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5 West Hospital Nurses, Lahey Hospital and Medical Center
I have worked on 5 West for the past 10 years, and nothing makes me prouder than those words. The staff on 5 West have a commitment to compassionate care, to excellent teamwork, and to making the workday as fun as possible. We help each other every day, both inside and outside the hospital. I am proud to learn from these nurses, to work with these nurses, and to take care of the patients in our community together. It is a privilege to work with them. We are not only co-workers, we are family. —Nominated by Nicole Pelley
Susan Carroccino, Wilmington Urgent Care, Lahey Health
I never expected my daughter Susan Carroccino to become a nurse, but she has been a huge help to me since losing my husband and being on my own. She is there whenever I need her. Not only is she my friend, but a down-to-earth nurse always willing to help people. —Nominated by Nancy Bean
Stephanie Gangi, Lahey Health at Home, Lahey Health
Stephanie became my wife Phyllis’s primary nurse during her recent losing battle with pancreatic cancer. Initially part of the Bridge to Hospice program, and later Hospice, Stephanie visited us regularly and provided a combination of compassion, competence, and genuine caring about Phyllis as a person.
Stephanie would take calls on her day off, make phone calls to advocate for necessary services or equipment, and even visited on her day off once because Phyllis’s meds needed to be changed. As the end approached, Stephanie provided these services in such a way that we knew exactly what was happening, what we needed to do, and what Phyllis’s condition was along the way. She made us feel that everything that could be done was being done professionally.
Stephanie communicated continuously with her team, including the social worker, nurse practitioner, nurse manager, and Lahey Health at Home’s medical director to coordinate the other services and visitors that Phyllis needed.
After Phyllis passed away, Stephanie contacted us to express her sympathies and assure us that we had done an excellent job in caring for her. We appreciated her efforts.—Nominated by Stanley Nissen
Susan Hazel, Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Lahey Health
I have been in Susan’s care on and off for the past few years, and she is incredible. She is attentive to detail, kind, caring, comforting, understanding, and helpful, and she will always make time for you. Susan is so compassionate that talking with her about any health issue is easy. She is prompt at returning calls, and if she doesn’t know the answer to one of your questions she will get it for you. She is very knowledgeable and always pays close attention to learn more from the doctors she works with. She asks questions in a procedure or exam room to become even more knowledgeable, and she knows how to care for each and every patient. Susan is beyond exceptional.—Nominated by Judi Berube
Annette Johnstin, Lahey Health
I work in the Pulmonary Department here in Peabody and Annette works in the Rheumatology Department right next to me. I see and hear her compassion for all of her patients, old or young. She is the first one to give the shirt off her back if they need it.
I overheard one conversation with a patient who is wheelchair- and bedbound. She not only made sure that he got home safely that day, but also that he had something to eat while waiting for the ambulance after being in the office for three hours with no lunch. I see Annette do a lot of great things, such as helping with medication that patients can’t afford by getting them discounts and savings, but the biggest joy she brings to us in the staff pool is chocolate. She always says (and I quote) “It was on SALE.”
I am so glad to have such a caring individual around me and the team. She makes us all think about our actions before we say or do them. She is my role model—I look up to her just as the others do. She has taught me so much in the medical world that I can’t thank her enough. When we have someone in distress, she is the first to drop what she is doing and run over to help. She will be there for you, any time and any place.—Nominated by Janet Anderson
Carla Mabee, Lahey Health at Home, Lahey Health
Carla visited me four days a week for several weeks to check a significant wound that required daily dressing changes. As the primary nurse, Carla would recognize the earliest potential complication and address it immediately, and she implemented any physician orders the same day. She made phone calls about prescription or diabetic pump delays, always with successful outcomes. As a nurse myself, I was a difficult patient. I exhibited anxiety and vented that to Carla, who put a positive spin on it and gave me confidence. She enjoys her work as a visiting nurse and the reward of seeing patients make progress. The most difficult experience was my last day with her, when I had to start caring for myself.—Nominated by Janet Spellman
Anna Malyak, Lahey Hospital and Medical Center
I thought that I had had the flu for several days. After a visit to the doctor, I was taken to Lahey by ambulance. A series of tests determined that I had minimal kidney function, elevated white blood count, and elevated liver functions, along with a serious case of pneumonia. Needless to say, my health was in jeopardy.
During my stay at Lahey, Anna demonstrated compassion, strong clinical skills, advocacy, communication, and commitment to her patients. One incident exemplifies all of those qualities. I rang for the nurse one midnight with the terror of being unable to breathe, and the more anxious I became, the harder it was to take a breath. Anna realized that she faced a young man convinced that he was dying. In sheer panic, I asked her not to leave me. I have a wife, three children, and everything to live for, so you can imagine the thoughts going through my head.
Anna quietly assured me that I was not dying and that she would not leave me. She made me her priority. In the big scheme of things, it might seem like a small gesture, but hearing her say “Ron, don’t worry; I am here and I’m not going to leave you” was huge for me.—Nominated by Ronald Habeshian
Janet McSheehy, Lahey Hospital and Medical Center
Janet has been an oncology nurse for 34 years. I have witnessed many examples of her effortless compassion over the past 14 of those years. For example, when a patient in the intensive care unit needed emergent chemotherapy treatment on a Friday night, Janet volunteered to stay after her 12-hour shift and administer the treatment late into the night. She never complained when she returned to work the next morning, her only concern being for the patient and her family. Janet continued to check up on them throughout her stay.
Another patient with leukemia was stressed about chemotherapy and being hospitalized. Janet took the time to listen and answer his question and to build trust with him and his wife. The patient asked for Janet every time he came to the hospital, and visible calm came to his face once he saw her.
Nursing is an ever-changing and demanding career. Janet calls herself “a fossil,” but many of the newer nurses have said how grateful they have been for Janet’s guidance, and how much they learned from her. Janet has been a great role model. She always comes to work with a smile, always willing to help and share her knowledge.
Outside of work, Janet continues to share her passion for nursing by caring for her elderly mother and her niece, who recently had surgery.—Nominated by Nancy Kochilaris
Janice Morrissette, Lahey Hospital and Medical Center
I have worked with Janice for the past 10 years, in which time she has grown from floor nurse to the assistant nurse manager to the manager. Her personality is the best: her laughter is infectious, her leadership style is fun, and she always advocates for patients and the nurses.
Most recently, I remember a time when the hospital was short-staffed. At 9 a.m. the staffing office needed to float someone to another unit. Knowing how chaotic and stressful that would be for her staff, Janice took off her white coat and went to that floor to pass meds herself. This is not something that management does often, or that I had ever seen in my years at Lahey. It makes me proud to work for a manager who puts the needs of the patients and her staff before everything else. Janice will always fight for what’s right, all while making us smile and laugh. I have only been a nurse for three years, but if I end up being anything like Janice I will feel like I have succeeded in my career.—Nominated by Niki Pelley
Prachi Shah, Lahey Hospital and Medical Center, Lahey Health
Nursing exemplifies the optimization of health and quality of life in all people. Parchi embodies these core values. She attended Northeastern University for health science, then transferred to the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy for nursing, and is currently enrolled in a master’s program in public health at George Washington University.
As a young adult, Prachi traveled extensively with her family and witnessed a lack of health care in many parts of the world. These experiences cultivated a passion to be of service to the less fortunate. She began her career at Lahey in 2016. By the end of 2017, Prachi volunteered to go to Uganda with LHMC personnel and the Catholic Health Initiative. Before leaving, she envisioned how she might be able to support the Ugandan people. With Prachi’s leadership and determination, and help from her colleagues on 6/7 Southeast, she raised over $2,000 from raffles and a bake sale to buy four laptops.
Prachi and the medical team went to Uganda in early 2018, where they worked side-by-side administering treatments, immunizations, and patient education. She actively participated in the installation, implementation, and education of the electronic health records (EHR) for the Ugandan health center using the new laptop computers. Installing the computers was essential for communication between the health center and the outside world. Computer access and EHR were also needed to apply for government funding.
