remember a legally blind patient with short-term memory deficit who was challenging to care for. The patient expressed concerns about having a male nurse when she was assigned to me. Susy took over my assignment without hesitation. When the patient yelled, Susy would immediately be at her bedside with a smile, calming her and reassuring her that she would be well cared-for.—Nominated by Delwin Villarante
Sarah Cordell, Division of Neurosurgery, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
I have worked with Sarah in the neurosurgery department for over three years and watched her help our patients through every step of their care, pre- and post-operatively, with strong clinical skills, compassion, and overall consideration. She can utilize interdisciplinary approaches to patient care and often collaborates with neuro-oncology, infectious diseases, cardiology, and plastic surgery in regard to our patients’ pre-op clearance and post-op for their incision sites. I have seen her spend hours on the phone with insurance companies, helping a patient with their Medicaid plan, in order to receive care with the best surgeon possible. Every day, she makes time to coordinate with pharmacies and insurance companies for prior authorizations, and finds affordable solutions based on the patient’s needs. I have also seen Sarah go out of her way to make patients comfortable. For example, one of our complex patients underwent multiple surgeries and was in the hospital for months, so Sarah took the time to go see this patient on the inpatient floor. The patient trusted her to remove her sutures, and through all of it Sarah made sure that she was comfortable and had all the necessary information about her care. Sara demonstrates every day, in and out of the clinic setting, what it is to be a nurse. Patients can see that she is confident in her skills, and they trust that she is providing them with the best care possible. Sarah is the perfect example of excellent bedside manner, intelligence within her field, and the drive to give patients the care they deserve.—Nominated by Rebecca Tshonas
Ann Marie Darcy, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Ann Marie is a Beth Israel nurse through and through. She started as a staff nurse in 2002. In 2008 she became a unit-based educator, a role that she excelled in for eight years. In 2016 she was chosen to open a new medical floor on the east campus. She assumed the role of clinical nurse specialist for inpatient medicine three after graduating with her master of science in nursing and completing her clinical nurse specialist certification.
Balancing the needs of patients, nurses, units, and the medical center in the role of nurse specialist is truly demanding. Ann Marie juggles her local and central responsibilities with grace and poise. Locally, she’s an invaluable resource on the east campus medicine units, providing expert consultation and real-time education and mentoring for the nursing staff. Within the greater medical center, Ann Marie is a highly respected nurse leader and a role model and mentor to many of her colleagues. She is dedicated to fostering patient- and family-centered care, and to leveraging the strengths of all members of the health care team, including patients and their loved ones, to help improve patient experience and outcomes. Ann Marie has integrated this into her own practice, and models this practice to our nursing staff.—Nominated by Laura Cataldo
Maija Galvin, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Despite being a nurse myself, being a patient on labor and delivery was terrifying. I had fears and worries as an OB nurse because “ignorance is bliss.” I had the honor of having Maija as my labor and delivery nurse for the birth of my son last July. Her compassion, sense of humor, and knowledge calmed all of my fears within seconds of meeting her. I have videos and pictures of the day, and I can honestly say that having Maija by my side was one of the most meaningful aspects of a memorable day. She is a friend and a colleague, but seeing her in a professional role blew me away. Her clinical skills are sound, her emotional intelligence and the way she carries herself in the nursing role are remarkable. I am so thankful that she was there to experience such a joyous moment with my family, and I want to salute her for being such a wonderful part of such a special day.—Nominated by Kate Armano
Jean Garner, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Jean is the nurse navigator for the tracheobronchomalacia (TBM) program at Beth Israel, a godsend for BIDMC, and my go-to person for everything. Having a chronic and debilitating disease is very difficult. Having Jean on your side makes it easier. She knows how to lend emotional support and how to get things done. I often call her just to talk and get advice, and she always takes the time for me. She makes all of us who suffer with TBM feel more confident. I will be forever grateful for her being there for me, for both her skill and her compassion. I feel like I am talking to a friend when I talk to her.—Nominated by Jennifer Champy
Sarah Haigh, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
My son was born very early and spent three months under the care of Sarah. Every day, I knew that he was getting the best care possible. She took time out of her busy shifts to sit and hold him, talk to him, and make sure that he had whatever he needed. She was my son’s top advocate when we were unable to be there. She took the time to sit with us and make sure that we fully understood everything that was going on at a vulnerable time in our lives. This very tough time would have been much worse if not for Sarah’s love, caring, and compassion.—Nominated by Meagan MacDonald
Katie Hathaway, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Katie goes out of her way to help her coworkers and make sure that all patients, regardless of her assignment, are comfortable and cared-for. I can’t cite a specific interaction because she does this every shift she works. She always has a smile and brings a warm light to her unit.—Nominated by Allison Comolett
Hematology/Oncology Nurses, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
As both an inpatient and outpatient in hematology/oncology for extended periods since May 2017, I have been cared-for by dozens of remarkable individuals. I cannot single out one nurse from all of those who have overseen my care, but my wife and I could not pass up this opportunity to express our gratitude to these exceptional caregivers.
Compassion: Warm blankets, extra pillows, dressings that are gentle on the skin, a cot for my wife during her stays with me, and the question, “Is there anything else that I can get for you?” before leaving to check on other patients who are receiving the same unmatched attention.
Strong Clinical Skills: A nurse on 11 Reisman calmly explaining that rigors can be scary but will subside soon, as she adeptly changes bedding and gowns and delivers necessary medication.
Excellent Communication: Follow-up emails and phone calls to confirm appointments or answer questions. A nurse concerned about my temperature quietly insisting that my doctor stop by to check on me.
Patient Advocacy: Nurses in the emergency room who teamed up to make sure I had a hospital bed instead of a gurney as they knew that I was being admitted for the umpteenth time.
I am experiencing something I never dreamed of or knew anything about. Without these people in my life, I would be adrift without a rudder. When my wife or I ask, “Is it a prerequisite to be kind to work at BIDMC?” nurses always answer, “No, it’s the culture here.” Right. A culture of love.—Nominated by Charles Jones
Emma Killion, Neonatal Intensive Care, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
We first met Emma when my son was born prematurely at 27 weeks. As first-time parents, we had no idea what was planned for us. Emma was assigned as my son Ilan’s primary nurse. Coincidentally, Ilan was also her first premie as a prime. On the hardest day of our life, with nobody to trust, we immediately bonded with Emma, who definitely felt a sense of responsibility.
The next 95 days were as tough as any parent can imagine. We had no clue how it would feel to leave our baby in the hands of a stranger, or how it would feel to see someone else taking care of our baby. Emma was with us every step of the way, making us comfortable that Ilan was loved and well cared-for. We are thankful that Emma was that stranger. We are thankful for the bond we made, the love she gave, and the cries she had over our baby. Emma is part of the reason we survived the experience.—Nominated by Nippur Aggarwal
Jessica Lyons (nee D’Antuono), Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
How many times, through all of it, did one of us say, “Thank God for Jessica”?
Last summer, my wife Elizabeth had an emergency surgery and went into Beth Israel’s Surgical Surgical Intensive Care Unit. For 11 days she endured a raging infection and gradually failing organs. Then she was unable to endure the assault any longer, and she passed away. Working in that ICU, Jessica must be exposed to every variant of serious illness and post-surgical emergency, and I’m sure that she’s seen her share of anxious and sometimes heartbroken families. But somehow she managed to find reserves of compassion and patience (and time! How did she find all that time?) that made an impossibly difficult situation a bit more bearable for me and my family, a bit more understandable. When Jessica entered the room, Elizabeth was in the best of hands. Every detail was attended to, every IV line was scrutinized, every monitor and instrument was double-checked. But most importantly, my unconscious wife was treated with caring respect: lotions for her dry hands, swabs for her mouth, gentle repositionings. And in the midst of all the challenges she faced in caring for Elizabeth, Jessica always found time to explain, to interpret, the evolving medical situation. She was thoughtful and honest. We relied on her; we were in the best of hands, too.
Elizabeth was a nurse, and she took the greatest pride in her profession. I took some solace in knowing how proud she would have been of the nursing care that she received, and that my daughters and I received, in the last days of her life.—Nominated by Glenn Stark
Shane McCarthy, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Although it is hard to single out one of the many outstanding nurses who cared for my wife Caroline during her 27 days at Beth Israel after suffering two cardiac arrests, I am nominating Shane, the nurse who managed her care in the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. (and always stayed up to an hour later) throughout her first five full days, while she was in critical condition. His stint began after she arrived from the operating room, where she had been placed on the “ecmo” heart-lung bypass machine to allow her heart and lungs to recover from the trauma of the massive clot that had twice stopped her heart for 10 minutes the day before. Professionally skilled, calm, and commanding, he worked from dawn to dusk day after day keeping the 11 IVs feeding her in proper working order, carefully hooking up more than 20 units of blood while he was on duty, and attending to the open wound in her groin where the vast tubes of the ecmo machine were attached, all while maneuvering around anxious family members hovering by Caroline’s side. Courteous yet firm, he kindly told us when we had to step out so he could work without interruption, his confident bearing always assuring us that she was in good hands. After she survived the 48-hour ordeal on the machine and her outlook appeared more hopeful, he remained just as vigilant, eventually making sure that she was transferred safely to the cardiac ICU at the end of her five days under his care. We are forever indebted to him.—Nominated by David Cornish
Gretchen McGrath, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
My wife Gretchen is an oncology nurse on 11 Reisman on BIDH’s Boston campus. When she goes to work, she deals with what we all fear most: an undignified, helpless, and out-of-control end to life. A disease that we are still attempting to learn so much about, and that takes so much from us. Constant stories of families riddled with indecision and hopelessness because of an unfair opponent that tries to destroy who we are. Yet there are these angels with the compassion and empathy to help guide their patients and families through insurmountable odds—all (in my wife’s case) while raising four children under six years old, and trying to keep the images from work, at work, and imagining her own family dealing with the same hardships that those families must face. Gretchen shares her experiences with me on a limited basis to protect me from what she has seen, and only to the extent that I do the same as a law enforcement officer, sharing that familiarity of the human experience. She deals with the most insurmountable odds while staying positive and trying not to let it affect her family. I see the toll that her job takes, and the added concerns of being both a mother and an oncology nurse.—Nominated by John McGrath
Monique Nestor, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Monique has developed a loyal following of patients in the long time that she’s been an Advanced Heart Failure nurse practitioner here. I’m sure many of them would tell you that Monique has kept them alive. Our patients commonly need to check in by phone once, twice, or three times per week, and she is always kind, patient, and compassionate with each of them. I am in awe of her knowledge, skills, and ability to treat every patient with a complex array of medical problems.
Along with patient care, Monique is also our lead nurse practitioner. With this comes a lot of administrative duties, as well as training new nurses. Monique teaches in a way that is thoughtful, easy to comprehend, and brings the best clinical care to every patient.
I hope to never need the Advanced Heart Failure department. But if I do, I hope Monique is there to help take care of me.—Nominated by Monica Gillis
Oncology Nurses, Reisman 11, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
At a time when people are vulnerable, scared, and facing the worst circumstances of their lives, the nursing staff on the inpatient oncology unit of 11 Reisman demonstrates compassion, empathy, and diligence in their jobs on a daily basis. While considering the overall quality of life of patients and caregivers, family and friends, these dedicated nurses confront death and the gamut of emotions on every shift. They should all be applauded for their courage, stamina, and hearts of gold, and for the excellent care they provide for patients.—Nominated by Brian Simons
Meredith Perry, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Meredith has the most infectious laugh and oozes compassion. She truly cares about her work in the operating room and has taken care of me several times. When I had a very extensive surgery this past year, Meredith rearranged her schedule so that she could be in on the surgery. Knowing that she was there, praying for me and watching over me when I was going to be in surgery all day, meant so much to me. She checked in with me often in the intensive care unit and throughout my stay. She extended so much kindness and compassion, and such amazing skill, that she is one of the reasons I felt safe at BIDMC. I knew that she would protect me and watch out for my needs, and I will be forever greater for her care.—Nominated by Jennifer Champy
Nadine Ramirez, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Nadine goes out of her way to support patients with positive energy in their most vulnerable moments. She works hard to let patients and families understand what is happening in plain English and is their constant advocate. Besides being an excellent nurse, she fosters a sense of community on her floor by supporting newly graduated nurses as they learn the art of caring.
