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Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Paula Buckley, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Paula is an IV access nurse on the second floor of Dana Farber. I saw her regularly over my 15 months of chemotherapy for breast cancer. I had what might be called “nervous veins.” Getting my IV placed was always a moment of high anxiety, and Paula was my savior. Others had struggled to insert my IV. Paula’s magic touch put me at ease, and I knew that she would succeed where the others could not. I asked for her every week. She always made time to see me, and although we only spent a few minutes together, those minutes set the tone for my whole DFCI visit. I felt as though I was being welcomed by a friend, and everything else would be fine. On those rare Mondays that Paula was away, she arranged for an experienced colleague to see me.
What I love about Paula and the DFCI is the culture of yes: Yes, if you want to see Paula we can arrange that; Yes, Paula can see you even when she’s not the call nurse; Yes, Paula will see you even though you no longer need blood drawn. Seeing Paula helped me return week after week for treatment. I have a treasured photo of us together from my last treatment day. I smile every time it reminds me how Paula helped me through a very difficult time.—Nominated by Mary Beth Pearlberg
Cindy Cao, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Cindy always finds the time and patience to put me at ease during my chemo and immunotherapy infusions. She is so personal, yet so professional. If all is not right for my infusion she goes out of her way to make it right. She asks about how I’m doing since the last treatment and does whatever it takes to make me comfortable, even if it’s just another warm blanket. I was recently admitted to BWH and, to my surprise, Cindy came to see me and my family on her lunch break. She truly cares about the patients she follows. I do not look forward to infusion therapy, but I do look forward to having Cindy on my team. She is an asset to the medical field.—Nominated by Blair Mehan, for Joanne Mehan and family
Carla Chapman, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Carla was a consummate source of relief when I was going through cancer treatment at age 31, scared as ever. She calmed me and spoke to me as a normal person, rather than a patient, and always stayed on top of every medication and every side effect, remembering even minor complaints from prior weeks. Her advocacy inspired immense confidence in her, and thereby in all of the care that I received from DFCI. Carla was funny, trustworthy, experienced, compassionate, and she exuded calm, and I’m forever grateful to her.—Nominated by Nicole Barrell
Virginia Dalton, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Ginger is a nurse’s nurse. She was always available for support, information, and updates when the love of my life was sick with multiple myeloma—his go-to person with every twist and turn.
She called just to check in when she knew that things weren’t going well, and supported me when he went into hospice; we could not have asked for anyone better to ride the waves with us. On top of that, she is always up on the latest treatments and ways to make life more comfortable. Whenever things needed to be done ASAP, she made sure it got done and smoothed the way.
He would have died years ago if it hadn’t been for Ginger and Dr. Laubach. Hope and compassion mixed with realism and honesty generated true trust in her clinical judgment and confidence that everything that could be done was being done. I’m so grateful to have had Ginger during these past eight years.—Nominated by Barbara McMullan
Erin Drury, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
A number of wonderful nurses have provided my infusions over the 18 months that I’ve been receiving bimonthly treatments for lymphoma. Erin has been my primary nurse. It’s difficult to put into words how much she means to me and my family. She’s highly skilled, caring, and has a delightful sense of humor. Saying that she’s become like family is not an overstatement.—Nominated by Paul Conlon
Lauren Engel, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Lauren was born to be a nurse. I sense calm whenever I enter a room with her. Genuine people are so hard to find nowadays, which is why I’m so glad we have Lauren on our team. As the administrative directory I know when Lauren is having a bad day just by what’s happening on the clinic floor. However, if you tried to gauge her day by her attitude, you would think that every single day is a great one for Lauren. Recently, a patient received bad news from one provider and requested a second opinion. That provider wasn’t available until the following week, but Lauren offered to see the patient during her lunch break the next day to go over some labs. The patient’s wife emailed me that night, saying:
“I am so elated
“We had such a phenomenal day today!
“Lauren was amazing just enough info for (name) he actually thinks now he has a chance!
“Thank you both I am so humbled and appreciative I feel like now I can advocate for him and with him and he can do some himself!!!”
I have worked with Lauren for almost two years, and I would put my neck on the line for her without hesitation on any day. She is the kind of special person who only comes around so many times in one’s career. As the father of a 3-year-old son, I often tell my wife that when he gets married, I hope he finds someone just like Lauren, as I’m convinced you would be hard-pressed to do much better.—Nominated by Chris Dowd
Katherine Fleming, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Being diagnosed with breast cancer at age 35 has been an emotional roller coaster. Between getting diagnosed, completing a clinical trial, undergoing a double mastectomy, and starting a chemotherapy regime, I’ve experienced anxiety, fear, pain, and sadness. However, along this bumpy road I’ve also been given hope, laughter, comfort, support, and consistent care at Dana Farber. In particular, the person I can always count on is Katie, who has been my infusion nurse since August 2017. Every week she brings her professionalism, cheer, guidance, and sincere care to my family and I. She has been a bright spot in an otherwise challenging time. She has created such an incredibly warm and welcoming environment that I actually look forward to our time together. In particular, when I’ve been anxious about receiving a new drug, dealing with a side effect, or not feeling great after treatment, she always creates conversation about things that she knows will cheer me up and distract me. She is always there to answer my questions, explains things in a way that I can understand, and follows up to make sure things are going smoothly. I have also witnessed her working with other patients, staff, and volunteers. She remembers people’s names, is incredibly responsive, and always has a smile on her face. The effect she has on everyone is so incredibly positive that she deserves all possible recognition. Dana Farber is lucky to have her, as am I.–Nominated by Kristen Gale
Brittney Fontana, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Our lives changed when doctors found a brain mass in my husband in January 2017. Brittney has been my go-to person ever since. She has answers for all of my questions, is always comforting, and never gets tired of communicating throughout the day. She greets us with a warm smile and a hug when we visit the office and always reassures us that she will be there if we need her. I have been working in a medical field for more than 40 years and have been around many great nurses. Brittney is one of them. Her passion for helping and comforting patients and caregivers is outstanding.—Nominated by Ulku Graham
Karen Francour, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Whenever I email Karen with a concern, no matter how large or small, she always responds quickly and follows through with whatever is going on. Karen is cheerful during appointments and wants to know what’s going on with me as I participate in this trial. I feel very comfortable communicating with her, and I know that my concerns are being listened to and will be addressed.—Nominated by Suanne Craib
Kristen Graham, The Jimmy Fund, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Kristen uses humor with us and Reina’s doctors, and that gives Reina comfort. From day one, Kristen asked Reina how she’d like things to be done so that she can have some say in her port access and care. Reina trusts Kristen to carefully access her port and draw labs. Kristen always tries to stop and say hello, even when she isn’t our nurse for the day, and she always takes time to answer questions or create the schedule that we find so helpful. Her commitment to Reina is evident.—Nominated by Reina Mercado