Prachi has gone unselfishly to help a community and country that lacks resources and health care personnel, and is truly the essence of a professional nurse.—Nominated by Mary Levesque
Jessica Vecchia, Multiple Sclerosis Center, Lahey Hospital and Medical Center, Lexington
Jessica had big shoes to fill when she took over as facilitator of a multiple sclerosis support group held at Lahey Lexington each month. Group members had been together for many years. As a group, we’re pretty outspoken and informed.
By day, Jessica is the RN for the department of neurology in the MS Center in Lexington. She is professional, skilled, and caring, and the kind of liaison with medical staff that every patient hopes for. If I need to see the doctor, need a prescription, or have a question, Jessica will be there to help. I had a problem with insurance coverage for a medicine that I’ve taken for years. Jessica mobilized a group of people at Lahey, dealt with the insurance bureaucrats, and I was approved for the medication.
As a support group facilitator, she reviews new meds, brings in speakers, and fosters a closeness I’ve never experienced in such a group. Jessica has more than earned our group’s respect and gratitude for her hard work.—Nominated by Mona Mondano
Life Care Center of Plymouth
Lizz Moretti, Life Care Center of Plymouth
My father, who was terminally ill with lymphoma, was a patient at Life Care for many weeks. During the last few difficult days and hours, Lizz not only treated him with compassion, but she was able to allay the anxiety that I was experiencing, along with his sons and his wife of 58 years.
I have more than 15 years of experience as a critical care nurse and had been a support for the family for many weeks, but found that I needed information and guidance and clear communication about the end-of-life care he was to receive. I wanted details: How can we make sure he isn’t in pain? How much morphine will he receive and how often? What comfort measures would work? I will never forget how clear, calm, and decisive Lizz was when I found her in the hallway during a moment of great anxiety. She did more than just comfort; she gave detailed information that one nurse needed from another—information I did not have expertise in.
Liz works full time, is going to school to get her bachelor of science in nursing, and she is raising a family. I admire her professionally, and I would like people to hear more about those who choose to care for our aging loved ones. During a time of grief and confusion, Lizz had a care plan and she shared it lovingly with her patient and family.—Nominated by Leah Droof
Lowell General Hospital
Jacq Dwyer, Lowell General Hospital
When I was 34 weeks pregnant, I went in for a routine ultrasound and learned that I had preeclampsia. I called my mother to tell her that delivery was imminent, but before I could get the words out she told me that she was being admitted with pneumonia, possible flu, and atrial fibrillation. She would be admitted and discharged three times that week.
When she was readmitted the next week, she needed surgery. My baby was transferred to LGH, so they were finally in the same hospital—my mother had not met her granddaughter yet.
The following day, my stepfather was unexpectedly found dead. We had to tell my mother, fresh out of surgery and in active AFib, that her partner of 35 years had passed away. Her nurse, Jacq, handled everything before we could even think of it. She stood by to ensure that my mother’s heart could take the news. Then she arranged for my mother to be brought up to the special care nursery to meet her granddaughter and bring a little light into her broken heart. Jacq accompanied us, along with all of the heart monitoring equipment. She cared wholly for my mother’s medical and emotional needs. Jacq is a phenomenal nurse. What she did for my family will never be forgotten.—Nominated by Karen Connors
James McCarthy, Lowell General Hospital
If you look around an emergency room nowadays, you can see a number of male nurses—in fact, the hospital where I work employs male and female nurses almost equally. Many of them come from a military background, which adds experience with crisis response and a calm, disciplined approach. That is where I met my husband, who is a male nurse or “murse,” as many people tease. In my opinion, no one does the job better. He is calm and reassuring, compassionate, knowledgeable, and more than capable. He can run a code or comfort a crying child—we have six children between us and his fathering skills are also outstanding.
We were having dinner at a local restaurant once when a man at a nearby table began seizing and hit his head. There was a lot of blood, and a lot of upset diners. My husband calmly put down his fork, told the manager to call 911, and knelt on the floor to care for the man until the ambulance arrived. Once the patient was transferred to the EMTs, James returned to our table and continued his meal. He might have bloodstains from a stranger on his shirt sleeve, but he wasn’t going to let his food get cold. The manager kindly picked up the tab for our meal. It was a nice gesture, but the truth is that my murse would have taken care of any stranger, any place, any day.—Nominated by Molly McCarthy
Nursing Staff, Saints Campus, Lowell General Hospital
Three shifts of nurses were my guardian angels during my hospital stay in late 2017. Each of these nurses was at my side constantly after I had unexpected complications from surgery. Their care helped me recover sooner rather than later. The nurses on the fourth floor of the Riley Building should all be recognized.—Nominated by Jeanne O’Brien
Martha’s Vineyard Hospital
Beth Smith, Martha’s Vineyard Hospital Emergency Room
Beth is not a personal friend, but it feels that way when I arrive at the ER, whether with my husband or by myself. She knows us from previous visits and through our kids’ sports programs. Her greeting immediately calms us and assures us that our needs will be addressed according to their importance; if it will be a long wait, she makes sure that we know we aren’t forgotten. Perhaps that’s how things work everywhere…but not with such a bright-eyed, smart, and warm fellow human being. The Vineyard is lucky to have so many good nurses in both acute care and in the ER, and we are especially lucky to have had Beth at the Martha’s Vineyard ER for so many years.—Nominated by Joan Merry
Massachusetts General Hospital
Kristin Anderson, Cancer Center, Massachusetts General Hospital
Kristin has been my infusion nurse since I was first diagnosed seven years ago. Since my stage 4 metastatic esophageal cancer recurred four years ago, she has cared for me when I trudge in for treatment every three weeks. Kristin is funny, loving, and smart and cares for her patients “all-in.” She has seen me at my best and at my worst—through the dark days of intense chemotherapy and the better days of immunotherapy—always with a smile and a hug.
When I recently learned that my cancer had stopped responding to the drugs I was taking, she held my hand and let me cry. She cried with me and gave me hope, and she always has a funny story to make me laugh even through the tears.
This will sound strange, but I don’t dread walking into the infusion center—I actually look forward to a visit with my special, caring, love-filled nurse Kristin.—Nominated by Margaret Skelly
Alice Dubois, Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital
I have been treated for BOOP (bronchiolitis obliterans organizing pneumonia) at MGH, with regular follow-ups and breathing tests, since 2006. Alice DuBois has been my nurse practitioner the entire time. She is always friendly, helpful, and completely up to speed on my condition’s progress (or sometimes lack thereof). She’s very thorough during checkups, gets the answer to any medication question or insurance issue, and always responds quickly on the patient gateway. I give her enthusiastic thumbs up.—Nominated by Don Kelley
Emily Erhardt, Massachusetts General Hospital
My primary infusion nurse, Emily always greets me with a welcoming smile and a strong hug. She remembers the names of my children, grandchildren, and friends, and never fails to ask about their welfare. We share a love of reading; Emily is unfailingly interested in what I am reading and we discuss what she is reading. She always has time to sit and converse with me before administering the chemo drugs. She always tells me what the drugs are and answers any questions that I might have about them, including possible drug reactions. We discuss how I felt after my last infusion: pain, appetite, nausea, etc. Even though I know that I am only one of Emily’s patients, she makes me feel that she is on duty to see to my every level of comfort on each visit. Emily even remembers that I drink my coffee black and love potato chips. During the long course of the infusion, Emily routinely checks to see if I need anything, such as a hot blanket or a pillow. Her concern eases the anxiety that I feel when entering the clinic. She gives me hope that cancer cannot stop me from living a full and active life. I carry that encouragement with me daily. It has led me to seek out new challenges and make new friends.—Nominated by Dorothy Palladino
Mary Gowing, Mass General Hospital
On May 3rd, 2017, Dr. Adam Feldman and his surgical team performed bladder cancer surgery on me, which was followed by immediate recovery on the Urology Floor, labeled as ‘Ellison 6’. I spent the next few days under the watchful, very skilled care of the Urology-focused team there, until I was discharged on May 8th. For me, the gentle yet effective encouragement of the Ellison 6 team allowed me to achieve a 99.9% rating by the nurses, resulting in a very early release due to progress. A rating, however, should also be given by patients to nurses, to rate ALL the Ellison 6 staff as 110%! I rated the stays there as “excellent and exceptional”. MGH and Ellison 6 specifically deserve this exceptional rating with a big PLUS. In summary, the nurses of Urology/Ellison 6 prove why MGH continues to be considered a jewel in the Boston Area, as well as nationally and worldwide.
