Salute to Nurses Letters: Hospitals S-W

Saint Anne’s Hospital
Aoife Kennedy, Saint Anne’s Hospital

When my 11-year-old son was in the pediatric ward for an appendectomy, Aoife would talk to him to ease his nervousness. Two days after he was discharged, he returned to the emergency room for severe vomiting. Aoife was helping out in the ER that day when she saw his name on the chart and immediately came into the bay that we were in. Her familiar face was a godsend. When they had to insert a nasogastric tube, she and Robert Rodrigues, another ER nurse, comforted both my son and my husband by explaining what they were doing and why.

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Once we were upstairs, Aoife went out of her way to make sure that we were comfortable and knew exactly what was going on and what to expect. My son said that he would recommend St. Anne’s to any of his friends who needs an appendectomy, and that if he had to spend his school vacation in the hospital, he was glad it was St. Anne’s.—Nominated by Lizette Silva

Shriners Hospitals for Children
Acute Care Unit, Shriners Hospitals for Children, Boston

While caring for pediatric patients with burn injuries, the nurses in the acute care unit never lose sight of the patient and their family, no matter the circumstances. The compassion and advocacy the nurses constantly demonstrate toward their patients is incredible. They are all true professionals committed to the best outcomes for their patients.

Their impressive clinical skills are often showcased when caring for children with devastating burn injuries. These patients are often extremely ill, yet the nurses never waver, never panic. They concentrate on the patient and implement their excellent skills and judgment. They work well in the forefront of a multidisciplinary collaboration, often taking the lead on patient care. The teamwork is truly inspiring.

They are educators in the community, internationally, and, of course, in the hospital. Bringing their expertise to share with others, they are mentors and coaches to nursing students from around New England.

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It takes a special breed of nurse to care for burn patients—especially pediatric burn patients. As the only certified pediatric burn unit in the Northeast, we are fortunate to have these experts in the field. Their commitment to the mission of the hospital is inspiring. They all love their work and it shows. —Nominated by Rich Grady

Cheryl Kelly, Shriners Hospitals for Children, Boston

As a surgeon in the burn unit, I have worked for many years with operating room nurse Cheryl Kelly. Working in the burn operating room is sometimes emotionally challenging and physically uncomfortable, caring for very ill children with large burns in temperatures as high as 120 degrees F. Cheryl has an incredible mastery of the technical requirements of her job, ensuring that children obtain the maximum benefit from their operations. She also works well with people under stress, helping to ensure that the OR team functions smoothly as a unit. Even in the most difficult circumstances, Cheryl maintains a positive attitude, helping to keep the entire team focused. Her consistently competent, friendly, and organized approach is truly remarkable and contributes significantly to the great outcomes our patients achieve.—Nominated by Rob Sheridan

Jenna Paradis, Shriners Hospitals for Children, Boston

I have worked with Jenna for several years in the burn intensive care unit, where she serves as a pediatric burn critical care nurse. Working with children in the burn unit is challenging technically, physically, and emotionally. Children typically arrive by ambulance, injured and screaming, their families distraught. Jenna patiently teaches staff and parents how to evaluate and care for burns and how to manage critically ill children in the intensive care setting. She has excellent interpersonal skills and her calm, measured presence always soothes patients, reassures families, and supports the staff in difficult times. Her rare combination of technical excellence, patience, and kindness is an important part of the success of the Shriners burn program in Boston.—Nominated by Rob Sheridan

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Nursing Staff, Shriners Hospitals for ChildrenBoston

Early in 2018 the nurses at Shriners received the devastating news that the hospital was going to close. I became witness to their excellent care-giving under that cloud. Their patients suffer not only from excruciatingly painful injuries, but also the psychological ramifications of the recovery process, the many reconstructive procedures they will face, and the fear of re-entering an unkind society. In spite of their uncertain fates, these nurses remain constant, faithful, and trustworthy caregivers to burn patients who desperately need their clinical experience, compassion, love, and reassurance that recovery is possible, and that despite their injuries these kids will be able to become whomever they chose to be. It is a privilege to nominate an entire hospital staffed with such dedicated, mission-oriented nurses.—Nominated by Jannel Vickers

Richard Sederman, Shriners Hospitals for Children, Boston

Richard deserves a salute from all of my colleagues for his compassion, integrity, and experience in patient care. He has served patients with a wide range of medical and psychiatric conditions in various settings. He was a pillar in the medical community at the inpatient adolescent psychiatry unit where I first met him years ago, during my residency. With a well-attuned calm demeanor, he was always among the first to connect with young patients and their families during their most challenging times. Fate brought us together again when he joined Shriners in 2002. Richard brought with him not only his acumen and expertise in patient care, but also his enthusiasm in supporting our work in the service of our patience. He is never satisfied with the achievable, but always in pursuit of how it can be furthered. He is always approachable and is a problem-solver who asks not whether something can be done, but how. He is always ready to lend a hand and always returns a call, no matter the time of day. Rich is the father of three beautiful children, helper of many more in need, and a brilliant colleague whom I have the honor of calling a friend.—Nominated by Tolga Ceranoglu

Surgical Specialty Unit Nurses, 7th Floor, Shriners Hospitals for Children, Boston

The nurses in the SSU are some of the hardest-working and most dedicated I have ever met. Their patients come first, no matter what. We had a very busy 2017 caring for some of the most acute patients we’ve seen in a while, and the nurses in SSU worked tremendously well together. During times of high census and acuity, it was amazing to see everyone collaborate as a unit. That is what a team does: they fight through adversity and overcome all obstacles without ever compromising care. The quality of care this team provides is incomparable. They remain efficient and professional while staying true to the mission that we have all come to love. They are more than just coworkers—they are a family. Like a family, they get through the good times and bad times together. Our patients are resilient, but so are our SSU nurses, as demonstrated by their tenure—many of us have called Shriners home for many years. I am inspired by the SSU nurses, and they inspire many others through their passion for their profession and commitment to patients.—Nominated by Wayman Lee