Anne Gray, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
This isn’t about an interaction, but rather about what my wife does every day. She’s been through a personal journey from patient to nurse, all at Dana Farber and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. The amount of personal attention she gives all of her patients is amazing—I think because she truly knows exactly what they’ve been through. I know that at times she doesn’t think she makes a difference, but I also know that she doesn’t give herself the credit she deserves.—Nominated by Christopher Gray
Jillian Hoffman, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Jillian was my nurse from my first weekly chemotherapy for ovarian cancer in September 2017 through my last in February. On that first day I was terrified, not knowing what to expect. She walked me through every step, explaining each medication and why they were using it. She gave us information on nutrition and told us about the counselors who were available. Over the months of treatment and surgery, we had so many questions—some important, and some we thought were silly. She took the time to answer each question thoroughly. If she didn’t have the answer, she found out whom to direct us to. Once we got comfortable with how the treatments worked, Jill became like a friend who we would share our daily life with. We had a lot of laughs that kept things light. She acknowledged that my fears were legitimate and we talked about how to deal with them. When we had to inject one medication at home, Jill showed my husband how to do that, gave him some written information and all the supplies that we would need, and made sure that he understood completely. I look forward to seeing Jill every other week while I continue with immunotherapy. She is a bright spot in an otherwise not-so-fun situation.—Nominated by Michelle Garber
Kathy Houlahan, The Jimmy Fund, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
The nursing director of The Jimmy Fund clinic, Kathy is a leader, mentor, and coach, and is always there at the bedside, helping and healing. She is a great patient advocate who makes sure all patients are well cared-for and followed up on every detail. She is a leader of nurses and her passion for patients is always her central focus.—Nominated by Mary Reed
Elizabeth Llewellyn, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
My chemo nurse for a year, Lizzy understands what I have had to go through. She answers all of my questions and always makes me comfortable as I receive my chemotherapy. When I go for lab work, she sees my name on the schedule and makes it a point to come and see me to make sure I am OK and ask if there is anything she can do for me. She has a fantastic personality, a positive attitude, and is a joy to work with. She is hard-working and makes you feel as if you were the only patient in her care. The doctors and physician’s assistants that we visit all have great praise in her abilities.—Nominated by James Hopkins
Jennifer Lowell, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Jennifer was the first nurse who administered chemotherapy to me and she never left my side, wanting to be sure I didn’t have a reaction. She always advised me on what and what not to do during therapy. She has always cheerful and ready with a hug, just wanting to make me feel better. I will always be grateful for everything she has done for me and my family.—Nominated by Dolores Marmol
Jen McKenna, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Living with two stage 4 cancers makes me a Dana-Farber “lifer.” I have known Jen since I was first diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer in 2009. Since my metastatic recurrence in 2015, Jen has kept me positive and focused on living with cancer, rather than dying from cancer. She’s always available to answer questions. We exchanged several emails on her day off when I had questions after my monthly checkup just yesterday. It’s a huge relief knowing that I can rely on her to keep me focused on living each day in the best way possible.
Last year I ran the Boston Marathon and raised over $60,000 for metastatic patients at Dana-Farber. The highlight of the marathon was seeing Jen at mile 20. I was exhausted, so I stopped to talk to her. She gave me a drink and enough encouragement to carry me for the next six miles. When I put on the first annual Vintage Vogue Runway for Research this past year, I immediately thought of Jen to be a model. She rocked the runway, and seeing patients and their caregivers on stage together was fabulous, raising much-needed awareness and funds for metastatic breast cancer. Being a patient with two incurable cancers is not easy, but my positive outlook and my desire to be an active part of the community and raise funds and awareness is definitely influenced by the relationship that I have with Jen. I look forward to my checkups with her!—Nominated by Carol Chaoui
Jen McKenna, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
If I weren’t her patient, I would never guess that I live 300 miles away from Jen. For the past eight years she has demonstrated, besides her compassion and intelligence, the willingness and ability to answer emails about my health. It doesn’t seem to matter if she is in the middle of a well-earned family vacation, in between insanely busy days of seeing patients, or has left work for the day. Most recently, I experienced some pain and numbness, which was being effectively treated. I emailed Jen with my symptoms when the numbness occurred, and she immediately responded that I needed to come see them for a MRI. She had correctly diagnosed the problem, which isn’t all that common, and got the scheduler in touch with me. This is just one example of many of someone who, from where I sit, deserves all awards available.—Nominated by Allison Judge
Elizabeth Newins, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Liz is an essential part of the team for my sister, who is a stage 4 metastasized breast cancer patient. She has been the primary oncology nurse for my sister for three years and has always been patient and positive. She always has a solution for a side effect or complication, and puts not only the patient at ease, but family members as well. Liz is a funny, patient, caring person with a great smile and a warm personality. Her experience tells her when to provide a warm blanket, just sit and listen, or kick it into urgent mode and escalate issues. Each time she has to admit our loved one for more advanced care, she will stay late to ensure an efficient handoff, and always gives me an encouraging hug. Even when a family member can’t be with our loved one at chemo treatment time, we know she is in very good care with Liz. She is an extraordinarily gentle caregiver and exceptional nurse.—Nominated by Kathy Berry
Suzanne Oliver, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Suzanne is an inspirational nurse and woman. She has been encouraging, loving, and supportive since I first met her, and she always understood me better than my specialist did (haha). She is the number one nurse in my treatment of lung cancer. She would always hug and kiss me and ask me what was wrong when I was too quiet. When my dad passed, she made me feel better and gave me advice on how to grieve without stressing out.—Nominated by Veronica Andrews
Oncology Nurses, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
I had very little dealings with nurses until June 2017. Since then, health issues have radically changed my awareness of the blessing that each and every nurse actually is. An ambulance brought me to the hospital, where I received extraordinary care—or care that I, in my ignorance, thought was extraordinary. This began my journey into a world of caring, compassion, empathy, and tenderness that I never even dreamed existed.
With biopsy results in hand, plans were discussed about where and how I would receive appropriate care for my sudden vulnerable condition. I resided at Bethany Health Care Center in Framingham for seven weeks, with occasional trips to St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center. While at Bethany I was cared for by wonderful nursing teams both day and night.
Finally, after much discernment, I was allowed to go home and deal with the oncology team of Dana-Farber on a regular basis, with excellent backup from a team of nurses from St. Elizabeth’s, who would visit regularly to provide care from the Steward home follow-up plan.