Here is a listing of the Ellison 6 nurses who took care of me, and who I recommend for their excellent service. During my stay, I took notes to the best of my ability of the names of all the nurses I interacted with — but I didn’t get each one’s last name. Here’s the list: Mary Gowing, Joanne Davis, Emily Mullin, Joanne Meegan, Jordan Goldie, Maria Lobos, Junko Hussey, Hayley, Deb, and Christine McCarthy Schlem.—Nominated by Robert Schreiber
Ellison 6 Nurses, Ortho/Urology Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital
My initial recovery from bladder cancer surgery was on MGH’s Ortho/Urology Unit, Ellison 6. I spent the next few days under the watchful, very skilled care of the urology-focused team there. It was National Nurses Week, but it should have been relabeled Happy Patients Week because of their wonderful care. The gentle-yet-effective encouragement of the Ellison 6 team allowed me to achieve a 99.9 percent rating by the nurses, enabling an early release due to good progress. That rating should also be turned around so that us patients can rate all of the Ellison 6 staff as 110-plus percent. I was hospitalized four times that year at another institution and I rated those stays “excellent and exceptional,” but MGH and Ellison 6 deserve that rating with a big plus. These nurses prove why MGH continues to be a jewel in the medical institution crown of the Boston area, as well as nationally and worldwide.—Nominated by Robert Schreiber
Samantha (McLeod) Horne, Massachusetts General Hospital
My world crumbled when I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. I was scared and overwhelmed as I was introduced to more doctors and nurses than I care to count. The one constant throughout this process was my nurse, Samantha. She steadied my ship. She frequently calls to make sure I am OK. When fear of the unknown swallowed me, I would call Samantha and her calm and reassuring voice would help me regain my composure. She would explain what was actually going to happen with the medicine in terms I could understand. Whenever I email Samantha—even on weekends—I can count on a very prompt response. She takes her job seriously but punctuates her conversations with humor and understanding. Samantha has become a friend and made this process easier to handle. I am so thankful that she came into my life at this darkest moment.—Nominated by Leslie Kiely
Kristen Kenniston, Massachusetts General Hospital
Nurses anywhere and everywhere are angels in disguise, roaming the earth to bring comfort, healing, and love to mortals who are lucky enough to rub elbows with their precious wings. Such is Kristen—a nurse for the ages.
Kristen is a nurse at MGH’s Internal Medicine Associates, and a liaison between the internist and the patients. She has worked in this capacity for more than 15 years and is highly respected and loved. As one of her patients, and a senior with heart issues, I adore her, and through the years have come to rely on her good judgment, superior skills, and, above all, heart of gold. It is no exaggeration to say that her quick thinking has probably saved my life a time or two.
When I call my doctor’s office with a pressing concern, Kristen calls back within minutes and immediately asks “What’s going on?” encouraging me to stay focused on my symptoms. She has so much experience and knows the patients well, easily getting to the bottom of things with pointed and intelligent questions that enable her to suggest an ambulance, the emergency room, a walk-in clinic, or an appointment. She is an expert at emergencies and takes no chances with cardiac patients such as myself. Her critical and quick thinking is a mastered skill, and I am grateful for it.
While Kristen is great in a crisis (like a general in charge), she displays her usual warmth and great sense of humor when all settles down. She is patient, loving, and kind, and above all else she is ever-so gracious—and very humble.—Nominated by Mary Hirsch
George Lillie, Massachusetts General Hospital
George has been my nurse in the infusion unit of the cancer center at MGH for several years. He is extremely kind and supportive of me as a person, not just as a patient. He is not only skilled in the field of nursing and very thorough with his treatments, but emotionally supportive, always with a kind word for me and the family members who attend treatment with me. I always leave my treatments feeling happy and grateful to have him as my nurse. During my difficult road with cancer, George has been my ray of sunshine.—Nominated by Helen Karys
Lunder 10 Nurses, Massachusetts General Hospital
My late husband Jeff was diagnosed with colon cancer in November 2014. He spent two days every other week as a patient on Lunder 10. The medical care that he received from these nurses—particularly Natalia DeMatteo, Christine Weiand, Jennifer Venuti, and Christine Shaughnessey—was superb, but the personal interaction that each nurse provided impacted us more. They interacted with Jeff as a friend rather than a cancer patient, and they rapidly bonded. It is not rare to have an exceptional nurse, but it is rare to have such an exceptional team of nurses.
Jeff had the utmost respect, admiration, gratitude, and love for his nurses. They treated him with dignity and they enjoyed his sense of humor and positive outlook. These nurses engaged us in conversation, and mostly conversation that didn’t revolve around cancer. One of our daughters remarked that she “never saw someone so happy to be in the hospital as when her dad was on Lunder 10.” In addition to his hospitalizations for chemotherapy, Jeff was also admitted last year due to complications from his cancer. He always felt like he had hit the lottery when he was on Lunder 10.
Until you experience cancer as a family, you cannot really appreciate the true difference that exceptional nursing care can have on both the patient and the family. My husband had a huge personality and he exuded positivity and strength. The fact that these nurses nurtured this positivity allowed him to live a normal life for as long as his cancer permitted.—Nominated by Maureen Abber
Sarah Luppino, Massachusetts General Hospital
Sarah has been my husband’s nurse since his ALS diagnosis in March 2016. We have visited with her regularly and had numerous email and phone contacts. She is an amazing person who immediately connected with both of us during the difficult post-diagnosis period, and has advocated relentlessly for Bill’s needs for the past two years. She is patient and the best listener that any patient or caregiver could ask for. When Bill needs a service outside of the ALS clinic, she quickly arranges it and contacts us with the details. Never have we felt so cared-for in a medical setting. Sarah has been Bill’s case manager through all of our services: assistive technology, respiratory, daily living, physical therapy, swallowing and feeding, and now hospice care. ALS is a cruel disease with an unpredictable path, and Sarah has been with us heart and soul since the beginning. Without her hopeful, yet realistic, recommendations and support, neither Bill nor I would be as positive and relaxed. Above all, we know that Sarah is there for us whenever we need her help. She is a gift to the medical profession and the ALS community.—Nominated by Christine Brumbach
Laura Lux, Blake 12 Intensive Care Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital
Laura has worked in the MGH Blake 12 Surgical/Trauma ICU for nearly seven years. In that time, she has trained countless new critical care nurses, and assumed roles as resource nurse and attending nurse (among others). She is highly regarded by her peers, leadership and doctors on Blake 12 for her knowledge, exceptionally high standards and devotion to patients and their families. Laura’s most difficult time at MGH was following the Boston Marathon bombings when she was called upon to care for a victim who had his legs critically injured as he stood over an exploding bomb near the finish line. His injuries resulted in the loss of one leg, irreparable damage to the other and a few weeks in the ICU and up to a month at MGH. This experience has compelled Laura to run marathons. She was never a runner, but is now training for her fourth Boston.