Signature Healthcare
Rena Levy, Signature Healthcare

Rena is professional and concerned about my well-being, and I look forward to seeing her. She always greets you with a nice smile, and her willingness to make sure you know how and why she is making recommendations for your treatment makes that uncertainty when you enter go away. She always listens and helps you understand. Even if you call the office and you need anything, she will get right back to you. She is a great asset to this organization.—Nominated by Barbara Macleod

Snowden International School
Maryellen Monahan, Snowden International School

Maryellen is a school nurse. As a staff member, I’ve observed her ministering to students for myriad issues. It is difficult to choose one date or incident. Of course, because Maryellen is a consummate professional, she never shares details. Many of our students have home lives that make teaching them a challenge. They have histories of trauma that can also manifest in physical symptoms. Apart from treating the usual sports injuries and sniffles, Maryellen knows how to delicately and discreetly de-escalate situations in which emotions could easily hijack a student’s good judgment. She is also culturally respectful of our students’ families, being mindful to help parents and other caregivers maintain a sense of capability.

I’ve also seen Maryellen administer first aid and other care to staff members. Yesterday I asked her to take my temperature when I was feeling sick. I was indeed spiking a fever, and she calmly suggested that I go home. A few days earlier, a colleague was having chest pains that she attributed to heartburn. Luckily, that’s all it was. But Maryellen was able to rule out any cardiac issues without any sense of panic.

I often observe Maryellen having lunch in the teachers’ room, usually toward the end of the day. More often than not, she is summoned to minister to a student and her lunch break is shortened.

Maryellen is also a friend. I’ve had struggles with a family member’s opioid addiction, and she has been an invaluable source of comfort and wisdom for me. It’s important to recognize school nurses, like Maryellen, who wear many hats and make it look easy. It’s not.—Nominated by Karyn Donahue

South Cove Manor at Quincy Point Rehabilitation Center
Jenny (JuanLin) Zheng, South Cove Manor

Jenny exudes confidence and competence. There was not one day during the three months that Jenny supervised my mom’s care that we were concerned about my mother’s well-being (and we have experienced substandard care at other facilities). Jenny made our entire family—especially my 87-year-old hearing-impaired mom—feel respected, cared-for, and comfortable. Jenny was uniformly attentive, organized, helpful, and respectful. She was also very joyful and made my mother feel at ease. Jenny provided encouragement and was top-notch in all aspects; from what I was able to observe, this was uniformly true for Jenny’s other patients, too. We are entirely grateful, but also spoiled now, after seeing how a nurse can transform a bewildering experience for an elderly person into a positive time. Jenny’s professionalism and genuine care were instrumental in my mother’s regaining her health and staying positive through a grueling rehab from a second shoulder replacement.—Nominated by Lillian and Mary Andruszkiewicz

South Shore Health System
Tracy Baker, South Shore Visiting Nurse Association, South Shore Health System

Tracy has been my mother’s IV nurse since her discharge from the hospital last October. Every 48 hours, my mother requires a new bag of intravenous dobutamine dispensed via CADD pump. The pharmaceutical supplier initially did not fill the reservoir sufficiently to allow for a grace period beyond the 48 hours. Tracy followed the chain of command up to the pharmacy director to correct this practice. When my mother’s weight suddenly began to decline, I called Tracy to see if she could make an unscheduled visit to check on her. Tracy even called the doctor to get an order for a urine culture to see if there was an underlying infection, and then delivered a urine specimen to the outpatient lab on my mother’s behalf. Thank you for being such a fierce advocate for my mother, and all of your patients, every day.—Nominated by Patty Mycroft

Jay Bates, South Shore Visiting Nurse Association, South Shore Health System

Sometimes known as our “weekend warrior,” Jay has been a welcome addition to my mother’s care team. With her wealth of knowledge and kind, funny, uplifting attitude, she is just what the doctor ordered. When my mother’s mouth was dry from diuretics and the use of a CPAP machine, Jay brought her a roll of wild cherry Life Savers. When my mother had extreme nausea, Jay suggested the use of (diet) Coke syrup. Always attentive to her patients’ comfort, Jay will suggest anything that yields positive results.

Jay really knows it all without being a know-it-all. Her firm yet gentle approach, sound judgment, and skilled experience make Jay a “triple threat” in the world of nursing and, more importantly, a shining star in the world of her patients. Thanks, Jay, for setting the bar high and then reaching even higher.—Nominated by Patty Mycroft

Elizabeth Conway-Trainer, South Shore Hospital, South Shore Health System

My sister had made multiple trips to emergency departments over three or four days. She was admitted and discharged once, only to end up admitted a second time for intractable pain. Several nurses cared for her, but Liz stands out. She demonstrated compassion and collaborated with my sister and her family to create a plan to send her home with manageable pain. She advocated for her needs and provided positive reinforcement every time she made progress toward those goals.We are very grateful for a nurse like Liz who makes a difference for patients every day.—Nominated by Donna Chase

Joyce Cox, South Shore Health System

I have had the opportunity to work with Joyce frequently over the past 14 years. She has consistently helped others and been a great team member. Joyce is a manager, but you wouldn’t know that she isn’t a field staff nurse. When it comes to urgent situations or visiting patients, she is willing and able to provide care and act as a resource for the other nurses that she mentors. Joyce has a gentle, calming presence and communicates clearly. People will do things for Joyce if she asks, because they know that she wouldn’t ask anyone for something that she isn’t willing to do herself. When she was asked to take over a team of specialty nurses, she became certified in intravenous therapy to improve her own skills. Joyce always has a smile; she’s a pleasure to work with, and I’m grateful to have her on my team.—Nominated by Pamela Fredericks