An amazing mesh of top-shelf services has sustained me these past 10 months.—Nominated by Sister Barbara Scanlon
Courtney Shea, The Jimmy Fund, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Courtney always greets Reina and I with a smile, even if she isn’t assigned to us for the day. We always smile back when she sings and dances her way over to us. She takes time to talk about things that are important to Reina and always points out the positive. She always explains what medicines Reina’s getting and how long each will take. Courtney is so knowledgeable and personable that she makes going to the Jimmy Fund a little easier.—Nominated by Reina Mercado
Robin Sommers, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
I’m in my 94th cycle at Dana-Farber. Robin has been my nurse for every cycle and I wouldn’t have it any other way. She’s a dedicated, compassionate, and extremely competent caregiver. She’s always concerned, yet always manages to ask about family and offer suggestions on coping with side effects from medication, etc. I’ve been blessed to meet some amazing people at Dana-Farber over the years, and Robin is right at the top.—Nominated by Michael Glass
Katey Stephans, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Katey has been my primary contact for the 18 months that I’ve been receiving bi-monthly treatments for lymphoma. Her patience, knowledge, communication skills, and sense of humor have made an otherwise-stressful situation very tolerable. She is always upbeat and encouraging—the importance of which cannot be overstated. My family and I take great comfort in knowing that Katey is a significant part of my treatment team.—Nominated by Paul Conlon
Ann Stewart, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Ann always takes time to make sure I understand all that is going on with me, as a patient as well as a person. She is so knowledgeable about women’s cancers. When she found out that I was recently hospitalized at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, she and my doctor came to see me. It meant so much to think they are so into what they do and would take the time to check in on me. Ann always makes me feel at ease, even when all is not roses. I am so grateful to be at the best medical facility for my cancer and feel so fortunate to have this team on my side. Ann is a ray of sunshine and hope that helps keep me going. As difficult as chemo- or immunotherapy can be, Ann always brightens my day, which means so much when you are going through treatment for uterine/ovarian cancer. She is truly a saint and has helped me and my family more than one can imagine.—Nominated by Joanne Mehan
Jackie Tuskan, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Somehow it felt right that we were paired up with a younger nurse, as my husband was only 30 at the time of his cancer diagnosis. Jackie has been his nurse ever since. She always found a way to joke with us and make us feel like just two normal young adults, despite what was actually happening. After we learned that the cancer did not go away, Jackie helped guide us through the beginning of the transplant process—she explained what would happen and even sent some nurses who used to work on the transplant floor to ease our worries. She visited my husband during his hospital stay. Now that he is cancer-free, we still pop in to say hello to Jackie whenever we go to a doctor’s appointment. Even though he isn’t receiving chemotherapy, she always reviews his labs, lets us know that she’s thinking of us, and gives us a big hug. I think of her as part of our extended family. There are not enough thank-you’s or cupcakes to let Jackie know how much she is truly appreciated.—Nominated by Liz Dehal
Meghara Walsh, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Meghara has been working as a research nurse focused on genitourinary (GU) cancers at DFCI, where I have been her physician supervisor for more than seven years. She has been the epitome of dedication to her patients, their families, and their ongoing daily needs. She is able to get the whole medical team “in sync” around the patient and their needs. We would simply be lost without her. She is a cherished treasure and, as the head of the GU cancer division, I would like to strongly recognize her.—Nominated by Toni K. Choueiri
Meghara Walsh, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
When you read about Dana-Farber (which you could do every day, if so inclined), odds are that you area reading about something groundbreaking, someone living for a year after they were told that they had six months, or an experience that could only be found here. What you don’t often read about are the people responsible for these outcomes. As a research nurse, Meghara is one of many on our team who work to ensure that these outcomes happen. She is relentless in caring for her patients. Sometimes she is in the clinic so much that she doesn’t even see her own desk. I am fortunate to interact with Meghara regularly. She is an all-star.—Nominated by Chris Dowd
Annette Werger, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Annette gave our family the gift of hope when we felt totally hopeless. Without her encouragement and loving care, we could not have had the strength to deal with our son’s battle with cancer, which took his life in 2009. She contacted us even after his death, and provided so much comfort. We will never forget her.—Nominated by Lauralee Ouellette
Alyssa Ywuc, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Alyssa was my 23-year-old daughter Stephanie’s oncology nurse from the time she was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma in September 2017 until she returned to New York to finish her treatments closer to home in November. Alyssa was a bright smile from the moment we met her. Her smile alone could melt almost any fear, and the smoothness with which she completed her work was always reassuring. She discussed the drugs in great detail and intently asked Stephanie how she felt, offering knowledge and kindness at every turn. Alyssa was the reason my daughter was able to remain in Boston as long as she did. We could see Alyssa working with other patients: smiling, sharing stories, taking pictures, offering pillows, and showing complete compassion in her care. Each of her patients felt like they were her most important task of the day…you never felt left-behind.
Alyssa’s upbeat, positive words were always encouraging, never about her troubles. If she was overwhelmed, tired, or stressed, she never showed it—she was a constant. When my daughter Alyssa if she could be her nurse throughout her treatments, Alyssa didn’t offer any long stories or meaningless explanations—she just said yes, instantly reassuring Stephanie. Nurses and teachers might never understand the impact they have on people’s lives. I, too, am a Hodgkin cancer survivor and I, too, was blessed with wonderful nurses, whom I still think of often. We will never forget Alyssa. Her value lies in who she is as a person. She’s a natural.—Nominated by Angela Dolliver
Alyssa Ywuc, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Two months after moving six hours away from home to Boston, I was diagnosed with cancer at the ripe age of 23. Ironically, I had just accepted a job at Dana-Farber. Alyssa was a warm face every time I came in for chemo. After my first couple of treatments, we were talking about how I was nervous to have a port scar for the rest of my life. She then opened up to me about how she was diagnosed with cancer when she was my age, too, and she showed me her port scar. It was so comforting to see her thriving today after such a difficult battle.
Alyssa always did everything she could to make sure I was comfortable. We checked my meds to make sure all the dosages were the same. She gave me ideas on how to manage the pain and how to stay feeling the best I could. When my doctor took me out of work and I moved home to finish treatment closer to my family, I was very upset that I would not find a nurse like Alyssa, who had brought cake and sparkling grape juice to my last chemo session at DFCI—a tradition for patients during their last treatment. She gave me a huge hug and said that even though it wasn’t really my last treatment, she wanted to do that for me. We stayed in touch while I was home finishing treatment, and I plan to visit her next week when I have my first checkups back in Boston. I am so grateful to have met Alyssa on this journey. She is a light for patients in a very dark time.—Nominated by Stephanie Dolliver
Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center
Christine Apel-Cram, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Multidisciplinary Intensive Care Unit
Chris has been nursing for more than 29 years, which is longer than I have been alive. She is the most compassionate nurse that I have ever met. When I worked alongside her as a licensed nursing assistant 10 years ago, she inspired me to become a nurse. Now that I’m working with her as a nurse myself, all of my coworkers would agree that Chris makes you want to give your patients the best care possible. Tensions run high in the ICU, with life and death hovering over each patient. I often see Chris managing 15 IV drips on the patient CRRT ventilator, supporting crying family members, and communicating with doctors, always with passion in her eyes. It’s easy to forget that we are taking care of somebody’s loved one, that this person is a teacher or a police officer or whatever—we can lose sight of their identity. Most ICU patients cannot speak for one reason or another. Chris always makes a point of customizing their care and being their voice.
Unfortunately, documentation requirements have pulled nurses away from devoting as much time as we would like to our patients. We’re always afraid of falling behind and charting past our shift. Yet, somehow I will see Chris shaving her patient or detangling their hair—care that is often put aside.