I have had the wonderful privilege of being Laura’s husband for the past eight years; knowing her for over 20 year. She is an amazing person, wife, sister, aunt, daughter and friend. Her caring for others knows no limits. She is indeed a special person destined to make the world we all live a better place.—James D. Lux
Ida Meister, Massachusetts General Hospital
My family and I have lost count of the number of nights we’ve spent over the past year on the eighth floor of the Lunder Building at MGH. The first time Ida served as my Mum’s nurse, she entertained us with personalized songs, always smiled, and was incredibly attentive and detailed. As my Mum’s disease progressed and her symptoms became more severe, we were back with Ida a few months later. She definitely brings a special something to nursing and has unrivaled passion about caring for others and teaching the next generation of nurses. She takes the time to learn about Mum and our family, is incredibly patient, and explains in detail why a medicine or treatment is changing (rather than just ordering us around) so that we understand the methodology (because we certainly aren’t doctors). Whenever we had to step out for a time, we felt safe with Ida on the job. All the nurses we have had over the last seven years have been wonderful, but Ida absolutely takes the cake.—Nominated by Taylor Connolly
Erika Barrett Meneely, Massachusetts General Hospital
Erica has been my oncology nurse since September 2016. She is everything one would want in a nurse. Her care and concern and professional conduct are remarkable and she responds to my needs immediately. Questions sent by email are always answered promptly, allaying anxiety. In the office, she spends all the time I might need.
She relays information to other members of the team quickly and accurately, and it’s obvious that they have a great deal of respect for one another. Erika exhibits a cheery disposition, a positive outlook, and strong professional skills. And she genuinely likes me, which makes me feel good and is good for my health.—Nominated by Margaret McLaughlin
Mary Papagno, Massachusetts General Hospital Urgent Care, Chelsea
When my husband passed away last February, my son called our neighbor Mary, and she came right over. I was hysterical after finding him dead on the floor. Mary stayed while they tried to revive him, and came in to make sure that I was OK. My husband had had many operations, and twice he was on a peripherally inserted central catheter line. Mary used to come and help change the bags on the IV, and she stayed with me any time I was alone, even taking me out for lunch or dinner. My daughters live out of state, and I don’t like to be alone at the age of 78.
Mary also watches out for our neighbor who sometimes wanders the neighborhood, not knowing where he is. She will take him in and call his wife to let her know that he is OK. —Nominated by Patricia Vozella
Respiratory Acute Care Unit Nurses, Bigelow 13, Massachusetts General Hospital
The nurses on Bigelow 13 are exemplary, as are all the nurses at MGH, for that matter. I’m 28 years old and have been coming to MGH for over two decades for ongoing care of my genetic disease, neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF). NF causes benign tumors to grow in the brain and on the spinal cord. I have been here for my current admission for nearly 10 months, and the nurses and staff in the Respiratory Acute Care Unit are like family to me. The nurses give top-notch care every day to all the patients on this floor. They are friendly and caring, and have shared pictures of loved ones and funny stories. In all the years I’ve been coming here, all the nurses I’ve met have been kind and caring people. They even threw a birthday party for me. The nurses go out of their way to provide excellent professional care and show it through their expertise.—Nominated by Patrick Cadogan
Krista Rubin, Massachusetts General Hospital
I met Krista three years ago when I was told that I had stage 4 melanoma that had metastasized, and that I only had three months to live. Krista introduced me to immunotherapy, a newly discovered treatment. This treatment is saving my life. Krista’s knowledge and strong clinical expertise, combined with her compassion, gave me hope, comfort, and the feeling of safety. I felt she was my partner on my journey Krista has received many national and international awards and acknowledgements. But it is her commitment to her patients to learn all about them in order to help them lead a full life, while always being on the lookout for any possible new areas of interest. She is always available 24 hours a day and returns calls immediately.
Krista does not treat Dan Mullin’s cancer. She treats Dan Mullin, the patient, who has cancer. And this makes all the difference in the world. With all of her knowledge and expertise combined with her total commitment and unbelievable compassion, it is my honor to salute Krista by Dan Mullin, patient.—Nominated by Daniel Mullin
Lisa Torre, Cardiac Surgical Intensive Care Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital
My daughter had two traumatic and frightening open heart surgeries in three months. My husband and I didn’t leave her side after surgery. We took four- to five-hour shifts so she was not alone. Lisa took care of her with her second surgery. She worked nights and made a connection with my daughter. We felt for the first time in three months that we could leave our daughter alone if Lisa was her nurse. She provided a great healing relationship. The night shift in the CSICU at MGH is awesome, and solidified with Lisa’s leadership, dedication, and expert nursing skills.—Nominated by Colleen Ryan
Samuel Rothschild, Melrose-Wakefield Hospital
Sam constantly makes the patients on our busy med-surg unit feel comfortable and cared-for. He has a friendly bedside manner and uses that to engage even the sickest patients in conversation, leading them to be more relaxed and comfortable in his care. He is always willing to help others and brings a positive attitude to each shift, even during times of high acuity and high volume.—Nominated by Katelyn Greene
MetroWest Medical Center
Patricia Lapitsky, MetroWest Medical Center
I have had the pleasure of working with Patricia in our Obstetrics & Gynecology clinic for the past two years. Patricia impressed me from the beginning with her warmth, compassion, thoughtfulness, and excellent clinical judgment. However, I quickly realized that Patricia redefines what it is to be a nurse. She is also a fierce advocate for her patients and an amazingly effective patient navigator. Most of the patients in our Framingham clinic are non-English speaking, recently immigrated, and/or have limited insurance access. Patricia tirelessly makes sure that these women get the care they need. She applies on their behalf for special grants to pay for their desired contraception when they cannot afford it. She ensures that they come in for cancer screening and then get the appropriate follow-up. She coordinates their other care to make sure that they see the necessary specialists and get the tests and studies ordered. Our clinic is only open twice a week, so Patricia spends a lot of the other days answering phone calls, triaging and reassuring patients, and making sure that the physicians are updated on everything that happens between clinic days. Patricia is the glue that keeps our clinic providing necessary care to the women in our community. I cannot speak more highly of Patricia and the quality of care she inspires in everyone with whom she works.—Nominated by Katherine Hicks-Courant
Millennium Travel Nursing
Phoebe Potter, Millennium Travel Nursing
My daughter Phoebe is the most diligent and prudent nurse that I have ever seen. She recently told me about a facility that she worked at in which the staff in her department was not familiar with very specific cardiac issues because it was not their specialty. One patient had a history of patent foramen ovale—a condition where there is a hole in the heart and a high risk for air embolus (an air bubble in a blood vessel) and stroke. The patient had had the hold closed some years earlier but was still at risk for air embolus. Since the patient was going for surgery that would require various intravenous fluids and medications, Phoebe knew that all IV lines needed a special filter to prevent the embolus. Recognizing that no filter was attached to the patient’s current IV, Phoebe made the physician aware and was immediately commended for identifying a situation that could have turned fatal.—Nominated by Susan Potter
Robert Brien-Berks, Morton Hospital
Robert is a role model in the Morton Hospital Emergency Department. In such a fast-paced and ever-changing environment, Rob consistently remains level-headed and focused on providing the best possible experience for our patients.
Rob is frequently mentioned in positive patient feedback and has been recognized by patients and their families in various forums, including letters to our hospital president, feedback to the ED director, and even in social media postings within the hospital community. These stories have ranged from a mother and father praising Rob’s efforts to help save their newborn baby to a patient’s wife taking the time to write about how Rob’s compassion and support during a very scary ambulance admission to the ED made all the difference in their care.
Rob has also been recognized with multiple “safety catches” and for assisting colleagues in times of need.
Rob is a leader whom his peers frequently look up to and consult due to his clinical expertise and ability to think quickly when it matters most. When our doors are always open, our caregivers must be ever-ready to care for whatever situation presents. We know that our patients are in great hands when Rob is working alongside our talented doctors and nurses in the ED.—Nominated by Julie Masci
Jennifer Brioc, Morton Hospital
This registered nurse cared compassionately for my mother in the hospital, making sure that she was comfortable. In fact, her confidence made our whole family comfortable. Sshe is simply the best.—Nominated by Paula Burke
Brooke Corley, Morton Hospital
Brooke is an extraordinary nurse on our S1 Telemetry Unit. She started at Morton as a nurse’s aide, and when she began her journey toward becoming an RN, staff was eager to mentor her because of her positive attitude, work ethic, and commitment to professional growth.
Brooke exudes our culture of safety and always puts patients first. In 2017, she was honored as a Morton Hospital “Safety Hero” due to two incredible stories of intervening to ensure the best possible care for a patient.