Nadine always comes to work with a generous spirit. I recently had a patient who was very anxious and scared to be in the hospital again. Nadine spent countless hours with her, holding her hand and listening to her concerns. She was the first to notice when the patient’s clinical status changed and alerted the doctor team right away, likely saving that woman’s life. There are not enough accolades for a selfless nurse like Nadine.—Nominated by Kirsten Courtade
Nadine Ramirez, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Her care exemplifies the art and science of nursing, and the advocacy that makes BIDMC nursing shine. Whatever the demeanor of her patient load, Nadine makes them forget why they entered the hospital in the first place. She is there to care for them with compassion, dignity, and respect. She has a way with her patients and is the best example of nursing as an art.—Nominated by Lindsay Duphiney
Natalie Reilly, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Natalie’s clinical acuity, balanced with her compassion, gave us the peace of mind to go home and sleep at night when our daughter spent six weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit. Natalie made us feel as if Amelia was her only patient; Natalie taught us how to care for her and answered every question and concern we could think up. She stayed late or came in early more than once to teach us and settle our unease. When we faced a team of specialists, Natalie was a sounding board, an empathetic parent, a confidante, and, most importantly, a patient advocate. “Thank you” does not seem appropriate, but it is a start.—Nominated by Sarah Briggs
12 Reisman Nurses, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Every nurse on 12 Reisman is a kind, smart, caring, genuine, fun, and special human being. As their nursing director, I observe the amazing care that they deliver every day and receive many beautiful comments from patients and their families. They tell me about the true professionalism, incredible skill, warmth, empathy, encouragement, and laughter that the nurses provided during their hospitalizations. They will always remember that the care they got from 12 Reisman nurses got them through their stay. The 12 Reisman nurses also take care of each other like family—they stay late to help out a colleague, take time to listen and support one another through difficult times, and celebrate each other’s personal and professional milestones and accomplishments. They are happy, and do everything they can to make the day better for their patients, families, and colleagues.—Nominated by Gina Murphy
Louise Riemer, Transplant Institute, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
I have had the honor of working with Louise as supervisor for over seven years. There is not a harder-working or kinder nurse. She works endless hours with her dialysis access patients, helping many of them bridge to kidney transplantation. She also provides support to patient families, which is a must in complete care.
She mentors and guides nurses in multiple roles, including liver, pancreas, and kidney transplantation; hepatobiliary surgery; and dialysis access. Her clinical competency and ability to juggle so many roles are outstanding.
Her patients adore her, and so do her staff; both patients and staff trust her completely. With Louise on your team, you truly get the best nursing care possible.—Nominated by Tracy Brann
Louise Riemer, Transplant Institute, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
One day I noticed that a post-transplant care patient’s access was enlarged, and he was having pain and numbness of the hand. It was one of those days when there are many patients and everybody’s very busy. I spotted Louise reviewing another patient’s tests. I knew she was busy, and she had to deal with a couple of demanding surgeons asking her to see other patients. I asked her to take a moment to see my patient, although I had not scheduled an appointment with her. She smiled and said, “This is why I am here. I will see him right away.” She not only saw the patient, but organized a fistulogram and a visit with the surgeon, and made sure that this patient was well taken care of.
Whenever I am worried or tired and she smiles at me in the clinic, I know she understands how hard it is to do this job, and I immediately feel better: “You are a great doctor.” I wish we had 10 Louises.—Nominated by Francesca Cardarelli
Louise Riemer, Transplant Institute, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
An outstanding clinical nurse and leader, Louise is the nurse manager of the Transplant Institute as well as the dialysis access nurse coordinator. She demonstrates compassion, clinical competency, and professionalism in everything she does. She is the biggest advocate for all of her patients, and it’s no wonder they think the world of her. Her patients are people who need to start dialysis, or have already started dialysis due to kidney failure. This can be very scary for many of them. Louise can provide comfort, expertise, and compassion to help guide patients through the complexity of getting dialysis access. She is also an incredible nurse manager for all of her staff. She makes it a joy to come to work and truly listens to her staff and makes their voices heard. Louise is an absolute pleasure to work with, and a nurse who delivers superior care and comfort.—Nominated by Jamie Davis
Louise Riemer, Transplant Institute, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Louise is an incredible nurse manager in our transplant department who is always calm, even in the most stressful situations. She hears both sides before passing judgment and values the team. She advocates for her patients and her staff in the most difficult times.
In my previous experience at an outside facility, I had great communication with Louise when we needed to collaborate on patient care. She is one of the reasons I wanted to be in the transplant department at BIDMC.—Nominated by Sherry Griffin
Louise Riemer, Transplant Institute, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
I first heard of Louise three years ago while working as a peritoneal dialysis nurse. A nephrologist referred to her as “top notch” while patients called her “one of the best nurses” they ever met. I wondered, who is this Louise everybody idolizes? I had to meet her.
Louise is the access coordinator and nurse manager at BIDMC Transplant Institute, and she was the facility administrator at the dialysis unit long before I worked there. We had many patients in common. She welcomed me to the Boston area and offered any assistance she could provide to take the best care possible of our patients. I got a sense of how dedicated she was to this challenging population with chronic kidney disease.
One of my patient’s peritoneal dialysis catheter was not working, so I referred him to the surgeon. He went to see the surgeon and Louise, and had an appointment with me afterward. He was late, not answering his phone, and his wife didn’t know where he was, so I called Louise to ask about him. He had seen them, and then left to see me. Louise called all over Boston looking for him. She finally found him in the emergency room at Beth Israel. She went to check on him, and then called me and his wife to update us on his status.
I thought it would be an honor to work for Louise, so I applied and was hired as a transplant coordinator. In all my 12 years of nursing, I have never had the pleasure of working for such a down-to-earth, compassionate, loving individual. She is great not only with patients, but also with the staff she works with.—Nominated by Rumalda Paniagua
Louise Riemer, Transplant Institute, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
I have worked with Louise for the past 25 years. The renal failure population that she works with can be especially challenging, as these patients have chronic illnesses and (often) limited resources. Louise’s passion that each patient should get the best care possible is infectious. She raises the awareness of patient dignity and rights for all around her. She has a profound and positive effect on the clinical team at the Transplant Institute where her dialysis access practice is based. She works collaboratively with providers at all levels, but providing high quality care to her patients is always the driving motivator behind her actions, choices, and communications.—Nominated by Martha Pavlakis
Louise Riemer, Transplant Institute, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Louise is our nurse manager and a nurse practitioner for end-stage renal patients who need dialysis. She is always compassionate about the nurses and staff she oversees. She respects issues and approaches them calmly and caringly. She sees the positive in every patient she cares for and is an advocate to refer them for kidney transplantation. She is well respected by all nurses, surgeons, transplant access doctor, and nephrologist. She listens to all sides of an issue with an open ear and gives very helpful insight, no matter what the conversation is about.—Nominated by Brenda Reed
Louise Riemer, Transplant Institute, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
As the nurse manager at the Transplant Institute, Louise has supported our team through many changes, all while managing her own patient load. I can’t specify one particular instance where she has advocated for a patient because this is what she does on a daily basis. She is constantly finding ways for our team to increase our education while fielding real issues among the staff. It’s no surprise that her patients love her. She makes them feel as if they are her only patient, just as I always feel as if I am her only staff member. Her thoroughness and communication skills are a huge asset.—Nominated by Erin Sexton
Ida Samuel, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Ida began her nursing career in India, where practice and expectation was very different. She became a RN and moved to America and BIDMC after the birth of her first child here. She had such a positive experience as a patient that she wanted to work for the place that had brought her so much joy. That was more than 10 years ago.
Because English is Ida’s second language, she struggles with the finer points of how to word things, but she is always on target and has a unique ability to connect with her patients. If she has a gut feeling about one, it will more than likely pan out to be true. She gives phenomenally outstanding patient care 100 percent of the time, always with a loving touch.
Ida recently cared for an elderly gentleman who had been chronically ill for many years, and who normally lived alone in a nursing home. She took special care of him, doing all the small things that we don’t even think about. She spoke directly to him, at his level, and engaged his attention. He followed her with his eyes—something he did with no one else. It was so touching, and so Ida.
Shortly after Ida’s mother died a few years ago, she and her husband moved themselves and their two young children back to India for the opportunity to live in the culture they are from and to explore their roots. It’s been a year since she made that decision. Ida continues to travel back to Boston every few months, working in the medical intensive care unit to support her family and preserve the house in Canton that her children consider home.—Nominated by Michelle Richards
Infusion Area Nurses, Cancer Center, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
When you find out you have cancer, your world stops. First there’s denial: “No problem, I’ve had the flu before, I’ll get through this.” Then confusion: “What do I do now? What does this mean?” Anger creeps in slowly afterward: “Why me? I’m young and have so much more to do with my life.” Worry: “What about my family, my job, the finances?” In my case, there was very little they could do except to try a clinical trial. I entered the study at BIDMC scared, confused, and very angry.
I met the folks on the seventh floor of the Infusion Center over two years ago. I wanted to dislike them very much. I expected a very clinical, antiseptic environment, and it was that. The nurses, however, were outstanding at their jobs: numerous vials of blood, shots, accessing my port, all done effortlessly and together as a team. If one was with another patient when my alarms went off, another appeared to shut it off. It was amazing. But it was more than that. We talked about life, expectations, kids, dogs, proms, family issues, and college applications—not just conversing to fill the time, but because we really care. I’ve called these folks on weekends when they’ve been on trips, I’ve called with little issues that mean nothing and bigger ones that were problems. They truly have become my hospital family.
I don’t think it’s fair to single out one nurse, and strangely enough, I think they would agree. So I salute Peggy, Sue, Tonya, Melissa, Steve, Juliette, Nelly, and Dr. Bullock. Now I have one more worry: what to do when my time here ends.—Nominated by Paul DiNunzio
Jenn Schiff, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Our son was born six weeks early and immediately rushed to the BI neonatal intensive care unit for trouble breathing, before I even got to hold him. Twenty-nine hours after giving birth I was finally stable enough to transfer under the same roof as my son. My husband wheeled me up to his room, where Jenn’s sweet smile greeted me. Seeing my son for the first time inside an incubator, breathing via ventilator, was emotionally overwhelming. I asked if I could touch him through the little hole; she replied “I bet he’d like it better if you held him!” In that terrified moment she made me feel comfortable and confident as she placed this tiny human in my arms. Our son spent 30 days in the NICU, and every time we left, Jenn would say “he’s in good hands.” She knew that she was holding a piece of my heart and cared for him as though he was her own. Jenn worked every shift to make sure our son was hitting his milestones to be able to go home. She spent hours working with him, learning his cues, teaching him how to eat from the bottle, then patiently teaching us. We would walk into his room and hear her talking to him. It takes a special human to work in the NICU. Some might say “it’s her job,” but how lucky we are that she found her true calling in life.—Nominated by Danielle Nicolo
Michele Strasnick, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
With her years of experience and clinical expertise, Michele is the go-to nurse for doctors, nurses, and patients alike. She challenges the standard with critical, creative thinking; when others are at an impasse, they often consult her for an innovative solution. She epitomizes compassionate care, and it is inspiring to watch her interact with her patients, all of whom adore her patience, knowledge, and sense of humor. She can bring a smile to anyone’s face in the toughest of times, and BIDMC is lucky to have her.—Nominated by Jessica Means
Tess Vreeland, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
My mother was diagnosed with leukemia and hospitalized for nearly four combined months until her recent death. It is difficult to identify one nurse among the extraordinary team on Feldberg 7 who cared for her with such consistent skill and kindness during her battle with cancer. But Tess left an indelible mark on my family.
In every action, small and large, Tess treated my mom with sensitivity, deep understanding, and incredible competence. She never let medical necessities get in the way of viewing us first and foremost as a mother and daughter. She made time to answer all of our questions, providing a reassuring smile when it was most needed.
Tess said a big part of her job was being a good listener and observer so she could advocate for her patients. The better she knew them, the better she could provide them care. While her work required her to be alert to medical changes, Tess did an amazing job of simply reading my mom as a unique person. She could quickly see what mom needed to feel safe and reassured, and how comforting it would be to have someone remember—and ask about—the details of her life outside of her illness.
Tess patiently answered anxious phone calls from me in the middle of the night. She held my hand and my gaze when I cried, time and time again.
Intuition, compassion, consummate nursing skill—these are the attributes that define Tess’s professional excellence. I will never forget her extraordinary gift of presence and care for my mom and my family.—Nominated by Sarah Poulter
Diane Wolf-Thomas, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
I was hospitalized for a week of harsh chemotherapy, followed by a stem cell transplant and two weeks of recovery. During that time, I met many wonderful nurses. My transplant required isolation in a germ-free environment. Diane gave me the finest care—explaining and carefully balancing my medicines, preparing me for side effects, and helping me manage those, too.