If any nurse deserves recognition, it is Chris. In all her years at the bedside—even in the ICU, where every day is mentally and emotionally challenging—she has never lost her passion for care. Chris makes nursing look easy.—Nominated by Chelsea Jewell
Dedham Public Schools
Geri Kelly, Greenlodge Elementary School, Dedham Public Schools
Mrs. Kelly is an elementary school nurse in Dedham. She is so good at taking care of all the kids in the school and making us feel safe. I am a Type 1 diabetic, so I require more care than some of the other students. Mrs. Kelly always ensures that I am safe and healthy while at school. I need to visit her daily, and she has a full understanding of my needs. My parents and I never worry about my health during the school day. Mrs. Kelly makes it a point to know every student at Greenlodge and make all of the children feel special and welcome. She makes sure all of the students are getting the most out of the school day and missing the least amount of classroom time. She is always advocating for what is best for her students. She works so hard to make school and the health office a fun place to be. We learn about nutrition, exercise, puberty, and allergy awareness. Mrs. Kelly is a calming presence and we are blessed to have her as our nurse.—Nominated by Devan O’Connell
Dedham Medical Associates, Atrius Health
Ellen Pothier, Dedham Medical Associates, Atrius Health
I work with Ellen as a nurse case manager in an internal medicine physician practice. We are asked to assist with patients who have challenging complex medical and social issues, like Alzheimer’s disease, cancer care, cardiac problems, and patients living alone, who need more support. Ellen is an outstanding clinician and case manager with great knowledge and skills, as well as great compassion. She reaches out to our patients, often sending them extra educational information such as copies of diabetic diets, medication teaching sheets, names of vendors with lower-cost supplies or equipment, or places to order prepared food. She has brought in borrowed equipment for patients who could not afford their own.
Ellen spends a lot of time researching extra services. She will send patients lists of private home care agencies. She will research insurance coverage and benefits to help the patient get the maximum amount of care that can be covered. Patients, families, and our physicians appreciate the extra effort.
She always does this with a smile and a positive attitude, too. Her physicians, team, patients, and families love working with her. She is the case manager I would want for myself or my family.—Nominated by Marita Tympanick
Marita Tymapnick, Dedham Medical Associates, Atrius Health
Marita is a seasoned nurse case manager with a vast fund of knowledge from both her life experience and her prior experience in home care and in managed care. She currently works closely with a group of busy primary care physicians to help their most complicated patients navigate the health care system and remain in their best possible state of health. She also has a great sense of humor, which comes in very handy for a case manager. She is also a master creative problem solver. She is devoted to helping her patients through all kinds of health challenges. They appreciate her thoughtful coaching, her dedication to complex problem-solving, and her professional expertise.
She was my mentor and trainer. Marita was amazingly patient and kind as she helped me learn about another new electronic medical record system and learn how to successfully integrate with the culture of the medical practice. She is an insightful, thoughtful nurse case manager and friend.—Nominated by Ellen Pothier
Dowd Medical Associates
Kimberly Angelini, Dowd Medical Associates
Kim is a role model for balancing commitment to work, education, her family, and to patients. After working at Massachusetts General Hospital for three years, she started her graduate studies at Boston College. When she completed her master’s of science in nursing, she started working as a nurse practitioner at Dowd, providing care to women while continuing to study at BC. Although school was stressful at times, she excelled there, got married, had a baby, and still had time to excel at meeting our patients’ health needs. She is dedicated to providing excellent care to women, and with continued dedication to her studies, Kim hopes to complete her doctorate in nursing later this year.—Nominated by Mimi Pomerleau
Kathy Savage, Element Care
I have had the honor of working with Kathy as she volunteered for countless charity events as medical support. Her compassion is unwavering and she is a delight! She gives medical care with a huge heart. She is an amazing woman and I am privileged to nominate her!—Nominated by Ethel Chaney
Meghan Lipcon, Emerson Hospital
“Meg” came into my life after I became unexpectedly and (as it turned out) seriously ill during a weekend in Maine last October. After a quick return to Concord, Mass., and admission through the Emerson emergency department, I was assigned to the medical floor known as Wheeler 4. Thus began an eight-week medical odyssey that took me to five hospital floors (two of them twice) while medical personnel worked to determine and address my issues.
Meghan was a day-shift staff nurse who helped me navigate through the first two weeks of a baffling illness. As I struggled to make sense of what was happening, isolated due to medical precautions, Meghan was a constant, reassuring presence, alerting doctors when needed, keeping me on track with medications, and informing me about what was happening. Her small stature and youthful appearance belied a caring and disciplined professional. When I returned to her floor at the end of my stay, she helped me prepare to leave the hospital. Her last communication was simple but revealing. Written in my discharge folders were the words “We’ll miss you. We hope you continue to feel better! Meg RN.”
For the record, I received excellent care from the nursing staff on all of the floors that I visited, but Meghan stood out from her peers.—Nominated by Rebecca Purcell
Susanne Miele, Emerson Hospital
My daughter was in the hospital for leukemia treatment while I was there delivering my son. A moment that should have been beautiful and amazing was terrible and stressful. Susanne took amazing care of me all through the labor, delivery, and aftercare. She made me feel calm through all the stress and made the whole situation a thousand times easier. I have never met a nurse like Susanne. She was a rock in one of the wildest storms I’ve ever encountered.—Nominated by Hailey Nogler
Tiffany Naughton, Emerson Hospital
Tiffany demonstrated compassion throughout my stay after I delivered my first child, as well as answering every one of my hundreds of questions as a new mother. She made me feel as if I were her only patient on both days of her shift. She checked in without prompting to see how I was feeling, how my son was, and what our plans were for going home. When all I wanted was to go home, Tiffany advocated for me to spend one additional night in the hospital to work on breastfeeding and to ensure that my husband and I were confident with the baby.
When I left the hospital, I felt like Tiffany was family and I wasn’t sure how I would survive without her. She shared strategies for changing and bathing my son and on how to survive the first few nights at home. As a health care provider myself, I hope that I practice the same level of compassion and care that Tiffany showed me. She treated me like a sister.—Nominated by Heather Mistry
Linda “Lyn” Yakas, Emerson Hospital
Lyn deserves this award for patient care alone, but she also provides outstanding care for family members and is a superb mentor to staff. Her almost irrepressibly sunny nature, kindness, and patience combine with her clinical acumen to make for one fantastic nurse. I particularly recall her care for a young woman struggling with opiate addiction. Lyn stuck with her for days and days, encouraging her to get through the seemingly endless cravings and anxiety that accompany heroin detox. She is equally able to calm an acutely agitated patient. Lyn was a hematology-oncology nurse before becoming a psych nurse, and she combines the best of medical and psychiatric skills in her thoughtful care of complex patients. Florence Nightingale would be thrilled to see her in action.—Nominated by Jessica Foz
Encompass Home Health
Michelle McCall, Encompass Home Health
What a pleasure it has been having Michelle as my visiting nurse. She has been expert at assessing my condition, conferring with my primary care doctor, and consulting a specialist from her organization. She is very clear and encouraging when explaining my condition to my family and caregivers, and she is always willing to answer questions. Sharing her schedule times and being punctual is also helpful. Michelle brightens our home with her friendliness, compassion, and sense of humor.—Nominated by Bob Cavallaro
Fertility Centers of New England
Gina Paoletti-Falcone, Fertility Centers of New England
Gina is amazing, caring, sweet, and thorough. Always there to offer support, she explains everything in details. I had two miscarriages and she offered her support in any way she could.—Nominated by Erika Ryan
Juliette Noonan, Franciscan Children’s
Juliette is a clinical coordinator on a locked inpatient psychiatric unit for children and adolescents. Mature and energetic, Juliette assumed leadership at a relatively young age and has continued to grow as a nurse and a leader. As a clinical coordinator, she generally shares tasks and roles with two other colleagues; in February, she managed the job seamlessly on her own. She “kept the ship righted” by paying attention to the needs of the patients, their families, and the staff. She juggled payroll, scheduling, meetings, and patient care with the poise and grace of a much more experienced leader.