The first happened while Brooke was caring for an elderly patient who was on many medications. The cumulative effect of the meds made her blood pressure and vital signs drop significantly. The patient told Brooke that she was experiencing dizziness, weakness, and significant pain. With the patient’s safety in mind, Brooke worked with her provider on a treatment plan that held the administration of appropriate medications until the patient’s indicators improved. While advocating for this patient, Brooke used critical thinking, teamwork, and excellent communication to identify and implement a treatment plan to support the patient’s recovery.
The second safety catch occurred while Brooke was orienting a new nurse. While administering medication, Brooke opened an individually prepared package of Atenolol and saw that the two tablets did not match. She immediately stopped to identify the tablets, and found that one was an incorrectly packaged antiretroviral medication for HIV. Through her attention to detail and questioning attitude, Brooke prevented a potential medication error.
These are just two examples of the many safety catches that Brooke makes on a regular basis. Our hospital and patients are fortunate to have her.—Nominated by Julie Masci
Tara Darling, Morton Hospital
As a RN on our S2 Unit, Tara is the type of nurse that many aspire to be. Her coworkers say she is an outstanding nurse who is always there to lend a helping hand and would do anything for her patients.
Tara always has a smile and a positive attitude and is willing to help with patient care, even if it isn’t her patient. One of her coworkers said that if she were sick, she’d want Tara to take care of her.
Tara recently touched the hearts of her colleagues when she was caring for a young woman with an unknown diagnosis who became increasingly frightened while in the hospital. Tara was always by her side for three days. She held the patient’s hand, provided a cool cloth to her head when her temperature went up, and offered a calming atmosphere. She involved the patient in all aspects of her care, keeping her informed about all the tests, results, and medications they were using. One day, Tara noticed a picture painted by the patient’s daughter on her bedside table. She taped it to the wall so the patient could look at it whenever she wanted. The patient said that Tara “was the kindest person she had ever met,” and that she never made her feel bad about needing any help. She shared that Tara made her feel special, and that Tara herself is “just so special.”
Tara is frequently involved in these touching and inspiring interactions. She cares for her patients as she would her own loved ones, and we are very fortunate to have her on our team.—Nominated by Julie Masci
Audrey Jackson, Morton Hospital
When Morton Hospital employees hear Audrey Jackson’s name, their hearts glow. She is adored for many reasons, including her contagious kindness and her ability to connect wit her colleagues and patients.
Audrey has worn many hats at Morton, including providing patient care as a staff nurse and serving in our professional development department. She’s spearheaded many initiatives, such as the rollout of a new Meditech system. During this huge undertaking, Audrey was eager to do whatever she could to make it succeed and was a major factor in its success. She became a “super user” and dedicated time to teaching others during a stressful time. She demonstrated intelligence, skill, and patience, and was always willing to assist with questions.
Audrey recently faced an illness in her family. Because of the support she has always shown to her Morton family, all of her colleagues, and the Morton Hospital community, wrapped around Audrey and her family to comfort and support them. Even as she went through her own hardship, she continued to show extraordinary professionalism and compassion for others—especially our patients. She consistently makes a positive impact on others’ lives.
Audrey was destined to be a nurse, and we are grateful to have her as part of our Morton Hospital family.—Nominated by Julie Masci
Mount Auburn Hospital
Johanna Harris, Mount Auburn Hospital
No one had prepared me for the amount of exhaustion newborn twins would bring—not even my wife, who is a postpartum nurse. Three days into our stay the little monsters (otherwise known as our precious angels) were born, my wife’s colleague Johanna checked in for her night shift and bounced into our room, sporting pigtails and a toothy grin. She had children—albeit not multiples—but she was a champ, and she recognized that, despite all our preparation, we were not. She settled us in for the night: pain medication for me, and a sanity check for my wife. She made her rounds quietly that night, knowing that we would be going home the following day to a mélange of tears, poop, and toothless smiles that I am certain are the actual root of climate change, just as sure as they melted our hearts. The last remaining test for my twins was to ensure that they could safely remain in a car seat on their ride home. My wife accompanied Johanna in the middle of the night, and in the few minutes that it took to place both babies in their car seats, my wife had fallen asleep sitting up in the nursery rocking chair, as evidenced by her snoring. Johanna simply chuckled to herself, left my wife to her few moments or rest in her chair, and tended to our babies on that last fateful night before we went home.—Nominated by Bose Roy
Rosemary Mangan, CareGroup Parmenter Home Care & Hospice,
Mount Auburn Hospital
Rosemary treated me daily for about three weeks. I have stage 4 breast cancer and had an indwelling catheter from my pleura draining fluid that was obstructing my breathing. Rosemary treated me carefully to avoid infection and discomfort. Professional in attitude, she always had a smile and good solid advice about my medical needs.
She is pursuing a further nursing degree while tirelessly working full time and being mindful of those who depend upon her skills and warmth. Rosemary’s approach is “old school” in some ways. She takes time to understand the whole patient, not just the task at hand, which is invaluable to a person who is suffering. The care she provides reveals a knowledgeable nurse who displays a vast understanding of current medical standards. If there is any question about a medical order, she will contact the appropriate person before taking action. Rosemary is a gem among nurses.—Nominated by Margaret Steinberg
Surgical Intensive Care Nursing Staff, Mount Auburn Hospital
A cycling accident sent me to the Mount Auburn SICU for three weeks last May for two craniotomies. While I was there, I had several seizures and a minor stroke. I’m not an easygoing guy so the nurses’ job cannot have been easy, yet they were unfailingly kind and competent in a very difficult situation for me, my wife, and my children. At one point I lost mobility on one side of my body and needed some rehabilitation (the physical therapist was amazing, too). I’ll always remember the nursing staff clapping and cheering when I managed to negotiate the hallway outside my room with the aid of a walker. There’s no way I can praise these folks enough.—Nominated by James Kerr
Pamela Vonbursh, CareGroup Parmenter Home Care & Hospice
Mount Auburn Hospital
Pamela’s kindness, caring, and concern for both my husband and me did not go unnoticed. She was a wonderful liaison between our doctors. She comes highly recommended and we thank her for her outstanding care and thoughtfulness.—Nominated by Elizabeth and Joseph Brennan
New England Baptist Hospital
Castella Edwards, New England Baptist Hospital
From her morning greeting to the end of her shift, Castella demonstrates compassion, professionalism, and a superb ability to educate patients. She strives for excellence in her own learning and acts as a staff and student educator. Her patients are well-informed and cared-for with Castella’s special gift of humor and legendary service. She personifies the “Baptist Way” that makes NEB one of the best hospitals in the country.—Nominated by Judith Mulledy
Anna Bernard, Newton-Wellesley Hospital
Anna is the charge nurse for Same Day Surgery. Most days are very busy, and Anna usually takes on patient assignments to improve the flow and not overtax her staff. She is the ultimate resource who knows the answer to any question you can ask about solving patient issues. I observed her expertly caring for a young girl with post-op bleeding. She stabilized the patient and managed all the activities happening around her—mother/family, the doctor, and the operating room staff—to return the patient to the OR. By advocating for this patient, she averted a more serious outcome. I have seen Anna do this with many patients, and she does all this every day, with a smile and a warm touch. I am always happy to be scheduled on her unit.—Nominated by Patty O’Donnell
Judy Biuso, Newton-Wellesley Hospital
Judy was assigned as pre-op nurse to a very nervous 30-year-old woman who was brought in for surgery. The patient was in tears, and so frightened that she might leave before her operation. Before starting her tasks, Judy sat next to the patient, saying, “Take my hand and take a big breath.” She slowed down the pace of her tasks and calmly explained what she was doing. As the patient became more anxious, Judy said, “If you still want to go home, you can go home. We’re not going to make you stay,” which was exactly the message this woman needed to hear. When the patient apologized for being so nervous, Judy reassured her that it was normal and she didn’t need to apologize. She kept steady eye contact through this whole process. When she needed to enter information into the computer, she reassured the patient that although she had to step away, there was nothing alarming about this.