Jeanine Farah, South Shore Medical Center, South Shore Health System

Jeanine manages the nursing practice at the SSMC sites in Norwell, Weymouth and Kingston. She expertly helps more than 70,000 people a year. Jeanine’s broad area of ambulatory expertise encompasses education, telephone triage, urgent care, and procedural care for patients of all ages. She does this with boundless energy and great humor that never fails, even when she’s being teased about her strong Brooklyn accent.—Nominated by Tim Quigley

Susan Meighan, South Shore Health System

Sue is a true gift to the entire South Shore region and the population that SSHS serves through its emergency department. In her role as clinical leader, Sue uses data to ensure that high-risk patients are followed-up appropriately after discharge, but her unique strength is her non-judgmental, compassionate, and expert approach to caring for patients with behavioral health challenges. Whether these challenges originate from organic behavioral health, substance abuse, or the two in combination, Sue works with our community partners to build a comprehensive long-term plan that moves these complex patients toward better health. She does this with a modest, warm style that is always positive and deeply imbued with a dry sense of humor.—Nominated by Tim Quigley

Gena O’Hara, South Shore Health System

As a member of the care progression department, Gena demonstrates compassion every day while assisting patients with the transition to a rehabilitation center, a skilled nursing facility, or home. She is passionate about making sure that the patient is sent to the appropriate setting after their hospital stay. Gena always provides emotional support and education to the patient and their family during their stay and at the time of discharge. It is a pleasure to have her on our team.—Nominated by Sandra Krall

Patricia Rodgers, South Shore Hospital, South Shore Health System

As a labor and delivery nurse for several years, it has been Patti’s passion to ensure that any mother who suffers a loss receives the highest level of compassionate care. To that end, she chairs the Perinatal Loss Committee. Its work is known throughout the state for the exceptional care we provide to families who have suffered loss through miscarriage, stillbirth, or neonatal death. In addition to counseling, resources, and follow-up, the committee offers classes to all staff four times per year. This year, Patti and another committee member began calling all post partum patients a week or two after discharge to screen for post partum depression. The calls have been well received, and they’ve been able to get needed services to patients who otherwise might not have seen a provider for up to six weeks. In addition, her extensive nursing background and her approachability have made her a mentor to staff.—Nominated by Kathleen Bruce

Patricia Rodgers, South Shore Hospital, South Shore Health System

I have had the privilege of being Patty’s patient in the birthing unit, as well as her colleague. I was a med-surgical nurse when we delivered our first child at SSH 18 years ago, so my knowledge of labor and delivery was limited. With her knowledge and kindness, Patty reassuringly helped us welcome our first child into the world. I vividly remember that she never left my side. Her kindness, humor, and attentiveness have not diminished, and I see her caring for all her patients in the same way to this day.

When I started my orientation on the birthing unit 16 years ago, I was thrilled to find out that Patty would be one of my preceptors. She was, after all, my inspiration for shifting nursing paths. Patty guided me through orientation and remained available for all questions and concerns with her reassuring manner and positivity.

Patty is a dream to work with. Her amazing work in coordinating our fetal loss program is something everyone here in the birthing unit admires. Stillbirth, miscarriage, or losing an infant shortly after delivery devastates families, and their grief touches our hearts deeply as we care for them.

Patty often receives calls and texts on her day off without complaint and is always willing to be a resource and educator for staff. She is a huge reason that the program she coordinates offers such comfort to our patients.—Nominated by Erin Fox

Mary Roth, South Shore Visiting Nurse Association, South Shore Health System

Mary, of SSVNA’s cardiac team, has carefully followed my mother’s very involved and difficult to manage heart condition. Back in November 2012, my mother suffered a heart attack. She developed atrial fibrillation and congestive heart failure. Mary attentively notices, records, and reports every symptom as it arises so as to prevent potential issues. She shares her knowledge with patients and families and communicates changes with other teams to promote continuity of care. She visits during blizzards to make sure that my mother is covered. She broaches difficult conversations with honesty and compassion. I am proud to call Mary my mother’s nurse, my co-worker, my care teammate, and my friend. She is a shining credit to her profession.—Nominated by Patty Mycroft

Kate Cullinane Whalen, South Shore Health System

As the program manager of our busy Trauma Unit, Kate partners with her medical director to use data to drive improvements in the care of traumatically injured patients. Kate often speaks of the “halo effect” that trauma care extends to all patients, and I fully agree, as I see that in my daily practice. The large number of trauma care-certified nurses at SSHA helps improve the care of all patients, and we are fortunate to have Kate help advance our practice, one trauma patient at a time.—Nominated by Tim Quigley

Patti Wilkie-Barrett, South Shore Hospital, South Shore Health System

I have worked with Patti for more than 15 years. We are both nurses in the maternity unit at South Shore Hospital, where she is often in the charge role and also works in the nursery. Patti’s clinical proficiency is surpassed only by her amazing kindness and love for her job, her family, and her coworkers. I’ve never seen this woman come to work in a bad mood. She has an amazingly positive spirit that brightens every room she enters and improves everyone’s mood.—Nominated by Christine Neagle

Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital
Nancy Blume, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital

Nancy always has the patient’s best interest at heart. She is always working to improve patient care and will not stop until a proper solution to any issue has been found. Nancy also looks for ways to help fellow staff members improve their practice and stay up to date. This year, Nancy created a program to help nurses become competent caring for patients with ventricular assistive devices. The program has become a huge success for Nancy, the staff, and the patients.—Nominated by Kelly Santos

Carine Douarin, Brain Injury Rehabilitation Program, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital

Carine has worked on Spaulding’s brain injury unit for many years. She approaches each day methodically, making sure that she has all the necessary information to care for her patients and families. For example, when one patient was apprehensive about a medication he needed, Carine sat with him and explained the importance of taking it. Their relationship convinced him to take his medication. He told her, “If you tell me I need it, then I will take it.” Those are the types of statements you hear from her patients. She takes care of patients as if they were her own family. On many days Carine keeps working past the end of her shift to make sure that her patients and families have what they need. She is never grumpy and always upbeat. She also mentors the next generation of nurses, taking them under her wing and giving them the benefit of her many years of experience.—Nominated by Mickayla Guanci

Sada Haubourg, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital

My colleague Sada has worked at Spaulding in Charlestown for several years as a staff nurse on the Brain Injury Unit. Working with brain-injured patients can be very challenging, and this is where Sada’s care excels. Sometimes their injuries make these patients aggressive. Sada always remains calm, compassionate, and skillful. She shows her patients and their families the utmost respect and doesn’t judge or take things personally. She meets the patient or family member wherever they are at, and makes it better.—Nominated by Pat Lyons

Patricia Lyons, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital

Pat was driving home from work when she noticed a distraught woman standing by her car. Upon further investigation, she realized that the motor was running and that a male passenger was slumped over in his seat.

She immediately pulled over to assess the situation. The patient was unresponsive, without a pulse, and he was not breathing. Pat quickly placed him safely on the ground, started CPR, and alerted bystanders to call 911. When the AED defibrillator arrived, Pat delivered a shock and continued to direct resuscitative measures. Within moments the ambulance arrived and the victim regained a pulse. This act demonstrates the best of nursing.—Nominated by Deborah Wilson

Sarah O’Keefe, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital

Sarah was my primary nurse after a stroke sent me to Spaulding for nine weeks.

Sarah was always aware of my needs. One time, she knew that I was waiting for a shower. The nurses’ aides typically assisted with showers, but few were available on the weekend, so Sarah gave me the shower herself.

Sarah gives back by teaching nursing students from Salem State. Those students were lucky to have such a great mentor. I remember her teaching them how to choose a site on the body for subcutaneous injections, and how to give those injections gently.

She always stayed attentive when she was pulling meds out of her cart. Other nurses could get distracted, but not Sarah. She is a compassionate nurse and I thank her.—Nominated by Karen Farbman

Maria Pandolfo, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital

As an oncology clinical nurse specialist, Maria is responsible for coordinating the chemotherapy treatment protocols and the administration of intravenous chemotherapy for oncology patients admitted for ongoing treatment and rehabilitation. She works closely with the admission department to assure that the chemotherapy treatment plan is available, coordinates with the Massachusetts General Hospital oncologists to obtain the written orders, and provides the IV infusions. Maria is a strong advocate for her patients and treats them with respect and compassion.—Nominated by Joanne Fucile

Kristen Simpson, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital

Kristen was driving home from work when she noticed CPR being performed on a victim of cardio-pulmonary arrest. She immediately pulled over and got out to help. Kristen retrieved her mask barrier device from her glove compartment and began providing artificial respirations to the victim.

Kristen’s quick thinking and decisive action was a crucial link in the chain of survival. She was able to perform chest compressions when the other team member became fatigued.

Kristen’s willingness to “jump in” and help a stranger in distress, her clinical competency, and her ability to remain calm in an emergency outside of her work environment demonstrate the best of nursing.—Nominated by Deborah Wilson

Paula Uradnik, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital

Paula spends every day making this world a better place. After working with her for the past two years, I can honestly say she is someone I aspire to be like. She’s a very hard worker, making sure her nurses have enough staff and that her patients are being well cared-for. She is always teaching new nurses and encouraging them to learn new things. Paula has been a nurse for nearly 40 years and deserves to be recognized as the superhero she is.—Nominated by Ashley Hofmann

Patrick West, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital

A patient arrived with a rare genetic condition requiring painful, full-body wound care and dressing changes taking upwards of two hours. Patrick rose to the challenging, taking her as his primary patient when more experienced nurses were nervous. He changed her dressings, often alone, several times per week. The patient had many complex needs beyond these dressing changes, including emotional support and in-depth discharge planning. Patrick never hesitated to take whatever time was necessary to provide support, often spending an hour or more in the room with the patient. He worked closely with the patient’s significant other, case management, and home care agency to make sure that everyone was fully aware of, and capable of meeting, the patient’s complex needs upon discharge. He also involved social work and spiritual care and used music therapy to decrease the patient’s anxiety and pain medication requirements. With Patrick’s dedication and perseverance, the patient was able to be discharged home with a plan in place for continued care. We are forever grateful for his role in her care.—Nominated by Pauline Clarke

Julie Zuis, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital

Julie is one of the exemplary nurses who cared for my sister at Spaulding in Cambridge, Mass., and showed compassion to me and my family as we visited during her difficult illness. Julie always greeted us with a smile and offered whatever assistance we needed. She answered many questions and made it a point to talk with us at the hospital or to call me at home. I had complete trust in Julie and her amazing staff, who were so empathetic each time I visited.

At the end of my sister’s life, Julie visited frequently to make sure she was comfortable and spiritually sound. She talked to her as if she were her own sister when I was not present. On my final visit, as I went to take home my sister’s belongings, Julie met me in the hall with a warm, sympathetic hug. She expressed sorrow and praised all the care I had given my sister. I have the utmost confidence and praise for all the staff at Spaulding Hospital. Thank you, Julie.—Nominated by Lola Lombardo

St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center
Kerrie Bailey, St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center

I went in for a routine appointment after I had been working excessively long, hard hours and was under significant stress. Kerrie, who had always been very helpful over the years, discovered with her stethoscope that I had an extremely rapid heartbeat. She sent me to the emergency room, where they found that I had atrial fibrillation. They gave me medication to slow my heartbeat down, and my condition improved to the point that I could cease the medicine a few months later. Without her dedication and competence, I might have had a stroke—or worse.—Nominated by Thomas Handy

Elinor “Elie” Boule, St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center

The best compliment our mother ever received was immediately after she gave birth to her first child; the labor and delivery nurse on duty (a friend and former co-worker) exclaimed “Your makeup is still perfect.” This is Elie in a nutshell: she keeps her cool through everything.