One patient had not only a complicated psychiatric history, but also medical concerns and developmental challenges. Her behavior was confusing and sometimes scary for many of our staff, who sought to keep the patient safe despite the complexity of her presentation. After a few difficult and worrisome shifts with her, Juliette worked with the staff to keep this patient from hurting herself or anyone else. Juliette was able to keep the staff calm and use her assessment skills, humor, and relationship-building to connect with the patient during a crisis. In her typical, humble way, Juliette was able to communicate to the kid and staff that she understood, and displayed clear empathy that allowed everyone to calm down and engage in art activities together, avoiding what might otherwise have been a larger and more dangerous crisis. As usual, Juliette downplayed her skills and professionalism—but those of us involved noticed and learned, and (most importantly) the patient felt cared-for and safe.—Nominated by Kim Doheny
Geiger-Gibson Community Health Center
Samantha Carstens, Geiger-Gibson Community Health Center
Sam provides the glue for the patient care that we deliver. She knows our patients well and reaches out to ensure that they are well able to care for themselves. She even makes home visits in the Harbor Point neighborhood to check on our more frail patients. She does a great job with patient education and manages visits and follow-up for folks with hypertension. She conducts outreach with blood pressure screening on the sidewalk in front of the health center.
Sam is especially effective with elders, particularly those with some cognitive impairment. She makes the extra effort to explore community resources and help folks enroll in our Program for All-Inclusive Care of the Elderly (PACE). She marshals resources to ensure that patients are safe in their homes and shows special skills with those who struggle with substance abuse and other mental health issues, always demonstrating respect and caring while motivating continued efforts at treatment. Sam makes my job as a nurse practitioner far more effective and easy that it would otherwise be.—Nominated by John Roberts
Good Samaritan Medical Center
Robert (Cameron) Griffin, Good Samaritan Medical Center
Good Samaritan recently introduced the DAISY Award to our staff—an international recognition program that celebrates the skillful, compassionate care that nurses provide every day. Robert (Cameron) Griffin was our first recipient. He exemplifies the Caring, Accountability, Respect, Empathy, and Stewardship (CARES) that we at GSMC strive for every day. We received this letter about him:
“Griffin develops meaningful relationships with all his patients. Recently, a very special patient who had been on 4A several times during a long battle with cancer was admitted as a hospice patient. When she was admitted, she specifically requested a couple of the nurses to care for her. One of those nurses was Griffin. She was admitted on a Tuesday evening. Griffin works 12-hour day shifts and cared for her on Wednesday and Thursday. Throughout this time, many family and friends visited this woman. Griffin managed the patient’s pain, the family’s grief, and the multiple visitors crowding the room, the hallway, and the family room. He handled all of this with professionalism and empathy. Despite Griffin’s scheduled 12-hour shift, he also came in early on Thursday and quietly sat with her before his workday started. Sadly, she passed on Thursday late afternoon. Griffin again handled her passing with the utmost professionalism and empathy. The next day, the family called to thank everyone for the excellent care their loved one and they had received. Although many helped to care for her, Griffin was a large part of the process.”—Nominated by Ellen Jacobs
Sam Sumner, Good Samaritan Medical Center
I initially met Sam during my first hospital stay in February 2017. She made such a huge difference in my experience that I specifically requested her as my nurse when I needed to return to the hospital in May.
Sam made me feel like the only person who mattered. She was extremely attentive, always delivering care with an excellent attitude and a smile. She knew just how to explain what was happening and advocated firmly for my proper care. At one point, when she realized that another provider had not followed protocol, she immediately took steps to rectify the situation and reported the problem appropriately. I call Sam “Nurse Perfect.”—Nominated by Richard Freeman
Hallmark Health System
Marian Barry-Ravagni, Hallmark Health VNA and Hospice, Hallmark Health System
In December, I need to stay in rehab for a month after major surgery. I was set up with the Hallmark VNA. The case manager who visited me first realized that I needed a specialty nurse due to my new appliance. Marian arrived the next Tuesday with the needed supplies and the energy to deal with an older, retired nurse. She was patient and supportive in the multiple steps for taking care of myself, making me laugh to ease my nervousness during the half-hour procedure. She kept me in focus. I am grateful for the time Marian spent with me. She was so very helpful in helping me adjust to my temporary situation.—Nominated by Gerry Batstone-Carson
Marian Barry-Ravagni, Hallmark Health VNA and Hospice, Hallmark Health System
My mother, a breast cancer survivor, recently had a colostomy at the age of 95. Suddenly, we were thrown into a whirlwind of care that I knew nothing about. Marian was the wound and ostomy nurse who brought a contagious upbeat attitude into our home. Always professional, her encouragement made my mother feel that everything would be OK. As my mother’s caregiver, I appreciated how Marian sat with me and explained in detail how to use each product. No matter how many times I asked the same questions, she showed me in detail what I needed to accomplish and put my concerns to rest. In the short time that I spent with Marian, I gained confidence in my ability to care for my mother, and that she would live her life to the fullest.—Nominated by Paula Morgan
Judy A. Zito, Hallmark Health VNA and Hospice, Hallmark Health System
My visiting nurse Judy has an extraordinary sense of caring and concern, and her treatment of my medical problems has been exemplary. She always visits with a smile and a calming presence that exudes confidence and encourages acceptance of her suggestions and treatment. Judy is meticulous in her concern for my overall wellness and never hesitates to communicate with my doctors about my medical progression or medications. She uses the same concern when checking my vital signs as she does with my wound care. When difficult situations arise, she immediately makes her best effort to resolve them. Her sense of knowledge and stability certainly exceed expectations. There are not enough words to express my appreciation for Judy’s presence in ameliorating my condition.—Nominated by Anthony DiPietro
Judy A. Zito, Hallmark Health VNA and Hospice, Hallmark Health System
Judy has shown extraordinary knowledge and skills and a gentle touch as my wound care nurse over the past year. Her agency allowed her to be my primary nurse at my family’s urging. As a former operating room nurse myself, I notice the extra concern she shows for me, and that she sees my case as a priority because it is unusual. All of the two or three nurses who cared for me initially were good, but Judy took the extra time and effort to make sure that the dressings were not too tight and that I could move my ankle and foot without discomfort. She always made sure of my comfort and checked for weeping and seepage before she left, and if it needed adjusting she would do it with a smile.