Judy was attentive and calm for 30 minutes, de-escalating the patient and reassuring her that her behavior was normal and expected. She made it clear that there was no judgment, and it would be fine should she choose to leave before surgery. When the patient became nervous again, Judy told her “Don’t fret—no fretting allowed.”
In the end, the patient proceeded to surgery. Judy’s kindness and warmth and willingness to listen and slow things down were the perfect complement to the patient’s nervousness.—Nominated by Camilla Sutter
Nikki Cataldo, Vernon Cancer Center, Newton-Wellesley Hospital
As the medical director of the Auerbach Breast Center at NWH, and a breast oncologist at the hospital’s Vernon Cancer Center, I have been fortunate to work with an amazing team. I am especially grateful for the outstanding care that Nikki provides. As my primary nurse, Nikki administers chemotherapy to women with breast cancer. It takes a special person to become an oncology nurse, and Nikki is truly special. She exemplifies compassion and competence daily as she cares for our patients. There is nothing scarier than receiving a cancer diagnosis, and I have been amazed by Nikki’s skill in providing comfort and a sense of calm.
Nikki goes to bat for her patients, and she has embraced any treatment that might improve a patient’s quality of life as she goes through cancer treatment. In October 2017, we brought scalp-cooling technology into our infusion center. This new technique allows a patient to wear a “cold cap” and avoid the hair loss that occurs with many chemotherapy regimens. Nikki has demonstrated impressive leadership in learning the steps for using this system: how to fit patients for the cold cap, and how to ensure that the patient has a good experience while wearing the cap. She has walked many women through these steps. Other nurses now look to Nikki for guidance since she pioneered the use of scalp cooling.
It is a true pleasure to work with Nikki, and I am grateful for the compassionate care that she provides daily to our patients.—Nominated by Amy Comander
Nikki Cataldo, Vernon Cancer Center, Newton-Wellesley Hospital
It’s hard to be on the “other side of the sheets.” After caring for others as a labor and delivery nurse for over 20 years, I desperately feared having to play the role of “cancer patient” now. So when I showed up last October for the first of what would be four full months of biweekly chemotherapy treatments, I somewhat pitied the nurse who would be assigned to me. I wasn’t going to be mean, but I wasn’t going to be happy about it, either. Cancer has a way of forcing you to attend and undergo treatments and procedures under silent protest.
Nikki was the chemotherapy nurse who greeted me that morning and who cared for me and my “chemo crew” each and every time I came. There is no doubt that every man and woman who goes into the field of nursing is capable and compassionate. But not everyone has the gift of putting someone so quickly at ease…and really at peace with what is occurring. This is Nikki’s gift. Her tender, soft, and genuine nature provided me and my nervous family the calming influence we all needed at such a vulnerable and difficult time. When I finally completed my chemotherapy in January, I felt as if I was saying so long to a dear friend. I joked that I’d never been so sad to say goodbye to someone that I didn’t want to ever meet in the first place. Nikki cares and fights for people who are literally fighting for their very existence every day. Some will make it and some will not. And she does so with tenderness, expertise, and grace.—Nominated by Lori Dawson
Dianne Faro, Newton-Wellesley Hospital
Dianne is one of the senior nurses in our cancer center. As a colleague, she has been a mentor to many with her experience and gentle way of getting the right information to advocate for patients and safely care for such a complex subgroup of patients with gastrointestinal cancers. She is without a doubt an essential part of our team, and we could not do our jobs well without her. Every day, her warm smile and expert nursing care make the cancer center a better place.—Nominated by Shannon Mille
Denise Galvin, Newton-Wellesley Hospital
Denise shows every day that she is one of the most caring nurses that I have ever worked with. I feel honored and proud to work with her, and to have learned many of my nursing skills from her. Oncology nursing can be very difficult at times, but Denise works each day with a positive attitude. We are all presented with challenges. Denise handles them with grace, and patient care is always first and foremost. No matter what is going on in her life, she finds a way to bring happiness, laughter, and joy to each person she cares for or works with. She’s an amazing clinician and is incredibly intelligent. She communicates daily with her team and colleagues to ensure that everyone—doctors, patients, nurses, medical assistants, admins—is on the same page, and she advocates for every patient that she cares for.—Nominated by Nichole Cataldo
Vicki Greymont, Newton-Wellesley Hospital
Vicki is a strong advocate for evidence-based practice and nurse-driven protocol. She serves as co-chair of a unit-based practice council and was one of our first champions for early mobility. One of the first patients we ambulated on a ventilator wrote a great letter about her. She was one of the first nurses to start “quiet time in the ICU,” bedside journals, and promoting sleep. She is a cheerleader who inspires others on the unit to follow best practice. She is a natural leader with her enthusiasm and positive energy to do the right thing, and is always willing to teach new nurses and students.—Nominated by Colleen Ryan
Julia Kenney, Newton-Wellesley Ambulatory Care Center, Newton-Wellesley Hospital
In 1971, I had a near-fatal motorcycle accident. By 2012, “the pigeons had come home to roost,” and my body was suffering the consequences. Before I met Julia, trying to get relief from my multiple sources of bodily pain was difficult and causing lots of mental pain.
Julia specializes in adult pain management. I was recovering from right hip and knee replacement surgery four months earlier and was seeing her for my arthritis pain when she diagnosed me with complex regional pain syndrome. Over the next 18 to 24 months she tried just about everything to relieve me of this painful neuropathic problem, as well as the arthritis that had been plaguing me for decades. After going through many medications and therapies we ended up settling on a tried and true medication that worked for me. Sounds simple, right? NO.
If not for Julia, I would be extremely depressed and still in a lot of pain. She understood my situation better than I could have hoped for. I didn’t have to struggle to get suitable relief. Too many other practitioners were uncomfortable with giving me the help I needed and at the level that I needed it. Her advocacy was a huge help. I was impressed by how much Julia knew about the effect of pain on the body and the mind. If a new therapy appeared promising, she would do the research to see if it was appropriate for me.
I still have pain, but it is managed, thanks to her. Not only is she my nurse practitioner; after all these years, she has become my friend.—Nominated by Bill Velardocchia
Cheryl Marks, Newton-Wellesley Hospital
As a member of the Palliative Care Team, Cheryl had been caring for a gentleman with advanced cancer who was struggling with a lot of pain, and was so fearful of his diagnosis that he would not express any of his wishes for his care. Cheryl was able to win his trust, and that of his wife. She was able to bring his pain under better control so that he could have meaningful time with his family at home. As he neared the end of his life, he started to become confused, and his family could no longer care for him at home. Cheryl helped get him into the hospital and, through days of tireless advocacy and vigilance, ensured that he passed away peacefully with his family by his side. She was a constant support to his wife, always listening patiently and answering her questions. That gave the wife some sense of control in an unfair and uncontrollable situation. Cheryl is the type of nurse that all nurses should aspire to be: compassionate, self-motivated, empathetic, intelligent, and fiercely proud of her profession—Nominated by Kosha Thakore
Stefanie Moon, Newton-Wellesley Hospital
Stefanie is a dedicated, compassionate nurse who supports not only her patients in crises, but her colleagues as well. Families frequently write letters praising her.
Stefanie is a wonderful teacher and mentor to many new nurses and students, and she shares her knowledge with fellow staff as well. She demonstrates kindness and patience and is always seeking new challenges. Stefanie recently attended the CCRN review course and plans to pursue certification in critical care. She is a natural leader with her enthusiasm and positive attitude.
Stefanie treats her patients and families with great respect. She has cared for difficult and demanding families, and recognizes that anger is usually related to fear. She spends time patiently and honestly explaining whatever families need to hear.
Stefanie has been a strong advocate for our Early Mobility Program as well. She is one of the first to get her patients off intravenous sedation or restraints and get them out of bed. It is all about best practice for Stefanie.—Nominated by Colleen Ryan
Kathy Reda, Newton-Wellesley Hospital
I have known and worked with Kathy for the past 10 years in the Emergency Department, where we are both staff nurses. Kathy “checks every box” —her bedside skills are excellent, she is a strong clinical resource for all the other nurses in the department, and she is a fierce staff advocate at a time when diminishing resources force us all to do more with less.