I really appreciated her humanity in helping me understand the process I was undergoing: the nausea, the hair loss, the strange taste of my food, and the many unusual physical sensations I experienced. There were a lot of long, lonely hours of repetitive processes like hooking up and unhooking IV lines, cleaning them, and then beginning the process all over. Through it all, Diane kept me from being lonely and helped me feel well cared-for.—Nominated by Kevin Cuddeback
Diane Wolff-Thomas, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
I have been in the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit for the past five weeks, and Diane has been my primary nurse through this difficult and stressful procedure. There could not have been a more compassionate, skilled nurse. She was with me all the way, supporting me through the pain and encouraging me when I felt as though I couldn’t go on. She is thoroughly skilled and calm, always anticipating my needs, and the source of steadiness and confidence that made me feel like I could actually do this. “One day at a time, Bob,” was her mantra. Once I felt better and on the road to recovery, she’d sit with me and tell me what to expect next and how to plan for it. She was exactly what I needed! She’s been doing this for many others in the BMT unit over the years, and will continue to do so. I’m happy to know that other transplant patients will have her caring and competent support.—Nominated by Bob Malsberger
Laura Zuccaro, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
As a long-time Beth Israel social worker, I wish to honor Laura’s exceptional care for a dear friend (“L”) on the Farr 10 transplant unit. L was a remarkably strong, hard-working 52-year-old husband and father before a rare condition left him dying. The ordeal worsened when his wife and younger children were denied visas to come to him from South America.
As L’s primary nurse on the transplant unit and long weeks in intensive care, Laura’s role was pivotal. L was traumatized and debilitated after months of torturous procedures and uncertainty about his survival. Laura recognized his need for hope and dignity, and responded with competence, attunement, and upbeat but reality-based optimism. They became close collaborators in service of his recovery. Laura took L’s concerns seriously and advocated for him with other providers. She celebrated victories large and small with him, bringing his favorite foods when he was finally allowed to eat again. She and her colleagues held special events like “Tropical Day,” dressing in hula skirts and performing songs for the patients. L was adorned with a Hawaiian shirt and appointed the event’s “judge,” charged with selecting one of the nurses for “best costume.” He awarded Laura, of course.
Tragically, we learned later last spring that the condition which had destroyed L’s organs was recurring. Laura joined us in our sadness while continuing to care for L with the utmost compassion, listening as he confided his fears. After his death, Laura and many of her colleagues attended the funeral and grieved with us. Her role with L was extraordinary and tremendously meaningful, and will never be forgotten.—Nominated by Nina Douglass
Sandra Brown, Beverly Hospital Oncology Department
Sandra Brown guided me through every step of obtaining the medication to help treat my metastatic prostate cancer at a reasonable cost and continued to monitor me when I had bad reactions to the drug. She then helped me to obtain a different drug—again at reasonable cost—which I am now taking without adverse side effects. She continues to monitor my health and is always available if I have any questions or need help.—Nominated by David Lustgarten
Jannell Foster and staff nurses, Beverly Hospital and Addison Gilbert Hospital
Nurse manager Jannell and her staff consistently exhibit exceptional skills and dedication to treating patients who struggle with a combination of medical problems and addiction.
When a patient is also struggling with a substance addiction, our colleagues in nursing are our best resource to make sure we’re treating the whole patient in light of their personal social history, which has an understated impact on the problems we’re treating. As hospitalists, we are trained in internal medicine; we’re accustomed to diagnosing and treating. Nurses, we believe, are the true healers.
We are honored to work with nurses with such great clinical skill, as well as compassion for fellow humans. Our nursing colleagues are on the front lines, caring for patients who are at great risk in particularly complicated circumstances. They remain level headed in difficult situations and advocate for their patients. They gain their patients’ trust and extend their perspectives to us—a vital component in treating the whole patient. On behalf of the hospitalists at Beverly and Addison Gilbert hospitals, we thank Jannell, her team, and all of our colleagues in nursing.—Nominated by Mredula Mannan, on behalf of Beverly and Addison Gilbert Hospitalist Physicians
Margaret Graves, Wound and Hyperbaric Medicine, Beverly Hospital
With great compassion, Margaret took care of one of our women with a history of breast cancer and non-healing wounds after radiation. Under her care, patients always regain their dignity.—Nominated by Cheleste Thorpr
Boston Children’s Hospital
Lindsay Archambault, Boston Children’s Hospital
I’ll never forget the day I met Lindsay. She entered my room with a royal queen’s wave and informed me that, since she has the wave down, she’s the queen…but I could be the princess. I thought this was hysterical, as my name means “queen.” Lindsay immediately understood how I felt sad and afraid due to my leukemia diagnosis. Lindsay picked up on this and shared her own health story, which included feelings that I was now experiencing.
Lindsay was often my night nurse and responded quickly in a caring manner to make me feel better both physically and emotionally. Lindsay used humor to form a special bond with me, even bringing in a tiara for me to wear before being discharged.—Nominated by Reina Mercado
Loretta Arsenault, Boston Children’s Hospital
Loretta is now the nurse manager for our surgical services after having been an exemplary team leader for our extremely busy orthopedic surgical service. She has the deep respect of doctors and nurses alike, not only for her clinical expertise, but for her unfailing advocacy for optimal patient care and the total wellness of her staff. She represents the best of what makes us proud to work at BCH.—Nominated by Michael Millis
Maria Benoit, Boston Children’s Hospital
Maria is basically what every doctor, nurse, nursing assistant, and admin would want in a nurse. She literally does all things. She is beyond helpful with everything we need. She will do all it takes to make sure a patient’s family is fully aware of the care their child is given and how to perform necessary duties at home. Maria is literally great. I am grateful to work with someone so smart and so funny, all at the same time.—Nominated by Bethsy Romelus
Kathleen Carr, Boston Children’s Hospital
Kathleen treats children who have malnutrition and feeding disorders. A parent’s inability to nourish a child who refuses to eat is extremely stressful for families to cope with. Kathleen approaches each child with compassion, professionalism, and competence to ensure that their needs are met, even if she can help out with an administrative task. Her colleagues deeply appreciate her collaborative care. She recently obtained her doctorate in nursing practice and studied how to improve and standardize teaching for patients who need to learn how to use a feeding tube. She is dedicated not only to improving care for each child she sees, but also for all children and families experiencing the challenges and stress of pediatric feeding disorders.—Nominated by Susanna Huh
Ryan Delpero, Boston Children’s Hospital
My son was in the intensive care unit for 14 days, seven of which he was on life support and a ventilator. Ryan was one of his first nurses. Ryan always showed a perfect mix of knowledge, compassion, and a demand for excellence. He was always willing to listen to our concerns and our thoughts as parents, and was there to educate us on the process so that we could be more comfortable with what was going on. Ryan was never afraid to challenge the status quo in many areas that led to my son’s success during this unbelievably emotional time. Ryan worked tirelessly with all members of the medical team to find the best solution for his patient. He always had the best interests of my son and all of his patients in mind, and was always advocating for them, but also always did what was necessary, even when my son was challenging. Ryan developed a relationship with my son and connected on his level, allowing him to trust Ryan and achieve results that were extremely challenging for a 6-year-old. Nurses like Ryan make BCH the best in its class.—Nominated by Joe Halpern
Larissa Demers, Boston Children’s Hospital
Larissa cared for our daughter, who was born at 25 weeks weighing just over one pound. The past year has been a whirlwind with some long, tiring, and scary days. Larissa was a bright spot on those days. We knew that we could breathe a bit easier whenever our daughter was in her care.
We saw Larissa advocate for her tiny patients every day. She took the parents’ feedback very seriously and knew when to press the doctors for particular tests or treatment.
Aside from being an excellent caregiver, Larissa was a great teacher. She showed us how to care for a tiny being with so many tubes and wires that it often felt like a sci-fi movie. Providing such cares as diaper changes, temperature checks, etc. during those early days gave us a sense of accomplishment when we otherwise felt helpless. She explained every procedure in terms we could understand and answered our questions patiently, even if we asked the same one 15 times a day. We received thorough reports no matter what time of day we called.
I appreciated how real Larissa was. Nothing was sugar-coated and she could explain procedures and risks in a real manner without scaring us. We felt educated, empowered, and never blindsided by complications that arose.
Nurses work long days in stressful environments. No matter how hectic her shift, Larissa always greeted us with a smile and made us feel at ease. Several times I watched her with babies that were crashing. In all the chaos, she was the calm that everyone turned to—parents, fellow nurses, and doctors alike.—Nominated by Caitlin DeFeo
Drue DeNeefe, Boston Children’s Hospital
I have lost track of how many weeks we spent in the hospital in the past year. Our suitcases never quite got unpacked. In the midst of exhaustion, the best thing was hearing Drue’s quiet voice as the nurses checked pumps and ID bands in the morning. Drue filled the room with kindness and authenticity that allowed us to drop all the walls that we were trying to hold up. We could laugh and have fun in our daughter’s rough moments. Drue never judged any of us. When we needed to walk out, she enabled us to do so by staying with our daughter. If she could, she would comfort us in the hallway. There was no reason to hide tears from Drue, who knew when I needed a hug or to walk a lap around the floor, or she would send me away to get something to eat. We had an unspoken understanding.
Our daughter has an array of medical problems, but as an adoptee she also has a lot of mental battles from her past to fight. Our daughter was not always the easiest patient, and I’m sure many nurses were thankful to be done with their shifts on some days. But our daughter could sense Drue’s compassion and was always disappointed when she woke up and saw another nurse in the room. Drue is by far her favorite.
When we have been exhausted, stressed, in tears, and wondering how much more we could take, Drue would show up and encourage us with her infectious smile.—Nominated by Kristine McMillan
Ashley Doherty, Boston Children’s Hospital
My son spent four months at BCH when he received his liver transplant in May 2017. When we returned in January to switch a medication, he and Ashley ran to each other in the hallway. Within four hours, Ashley noticed that something was wrong with him. He subsequently had her for every one of her shifts over the next month. She showed him how loved he was and she watched over him to make sure that he was well cared-for. She also helped push the doctors to notice his silent seizures. She is phenomenal, and he is in love with her.—Nominated by Jessie McLaughlin
Emily Gallagher, Boston Children’s Hospital
Emily has been one of the best nurses I ever had. She made me laugh when I didn’t want to, took me down to the cafeteria when I was sick of hospital food, and gave the best advice when my family was trying to figure out care for college. One of my favorite moments was during a weekend when the hospital was pretty quiet. My goal was to finish a puzzle before I was discharged. Every time she had a spare moment, Emily would come in and help me with it, talking and laughing. She made the admission less lonely and boring, which can sometimes be better than the medical side of things.—Nominated by Sara Berg
Stacey Gennis, Cardiac Intensive Care Unit, Boston Children’s Hospital
Stacey has been a devoted and experienced nurse in the cardiac ICU for 20 years. She is often asked to speak at the service of a passed child, which is emotionally hard for her. Her compassion is obvious in that she stays in touch with many parents, who appreciate that. She not only works at the hospital, she also takes care of her very sick father and her family, and goes to school at Bouvé [College of Health Sciences] at Northeastern University.—Nominated by Carolyn Lampos
Stacey Griffin, Boston Children’s Hospital
Stacey took care of our 3-year-old son when he was diagnosed with leukemia. Her sweet, gentle spirit calmed us all down at an extremely traumatic time. She was the light in the darkness that brought our family hope. We only learned much later that Stacey was going through her own trauma at the same time. You wouldn’t know it, though, as she still managed to spread joy to all who were lucky enough to worth with her on the sixth floor of BCH.—Nominated by Sarah Shrauger
Rhonda Gropman, Boston Children’s Hospital
Nurse Rhonda has brought her experience and medical knowledge to countless children in times of crisis, and also to her mother—from knee surgeries to broken bones to internal operations and allergies. Many parents have expressed gratitude for the kindness Rhonda has given their children. She’s also a veteran nurse who has volunteered her support to the Boston Marathon for many years.—Nominated by Ronald V. Nasson
Joyce Hennessy, Dermatology Program, Boston Children’s Hospital
Joyce is always there to help our dermatology department’s children feel better in any way possible. She is always here to cheer you up when you are feeling down, and to help our dermatology physicians and other nurses. I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have Joyce on our team. She is so fun to be around and I will never forget her as a nurse and as a friend.—Nominated by Bethsy Romelus
Karen Horn, Boston Children’s Hospital
When my grandson was born with complications, Karen explained everything, over and over, until we understood all about Benjamin’s heart problems and his four surgeries. She held him, tried to make him comfortable, and treated him like her own. She allowed my daughter to hold her baby, which wasn’t easy with all of the tubes and lines keeping him medicated and fed. Karen was never too tired to accommodate any of us. She laughed with us, comforted us, and cried with us.