The primary care person in my family has called Judy on several occasions, and she has always called right back with suggestions. Her knowledge of wound care is unsurpassed and her communication skills are excellent.—Nominated by Sally Ann Squires
Hannah Dustin Healthcare Center
Cathy Geisler, Hannah Dustin Healthcare Center
I know a special nurse who works hard every day,
Caring for her patients in a gentle loving way.
She treats them all with kindness and tender care.
Their lives are made easier knowing that she’s there.
She works in a nursing home which not everyone can do.
She gives so much of herself and always has a smile for you.
She has been there 14 years and I am sure she’s seen it all.
When it comes to her patients she is at their beck and call.
She does more than just what the doctors say—she anticipates each need.
Her patients know that she will be there not just in word but in deed.
My mom is one of her patients and Mom calls her friend.
Because she knows she will be there for her, right to the end.
My life is filled with happiness because this nurse is there.
I can relax knowing my mom is getting excellent care.
This nurse is Cathy Geisler, she’s at Mom’s beck and call.
She is warm, caring, supportive, that surely says it all.
For your Salute to Nurses Cathy is the one I nominate.
She is wonderful, compassionate, incredible and GREAT.—Nominated by Judith Zaino
Harbor House Rehab & Nursing Center, BaneCare
Holly McCarthy, Harbor House Rehab & Nursing Center, Bane Care
My father’s condition was very poor when Holly met him upon his transfer to Harbor House. She took action immediately, getting medication from the doctor on call within an hour. After he received pain medication and Tylenol for a fever of 103, it was the first time I had seen him comfortable in a week. Holly worked double shifts for the next two days and comforted my large family—nine children and 22 grandchildren were all at his bedside at some point during those two days.
When we decided that hospice care was needed, Holly became his hospice nurse. As a nurse myself, I could not have asked for a better nurse to care for my whole family. When my father died two days after admission, he was comfortable and his family was at peace. I can’t say enough about Holly’s bedside care and her love and concern for my whole family.—Nominated by Jeanne Travis
Harvard Medical School
Christine Mitchell, Center for Bioethics, Harvard Medical School
Christine is one of the most accomplished, compassionate, and committed care providers I have ever known. I work with her daily at the Center for Bioethics, which she co-founded and now serves as executive director. Christine was inspired to explore the field of bioethics because of the deeply difficult questions she faced as a nurse in the clinic. She not only took the initiative to educate herself about the ethical issues involved in clinical care, she also took the lead in helping other care providers get the support and education they needed to face similar decisions. Christine founded the ethics program at Boston Children’s Hospital, where she directed the ethics consultation service and led Ethics Advisory Committee for 30 years. She also founded an Ethics Leadership Group across Harvard’s teaching hospitals. She is a true leader in nursing, not just because of her many accomplishments, but because of her deep commitment to quality care, her integrity in her interactions with colleagues, and her efforts in creating opportunities for other providers to learn the importance of ethics in clinical training and medical education.—Nominated by Angela Alberti
Harvard Vanguard, Atrius Health
Danielle Fiore, Harvard Vanguard–Chelmsford, Atrius Health
I have known our wonderful nurse at Chelmsford Atrius Health for over three years. I have never seen her decline a request for patient outreach or care, or for intravenous fluids or antibiotics for a patient in the holding area. She is always ready to help. For example, we had a 34-year-old female with multiple emergency room visits for gastrointestinal symptoms. Even as the ER had a hard time sticking her for intravenous access, Danielle was able to get it with ease. She is an asset to our practice and our patients.—Nominated by Mythily Meda
Elizabeth Reddy, Atrius Health
Elizabeth, who prefers to be called Bettie, was the original teledermatology nurse for a new program at Atrius, and she remains the lead. We recognize that dermatology appointments are very difficult to obtain. A small pilot program in 2014 was helpful to the primary care clinicians, but patient education was lacking.
This new program is instrumental because of nursing. Bettie calls 20 to 30 people a day to review their dermatologist-reviewed photos, discuss any treatment recommendations, or help make an appointment. As her supervisor, I receive accolades from the patients and clinicians regarding her work in making their lives easier.—Nominated by Ellen McCafferty
Danielle Fiore, Harvard Vanguard–Chelmsford, Atrius Health
I have known our wonderful nurse at Chelmsford Atrius Health for over three years now. I have never seen her decline a request for patient outreach or care, or for intravenous fluids or antibiotics for a patient in the holding area. She is always ready to help. For example, we had a 34-year-old female with multiple emergency room visits for gastrointestinal symptoms. Even as the ER had a hard time sticking her for intravenous access, Danielle was able to get it with ease. She is an asset to our practice and our patients.–Nominated by Mythily Meda
Kathy Boyd, Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates, Atrius Health
My colleague Kathy is an exceptional nurse case manager who doesn’t shy away from difficult complex patients whom we find hard to engage. Kathy has the tools to gain their trust and give them compassionate care. For example, there was one young patient with many chronic illnesses. He was termed “difficult” because he doesn’t listen to anyone, including his close relatives. He had uncontrolled diabetes that he wasn’t following up with thoroughly, and he was gradually losing his limbs. After multiple emergency department visits and hospitalization, Kathy was able to engage him and case-manage him until his death. They built a nurse-patient relationship, and he would seek second opinions from Kathy before allowing anyone to touch him. Kathy effectively coached him to healthy eating habits and management of his diabetes.—Nominated by Joy Enoma
Araselis Castillo, Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates, Atrius Health
Araselis joined our Rheumatology practice as a newly graduated young nurse one year ago. I knew from the outset that Araselis would be a great success, and she has gone on to exceed all my expectations. She has learned a great deal of rheumatology and won the gratitude and trust of our patients.
She is energetic, compassionate, gracious, comforting, and loyal to all her patients and to all those that she interacts with on the staff. She is inquisitive and eager to learn as much as possible. She is humble while also being confident and reassuring to our patients who have complex medical issues. She cares and advocates for the medical and social needs of her patients. Bright, compassionate, industrious, and kind, Araselis is a real model of all that a nurse can be.—Nominated by Robert Sands
Cindy Cunningham Pediatrics, Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates, Atrius Health
Cindy demonstrates her compassion daily as a patient, quick-thinking pediatric nurse practitioner supreme. She has willingly and patiently trained many students on the path, and is a great teacher to parents with a non-judgmental and culturally sensitive approach, treating all patients with the same naturally delivered respect, compassion, and sensitivity. I have worked with her since she helped mentor me as a new nurse practitioner nearly 20 years ago. I aspire to be like her. She is one of the many under-recognized nurses who have travelled the path from novice to expert and never lost the passion to deliver the finest care to our pediatric patients and their parents. She is the best.—Nominated by Sue Warner
Ann Curran, Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates, Atrius Health
Ann is the best example of a super awesome nurse. Words can’t do justice to how amazing Ann is. She is loved and trusted by all our families and staff, as is shown in her practice every day. She takes special interest in adolescents. For example, she was unexpectedly sent a patient from another department. The patient was under the influence of drugs. Ann immediately evaluated the patient, took control of the situation, and provided her emergency care. When difficult situations arise, Ann never looks the other way. She will work through any issue, stopping at nothing to address all of the patient’s concerns and needs. No matter how many changes in health care, she always has a smile and carries on in the most positive way.