Born in Dorchester, raised in Wakefield, and educated at St. Elizabeth’s (1955 graduate), Elie’s independent spirit and no-frills attitude carried her from the classroom to the hospital floor, starting work in labor and delivery immediately upon graduation and inspiring her to travel to San Francisco for more hospital experience. While running a family of five children, she maintained her nursing license, and is an original and active participant in the Harvard’s Nurses’ Health Study. In 1992, she started volunteering at a local clinic that provided free and reduced-cost medical care for families in need. In 1992, Elie shifted into her third career: surgical nurse for a private-practice plastic surgeon who specializes in emergency and post-cancer surgeries. At 83, Elie still works full time and is the only nurse the plastic surgeon has ever had in his whole career. She continues to receive regular compliments from patients, the doctor, and the office staff. If she takes a day off—which is rare—she is often replaced by two temporary nurses. She is the best nurse we know.—Nominated by Stephanie Butler

Mara Wermuth, US Family Health Plan, Hanscom Air Force Base, St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center

Mara, a senior nurse practitioner and nursing instructor for nearly five decades, has provided world-class primary health care for my spouse and me for almost 20 years.

She does everything from minor routine care to treating severe medical conditions, always with honor and the utmost dignity and respect. She performs most of these at the Hanscom AFB Family Health Clinic and often serves in instructional roles at Tufts, affiliates of USFHP, and other institutions. Mara works overtime to ensure that pain management and other urgent needs are addressed swiftly, and she has often gone out of her way to make certain that I get help when I need it, regardless of severe weather or other distractions. Physicians of all specialties know when Mara’s diagnoses are urgent. I trust her completely with my life. In short, Mara is a go-to professional.—Nominated by Raymond Dugal

St. Patrick’s Manor
Leiri Bocanegra, St. Patrick’s Manor

In the area of elder care/dementia, Leiri sets an example for understanding, patience, and acknowledgment of the person, beyond her high level of clinical competency. My 97-year-old husband retains the cultural characteristics of an Asian gentleman—well-educated, well-known in his field, and very private. During his time in the memory care unit, Leiri was able to read through the cultural façade, allowing him to retain his self-respect and personal space while assisting him with daily tasks. Knowing that Leiri was on duty freed me from constant worry when I couldn’t visit every day. Leiri helped me to advocate for my husband’s transfer from the memory unit to a more relaxed atmosphere. That my husband is able to live out his remaining years and retain a sense of humanity makes Leiri deserving of public acknowledgment and gratitude.—Nominated by Lily Owyang

Starling Physicians
Jayne Shea, Starling Physicians

I get to see my oncology nurse once a month for my Lupron shot. Shots, doctors, nurses, and anything in the medical field typically give me tons of anxiety. Jayne has not only made me comfortable with all of it; I would actually look forward to my chemo treatment because I got to see her and I knew that I was in the best hands for the worst possible situation. I was never a number—I was always Jessica, and still am. Jayne’s compassion, knowledge, respect, care, understanding, and love for her patients and her job is like nothing I have ever seen, and she made the scariest time in my life manageable.—Nominated by Jessica Libby

Sturdy Memorial Hospital
Kimberly Eames, Sturdy Memorial Hospital

Kimberly is a well respected emergency room nurse here. On weekends, I have the distinct pleasure to see her interact with multiple doctors, nurse practitioners, and physicians’ assistants, as well as 11 nurses and multiple aides. Kimberly is never outwardly flustered. She intuitively senses patient, co-worker, and family needs. Kimberly will always be your second pair of hands. She has always put the needs of the department above her own, and I am honored to work alongside Kim.—Nominated by Elizabeth Gaulin

Sunny Acres Nursing and Rehabilitation Center
Jeannine Scarfo, Sunny Acres Nursing and Rehabilitation Center

Jeannine works tirelessly every day to ensure that our elderly get the hands-on care that they need in the sunset of their lives. Her primary responsibility is to manage and facilitate private and public programs that provide geriatric care to those who cannot afford, or would not normally access, those services. Her extensive knowledge and compassionate, responsible application of these programs keep indigent elderly people off the streets and in the care that they so desperately need. Her expertise and efforts keep our current system viable. I see it first-hand every day.—Nominated by Greg Scarfo

Susan Bailis Assisted Living Community
Diane DeRubeis, Susan Bailis Assisted Living Community

Diane has generally shown care and compassion toward several of the patients under her care.—Nominated by Ralph Fergason

T.L. Connections, Inc.
Nursing Staff, T.L. Connections

I am nominating Marie, Gerry, Cindy, Jennifer, Laurie, Tracy, and all of the wonderful nurses who work for this home infusion service, based in Woburn, that provides intravenous medications by registered nurses to patients in their own homes. My medical condition requires infusions every four to six weeks, and T.L. has been providing this service for the past eight years. All of the nurses with whom I have had contact have been wonderful. They have been exceptionally warm, friendly, compassionate, and caring, as well as extremely professional, thorough, and competent. They order my supplies and medications each month, communicating with both me and the specialty pharmacy. They always come prepared with extra supplies in case the order was not completely or accurately fulfilled. Never in these eight years have they failed to show up or deliver the services that I need, when I need them.—Nominated by Susan Eisen

Toward Independent Living and Learning, Inc.
Christine Granata, Toward Independent Living and Learning, Inc.