Unfortunately, Benjamin didn’t make it home. He was just too sick, and Karen knew it. She helped my daughter make a very hard decision, and after seven long months Benjamin passed away. But, as Karen always told us, “He’ll always be with you wherever you go.” Karen and all of the other nurses in the intensive care unit who took care of our little angel showed up for his funeral, along with the cardiologist. What a team we had, and Karen was definitely the best ever.—Nominated by Ann Pimentel
Jennifer Klein, Boston Children’s Hospital
When my daughter was diagnosed at 34 weeks gestation with a rare congenital brain malformation, my husband and I knew that she would need very specialized care. We were lucky enough to be sent from Texas to BCH, where we met a team of people who care for Maya like she is their own. Jen has been a nurse on our team from Day One and we have trusted her since the beginning. Our daughter is six months old now, and although she has been hospitalized six times, we always feel comforted knowing that we have the best team to care for her, and Jen is a primary member of that team. She talks to us like we are part of the team making decisions for our daughter, and always advocates for us. Our daughter’s complex diagnosis involves multiple organs and thus requires the care of multiple disciplines. Jen helps facilitate conversations between those disciplines, and she never hesitates to communicate with us or our medical team in Texas. Jen is the kind of nurse everyone deserves to have on their team, and we feel lucky that she’s on ours.—Nominated by Erin Stephenson
Lisa Klosterboer, Cardiac Intensive Care Unit, Boston Children’s Hospital
Lisa demonstrated compassion, care, and good humor during a traumatic time, when our first baby was born with transposition of the great arteries and Lisa was assigned to his station in the cardiac ICU. We are forever grateful for Lisa’s care and expertise during this most difficult time in our lives.—Nominated by Kristin Morrissey
Justin Koss, Boston Children’s Hospital
I had the distinct pleasure of working with Justin numerous times. Nursing is an incredibly hard job. On top of that, pediatric nursing adds additional levels of complexity. For instance, our nurses often have a diverse patient assignment that includes newborn babies, teenagers, adults with pediatric-specific diseases, and medically complex children. Shifting the way they deliver care to different age brackets is challenging and requires creativity and patience. Our nurses are miraculous in the way they care for the children of our city, state, and greater New England. Justin, however, stands out among his colleagues. He is patient. He is thoughtful. He is intelligent. He is humorous. And he is adored by his patients and his co-workers. I have lost count of the number of times that patients have independently told me how wonderful their “Nurse Justin” is. One that stands out is a patient who was admitted for mental health reasons. Justin took the time to sit and listen, and this patient could not stop raving about how Justin’s compassion had changed his entire outlook on life. Whenever I see Justin’s name assigned to my patients, I am comforted because I know they are in exceptional hands. Justin deserves acknowledgement for the compassion and joy that he brings to his patients, the workplace, and the hospital.—Nominated by Daniel Atwood
Ashley McBride, Boston Children’s Hospital
Ashley was absolutely amazing from the moment she came over to my mother and I. She complimented me on both my hair and our shirts. She also told us about her experience with Boston Children’s and answered every question we had.—Nominated by Breanna LaHair
Julie McCarey, Boston Children’s Hospital
I got to know Julie well after I had intestinal surgery in May. As an 18-year-old in a pediatric hospital, I can say that Julie respected my age and made me feel like her only patient, even when she had her hands full. She quickly learned about my interest in medicine and patiently explained all aspects of my surgery, medications, and recovery in an interesting way. She encouraged me to go on walks around the floor, which progressed my recovery, and explained which medications were best for me to take, which ultimately got me out of the hospital a couple of days earlier than expected. Not only was Julie phenomenal at her job; she was great company to me. She was always willing to talk, whether discussing my upcoming graduation or showing me pictures of her dog. Thank you, Julie, for your outstanding care and making my recovery fast and successful.—Nominated by Caitlin Beranger
Stephanie Lee, Boston Children’s Hospital
Stephanie took great care of my son after his two open heart surgeries. My 5-month-old son loves her. I believe he feels the love that she has for all of her patients. This is not just a job for her.—Nominated by Kayla Robinson
Kelly McCloud, Boston Children’s Hospital
After my son’s liver transplant, Kelly took the time to make him feel comfortable and loved. When he couldn’t remember how to walk, she got him up and dancing. When he returned to the hospital with pneumonia some months later, she came in every Friday for a dance party, because it was the only way to get him out of bed. She also noticed that he was not breathing correctly and took extra precautions to make sure he was safe.—Nominated by Jessie Mclaughlin
Medical Intensive Care Unit Team, Boston Children’s Hospital
Our son Lucas spent eight months at BCH, most of it in the MICU on 11 South. We’re from Connecticut and were far from home, but the nurses and staff in the MICU soon became an extension of our family. Not only did they support Lucas medically, but they celebrated his many incredible milestones with us.
One particular memory stands out. Lucas needed to weigh 11 pounds in order to be discharged, and we were keeping careful track of how close he was getting. A group of nurses gathered in our room on Mother’s Day with fingers crossed that he would hit the target. Sure enough, he did, and cheers erupted.
It’s never easy to spend extended periods in a hospital, but if you do, it helps to have such loving, caring, and dedicated people by your side. We have to return to the hospital periodically for procedures, but it’s comforting to know that a team of dedicated professionals will welcome him and celebrate his progress as we do.—Nominated by Lorena DeCarlo
7 South Nurses, Boston Children’s Hospital
My 4-year-old son spent three weeks in the Medical Surgical ICU on 7 South before he was lucky enough to receive a liver transplant. I cannot say enough about how dedicated the nurses there are—particularly Tracy, Beth, and Alyssa. These three women were always thinking about getting Tommy out of the ICU, versus just getting through a shift. They made him walk around, sit in a chair, and clean up every day despite his protests and all the equipment he was hooked up to. As hard as it was, the most important message that I could communicate to my son was “the show must go on,” and the nurses were of the same mind. Their dedication and strategic approach to critical care is second to none, and made an incredibly stressful time much easier. —Nominated by Kate Cook
Carly Moran, Boston Children’s Hospital
Carly was one of my then-9-year-old son’s nurses when he underwent five intense rounds of chemo for lymphoma as an inpatient, with each round lasting a week. From the moment she came in, Carly was a steady presence with a million-dollar smile and encouragement. No matter what else was happening, Carly made my son feel like the most important patient (and I’m sure she makes each of her patients feel that way). Knowing that my son likes jokes, Carly would sneak in while he was sleeping—even when she wasn’t assigned to him—and leave a joke on a Post-it note where he was sure to see it. When he transitioned to school after missing the first six weeks of fourth grade, Carly asked to visit his classroom with the hospital’s education nurse and social worker to educate his classmates. Every patient should have a Nurse Carly!—Nominated by Lisa Grant
Carly Moran, Boston Children’s Hospital
My 10-year-old son lived at Children’s for nearly three months while he received chemo treatments for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma last July. It was a brutal regime that no child should ever have to go through. Carly was a ray of sunshine in his day. She was not only my son’s caregiver—she was his cheerleader, friend, and coach. She comforted him when he was sick, raised his spirits when he was down, pushed him when he was lazy, and celebrated with him when he enjoyed a victory. She gave everything she had to make him feel better, and then showed up the next day and did it again. She did that for all the children she took care of. She is part of a team that is the best in the world, and this city is lucky to have them.—Nominated by Stephen Tonkovich
Lisa Morrissey, Boston Children’s Hospital
Lisa is a nurse leader who runs the global health program and outreach to developing countries, and addresses nursing education, commitment to care, outreach, and support at an international level. She also rides the Pan-Mass Challenge bike ride every year to raise funds for families whose battles with cancer left them with astronomical financial needs.—Nominated by Mary Reed
Marissa Navarino, Boston Children’s Hospital
It was an extremely trying time for our family when my 4-year-old son was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia last year. When Marissa walked in she was so sweet, kind, and gentle that she put everyone at ease. Isaac quickly grew to love her, as have we all. She is so young, but has wisdom beyond her years and deep compassion for the suffering. Marissa listened to our worries and fears and answered our questions gently and honestly. After receiving treatment at the Jimmy Fund Clinic, we try to head up to the sixth floor of BCH every once in awhile to see and hug our favorite nurse and friend.—Nominated by Sarah Shrauger
Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Nurses, Boston Children’s Hospital
We were terrified when my daughter suffered oxygen deprivation at birth. She stayed for six days in the BCH NICU. The nurses were incredibly sensitive, kind, and highly competent during this most difficult time of my entire life. I will always be thankful that such a caring and trustworthy team ultimately saved my daughter’s life.—Nominated by Katherine Augusto
Nine South Nurses, Boston Children’s Hospital
My two children with chronic lung disease are in the hospital just about every month, and my wife and I are not able to visit too often. The staff has pretty much adopted them. I would not take them anywhere else. The team keeps us informed of their condition through emails and calls. They have birthday parties for them, and have thrown them other parties when the occasion calls for it. The care they receive is beyond imaginable.—Nominated by Neal Hassan
Christopher O’Raurke-Friel, Boston Children’s Hospital
When we met Chris he seemed a bit serious, but we changed our opinion as the days passed. He had a great spirit of service. When my son Javi left intensive care, Chris was his nurse on the sixth floor, and he took great care of him and spread tranquility and gave us confidence, even making jokes to my son. Even after Javi left that area, Chris visited him when he recovered from other surgeries, making my son very happy. Chris is really a great person.—Nominated by Rocio Alvarez
Sonia Dossantos, Boston Children’s Hospital
Words cannot express how much Sonia means to my family. She was the charge nurse at 8 South when my 6-year-old daughter could not stop crying about her impending pacemaker surgery. First she wouldn’t let go of our hands, and then she latched onto Sonia. Well, Sonia took it upon herself to walk into the operating room with her, gowned up, and sing lullabies until she fell asleep. I don’t know who else would do that for your child, but Sonia did, and I can never thank her enough.—Nominated by Lisa Vasconcelos
Pamela Schubert, Boston Children’s Hospital
Pam is our primary care center nurse manager. Our clinic cares for more than 15,000 inner city kids who are often in great need of not only care, but social support. Over the years, I have seen Pam’s compassion and empathy not only toward our patients, but to staff as well. She often jumps from meetings, where she is a passionate advocate for our patients and staff, to helping on the floor so that our nursing team is not overwhelmed. I’ve been lucky to work with Pam for the past four of my 15 years at BCH. She has been a mentor and a friend who guided me through difficult times when I could see nothing but darkness.—Nominated by Ana Jiminian
Rebecca Sherlock, Boston Children’s Hospital
Rebecca is the pediatric nurse practitioner at the Spina Bifida Center at BCH. My husband and I found out that our daughter had spina bifida two weeks before my due date. Rebecca has been there for us since the beginning. She helped my family and I get through the most difficult time in our life. She answered all of our questions and was always kind and caring. She has such compassion for the families, and she is so passionate at what she does, that you can tell she truly cares. She makes herself available and any time I reach out to her, she is there. We have now known Rebecca for five years and we are lucky to have such an amazing person involved in our daughter’s care. I don’t know what we would do without her.—Nominated by Jan Terlaje
Ten South Nurses, Boston Children’s Hospital
In the five years since my daughter’s liver transplant, she’s occasionally had to be hospitalized. The nurses on 10 South are the best. We make a habit of visiting from time to time just to say hello and let them know how she’s doing. They always remember her.—Nominated by Karen Racine
Jenna Watson, Boston Children’s Hospital
Nurse Jenna demonstrates compassion and clinical competency, and serves as an advocate for all of her patients. She has the utmost respect for her patients and does everything in her power to ensure that they have the most positive experience possible at BCH.—Nominated by Marissa Sullivan
Scotty Williams, Boston Children’s Hospital
Scotty was the first nurse we encountered at BCH, and that very first interaction was so positive that I believe she showed our son Zachary (and us) that he can trust nurses, even when they are doing painful, scary things to his body.