To truly understand Kathy’s greatest strength, one must first understand the environment of the ED—a most unique setting in all of health care. We have no specialty; we see newborns and elderly folks and everyone in between. The spectrum of ailments, from sprains to heart attacks, and the ever-growing census contribute to a constant air of chaos. A staff nurse is always in motion, accommodating incoming patients and their various acuities—assisting a young woman with abdominal pain one minute and consoling a family member who has lost a loved one the next. Empathy is often a casualty in such a volatile setting.
But not for Kathy. In all her years of nursing, she has never lost empathy for her patients. She has a boundless sense of humanity in a place that is often filled with despair. Her kindness and energy go beyond patient care and extend to the staff. She is the first person to offer consolation after a particularly bad shift. Every day, Kathy reminds us of the value of caring for human beings and the privilege of being a nurse.—Nominated by Katie Carrano
Margee Roessler, Newton-Wellesley Hospital
I have worked with Margee for over 10 years. Her patients love her and always remark on her compassion. Every Christmas, she picks one of our patients who could use a little extra help and sends them a Secret Santa gift card. I call her Mother Margee—she is just so kind that she makes you feel at home. I wish I were a better writer so that I could express how loving, caring, and giving this nurse is.—Nominated by Christine Sullivan
Kathy Scialoia, Newton-Wellesley Hospital
Kathy is an exceptional labor and delivery nurse with great love for her job. She is willing to help her patients do whatever it takes for a wonderful birth experience. She stays over her 12-hour shift to be at the birth with someone she is trying to help with natural childbirth. She is admired by her colleagues, who know she is excellent at her job.—Nominated by Susan Baker
Angela Spinale, Newton-Wellesley Hospital
Patients who enter pediatric gastroenterology are nearly always upset to be there. Whether they’re awaiting diagnoses, first-timers, or familiar faces of chronic patients who need follow-up, all of the children and families who enter the ward are stressed. Angela’s manner is a salve to them. She is non-judgmental, caring, patient, and especially gifted at calming upset families.
One recent patient, 8-year-old “Joe,” has developmental delays and behavioral problems. His mother brings him in twice a year, and providing care to them is a challenge for much of the staff. On this last admission, Angela greeted Joe and his mother with warmth and caring, deflecting their anxiety about the test and the anesthesia with genuine discussion of their family life, pets, and Halloween costumes. Soothed by Angela’s attention, they quickly settled into a calmer pace with less of their admission agitation. Joe awakens from anesthesia poorly, with difficult behaviors. From the minute the mother was brought into the room, Angela’s gentle voice reassured them, while she was particularly subtle about performing such tasks as taking vital signs and removing the IV. She did not leave the bedside throughout his one-hour recovery, continuing to redirect the mother’s mounting anxiety and validating, but not escalating, her concerns.
It is difficult to impart in a few sentences the outstanding patient care that Angela provides, not only to patients like Joe, but to all patients assigned to her. Her nursing changes the care provided to pediatric patients for the better, and it is a pleasure to work with her.—Nominated by Camilla Sutter
Amanda Watkins, Newton-Wellesley Hospital
I am the nurse educator in the intensive care unit at NWH, and Amanda is active in nurse-driven protocols and implementing best practice. She serves on the Massachusetts Delirium consortium, a group of five hospitals with bedside nurses working on decreasing delirium. Amanda helps with education of Confusion Assessment Method for the ICU (CAM-ICU) and serves on the ICU unit-based practice council as well. She further works to decrease delirium by promoting sleep, the use of bedside journals, and quiet time in the ICU. She will be presenting a poster at a national conference on the ICU accomplishments. Amanda has been instrumental in helping with that change in practice and attitude. She is always the first to help with admissions, has a fabulous sense of humor, and is great to work with. In a high-stress environment, it is refreshing to work with a nurse with such a positive attitude that exhibits role modeling behavior.—Nominated by Colleen Ryan
Northeast Clinical Services
Lauren Cosgrove, Northeast Clinical Services
Our daughter Katie, who is non-verbal and non-ambulatory, has a seizure disorder. Lauren has been Katie’s nurse since Katie had a botched surgery five years ago. Without her, I would never sleep through the night because I still have a monitor in my room to listen for a seizure. Our family would be extremely limited to do anything. She has stayed numerous times so that we could celebrate special occasions when it wasn’t possible to take Katie along. My other daughter’s college graduation is coming up and we can’t take Katie with us; Lauren has once again volunteered to stay with her so that the rest of my family can drive to Providence. Lauren has stayed over and done chest physical therapy and nebulizer treatments round-the-clock for three straight weeks when Katie was at her worst, and she always comes out better because Lauren has been here and avoided hospital stays. As sad as our situation is with Katie, our life would be extremely difficult without kind, giving nurses like Lauren.—Nominated by Judy Cooper
Northshore Education Consortium
Elizabeth Walker, Northshore Education Consortium
We would like to give a huge shoutout of appreciation to Beth, our supervising nurse of 18 years. She directly supervises a team of 15 school nurses and provides direct care and medical planning for students at two of our school programs: the Kevin O’Grady School population of students with moderate to severe special needs, and the Recovery High School, where she provides skilled care and policy to high school students working to maintain a drug-free lifestyle. Beth is valued for her compassion, wisdom, and encouraging guidance. She is a skilled and caring leader and a true inspiration each day to our whole school community.—Nominated by Deborah Morrison
North Shore Medical Center
Elsa Marie Ascenso, North Shore Medical Center
Elsa very kindly spent at least 45 minutes helping my 91-year-old cousin take his food, making sure that he had eaten and drank properly and would not become dehydrated again. Her patience and compassion should be acknowledged.—Nominated by Charlene Palecki
Diane Broyer, North Shore Medical Center
Diane was helping to feed my 91-year-old cousin John, who is too weak to feed himself. She was very nice to him, even answering his phone and taking a message. She let him take as much time as he needed to eat and demonstrated a kindness that was nice to see.—Nominated by Charlene Palecki
Margaret Carey, North Shore Medical Center
Maggie has been a nurse at North Shore Medical Center for more than 40 years. I have worked with her for 35 of those years, and she is one of the kindest, most compassionate human beings I have ever met. She is a highly skilled labor and delivery nurse, but, more importantly, she’s kind to everyone she meets and she cares for every patient like her own child or family. Forty-five years into her career, Maggie can still shed a tear at deliveries and treat each birth like the first one she attended. If a patient delivers a newborn with Down syndrome, Maggie is right by their side, letting the family know that they have received a gift from God. Maggie “retired” in January, but still continues to give of herself and work in the unit on a per diem basis.—Nominated by Lisa Cavallaro
Abe Del Gado, North Shore Medical Center
Abe took wonderful care of my cousin John. Abe stopped what he was doing to answer John’s many questions and make him feel comfortable. He spent at least 30 minutes on his answers, and if he didn’t know an answer Abe went to the front desk to find out. I appreciate that time and effort, as well as his kindness to my 91-year-old cousin. John relaxed when he knew that whatever he needed to know was being answered. Abe is an excellent communicator who should be acknowledged for his efforts to give John the perfect patient experience.—Nominated by Charlene Palecki
Matt Gagnon, North Shore Medical Center
When my 91-year-old cousin John couldn’t find his cell phone, he worried that he was missing calls. Matt took the time to find a charger that fit his phone. He let John keep the charger and made sure that his phone was working properly. John was comforted to know that he could make and receive calls as needed. It was very compassionate of Matt to not only make sure that John’s phone was working, but to take the extra step of finding a charger. I appreciate his kindness.—Nominated by Charlene Palecki
Nancy Garrity, NSMC Union Hospital, North Shore Medical Center
Nancy is a charge nurse whose special qualities allow our medical floor on West One to run smoothly every day. These qualities include leadership, professionalism, compassionate care, and the ability to make decisions quickly. Nancy has an amazing ability to multitask in a chaotic environment. She simultaneously answers doctors’ questions, assigns new patient rooms, answers the phone, manages critical labs, organizes rounds, and responds to call lights. She maintains a calm demeanor and leads the team effortlessly. Her professionalism always prevails, and she treats all patients and staff as her top priority. When Nancy is in charge, our staff has a sense of confidence that we will get through the day without major obstacles.