The manager and the families of four individuals living in a group home in Andover, Mass., salute Christine for the dedication and loving care she gives to our sons. Each one has very different medical needs and Christine treats each with precise knowledge of his needs as if he were the most special. With her confidence, outstanding organization, knowledge, and calm manner, she is able to meet their needs so that they can quickly return to their routines. She also attends doctor visits and monitors daily notations by the staff at the home to ensure that they are getting the care they need.—Nominated by Alice Flynn for four families in Andover, Mass.

Tufts Medical Center & Floating Hospital for Children
Tufts Nurses, Tufts Medical Center

I have had the “pleasure” of staying at Tufts a number of times over the past two years, and I have never had an unpleasant experience with a nurse in any department. The folks there—especially the nurses—don’t just care for you…they care about you. It’s hard to say who my favorite is; some have become friends. They are like one big family, and they all deserve this honor.—Nominated by Linda Bilodeau

Tamara Casey, Tufts Medical Center

Tamara, the nurse who gave me the ultimate care this past year, has been with Tufts for 30 years—the first 15 in the Cardiac Care Unit, and the last 15 in the pre-operating room holding section.

In late September I completely lost my vision while driving home from a very relaxing day in Salem, Mass. I called my daughter—who happens to be a nurse—and she stepped right up. I was quickly taken to Tufts for an MRI and was told a massive brain tumor, described as being larger than a baseball, had settled on my optic nerve.

My daughter made all of the necessary arrangements; my life was in her care. Ten hours later, I was told that my emergency surgery was successful. My next move was to the New England Rehabilitation Hospital, now known as HealthSouth, in Woburn. Extensive rehab spanning many disciplines filled my days for weeks, while my wonderful nurse-daughter took complete charge. The doctors, nurses, and therapists at this hospital worked tirelessly to get me home. I am so proud of the special care that my daughter bestowed upon me.—Nominated by Frances J. Grace

Deneen Costello, Tufts Medical Center

Deneen has worked at Tufts for over 30 years and is currently a post-anesthesia care unit recovery nurse. She embodies all that a nurse should be in this critical care post-operation environment. She is experienced, intuitive, detailed, and super smart. In other words, she can save your life and most certainly comfort and speed your recovery. While doing this, she will make you feel special and alleviate your post-op anxiety with a quick wit, a kind gesture, and obvious competence. Deneen is representative of all the nurses in her unit and, if you reach out to those who know, you will find that the PACU nurses at Tufts are simply unmatched as a group in their skills. They treat each patient as family.—Nominated by Brian Costello

Heather Cote, Heart Failure + Cardiac Transplant Center, Tufts Medical Center

I have been a cardiac patient at Tufts since I was told that I needed a transplant in July 2010. Heather has been involved in my care ever since I was introduced to the team. She is selfless and somehow manages to be a transplant nurse, a transplant coordinator, and a great mother and wife. She is also a member of the HeartBrothers Foundation, where I have frequent contact with her and the patients that we counsel about the process of getting a transplant. Unless you’ve been through the process, you cannot fully understand the demands on a nurse’s time and emotions. She and I personally took a patient through congestive heart failure, implantation of a left ventricular assist device, heart transplant, and his unexplained death. I’ve watched her in the best and worst of times. She is always thoughtful of others and a caring, lovable soul.—Nominated by Thomas Davis

Heather Cote, Heart Failure + Cardiac Transplant Center, Tufts Medical Center

I’m going into my 10th post-transplant year and Heather has been there since Day One. From her dedication and professionalism to her warm smile, she has made a big difference not only to me, but also my family. While all the staff and nurses at Tufts are wonderful, Heather will always hold a special place in my (new) heart.—Nominated by Mike Ashworth

Heather Cote, Heart Failure + Cardiac Transplant Center, Tufts Medical Center

Heather has been my mom’s cardiac nurse for so many years that it’s hard to pick one noteworthy event. She’s become like an extended member of the family…always smiling, warm, compassionate, and caring. We trust her implicitly. She advocates for us all the time, and we’d be lost without her.—Nominated by Andrea Jeffrey

Heather Cote, Heart Failure + Cardiac Transplant Center, Tufts Medical Center

I have been well taken care of by this nurse in the 17 years since my heart transplant. She goes out of her way to be compassionate, caring, and understanding. She can immediately tell how I feel when I walk into the room. She moves heaven and earth to get answers, even pulling strings and calling in favors. Heather takes her job very seriously and is so loving to all of her patients. I would not be at the good place that I am without Heather.—Nominated by Kathy Jeffrey

Heather Cote, Heart Failure + Cardiac Transplant Center, Tufts Medical Center

Heather has been a great help over the many years since my wife’s heart transplant. She calls periodically to check up on Kathy and is always helpful in answering our questions. Heather always has a smile on her face and a hug for my wife.—Nominated by Peter Jeffrey

Kristen Dagley, Tufts Medical Center

I have witnessed Kristen deal with patients during the most critical and vulnerable moments of their lives. Kristen demonstrates immense empathy, respect, and comfort to every patient, family member, or colleague that she encounters. Working alongside Kristen as part of an interdisciplinary team is invaluable. She has spent extensive time advocating for patients, especially those who might not have been able to advocate for themselves. She is a natural educator, helper, and caring person, and Tufts is very lucky to have her working in their ICU.—Nominated by Amanda Fasano

Rosemarie Damiano, Tufts Medical Center

I have worked alongside Rosemarie for the past 17 years. She is not only competent, but amazingly kind to her patients. She sets them at ease and advocates for extra services when needed.