Our 6-year-old landed in the Emergency Department late on a Monday night. His pediatrician had called to tell us that some blood work was so abnormal that we needed to go the ED immediately. She had called ahead, and they were expecting us. Scotty was our nurse during that long and scary night. We had no idea yet that Zachary had leukemia, and we were nervous. Scotty put us at ease immediately when she blew into the room with a huge smile, wearing the craziest Halloween scrubs you have ever seen. Zachary liked her immediately—how could you not? Scotty exudes positivity and has a twinkle in her eye. I have never seen a nurse put an IV into a 6-year-old’s arm so fast, all while explaining what she was doing in words he could understand, and chatting away like it was no big deal. Any time Zachary needs an IV, he recalls Scotty and her “rockets.” We look for her every time we have to go to the ED, and you know what’s amazing? She remembers him, too.—Nominated by Joanna Nelson
Melissa Craig, Boston IVF
I thought this would be a quick process, but it took the entire year of 2017, and Melissa helped me through the entire process. She was supportive at all of my appointments and had answers to all my questions. In vitro fertilization is a hard road with many ups and downs. I couldn’t have asked for a more caring nurse. Thanks to Boston IVF and Melissa’s outstanding service, my little girl is due in September 2018!—Nominated by Christine Bishop
Melissa Craig, Boston IVF
Melissa was wonderful from the moment we began our journey at Boston IVF. After a failed attempt with only one viable embryo, we were forced to start the entire process over again. On what happened to be my 30th birthday, I was emotional and ready to start over right away when I received a phone call from one of the nurses saying that I’d need to wait another whole cycle. I was really upset and spoke with Melissa after that. She reassured me that she would speak to the doctor to see if we could adjust the plan. He agreed, and we were able to start our cycle right away and got pregnant in November. I am now almost 20 weeks pregnant with a baby girl thanks to Melissa and the doctor.—Nominated by Melissa Conroy
Melissa Craig, Boston IVF
I interacted with Melissa a few different times. She’s always very professional, patient, and informative.—Nominated by Tamika Grady
Catherine Lamb, Boston IVF
Going through the in vitro fertilization process can be frustrating, exciting, and excruciating—all the feelings of trying to have a baby using science. Because there are so many steps with blood work, monitoring, phone calls, status updates, medicines, and shots, I spoke to Catherine almost daily at times. She always had a calming voice, shared my frustrations, never got mad or irritated when I asked the same question a million times, and always got back to me with information I was waiting for. I felt like I was the only patient she was working with. She loves her job and the people she takes care of, and she (and my family) helps make the process manageable. There should be more nurses like Catherine who have compassion when you feel like you are the only person going through it. She’s smart, and she has dealt with others so she can share the experiences. She makes sure that the doctors know about any issues, problems, and even happy news. I’ve gone through this process a lot and have beautiful children now, but an advocate at the doctor’s office was a critical piece of my support system.—Nominated by Michelle Mackey
Gyulyara “Julia” Rzakhanov, Boston IVF
I was assigned Julia as my nurse when my husband and I made the difficult decision to pursue donor-egg in vitro fertilization after I was diagnosed with diminished ovarian reserve and previous treatments had failed. I was sad and scared as we faced a complicated and incredibly intimidating process. From our first communication, Julia patiently answered my questions, sometimes even calling late in the evening to make sure I had all the information I needed to follow my protocol. In a situation that felt very much out of my hands, I knew Julia was looking out for me to make sure we had the best possible chance of success, even though Boston IVF sees hundreds of patients a day. That feeling of being genuinely cared-for gave me the confidence to stay positive and reduced much of my anxiety. I felt that level of care in every email, visit, and phone call—especially the call that informed me that we were successful and I was pregnant. Our son is due late this summer and, when we share with him how our special family was made possible, we will certainly include Julia, whose exceptional care and warmth gave me the confidence to persevere.—Nominated by Laura Watson
Ilana Seariac, Boston IVF
I’ve been going to Boston IVF to achieve pregnancy via intrauterine insemination because I am in a same-sex marriage. I’ve had many good nurses; however, Ilana was the best. She was very thorough, kind, understanding, and knowledgeable. She was gentle from the moment that we went into the room, confirmed the sperm, and started the procedure. She explained what she was doing and how it would make me feel, made sure I was comfortable, then had me lay down even after the procedure was done—she was the first nurse to have me do that. Her confidence in her medical skills made me feel confident. She gave me great tips, and overall this experience was top-notch. I believe that the way she handled the procedure contributed greatly to this IUI’s positive result. I am endlessly thankful and hope that more patients come across nurses like Ilana. Her kindness, knowledge, personality, and confidence in her skills has made her the best of the best nurses.—Nominated by Lorena Lanoue-Carrizo
Brenna Walsh, Boston Children’s Hospital
Brenna took excellent care of our 6-year-old son Joseph while he recovered from open heart surgery. Her amazing skills and competence showed in the way she interacted with all of us. Her ability to push Joe to get up and walk around when he really didn’t want to was awesome. She built trust with him (and us) in no time at all. When a nurse can bring a sense of comfort to the bedside at such a difficult time, you know they have a gift.—Nominated by Mia Toro
Julie Briere, Newborn Intensive Care Unit, Boston Children’s Hospital
Less than 24 hours after my son was born, we were rushed to the BCH Newborn Intensive Care Unit for days of testing and unknowns. From the moment we met Julie, she showed endless compassion and support for our little guy, talking us through every test and procedure along the way to make sure that we understood everything. She always made us feel like we were her only priority, which is incredibly important to a parent. My husband and I were comforted as Julie’s dedication to our son made his first few days as calm as possible. Her support and positive words helped us get through an emotional time.
Being in the NICU was one of the scariest times of my life. I can’t thank Julie enough for her dedication to our little guy, and to the many other patients she cares for every day.—Nominated by Rosetta Mojahed-Dacey
Boston Medical Center
Suzanne Bolivar, Boston Medical Center
Suzanne works on a large, busy acute care unit specializing in geriatrics. She often acts as the charge nurse and advocates not only for the patients, but for the nurses as well. Within an hour of arriving, she has introduced herself to all 36 patients and ensured that they are safe and cared-for. She is a clinically expert nurse who takes the time to educate her patients and their families. Before discharging a patient, she makes sure they completely understand the discharge instructions, including new medications and future appointments. These patients trust her.
Sue is also a mentor for new nursing staff. She freely shares her expertise and encourages the new nurses to build a relationship with their patients. Suzanne has gained the trust of the patient through such relationships, and she strives to ensure that all nurses follow her lead.—Nominated by Ann Carey
Lisa Brennan, Boston Medical Center
Lisa consistently exhibits compassion, clinical competence, and trust in caring for her patients and their families. When it was clear that one patient was going to pass away, Lisa was there to help the newer nurse deliver care. She will hold a family member’s hand while helping them see that the end is coming, with all the compassion that one would hope for at the end of a life. She remembers the big things, like giving medication, as well as the little things, like making sure that family members have comfortable chairs, water to drink, and tissues for their tears. Even though it was not her patient, she jumped in to ensure that this person died with dignity, carefully hiding any blood and tubes so that the family could remember their loved one as he had lived.
Clinically excellent, she even helps doctors have the difficult conversations with families. Not only do patients and their family members adore her, but her peers often seek her guidance. She always finds time to help them despite her own busy assignments. We are so lucky to have Lisa as a nurse on Menino 6W.—Nominated by Ann Carey
Jacqueline Burgoyne, Boston Medical Center
Since joining our primary care team, Jacqueline has distinguished herself as an excellent care provider and a valuable team member. Before coming to BMC she provided care to vulnerable populations, such as women in correctional facilities. She brought this unique experience with her to the Women’s Health primary care group which, as a safety net hospital, cares for an underserved population. She is sensitive to the needs of her patients beyond just medical care and engages all team members to think of innovative ways to improve care delivery. This is evident in excellent written and verbal comments from her patients and everyone she works with. When she is not in the clinic, you can see her training for the next 10k or marathon—always inspiring us to achieve higher goals. She is a kind-hearted, overall good human being whom I have the pleasure to work with.—Nominated by Shwetha Sequeira
Katherine Christopher-Dwyer, Boston Medical Center
As a resource nurse, Katie responds as a team member to all medical emergencies: Code Blue, Surgical Airway, Medical Emergency, and Rapid Response. She became very concerned about our response to inpatients with evolving strokes, and wanted to do something about it. Supported by the nursing director of critical care, Katie collaborated with the neurology and neurosurgical services, emergency services, nursing, pharmacy, laboratory, and the Code Committee. Her initiative led to our Code Stroke emergency response, which is an interdisciplinary team response for patients with evolving strokes. We could not have done this without Katie’s persistence, passion, and perseverance. She is a passionate nurse whose focus on positive change for patients resulted in a system-wide emergency response.—Nominated by Janet Crimlisk
Carly Costa, Boston Medical Center
We need more nurses like Carly. When I was a patient, she made sure that I had everything I needed. When I wanted food or a drink, she was right there with pep in her step. She was always positive and took the time to talk to me when I was very sick and scared in the intensive care unit. She even washed my hair. Most importantly, she gave me the courage to go forward and have the difficult tests that I needed. I don’t think I could have made it through those first couple nights without Carly’s positivity and care.—Nominated by Crystal Javier
Joseph Danz, Boston Medical Center
A strong advocate for nursing, Joe has incredible clinical skills. He works in the medical surgical float pool and can be assigned to any of 12 units. One day when he was off duty, he came in to pick up a set of keys he’d left on a unit. As he got off the elevator in the lobby a man who “didn’t look right” approached him, wobbly and pale. When the man went down onto the floor Joe, who was wearing his construction clothes at the time, jumped into action and started CPR. He kept it up until the code team came. The next day, while working as a float nurse, he was assigned this man as his patient. It turned out that the man who’d had the near-fatal event was a physician at BMC. Joe shows us that nurses are never off duty…even when off duty in their own hospital! We are fortunate to have nurses like Joe.—Nominated by Janet Crimlisk
Danielle Cole, Boston Medical Center
Danielle exemplifies the spirit of nursing every time she walks in the door. Her smile is contagious, her positivity is refreshing, and her patients and colleagues can always rely on her. As a member of the integrative health council, she actively engages on and off the unit and works to improve the nurses’ resiliency. She can easily speak to the holistic needs of a nurse, and she motivates others to get involved. Her patients benefit as she brings holistic care to the bedside. Whether it is a simple thing like making sure that a patient gets the ice cream they looked forward to, or some of a patient’s more challenging social needs, they all can count on her to advocate for them and be on their side. It is a pleasure to work with her and I don’t know a single person who has not felt the same. In her off hours, you can find Danielle leading mission trips to Colombia or Peru, or mentoring youth.—Nominated by Jennifer Jarbeau
Jennifer Elloyan, Boston Medical Center
Jenn is the permanent charge nurse on Menino 7W. She defines what nursing is all about.
Jenn is compassionate. She not only provides compassionate care to her assigned patients, but extends herself to every patient on 7W every day, ensuring that each has their needs met and is safe and comfortable.
Jenn is hard-working. She balances her own patient assignment while helping her colleagues and being a resource when staff has questions or issues.
Jenn is a strong patient advocate. She ensures that each patient is receiving the optimal treatment plan, that the patients have the resources they need to discharge safely from BMC, and that they have the education they need for self-care after discharge.
Jenn is the type of nurse I hope I have, if I ever find myself needing care. She makes a difference in patients’ lives every day. Her passion for her career is evident in the care she provides to every patient she encounters, every day.—Nominated by Kate Baudin
Nancy Garner, Boston Medical Center
I have worked with Nancy for the past three years. She works primarily with breast and GYN malignancies and the patients absolutely love her. She is compassionate and reassuring when patients first start treatment and does lots of teaching. She injects humor into her care, which patients and their families very much appreciate, and makes a stressful and frightening situation a little less scary. With many patients, she becomes an extension of their families. She regularly advocates for patients and families to get all the help they need to ensure the best possible outcome. We are so lucky to work with her at BMC.—Nominated by Kathryn Quinn
Mary Goodwin, Boston Medical Center
Mary is a compassionate and dedicated public health nurse in Cohasset, where she is known for dedicated service not only to the elderly, but to the entire town. She runs multiple flu clinics every year with the help of volunteers. She is available Monday through Thursday to advise and serve residents of Cohasset beyond her job responsibilities. On Fridays, and on occasional nights as needed, she commutes to Boston to serve a diverse group of patients at the BMC Family Medicine clinic.
Mary is also my wife. Strangers and friends approach me everywhere I go in our small community to tell me how lucky I am and how wonderful she is.—Nominated by Ron Goodwin
Jennifer Green, Emergency Department, Boston Medical Center
After having had a migraine for seven days, I went to an urgent care center and another emergency department. When I decided to go to BMC Jennifer was my nurse. She placed me in a quieter part of the emergency department, turn off the lights for me, and made sure that I received proper treatment. She told me how the medications that she gave me would make me feel. She listened to my symptoms and related to my pain, and advocated for medication and intravenous fluids. Once I was over the acute headache, she made sure that I understood the post-care instructions and would follow up with a neurologist. She even made sure I had a ride home after some of the medications made me sleepy. She was able to provide individualized, clinically competent and compassionate care in a busy emergency room. She took the time to listen and advocate for me in my time of need, when others had dismissed my pain as a routine migraine. Healthcare needs more nurses like her.—Nominated by Eduarda Fonseca
Jen Larson, Boston Medical Center
As a unit coordinator in the emergency room, I am passionate about patients receiving the best quality of care from nurses and doctors, so I always have my eyes and ears open to everything around me. Jen’s empathy and kindness toward patients are unwavering. Our ER often has patients from indigent communities who have language barriers, are homeless, and are dealing with the demons of addiction. Jen listens to each patient with compassion and understanding. Her notes are clear, her clinical skills are sharp, she’s intelligent, and she’s amazing at getting patients to trust her. When they need services beyond the scope of our ER, Jen always advocates for the patient to get the help that they need. She is an inspiration to watch and a great role model for students or nurses in training. I myself have been inspired by her dedication, attention to detail, clinical competency, and astonishing bedside manner.