Ann is considered a peer and a mentor to all the doctors and nurses. Her judgment is impeccable. Most importantly, patients and all levels of staff feel comfortable asking her anything. She is everyone’s “go-to” person who will help anyone, anytime. When she has a day off, all members of the staff wish she was there.
The most important lesson that we have learned from Ann is to laugh. Laughing is key in health care. She is always happy and laughs every day. Her laugh is infectious. It puts everyone in a good mood, making it a great day. We are all grateful for her in many ways.—Nominated by Tricia Benner
Eileen Forest, Pediatrics, Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates, Atrius Health
Eileen continually demonstrates compassion, clinical competency, excellent communication, trust in care, and patient advocacy. Here in Pediatrics, our day typically starts busy and ends busy. It is a privilege to have Eileen as my nurse manager. She hired me as a new grad and taught me many skills and competencies—not only those necessary to care for my patients, but also the importance of humility, grace, kindness, and empathy. She is kind and has a solid character with extreme stamina.
In addition to her daily nursing duties, Eileen aids in a tremendous amount of administrative work as well. She says “good morning,” “good night,” “thank you,” and “good job” on a daily basis. She not only compliments her team, but gives gentle and necessary guidance when something can be improved. She looks out for both her patients and her colleagues as she continues to give endlessly and care for others deeply.
I had many fears going into my first nursing job. Eileen reassured me daily and praised my good work, giving me confidence. I enjoy learning from her and working with her and other colleagues. I can confidently say that I love coming to work every day, and I love my job and my patients.—Nominated by Mika Noyes
Sarah Paez, Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates, Atrius Health
Sarah has been the nurse manager/clinical leader of the Intensive Home Based Program (IHBP) for five-plus years now and consistently exceeds everyone’s expectations. During her tenure as nurse manager, the number of nurses under her supervision has nearly tripled, as have the frail homebound elders on our census. The IHBP serves the frailest, most acute, most likely for readmission patients with the most barriers, challenges, and complex co-morbidities.
Sarah is by far the best manager I’ve ever had, and I’ve had many. She is unassuming, grounded, humble, and soft-spoken, yet always organized, prepared, in control, and in charge—the smartest and most capable person in any meeting. She is fearless and exudes confidence, and is always available and willing to help any of her staff at any time, even if just for a quick call after a tough visit. In addition to her countless managerial and leadership duties, she also carries a full caseload of geriatric patients. She knows the challenges her staff faces because she faces the same obstacles herself on a daily basis, making her that much more aware, patient, flexible, compassionate, and empathetic to us, her staff, and to our frail elders and their families.
Through all of this, she continually seeks to streamline systems, simplify protocols, modernize procedures, and do case reviews or root-cause analyses—all with the input and buy-in of staff both above and below her. She is an incredible juggler of all this and is always smiling and positive, and the first one many of her staff call whenever they have a question. Like many of my peers, I am proud and happy to work with her, and hope that we do so for many years.—Nominated by Gabriel Belosevic
Catherine Phillips, Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates, Atrius Health
I have been married to a nurse for 36 years, and she has been working for 50. Kay retired almost five years ago after all those years of getting up early, driving to work, staying late, giving advice to worried parents, and tending to their sick children.
I never really appreciated how wonderful she was at her job. However, it seems that work can’t do without her; almost from the day she retired, she has been called upon to do pediatric triage from home. Now I get to listen as she patiently calms a first-time parent, sometimes telling him or her not to be concerned, sometimes suggesting a treatment for the child’s condition, and sometimes scheduling an appointment. She is as committed to her profession and her colleagues as she is to the parents, always willing to help when she could just say “no” —after all, she is supposed to be retired.—Nominated by Arthur Steinberg
Sharon Pease, Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates, Atrius Health
Sharon is a kind, knowledgeable go-between for patients, primary care doctors, and all specialists, both within HVMA and outside. She is like “Mother Theresa” to us.—Nominated by Jayanti and Anusuya Dixit
Nathan Samuels, Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates, Atrius Health
Nathan is an outstanding nurse in so many ways that its hard to know where to begin. He worked as a brilliant clinician in our cardiology department while earning his doctor of nursing practice degree. Nathan expanded his role in administration while demonstrating what a great leader he is. Now we are very excited to have Nathan paving the way in a primary care provider role within HVMA. His practice is growing quickly as many patients benefit from his wonderful care. Nathan is a brilliant clinician, but more importantly a wonderful, caring man who is in healthcare for all the right reasons.
Nathan is proud of his nursing foundation and loves to share his enthusiasm with others. From his role as an instructor in the nurse practitioner program at Simmons College to classes for the nurses at HVMA, Nathan is a gifted teacher.
In short, Nathan is everything a nurse stands for: compassionate and dedicated to providing the best care for his patients and families. In my 27 years of nursing, I have never met someone more deserving of this recognition.—Nominated by Christine Sweeney
Amie Webb, Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates, Atrius Health
Amie is a wonderful nurse who is loved by all of her colleagues and patients. She is very dedicated and will always provide patients with the best care while still being kind, compassionate, patient, understanding, and sympathetic. Amie has stayed late many times to help out when we have been busy with patient care. Her dedication is greatly appreciated. If there is any kind of problem, Amie will work through it to find a solution or answer. I am honored to work alongside her.—Nominated by Gayle Nowak
Kayleigh Withington, Dermatology, Harvard Vanguard-Kenmore, Atrius Health
Kayleigh is a young, compassionate, well-spoken, slightly reserved, and relatively new nurse who recently took on a new role as one of the teledermatology nurses within the dermatology department. This position requires communicating with the patient about a photo taken by their primary care or urgent care clinician and subsequently reviewed by a dermatologist. This past Thursday, many people in Massachusetts were without power, including Kayleigh. She used what little reserve she had on her phone as Wi-Fi to make these calls to patients on her computer. She sent a message to me early that afternoon that she was going to her gym to recharge her phone and computer—well beyond my expectations.—Nominated by Ellen McCafferty
Hebrew Rehabilitation Center
Erma Malano, Hebrew Rehabilitation Center
Erma is the night nurse. She is just wonderful at taking great care of her patients. She always has the right words to encourage, to help fight pain, and to give other medical employees to consult with. Her gentle approach, kindness, and knowledge help patients feel safe and secure.—Nominated by Irina Boikov
Tammy Rego, Hebrew Rehabilitation Center
As my physical therapist, Tammy helped me recover after hip replacement surgery. The surgery was very complicated for me because it was done on my only leg—my other leg had been amputated during childhood. Tammy was very inventive and created some individual strategies for working with me. She always told me that I am strong and will do OK in time.—Nominated by Irina Boikov
Brunilda Ruiz, Hebrew Rehabilitation Center
Brunie was covering the physical therapy needs of a medically complex RSU patient following specialized surgery in Boston. The patient’s two out-of-town family members were staying at a local hotel. When Brunie learned that the patient’s family could not afford the hotel for the duration of the patient’s recovery, she found them temporary housing for three weeks, free of charge…and then took them sightseeing in Boston to take their minds off their relative’s medical problems.—Nominated by Jacob Nadeau
Maria Alves-DaSilva, Orchard Cove Senior Living Communities, Hebrew SeniorLife
Maria was cleaning an apartment when she heard what she first thought was a normal cough in the hallway. When she heard it again, she became concerned, and went out to the hallway to check. Sure enough: a resident was gasping for breath, choking on a candy. Maria, who had recently started school to become a certified nursing assistant, put her new skills into action and performed the Heimlich maneuver. The shaken resident was deeply grateful that Maria was there to help her.—Nominated by Jacob Nadeau
Maureen Connerty, Hebrew Rehabilitation Center, Hebrew SeniorLife
A phone conversation with Maureen, the exercise therapist in the Center for Lifelong Fitness at HSL in Roslindale, inspired me to join the Get Up & Go Program at Hebrew Rehabilitation Center. During my yearly physical, my primary care doctor had instructed me to start weight training. Since Maureen is a nurse, and uses her knowledge to guide and work closely with patients and clients, I felt after speaking with her that the affordable Get Up & Go would be the place to start. Exercise is important for all seniors and—in order to boost my energy, improve my mood, help revitalize my life, and take off a dress size for an upcoming family wedding—I reluctantly made a 16-week commitment.