This past year we went through a difficult strike at Tufts. Rose was an inspiring leader in our fight for patient safety and appropriate staffing. She is truly a good person and one of the profession’s best nurses.—Nominated by Betty Watson

Christina DePalma, Tufts Medical Center

The service lead for the Department of Otolaryngology and our excellent operating room nurse, Christina deserves a lot of praise. Every day, she performs her clinical duties in a professional and competent manner, comforting everyone who enters the OR—especially the children, who love her. Then, at the end of the day, she commits a significant amount of personal time helping the Department of Otolaryngology manage airway emergencies. Meticulously arranging the airway supplies is a thankless job; more than once, her planning and care meant that critical equipment was at hand in an emergency. This type of background work often goes unrecognized.—Nominated by Jonathan Simmonds

Laura Murphy-Eagles, Tufts Medical Center Floating Hospital

I met Laura when my daughter was diagnosed with cancer. From the moment we met, I knew that she was a good fit for my girl. She not only helped to mend her, but also offered her love, friendship, and compassion. Many nights she stayed late just make sure that my daughter got everything she needed before Laura left. As a mom watching her daughter struggle through cancer and not knowing what to expect, this woman made it easier on us all. It got to the point where my daughter was calling her “Mama Laura.” After a four-year battle, my 17-year-old daughter passed, and Laura was with her until the very end. She actually came to the hospital from her home to be there with her. In all my years, I never witnessed such a true friendship and a loving patient-nurse relationship as I saw between the two of them. Laura is still a very important part of my life to this day, helping me to heal now. She reminds me how strong my daughter was and just how much stronger I need to be to deal with such a loss. I respect her for what she does and how she listens to her patients. She is doing exactly what my daughter asked her to do—take care of me.—Nominated by Jackie Murphy

Evelyn Finn, Tufts Medical Center

I work in the Tufts Contact Center and often talked to Evelyn by phone. I hoped that I would meet her someday. She is kind, professional, and caring over the phone, and willingly takes every call that I need help with, even if the patient is not on her floor. I finally got to meet Evelyn through an urgent care appointment. I was totally under the weather that day, and she cared for me every step of the way. Although I knew she had other people in her care, she didn’t make me feel like just another patient. When I needed blood work and an IV, I stressed to her that I do not do well with needles. The insertion was so painless and easy that I didn’t even feel it. She suggested taking my blood prior to the IV so that she would only have to stick me once. Although the room was a little cold, she made me feel like I was resting at home in my bed. She shut off the lights, closed the blinds, and gave me more than enough blankets and pillows to rest while the IV ran its course. Evelyn is obviously knowledgeable and enjoys her work, whether on the phone or in person.—Nominated by Ramona Teodosio

Donna Hernandez, Tufts Medical Center

Donna consistently exudes positivity and professionalism. She advocated strongly for a patient who has been in the hospital for months and months, waiting for a heart transplant. The patient’s course has been a rollercoaster ride, and Donna has been by his side to provide encouragement and optimize all aspects of his care, from his morning self-care routine to his physical and occupational therapy to his dialysis schedule. She communicates with all members of a multidisciplinary team professionally, yet firmly, to ensure that Tufts is meeting this patient’s medical and emotional needs. It’s obvious that the other nurses in the cardiac intensive care unit look up to her, and that she has positively influenced the way they care for their own patients. Her patients and colleagues are lucky to have Donna around.—Nominated by Sara Krasney

Annette Joseph, Tufts Medical Center

We see Annette frequently at cardiology appointments for our son, who has been admitted to the hospital on several occasions. Annette has stayed after hours of her own free will several times. She has sat and talked with us, helped us get parking passes, and walked with us as our son is transported to the main hospital. She helps us feel welcome and loved.—Nominated by Brittany Wheaton

Maureen Keeley, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Tufts Medical Center Floating Hospital

Maureen was the most amazing nurse that I could have asked for to care for my daughter when she was born at 30 weeks gestation weighing 2 pounds, 1 ounce. Maureen has more than 30 years of clinical experience with preemies. She took the time to sit with us and address all of our questions and concerns with the most care and compassion imaginable. She made sure that she was our daughter’s primary NICU nurse whenever possible, and she even checked on her when she wasn’t. She held my daughter when I couldn’t be there and made each holiday in the NICU special. We treasure her, and almost a year later we still visit the NICU just to see her.—Nominated by Nicole Burr

Jennifer Killion, Tufts Medical Center

Jennifer is a neonatal intensive care unit nurse who helped save my premature son’s life. After he was born at 25 weeks, Jennifer kept reassuring us that our son will have a long journey and that he would grow and grow and grow as he’s supposed to do—which he sure did. She explained everything in terms we could understand. She instantly felt like part of the family, and I trusted her more than anyone with my son. Jennifer made sure that everything and anything my son needed was taken care of, and that we were comfortable with his caretaker when she had an occasional weekend off. She was there when I needed a shoulder to cry on during surgeries and other obstacles. We began to know each other on a new level. Jennifer is very compassionate, sincere, and thoughtful, and will always be part of our lives. She still has the greatest impact on my son’s life and mine after 112 days. Anyone would be lucky to have Jennifer’s care. My family sure is.—Nominated by Jacqueline Pelletier

Cathy MacPherson, Tufts Medical Center Floating Hospital

Cathy is an oncology pediatric nurse. My son knows when he goes in for monthly visits that Cathy will make him laugh and forget about his treatment. He rarely acknowledges her, but he’s always watching everything she does, and he spends the next month laughing about it at home. He tells his siblings everything she said and did, and talks about how much he loves to see her. Cathy makes our family feel special. She helps us live a normal life in a non-normal situation. We can’t thank her enough for all the love she gives our child.—Nominated by Iman Abbasi

Cathy MacPherson, Tufts Medical Center Floating Hospital

Cathy became my son Cole’s nurse in the Hematology/Oncology Division soon after he was diagnosed with leukemia in 2013. I first met her when Cole wound up in the emergency room during his first month of intensive treatment. She was already right there, helping us get through another rough patch in this scary road that we had just begun. We all took to her right away. She just has a way about her that makes you feel at ease. She puts the needs of her patients first, but doesn’t disregard how family is feeling, either. It takes a special person to do the job that she does.