When I watch Jen with her patients, it is clear that they feel safe and appreciate her efforts. You can see that she genuinely cares for each and every one of them. Her positive attitude and work ethic are remarkable. I work with Jen often and I see that day in and day out, no matter what shift it is, she is there for her patients. When her coworkers need her, she is there for them without hesitation. Her compassion, kindness, and dedication to providing the best care possible are immeasurable. If I could nominate her for Nurse of the Year, I would.—Nominated by Patricia Cappello
Jeanne Martin, Boston Medical Center
Jeanne is one of the calmest, most reassuring presences in the medical intensive care unit. She can soothe the most agitated patient and approaches everyone with patience and compassion. After more than 40 years at BMC, she still has a deep love of nursing and every patient she comes in contact with.
One night, we had just removed the breathing tube from a patient who had taken a near-fatal overdose of his medication. He was a young man, very depressed and agitated. He refused to stay in his bed and was threatening to leave the unit in the middle of the night. In her nurturing way, Jeanne took his hand and treated him like a son, leading him back to his room, asking what he needed to be comfortable, and getting him medication, reminding him why he was there and that he really needed to stay. When he wouldn’t listen to anyone else, he listened to Jeanne. She has a way of quieting the roughest storms.—Nominated by Allison Kaelblein
Kathleen McCarthy, Boston Medical Center
I have had the pleasure of working with Kathy in the intensive care unit for the past 10 years. In that time I have seen her be the nurse we all aspire to be. She has probably forgotten more than I have ever known, or will ever know. Today I again witnessed Kathy walk a family through the most devastating thing any family can imagine. She worked diligently with doctors trying to save a young patient and, when all efforts had been exhausted, was at the bedside guiding and supporting this family through their worst nightmare. After she stood with them as a beacon of strength, she walked to the nurses’ station with tears and exhaustion written all over her face. I have joked since my first day in the ICU that if I don’t know how to handle something, I think, “What would Kathy do?”—Nominated by Ellen Whitman
Moakley Perioperative Nurses, Boston Medical Center
In late January, I had day surgery on my knee. From the very beginning until I left the hospital, everyone from the doctors to the valet staff treated me with exceptional care.
I especially want to thank the nurses, particularly Mary Mazur, Tan Hua, and Cheryl Gillis-Smith, who were on my care team. I had never realized how much they do from the beginning to the end of one’s visit. They made the patient experience pleasant and kept me in good spirits. Their ability to relate and keep minds at ease was amazing.
While I was recovering, I also realized how difficult a nurse’s job is. They are the front line of the hospital. Not every patient is a saint, and your team always has to deal with multiple patient personalities. I watched the nurses deal with one challenging situation where another patient was having a difficult time. They kept their composure and worked as a team to keep the situation controlled and safe for everyone in the post-op area. I realized how diverse the patients can be, and how difficult it must be for nurses to deal with situations like this day in and day out. I applaud all the nurses who were working in the recovery area that day, and appreciate all the hard work they do every day.—Nominated by Harry Tweed III
Ellen Munger, Boston Medical Center
Ellen is an oncology nurse who cares for cancer patients at work and at home. Ellen is the True North of compassion. When her friend was recently diagnosed with cancer, Ellen coordinated communication to the friend group and organized a caring bridge effort to assure that meals were planned and transportation for doctor visits was provided. Ellen stood strong for her friends while sharing their fears. She is a comfort in the gentle tone of her voice, the healing nature of her therapeutic touch, and the restorative power of Reiki therapy that she delivers to all who ask…and some who never need to ask.—Nominated by Carol McCarthy
Casey Nimmo, Boston Medical Center
If I or a family member ever needed care at BMC, I would want Casey as a nurse.
She comes to work wanting to help people in need. She’s always cheerful, smiling, and pleasant with patients, and has outstanding bedside manner. She’s respectful with physicians, even when questioning a treatment plan—she wants to know the rationale behind it. She’s engaged with improving the health of our patients and has brought numerous ideas forward.
One such idea was to improve the care of patients with altered mental status. She led several nurses through the research on best practices for this special patient group and completed an activity drive that includes options for these patients while in our care. I’ve always enjoyed working with her.—Nominated by Chris Manasseh, M.D.
Addiction Treatment Nurse Care Managers
Boston Medical Center
In the midst of the current addiction epidemic, it is important to celebrate individuals making a difference—specifically, those who demonstrate the profound impact of quality, compassionate, and non-judgmental care for people with addiction.
More than 90 patients nominated these nurse managers in the Office Based Addiction Treatment (OBAT) program: Karen Hannon, Isela Wellington, Sarah McKeon, John Mannion, Victoria Adeleye, Liz Tadie, Melanie Chambers, Shauntelle Malcolm, Michelle Lima, Jessica Kehoe, Susan Dickerman, Antoneta Zyba, and Rebecca Brigham.
Following are excerpts from those nomination letters:
- “All the nurses collectively and individually have their own special qualities. They are smart, educated, competent, compassionate, and all around great—they see me.”
- “Ten years coming to OBAT. [Team is] always professional, courteous, and pleasant. Happy to be here with people who are familiar with not only addiction, but people.”
- “They care about us as humans, not just as patients.”
- “If it wasn’t for the [OBAT Program], I probably wouldn’t be alive.”
- “They work so well together…No matter what I’m going through, they always take time to listen and assist any way they can.”
- “They are some of the friendliest, caring, genuine nurses I have ever dealt with.”
- “The nurses here at OBAT understand that things happen. Life happens. They’re not condescending nor do they think they are above the people they serve. I drive an hour and a half out of my way to [see them].”
- “You don’t feel like you’re just another number.”
- “The nurses are always warm, open, and transparent, willing to go the extra mile [and] help in any way.”
“The OBAT team is the best tool in Boston fighting addiction…they are second to none!”— Colleen LaBelle, representing patients of the BMC Addiction Treatment Program.
Teresa Pugliese, Boston Medical Center
I have worked with Teresa for the past three years. Not only has she always made my day better when I work with her, but she undoubtedly makes the patients’ experiences and health better as well. She’s an excellent clinician who can quickly alert us when something goes awry, and she’s also an amazing teacher. BMC serves a very diverse population and Teresa always ensures that the patient receives the best care at BMC and appropriate care at home. I am so grateful to work with her and collaborate on many patients together.—Nominated by Katie Quinn
Volcie Richard, Infectious Diseases, Boston Medical Center
As an infectious diseases physician, I see many vulnerable patients, and I know that Volcie is a patient, compassionate, knowledgeable, selfless nurse. We care for a lovely young mother from Haiti who has temporary protection status and who was experiencing immigration stresses. Late in the day, Volcie coordinated between the patient’s lawyer, the patient, and me to ensure that all supporting medical documentation was ready to support her renewal application. The patient was so appreciative that Volcie shepherded her through the process in her first language. Fortunately, the renewal was successful.
Volcie also works with many patients affected by the opioid crisis. Not only has she saved many lives with nalaxone spray, but she is also a fierce advocate for her patients. She counsels them regularly, advocates for additional services, and is often the first person they call to re-engage in care after a relapse or absence.
In the ever-changing and increasingly frenetic world of health care in the US, Volcie is an island of calm and a consummate professional. We would all want to work with a colleague like Volcie, and we all want a nurse like her for our loved ones and ourselves.—Nominated by Rachel Simmons
Volcie Richard, Infectious Diseases, Boston Medical Center
I first met Volcie almost 10 years ago, after she came to Boston from Haiti. We worked in the primary care clinic at BMC for people living with HIV. She was a case manager focused on the concrete needs of patients facing medical, mental health, and economic challenges. At home, she was taking care of her daughter, yet she found time to go to nursing school.
Five years ago, as the opioid crisis surged, she started working with me as a registered nurse, focused on people with both HIV and opioid use disorder. Whereas I am only in clinic weekly, she is there seeing patients with the greatest needs five days a week. She supports them, holds them accountable, coaches them, and keeps them positive and moving in the right direction. With strength and empathy, she takes on the challenges of patients facing the stigmas of HIV first and now addiction. Our patients are both vulnerable and resilient. They themselves have lost much, and they have survived friends and family killed prematurely by HIV and addiction. Volcie nurses them to amplify their resilience and surmount their vulnerabilities. As a physician, I get more recognition than warranted. She does the heavy lifting every day.
I thought that I knew her well until I learned through other that before she came to Boston, she was Doctor Volcie in Haiti, having completed medical school in Mexico and opened a health clinic in her community. Her patients remember her fondly. She plans to return and reopen the clinic when the time is right. I can’t imagine how we will manage when that happens, but I am grateful that I have had the chance to work with her. We are all the better for it.—Nominated by Alexander Walley
Brigette Shea, Boston Medical Center
Brigette is a medical surgical float nurse, a member of the Nursing Informatics Council, and the chair of the Float Pool Unit Council. As chair, she identified a need for a sitter system to free up the nursing assistants for bedside care while still monitoring the one-to-one patients needing observation. She and her unit council investigated the AvaSys Telesitter system for monitoring patients via video monitor technicians, visiting other hospitals using the system to see if it would work in our facility. The unit council ultimately received approval to implement the system, which will help support patient safety with close observation using video monitoring. Brigette is an exceptional nurse who speaks for patient care and safety.—Nominated by Janet Crimlisk
Georgianna “Jordy” Shoemaker, Boston Medical Center
Jordy’s focus is aimed 100 percent at the compassionate care of those patients she is serving. One of the many things that make Jordy exceptional is the thoughtful care she provides, even after her shift is over. For example, when she traveled to South Bend, Ind., Jordy lit a candle in prayer in the chapel of her alma mater, Notre Dame, for her dying patient.
In September, while the weather was still warm, Jordy anticipated the upcoming winter needs of the homeless population and organized a coat drive on the unit. Immediately after the coat drive, she moved right on to the holidays and organized a Christmas gift drive for a single mother and her four children.—Nominated by Carol McCarthy and Christine DeAngelis
Myrdine Sinous, Boston Medical Center
It’s been my honor to work with Myrdine since she joined our pediatric hematology team several years ago. Her patients are young people, often from disadvantaged backgrounds, who need multiple needle sticks for lab draws, IVs, and blood transfusions, and who also face discrimination and mistrust from the medical system. I have never once heard her say no to a request for help from a patient’s family member or another nurse or staff member. She routinely works through lunch and comes in early or stays late. More than once, I’ve heard her calling to get food vouchers for people who are spending six to eight hours in the infusion center. She’ll walk a prescription down to the pharmacy for an overwhelmed mom, or she’ll find a toy to distract a child from a painful blood draw. When she had just returned from maternity leave, Myrdine gave up a weekend to pick up and wrap donations so that our clinic patients would have holiday gifts. Her technical and clinical skills are excellent, and she is always working to improve her knowledge. But the empathy, compassion, and kindness that she shows for patients, even when they are not at their best, is what truly makes her one of Boston’s best nurses.—Nominated by Amy Sobota
Julie Swain, Boston Medical Center
A patient’s family wrote to say how exceptional, loving, and knowledgeable Julie was in caring for their family member. She helped them through a difficult time and conveyed information in a way they could understand. Of all the nurses who cared for their mother, they know that Julie treated her with the utmost kindness, respect, and dignity as she traveled “home.”—Nominated by Eduarda Fonseca
Katlyn Tofani, Boston Medical Center
I am Katlyn’s educator. I was with her one day when a patient aspirated while taking her medications and started having respiratory difficulties. Katlyn was extremely speedy, knowledgeable, and compassionate as she placed a non-rebreather mask and suctioned out the patient’s airway, while at the same time explaining what was happening to the patient and her son. The woman’s oxygen was not coming up and her heartrate was dropping, but the patient was a do-not-resuscitate or intubate, so Katlyn called the team to the patient’s bedside and the son was there when his mother passed away. Katlyn handled this unexpected event with competence and kindness. As one of this patient’s primary nurses, Katlyn was shaken up, but she was able to support the son and the daughter who came in later. Watching her deal with this unexpected event validated my confidence in her clinical skills and compassion.—Nominated by Eduarda Fonseca
Caroline Tranford, Boston Medical Center
The daughter of a patient sent us this note:
“My dad was admitted to BMC on Saturday, March 17, and Caroline took good care of him during her shifts. I visited my dad early morning today and tried to fill his coffee pod with hot water due to his dietary preference (he likes everything hot). And my dad told me that Caroline had already filled the coffee pod for him last night. Besides filling the hot water in the coffee pod for my dad, she also make sure I had all the discharge information correctly after explaining to me a couple times patiently.