Nancy quickly de-escalates situations with both patients and staff. She calmly asks appropriate, pertinent questions to find a reasonable solution without incident. She is a valuable member of the Union Hospital team.—Nominated by Ladonna Jancsy and Sara Robuccio
Judith Hieber, North Shore Medical Center
Judith is a very caring and knowledgeable nurse, always thinking of patients and their families first. She is a great leader in her department and respected by all of her colleagues. She has over 30 years of experience, and has had many roles in nursing over those years.—Nominated by Joseph Miaskiewicz
Sotty Martinez, North Shore Medical Center
Sotty is concerned that my 91-year-old cousin John is not eating well, so she made sure that someone was going to feed him, as he is not well enough to eat by himself. She also made sure that he had enough to drink, as he had become dehydrated. She answered all of his questions and made him warm and comfortable with enough pillows and blankets. She has excellent communication skills and is very kind.—Nominated by Charlene Palecki
Erin Taylor, North Shore Medical Center
Erin is simply the best RN Educator I have ever seen in my 32 years as a surgeon.
While so many nurses have strong skills and are wonderfully empathetic helping patients one at a time, Erin’s impact on patient care is multiplied many times over because she works to elevate the skills and practices of dozens of other RNs. She makes sure our nurses are up to date on the latest best practices, are true critical thinkers, and aren’t afraid to speak up as an integral part of the care team. She surveys the medical literature, uses simulation techniques, observes practice, provides clinical feedback, engages MDs and nurses as a team, and shares her insights with a newsletter. She is also an advocate for workplace safety, enhancing the environment of care, which translates to a better experience for patients. She has gained the unqualified respect of our surgeons and made a difference for countless patients and their families.—Nominated by Marc Rubin
Norwell Visiting Nurse Association and Hospice
Jo-Anne Calabro, NVNA and Hospice
Jo-Anne, also known as JoJo, is one of the most compassionate nurses I have ever met. New patients request her when coming on for service. She always has a smile and a joke and makes difficult issues more bearable. I think of her whenever I hear that song, “Humble and Kind,” by Tim McGraw.—Nominated by Diane Souza
Mary Garrett, NVNA and Hospice
Case manager Mary is the type of nurse I would want taking care of me at my end of life. She is kind, beautiful inside and out, and demonstrates all the qualities needed to provide the best of care. She’s compassionate, clinically competent, and excellent communicator, and always serves as an advocate for the patient.—Nominated by Kelly Tammaro
Anne Faiella, Norwood Hospital
I was not a very compliant patient. Pain makes me very disagreeable. In spite of working full time in the endoscopy department during the day, Anne cared for my badly inflamed ankles and feet, as well as my repaired rotator cuff tear. She is not only an excellent nurse but a very compassionate person. Many of her patients have expressed similar observations.—Nominated by Paul Faiella
Michelle Kelliher, Norwood Hospital
At 35 weeks and five days into my pregnancy, I never imagined that the birth of my identical twin boys, Xavier and Xander, would end the way it did. My whole world quickly crumbled when it was determined that Xander’s heart was no longer beating, and what was supposed to be a routine test quickly turned into an emergency cesarean section to save Xavier.
My husband was at work when I received this awful news, so I was technically alone until he was able to get there—or so I thought. I quickly realized that someone had sent me an angel in the form of a nurse named Michelle. Thanks to her, I was able to stay strong for Xavier on the worst day of my life. Her dedication to my whole family’s well-being shows just how incredible Michelle is.
Having Michelle with me made more of a difference than she’ll ever know. I still remember her talking me through everything and holding my hand so I wouldn’t be scared. She helped me stay focused, and stayed next to my husband during the surgery to make sure that he was OK, too. Thanks to Michelle, I made it through and now have two beautiful baby boys—one here with us and one that lives in our hearts. As a nurse myself, I can easily tell the difference between someone doing her job and someone loving her job. This is what makes Michelle so special.—Nominated by Ami Arki
Nichole Maybay, Norwood Hospital
Nichole is a terrific nurse and teammate who remains calm in every stressful situatin and gives each patient the same excellent care and attention. Her patients consistently describe her as “wonderful” and “an angel.” Even when working in an unassigned charge role, she is always willing to take on patient cases if it helps her coworkers better manage their own assignments.—Nominated by Lauren Griswold
Partners HealthCare At Home
Patricia DeFina, Partners HealthCare At Home
Pat came to my door and introduced herself one morning while I was recovering at home from some significant injuries from a bike accident. Empathetic and concerned, yet down-to-earth and realistic, she immediately made me feel like an old friend. “I’ve seen this kind of thing before many times,” she said cheerfully. “It’s going to take awhile, but you’ll get better—I promise.”
Pat ordered the necessary materials. She changed the dressings daily at first, then twice weekly for a couple of months, chatting as checked my vital signs. We regularly shared stories with each other, laughing constantly. She was a bright spot in my otherwise drab existence of sitting and sleeping on the living room couch 24/7, and a constant source of encouragement as the weeks dragged on. “You are doing so much better—this ankle is healing very well. Be patient and keep your spirits up. One day soon you’ll look back on all this and laugh at all the crazy stuff you had to go through.”
Pat never missed an appointment at my home, even on weekends and holidays. She was always reliable, knowledgeable, and friendly. She kept me informed about my medical progress as reported by my doctors and took an avid interest in my case. “Call me at any time if you have any questions or if you are experiencing pain. I’m here for you, sweetie.”
After 11 weeks Pat told me that it was her last visit. She was the best nurse anyone could ask for and I’ll always be grateful for her outstanding care. Pat deserves recognition as an outstanding nurse who exemplifies the very best attributes of her profession.—Nominated by Gerard Schultz
Henry Kaggwa, Partners HealthCare At Home
Henry has been a great support to other nurses at Partners for many years—especially nurses who are new to the company, whom he teaches and encourages. All of the patients I have come across as a revisit and admissions nurse say wonderful things about Henry. Most of them are coming back to our service and had Henry in the past; they remember him by name and mention his caring spirit. One told me, “If you need any community services, Henry makes sure you have access to them.” He’s very resourceful and ensures that agency services are well utilized.—Nominated by Mary Namazzi
Michelle Orfanos, Partners HealthCare At Home
I am the clinical scheduler who assigns Michelle her patient schedule for the day. She will call me to discuss the patients or changes to her schedule. She is always pleasant and happy, and I can sense her smile even over the phone.
Michelle is part of a wonderful home care team (Constitution Team). She supports her fellow clinicians in good times and bad. There have been some hard times recently, and Michelle is always there, showing kindness and compassion, extending her arms to help those who need anything from a hug to medical advice.
We often get calls from patients who rave about how wonderful and knowledgeable Michelle has been. Her patients often request her when they come back on service. Everyone deserves to have a special nurse like Michelle.—Nominated by Carol Sullivan
Catherine Tucker, Partners HealthCare At Home
Catherine Tucker has saved countless lives—including mine, by performing the Heimlich maneuver on me one New Years Eve. Her family calls her “Dr. Quinn” after the 1990s-era TV character because of her exceptional dedication. As an in-home nurse, she routinely has to fight inclement weather to reach her patients.—Nominated by Bruce Tucker
Private Duty Nurse
Cindy Amicangioli, Private Duty Nurse
Cindy has offered advice that made me understand things that were foggy before, including medical terms that were almost like a foreign language. She has helped me set up my total parenteral nutrition bag while my parents were busy. My parents trust her with my care, and my brother’s as well. We no longer see her as a nurse, but as a friend.—Nominated by Eleanor Brogan