Maureen has been a nurse for 40-plus years and a valuable staff member of the rehab center for 19-plus years. She has been not only a terrific coach, but also the motivator I needed to help reach my wellness goals. Her welcoming and positive attitude makes me look forward to my three weekly sessions. I am laying the groundwork and hope that I will be blessed with a healthier and happier retirement because, at age 60, I followed Maureen’s encouragement to Get Up & Go.—Nominated by Laurie Bell
Jill Enwright, Hebrew SeniorLife Home Care
Jill managed my 92-year-old mother’s rehab care at home for a few weeks after surgery. Her good humor and compassionate manner significantly reduced my mother’s anxiety. My mother was understandably concerned about her long recovery, which was much harder than she had anticipated, and Jill led her through every step with not only excellent nursing care, but also encouragement and kindness. Jill listened well and was an amazing advocate to get my mother back to the emergency room in the same hospital where her surgery was done—not just the closest hospital—when her symptoms flared.
Jill inspired confidence in my mom, who is wary in general of medical treatment. Jill was respectful beyond expectation, and even encouraged my dad’s need to recite poetry while Jill treated my mom. She comforted our whole family, and we can’t thank her enough. Jill also happens to be my colleague (I am a social worker), and I have seen her provide the same superb care to our very fortunate mutual patients.—Nominated by Paula Angell
Nadejda Iurii, Long Term Chronic Care Hospital, Hebrew SeniorLife
Nadejda cares for all patients and knows her own job very well. She is very attentive to all her affairs and helps me a lot. She starts work with a smile, finds an individual approach to both the patients and the staff, and eliminates any conflicts without any problems.—Nominated by Shirin Kakhramonova
Nataliya Maychuck, Hebrew SeniorLife
I’m sure that every patient that Natalya has is extremely satisfied with her kindness and service. You can tell that she cares about her coworkers because she is always willing and helpful whenever needed. Natalya is an excellent nurse.—Nominated by Monique Degrave
Natalya Maychuck, Hebrew SeniorLife
Natalya has a big heart and is one of the best nurses at HSL. I’ve never met a nurse so caring and exceptional at her job. She comes to work with a smile every day and never lets any issues with her work or personal life affect her performance. She has a great working relationship with her colleagues, and is the person you ask if you need any type of assistance.—Nominated by Cindy Longfellow
Donna Stratford, Department of Medicine, Hebrew SeniorLife
Nurse practitioner Donna is deeply committed to our mission of honoring our elders, and does her best every day to ensure our residents’ safety, well-being, and quality of life. This could not have been more evident than on the day that “Helen,” a resident in our independent supportive housing community, lost consciousness in the dining room.
Within minutes, Donna was on-site to assist. Knowing that 911 had already been called, she directed our staff to bring Helen’s File of Life to the dining room so that it could serve as a resource for the emergency medical services (EMS) team. Fortunately, Helen regained consciousness, and Donna was able to assess her condition with the full cooperation of the EMS team.
Thanks to Donna’s expertise and quick response, Helen recovered quickly and was able to enjoy the afternoon at home with her adult children. An unnecessary transport to the local emergency room was avoided, saving time and taxpayer dollars. Because Helen suffers from dementia, a delirium was also likely avoided thanks to the outstanding support she received in her own senior living community.
Donna not only demonstrated compassion and competency, but also comforted our staff members, residents, and Helen’s children, all of whom greatly appreciated Donna’s excellent communication and care. She did not miss a beat, and built a great deal of trust in the process. I am grateful and honored to work with her.—Nominated by Rhonda Glyman
Deb Symonds, Orchard Cove Senior Living Communities, Hebrew SeniorLife
We have the honor of working with some of the most dedicated and passionate caregivers, due in large part to the leadership supporting them in their mission to inspire each resident to live “What Matters Most.” Deb Symonds, our director of Care Continuum, lives that mission every day.
When a resident on the cusp of her 100th birthday needed to move to our assisted living, Deb gathered the team to ensure that her move would be seamless. This resident was vibrant and engaged; she was serving as the head of a healthcare committee, passionate about politics, and dedicated to community service. Her diet required pureed foods low in potassium and Deb ensured that she received her modified food in the dining room, so that she could continue dining with her friends and loved ones. Hours of meetings with the medical team, culinary team, and resident assistants yielded a plan for this resident to succeed in her new home and continue thriving in the community. Thanks to Deb’s tireless advocacy and care coordination, this resident had the opportunity to live her best day, every day.—Nominated by Jessica Lepe
Lucy Villegas, Hebrew SeniorLife Hospice Care
Lucy transferred from Orchard Cove to HSL Hospice Care with no previous hospice experience. She independently devoured every ounce of teaching she could get and very quickly became a solid, compassionate, and competent hospice nurse with a large caseload, as well as being on-call weekends and evenings to meet hospice’s growing demand. She has expertly managed end-of-life symptoms for some of our most complicated patients. Lucy is a strong patient advocate who always volunteers when additional help is needed, or when a patient has concerns.—Nominated by Jacob Nadeau
Hyde Park Pediatrics
Mary Foley, Hyde Park Pediatrics
Mary is the nurse manager at my children’s pediatrician’s office. I have known her for going on 16 years. She has been there since my four children were infants, then toddlers, then school age, and now pre-teen/teenagers.
Once, when my daughter was very dehydrated from a virus, Mary put in an IV to give her fluids and saved us a trip to the emergency room.
I can always call her at the office for questions about the kids’ health, paperwork, helping me get in touch with our pediatrician, or anything else—she’s just the best. She has even answered my emails on her day off.—Nominated by Michelle Clancy