“I know that you normally won’t hear from any patient or family unless things go wrong. But I would like you to recognize the great job Caroline did for my dad and I am sure that she does that to every patient she takes care of. All I want to say to her and my dad’s in-patient care team…is ‘Thank you very much for the care!’”—Nominated by Ann Carey
Sandra Whittaker, Boston Medical Center
Sandra (my mother) has been working here for almost 40 years and has impacted so many lives and families; to this day, families of patients and the patients themselves stay in contact with her. Her coworkers speak highly of her and enjoy working with her—either she trained them when they started, or they have worked with her on the floor. Years ago she won an award for nurse of the year, or something of that nature. Overall, she has changed people’s lives for the better, and still does. She donates, and when a disaster happens she will contribute in some way. Following in my mother’s footsteps is part of the reason I’m an EMT and CNA.—Nominated by Ryan Whittaker
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Brenda Craig, Intensive Care Unit, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
My husband’s life was hanging by a thread. He said that he just wanted Brenda. It was her day off, but she came in to take care of him anyway. It was also Christmas Day! He lived. We remain deeply appreciative of her excellent nursing care, her dedication, and her sacrifice on his behalf. We believe that she saved his life.—Nominated by Alexandra Guild
Denise Dubuisson, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Denise did an exceptional job as my nephew’s nurse for over two years. He felt that he was always given the best care from a nurse who was truly a loving and caring person.—Nominated by Daniel Pacheco
Denise Dubuisson, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Denise cared for my son Christopher for more than two years during his battle with leukemia. She is an amazing and caring individual who always put my son’s needs as her top priority. During the holidays, she decorated his room and kept him upbeat and laughing. During his last days Denise was by his side, keeping him as comfortable as possible. The day he passed, she sat in his room after we left so that he was never alone. She is by far the nicest and most professional nurse I have had the pleasure to meet.—Nominated by Edward Pacheco
Denise Dubuisson, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Denise is an amazing, kind, and caring person who took care of my son Christopher for two years—a soft-spoken person who had the patience to listen and attend to his every need, even while answering questions about his care. My son did not open up easily, but he was comfortable with Denise. Even after his passing, she stood and waited with him so that he was not alone until they came for his body. It takes a special person to be there even in the darkest days, which they see more often than we do. After all of that, she drove for over an hour in heavy snow to attend his wake.—Nominated by Maria Pacheco
Denise Dubuisson, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
This nurse made my nephew Christopher feel comfortable, happy, and hopeful, even as all the odds were against him before he lost his battle with leukemia. Denise was Christopher’s favorite nurse. She was always kind, and always came into the room with a smile. Denise stayed with Christopher’s body for two hours after he passed to make sure he wasn’t alone, and she attended his service in the middle of a snowstorm.—Nominated by Dawn Tavares
Denise Dubuisson, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Denise treated my boyfriend Chris as if he were her family—so much so that he asked to be only in the care of her and the nurses on her team. When Chris passed, Denise reassured me that she didn’t leave him alone in the room after we left the hospital. Once when I was visiting I had a sudden-onset pain and was passing out, and Denise rushed me to the emergency room. Sometimes Denise even made special stops at coffee shops to bring something for Chris to try. I’ve never met a nurse who genuinely cared so much about patients and their families. I never felt like I left Chris all by himself in the hospital when I had to leave for the day—leaving him with Denise felt the same as leaving him with family. After two months without Chris, Denise still keeps in contact. You can’t ask for a better nurse or overall human being. On her own time, she is a wonderful mother; on the clock, she is a friend, a caregiver, a family member, and a confidant.—Nominated by Jillian Wells
Dever Facey, Intensive Care Unit, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
I went to the hospital at 11 p.m. one Friday with what I thought was the flu. I wasn’t admitted until 5:30 the next morning. That Saturday afternoon, it was determined that I needed surgery. I had had a hernia for a very long time. My stomach was upside down and twisted behind my heart. On top of that, I had blood clots in my lungs. Late that afternoon a surgeon told me they would have to perform a microscopic operation on Tuesday to untwist and move my stomach, but before that they had to address the blood clots.
I was moved to the Thoracic Unit where Dever was my nurse. I was given some medications. As the evening progressed, I began to feel as if I were about to lose consciousness. Dever jumped into action, applying cold compresses to my face. I felt like I was dying as Dever sat on the edge of the bed, holding me up and encouraging me to take deep breaths, all while keeping the compresses coming. I had never felt as sick in my life. I have a nursing background, and Dever exemplifies all the qualities of an excellent nurse.—Nominated by Jean Rose
Julie Ferragamo, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Julie works with the neurosurgeon that performed back surgery on me. My appointment with her was for the four-week post-operative exam, but I communicated with her frequently by phone and email both before and after my surgery. She was always very responsive, so I have always felt well cared-for. I was impressed by the competence with which she carried out my post-operative evaluation and the encouragement she offered for my recovery. She was especially helpful in educating me about what I was (and am still) experiencing after surgery, such as fatigue, loss of stamina, and back spasms. I truly regard her as my partner in treatment and recovery.—Nominated by Nancy Goldner
David Fitzgerald, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
David was working in the emergency room on many occasions when my husband was admitted to the hospital. David treated him just as he would have taken care of his own father. He certainly knows his job and is so professional about the way he treats his patients. The Brigham is fortunate to have such a remarkable person on its staff. Thank God he was there for my husband.—Nominated by Joann Giannino
Paul Hanley, Brigham & Women’s Hospital
I had just had open-heart surgery and my chest was wired closed. Any untoward, jerky movement would cause intense pain.
Paul was always cheerful and entertaining. He and his assistant kept up an amusing level of banter. They laughed often and showed me how to laugh comfortably without overdoing it. He was mindful of my pain levels and sometimes had me sit in a chair instead of lying down in bed, which helped.
He talked about his own life, particularly his pride in his baby identical triplets and his fascination with their different personalities. This helped distract me from my personal discomfort.
Although he was very busy with his other floor duties, he always showed up promptly when I pushed the call button. He showed great empathy for my condition by his demeanor and the sensitivity of his touch. His wound care was thorough. He was careful to minimize my pain during positioning, to remind me to cough, and to use my “heart pillow.” He taught me how to clear my throat and avoid sneezing.
At the end of his shift, he thoroughly briefed the incoming nurse, especially if the nurse was unfamiliar with my situation.
He knew what he was supposed to do and executed my care plan effectively. This all helped me to trust him and trust the care he delivered.—Robert Morin
Betsy Lambert, Newborn Intensive Care Unit, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Our twins spend eight weeks in the NICU after being born 10 weeks early. Betsy was one of our primary nurses, and we always felt comforted knowing that she was there. After so many weeks, she became like family. Her intimate touch sets her apart. She was fully engaged 100 percent of the time with the girls and with us, and taught us everything from simply changing diapers to the challenge of caring for our daughter’s ileostomy. As first-time parents, going through this experience was scary, but she was with us every step of the way. She made us laugh and made sure that we were comfortable and cared-for. As a fellow mother of twins, she also answered all of our questions and shared personal stories. We felt confident the day we brought the girls home, and we owe it all to her knowledge, care, and compassion.—Nominated by Alison Nowicki
Kimberly Logue, Cardiac Care Unit, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Due to a snafu, I was going to spend a whole day at the hospital with no procedures scheduled. Thanks to intervention by Kimberly and her superiors, I was able to have two procedures on the same day, which got me out of the hospital a day earlier. She demonstrated a high degree of professionalism during my stay.—Nominated by Stanley Fogelman
Katherine Murphy, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Katherine provides exceptional care to her high-acuity patients. Communication with her patients, their families, the nursing unit, and the BWH organization is exceptional. I have worked with her in many capacities since 1978, and she is the total package.—Nominated by Robin Kaufman
Amanda Nasson, Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital
Amanda was caring and assuring when my wife Iris was ill with the flu and fever. As a result, she had a prompt and healthy recovery. We are grateful for her care and expertise. Amanda has served patients at the VNA with respect and accommodations, she has also given her time and experience at the Faulkner Hospital with professional dignity.—Nominated by Ronald V. Nasson
Carol O’Sullivan, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
I have encountered many special nurses in my 25 years working in the intensive care unit and recovery room settings. I have had the incredible fortune of working alongside a wonderful colleague. Carol and I met two and one-half years ago when I was new to B&W. I latched onto her as my best friend because she was smart, bubbly, and respected by her peers—and she made her patients (and me) laugh. She can change the tension in any bedside situation and puts everyone at ease—that is, if you can stop laughing. Truly comical, genuinely considerate, Carol is a friend and nurse extraordinaire. It is said that laughter can be the best medicine…I can only tell you that Carol’s patients have good outcomes. Aside from her humor and knowledge in taking care of patients in an acute setting, she serves as a true advocate. It’s refreshing to see a post-operative patient leave with a smile.—Nominated by Geri Levinson
Michael Robinson, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Michael has been the stalwart mainstay in the Longwood Trauma/Emergency Department. I have known him since I began working there in 1984. Trauma/emergency care is not easy, and you see the best and worst amid the journey of life. Michael provides superior care amid chaos and keeps the ship afloat. He is direct, honest, and still manages to convey compassion, which is all necessary in trauma/emergency. He gets the job done properly and well.
Michael has been a gem to my mother during her tremendous hardships through the emergency department for neurosurgery, nephrology, etc., and he has inspired my training in many ways.—Nominated by Stephen Titus
Kim Toste, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
My first encounter with Kim was a few years ago, while she was a travel nurse. Following a horrific accident that involved my 2-year-old granddaughter Gracie and a three-month stay in the pediatric intensive care unit, Gracie unfortunately succumbed to her injuries. This was an extraordinarily difficult time for our family, and I don’t know how we would have gotten through it without the extraordinary care we all received.
I often wondered how anyone could sign up for this type of work, but it was obvious from the first day that Kim took care of Gracie that she is an incredibly passionate nurse who truly cares for her patients and their families. When we weren’t sure how much longer Gracie would be with us, Kim gave us exactly what we needed: love, empathy, and compassion to prepare us for what we were too scared to face—our future without Gracie.
Fast forward a few years. Another family member needed care for an arrhythmia, for which Brigham and Women’s came highly recommended. Much to our surprise, Kim entered our lives once again. I immediately felt a weight lifted off my chest, as I knew that we were in good hands.
Kim is a very special person who was placed in our lives for a reason, and I know I speak for my whole family when I say that there are not enough words to express how thankful we all are for the gift of her.—Nominated by Sherry Taber
Brockton Public Schools
School Nurses and Health Paraprofessionals, Brockton Public Schools
As their supervisor, I see the kindness and compassion that these nurses and health paraprofessionals demonstrate daily to the children of Brockton Public Schools. Not only do they take care of the students’ health needs, but they also attend to the staff’s health concerns during the school day. I have witnessed nurses finding extra clothing and food for families in need. One nurse in particular, Kathy Dwyer, took clothing home to be washed because the family didn’t own a washing machine. Another nurse, Linda Clegg, called in to Joslin Diabetes Center to have insulin and supplies delivered to the school for a student who was having trouble getting her prescriptions filled.
Our nurses frequently work through lunch and stay after school with students until their families can pick them up. They frequently assist families in making medical appointments, and at times get vouchers for cabs and gift cards for bare necessities. Our city has many new families from various countries. The nurse helps the family bridge the gap with interpreters and outside resources such as housing, food stamps, and WIC vouchers. I could mention many more acts of kindness if I had more space.
We are proud to have a nurse in every building, and every one of them, along with our health paraprofessionals, deserves this award.—Nominated by Linda Cahill
Cambridge Health Alliance Cambridge Hospital
Nancy Ela, Cambridge Health Alliance
Nancy has worked for CHA’s Everett Hospital and Whidden Memorial Hospital since she graduated from nursing school in 1979. She is a team leader on her floor and a mentor for all new nurses. She exhibits compassion and empathy for her patients and their families, is extremely knowledgeable, and provides a wide range of medical care for her patients. I have seen her work up close, and I am proud to be her brother.—Nominated by Frank Hoenig
Anna Smirnova, Cambridge Health Alliance
Anna is an integral part of the Elder Service Plan PACE (Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) program, serving nursing home-eligible frail elders who are living successfully in the community, with support from our teams. Anna is the phone triage nurse. Others giggle or sigh as she speaks loudly into the phone about matters ranging from someone’s bowel movements to reporting the death of a member, but Anna handles every call with compassion, lightheartedness, professionalism, and more. She takes calls that do not belong on her line and, rather than being annoyed, handles them without complaint. She is always organizing and reaching out to our field nurses and coordinating with our providers to best serve the patient in need. When Anna is out on vacation, her job is filled by all of our field nurses. When she returns, she is hugged and thanked endlessly by those who felt the weight of her job. She covers for clinical matters and decisions when our nurse manager is out. She effortlessly coordinates all matters that cross her desk. I cannot single out one experience that highlights her value because all of her duties are so well managed, with a beautiful mix of warmth and expertise. She deserves to be recognized for her daily contributions to our team and to the frail elders who are comforted by her voice.—Nominated by Tara Sherman
Rachelle St. Clair, CHA Cambridge Hospital
It’s nearly impossible to describe the ways that Rachelle is an amazing nurse in so few words. Whenever you see her, she has the brightest, happiest smile. The only thing brighter than her smile is her heart. Rachelle gives the care and compassion that we would give to our dearest loved ones to each of her patients and their families. She develops ultimate trust with each patient and fights tirelessly to ensure that all of our moms leave the hospital with the tools needed to transition into new parenthood.
It seems like we receive another compliment about Rachelle every day. Once, I walked by a room and saw Rachelle sitting beside her patient, holding her hand. I could tell that they were having a difficult conversation. Rachelle treated that patient as if she were the only mom on our unit, and worked hard to resolve all of the issues she was having.
When you walk in the door and discover that you are working with Rachelle, your day brightens. You know that no matter how acute the unit is, the day will be O.K. Rachelle anticipates the needs of others before they ask. Her patients, and those of us lucky enough to work with her, know that she is a team player and an advocate. In addition to everything I have already mentioned, Rachelle gives great input and insight into the difficult situations we face as a group of women working together to provide excellent care.—Nominated by Melissa Abell-Bardsley
Cape Cod Healthcare
Amy Murphy, Cape Cod Hospital, Cape Cod Healthcare
Amy approaches each patient with more enthusiasm and compassion than I expect from a nurse. I have other nurses caring for my patients. When we perform a surgery that requires a higher level of attention and focus, Amy’s presence is palpable. She creates a sense of calm that everyone around her feels. Her competence is second to none, her performance is always exemplary, and working with her is a pleasure.—Nominated by Nicholas Coppa
Sarah Provencher, Cape Cod Hospital, Cape Cod Healthcare
Sarah is a registered nurse educator who works every day with novices transitioning into the profession during a lengthy orientation in our RN residency group. She is very concerned with the self-care of the new residents and developed a program for resiliency and reflection. She practices that self-care and care for others every day in her own clinical practice. When educating nurses at the bedside, she puts the needs of the patient first. You can tell by her mannerisms and the compassionate delivery of all her communications that she is genuinely interested in the needs of the patient, family, and caregivers. Sarah uses her diverse skill set and evidence-based practice to enhance the clinical bedside practice with everyone that she works with. Sarah always smiles and doesn’t ever seem to be overburdened by assisting others in her professional or personal life. As a nurse and a mother, she is constantly assisting her girls’ school and sports teams with anything that will help with their well-being.
Having Sarah on a project is a great pleasure because she brings a positive freshness to everything that she does, each and every day. Sarah lives her life and practices her profession in the most positive, uplifting manner that transcends to everyone she encounters. She is a beacon of light and inspiration to me every day that I have the opportunity to work with her.—Nominated by Cheryl Brennan
Erin Barker, Care Dimensions Hospice Care
Our CEO shared this letter from a patient’s family:
“On behalf of the entire family I would like to compliment your agency on the employment of your hospice RN, Erin. We recently had the honor and pleasure of meeting Erin in a situation which you know only too well can be anything but pleasurable.
“It took Erin only 10 minutes after having met everyone to realize, as we all know and also accept, that home care with hospice is not for everyone. The stress and tension that Erin was welcomed into would have been intolerable for a less experienced RN. Yet her gentle, insightful and patient manner brought down the level of anxiety, quieting the scene with her understanding. She immediately recognized physical needs that had to be confronted first. As she quietly assessed faulty equipment and the whole situation she did not hesitate to suggest that Junior’s care needs were beyond a home situation. She suggested the option of the Kaplan Home, a thought that Junior did not readily accept. Quiet conversation with agreeable family members, including the philosophy of miracles that had happened in the past, gave Junior hope, and he agreed to a move.
“I, too, am a RN, and having been involved in a hospice program in the 1980s and ’90s, I cannot applaud Erin’s behavior, demeanor, and total presence to excess. She has the personality, training, and nursing practice that are necessary for an ideal hospice nurse. You can be very proud of having Erin in your employ.” —Nominated by Robert Hagopian
Katheryne Swenbeck, Care Dimensions Hospice Care
I have worked as a hospice aide for more than 20 years and I have worked with a lot of nurses. Katie’s compassion, clinical skill, trustworthiness, and dedication make her stand out as one of the best.
First, she operates like a true professional, thorough and regimented in her tasks without losing a compassionate touch. I recently worked with her on a complex case involving a large bed-bound male with multiple peripherally inserted central catheter (picc) lines. The family was so impressed with her expertise that they asked if she was in the military. She never was, but they affectionately started calling her “Sarge.”
Second, Katie always speaks openly with her patients and their families. Although terminal disease progression can be a very sensitive topic, Katie uses clear, concise, specific language to prepare patients and families for what’s next. In the case of the same patient previously mentioned, Katie was forthcoming about what it might look like when his seizure medication stopped working. Armed with this knowledge, the family was not caught off guard or unduly worried when seizure activity did increase.
Finally, Katie truly cares about her patients as individuals. She effortlessly puts them at ease by sharing some anecdote. The family of the picc patient had rambunctious dogs. Katie is a dog person who recently adopted a kitten, allowing her to share pet stories that helped the family feel connected and understood.
—Nominated by Dale Lemure
Commonwealth Care Alliance
Heather Korencsik, Commonwealth Care Alliance
My coworker Heather did outstanding work with one of our members (William) as he progressed through the end of his life, up to his death. William joined CCA in 2014 as a member of CCA One Care, which serves adults aged 21 to 64 who have multiple chronic conditions and are dually eligible for MassHealth and Medicare. Over the three years after she was assigned as his nurse practitioner, Heather formed a trusting relationship with William and understood his needs in a way that many of his previous caretakers had not, due to his mental illness. William was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, bipolar disorder, diabetes, and colon cancer that had metastasized to multiple sites including his lungs, lymph nodes, and bones since his 2011 diagnosis. Heather worked with his outpatient care team, his oncologist, his family, and the visiting nurses association to ensure that his pain was controlled and his end-of-life wishes were met. Heather included CCA behavioral health specialists to provide truly integrated care. When he passed away in hospice, William was surrounded by his family in accordance with his wishes, and Heather was there to support the family during his passing. Heather’s dedication had a substantial impact on William during the last three years of his life. William was treated with dignity and respect, and his end-of-life wishes would not have been met without Heather’s care and compassion.—Nominated by Lindsay Ervin
Dina York, Commonwealth Care Alliance
I have supervised Dina for several years.
In one case, Dina was caring for a member of CCA’s Senior Care Options program for seniors aged 65 and over who are eligible for MassHealth, many of whom have chronic health care needs. This gentleman was very frail and had multiple medical complications, leading him to be admitted to a skilled nursing facility. His family was intent on getting him back home and Dina worked to make that happen, despite many psychosocial and medical obstacles, through numerous family meetings and thoughtful coordination with other health care professionals. She was able to navigate through these complexities due to the strong trust she had built with the patient and his family, who are so grateful for the additional time they have had with him at home.
In another challenging situation, Dina demonstrated great compassion in a complex and difficult patient death. Though this case was distressing for all involved, Dina remained calm and supportive, keeping her focus on the patient’s needs. She took it a step further by presenting the lessons of this case to the rest of our clinical group so we could all learn from it.—Nominated by Erin Morgan
Cooley Dickinson Health Care
Tammie Deso, Cooley Dickinson Hospital, Cooley Dickinson Health Care
Tammie was my favorite nurse during our September stay at Cooley Dickinson’s childbirth center. I can’t find words to say just how much everything she did for me and my family means to me. Whenever we had a question or needed anything she was there quickly, happy to help. She was extremely communicative and, as a very new mom, I trusted her with my baby.—Nominated by Heather Goodhind
Amanda Dixon, Cooley Dickinson Hospital, Cooley Dickinson Health Care
I am a critical care physician who has been working with Amanda in the intensive care unit at CDH for eight years. She has been an incredible nurse to work with and I feel so lucky to have her as a colleague. She has always been calm and cool under pressure and a fierce advocate for her patients. Lately she’s been working as a charge nurse and has been able to impact many more patients at a time. In 2017 she addressed the increased Foley catheter-associated urinary tract infections almost single-handedly by constantly asking the providers if we can take the catheters out. The rate of catheter-associated infections plummeted in her unit. She is also on the front lines of treating sepsis, and involved in the critical care committee. She is remarkably kind when caring for patients in their final hours, communicating frequently with such compassion with families and loved ones. When I think of a nurse I would want to care for my family member, Amanda always comes to mind. She is an exceptional example of how smart, up-to-date, and caring nurses are crucial to treating our sickest patients.—Nominated by Tonbira Zaman
Marie Doherty, Cooley Dickinson VNA & Hospice, Cooley Dickinson Health Care
I have the pleasure of working with Marie on our palliative care team. The patients that we admit are most likely within the last year or two of life. Palliative care’s goal is to provide comfort while they stay safely in their home. The cases we see are usually some of the toughest—not only from a medical standpoint, but also psychosocially. Our job is rewarding, but also emotionally draining. We meet many wonderful people in our community, but typically when they and their families are feeling high levels of stress, fear, and uncertainty about their own health or that of a loved one. We also need to have tough conversations about a transition to the next step of hospice and end-of-life care.
Marie has been on our team for several years. She attacks every case with unwavering compassion. Her clinical knowledge is unmatched. Her keen eye and excellent judgment have prevented many hospitalizations. Her patients trust her, and she has been able to build relationships even in the toughest cases. Marie is not afraid to advocate for those who cannot do so for themselves, and she goes beyond the call of duty to make sure that their needs are met. If I or a loved one was in need of palliative nursing care, I have no doubt that Marie is the one I would want to see walk through the door.—Nominated by Nina Stoddard
Jeanne Johndrow, Cooley Dickinson Hospital, Cooley Dickinson Health Care
Jeanne is a charge nurse at our medium-sized, 120-bed hospital in western Massachusetts. She has worked here for about 40 years, and is one of the staff who exemplifies both compassion and great follow-through. About two years ago Jeanne took on a program to enhance the patient experience. We worked with a company that sends an automated call to discharged patients, asking them several questions, including whether they would like a nurse to contact them. Jeanne loves this part of her job and enjoys talking with patients. Last year, she discovered that a patient was having some serious issues, but was unaware of how serious the symptoms were. Jeanne sent them to the emergency department, where they were admitted for a post-surgery infection. I always wonder how much longer the patient would have gone before seeking help, and how much worse their situation would have been. Jeanne makes a difference every day and her excellent clinical skills, along with the joy she has for nursing, deserve to be celebrated.—Nominated by Robin Kline
Willow Sirum, Cooley Dickinson Hospital, Cooley Dickinson Health Care
Willow is the clinical practice leader in our cancer center. In the three years I’ve had the honor of working beside her, I have been able to admire her work as she interacts with every patient with grace, dignity, and passion. Each patient leaves an element of substance to her life. Even when they lose their fight, she benefits from helping them be all they can be while they are alive. She has inspired me to continue my education in hopes of becoming an incredible nurse like her.—Nominated by Ryan Beener
Fabienne Valdes, Northampton Family Medicine, Cooley Dickinson Health Care
When I think of a nurse, I think of someone I trust, someone I feel safe with, and someone who has my best interest at heart. Fabienne embodies these traits. Listening to her interact with a patient for medical advice over the phone or for an injection in the exam room is a full example of her dedication. She gives patients the time they deserve so that they know that she is there to help them and calm their fears. She can act swiftly while also making time for compassion and connection. She builds a relationship with each patient. So often, we cannot see the person who is advising us over the phone, so we can feel uneasy about sharing personal details. Fabienne’s voice assures patients that she is open, ready to advise them, and will ensure that their information is held to the highest standard.—Nominated by Morgan Aronson
Craneville Place of Dalton Rehab & Nursing Center
Angela Williams-Cronin, Craneville Place of Dalton
Last week Angela asked me to join her in a difficult conversation. A 52-year-old patient—call her Glenda—had decided to stop dialysis after having already lost a leg to renal disease. The week before our discussion, Glenda was scheduled for dialysis three days a week, but she only tolerated it for two hours on Monday, removed the catheter from her own arm on Wednesday, and turned around without entering the dialysis center on Friday.
The following week Angela respectfully engaged Glenda in a discussion, along with her nurse practitioner and me, to evaluate Glenda’s decision-making capability and clarify her goals for care. Glenda pointed out several co-morbidities and said that she thought dialysis was killing her. Patiently and compassionately, Angela explained precisely how discontinuing dialysis would allow toxins to build up and hasten Glenda’s death. Angela then helped Glenda update her Medical Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment form to include a “Do Not Hospitalize” order, and assured her that the entire nursing team would ensure her comfort and care right through the hour of her death.
When Glenda’s sister and mother arrived several hours later, knowing nothing of the patient’s change of heart, Angela calmly provided the emotional support and psychological space for Glenda’s family to begin grieving. Angela’s bedside manner is a gift that keeps on giving.—Nominated by Sarah Wright