Since Cole finished cancer treatment in early 2017, it has been a struggle for him to get used to blood draws and his new normal life. Our last blood draw in January 2018 had to have been his worst. He was so anxious and emotional that Cathy emailed me later that day to see how he was doing. When Cole had to write about a hero in school, he chose Cathy. “My hero is my nurse,” he wrote. “My nurse helped me get through cancer treatment. It took three years to do it. I finished on February 13. My nurse is my hero.”—Nominated by Christine Moniz

Cathy MacPherson, Tufts Medical Center Floating Hospital

My daughter has been under the care of Cathy and the entire Tufts Floating Hospital staff since December 2015. Cathy makes the experience a lot of fun while keeping all medical protocols in check. I really love the level of care and experience she possesses. She turned my daughter’s treatments in the clinic into more of a positive than a negative time. She is now done with her treatments and will have her port removed next week. Thank you, Cathy, for caring for my daughter so well.—Nominated by Terri Wilson

Mary Ellen Moran, Tufts Medical Center

My mother-in-law Linda was diagnosed with metastatic melanoma on her face. As you can imagine, this devastating diagnosis causes fear and uncertainty. Linda was treated so quickly that we were fortunate to have all the cancer removed. She has a very large incision on her face and neck, and she had to stay in the hospital for a few nights.

She was lucky to have so many amazing nurses that it’s hard to single one out. But I do remember Mary Ellen coming to let me know immediately that Linda had arrived after surgery and was doing well, although a little sleepy. Mary Ellen was very reassuring and prepared me for seeing the incision and drains on Linda’s neck.

When I called to check in after leaving for the night, Mary Ellen made time to answer my questions and reassure me. She took amazing care of my mother-in-law, who said that she was comfortable and never experienced any pain. Linda came home in great spirits and is doing very well. I can never thank the nurses on Proger 5N enough, especially Mary Ellen. —Nominated by Renee Leondike

Cate Mullen, Tufts Medical Center

I was initially scared when I was diagnosed with breast cancer last August, but Cate’s calm demeanor promptly put me at ease. She explained that the next few months would be akin to running a marathon. Was she ever right. The gauntlet of doctors’ appointments, chemotherapy, and surgery was challenging, but less so with Cate by my side. She’s always been available to talk on the phone or sit down with me after an exhausting day at the hospital. In addition, Cate has led a support group for fellow breast cancer “thrivers.” In these meetings her empathy and commitment to our well-being is evident to all. My road to recovery is nearly complete. Because of Cate’s invaluable assistance, I’m well past Heartbreak Hill and on my way to the finish line.—Nominated by Diane Rantz

Kelli O’Neill, Tufts Medical Center

Kelli ensures that our patients and their families receive the best possible care on a daily basis. Besides caring for patients and families, she also cares for us: her staff and work family. As our clinical leader and educator, she is a role model for all nurses. Her patience, and her ability to teach old dogs new tricks as well as to educate the new staff who are the future of nursing excellence, is never exhausted. On top of all that, Kelli also works tirelessly on infection control. Tufts has been blessed to have her represent the face of the community here.—Nominated by Kathy McSweeney

Susanna Pan, Tufts Medical Center

Susanna joined Women’s Care Tufts less than a year ago and we hope she never leaves. From the very first day, Susanna jumped in and made an immense difference for our patients. As a bilingual nurse, she addresses patients in their native language, understands their culture, and delivers a professional and high-quality patient experience. Susanna has been a nurse for only a few years, but she is always open to learning and dedicated to providing evidence-based care. She is an advocate for all women and has a dedicated passion for the women in our Asian Access program, a team committed to the woman in the Chinatown community. On their weekend off, the team volunteered at a local women’s health event, providing education and answering questions. Susanna’s positive attitude and willingness to help patients and coworkers makes us all feel good. She is an exceptional nurse, and I look forward to the great things she will do for patients and her colleagues in the years to come.—Nominated by Mimi Pomerleau

Lori Russell and Jen Kelly, Tufts Medical Center

I needed surgery to stabilize a fractured ankle after a slip and fall on black ice. Lori and Jen were on the surgical team in the operating room that day. Their empathy and professionalism put me at ease, and their clinical expertise provided a wonderful surgical outcome. They are both wonderful patient advocates and I will always be grateful for their care on that difficult day.—Nominated by Paula Bennett

Karen Russell, Mother-Infant Unit, Tufts Medical Center

I welcomed my daughter into the world after a pretty easy delivery (with excellent nurses in labor and delivery, too), but was exhausted after being awake for almost 36 hours and becoming a new mom on top of that. Karen, my nurse in the Mother-Infant Unit, was phenomenal. When she could tell that I needed a nap, she watched my little one in the nursery so I could get some sleep. She assured me that my baby would be in good hands—which she was—and that taking care of myself was as important as caring for my baby. Her presence calmed me whenever she stepped into my room, and she instilled confidence about being a good mother. I was lucky to have her as my nurse two days in a row. Toward the end of the second day, as we were preparing to go home the next morning, Karen politely asked how I felt about going home with my little girl. She said she had noticed that I seemed a little nervous every time “going home” was mentioned. I admitted to being nervous about what I was going to do without having a nurse or tech right there to answer questions. Karen looked me in the eye and gave me an honest pep talk. Her communication was always appropriate and direct, and spoken with empathy. Any family in the MIU who has Karen as their nurse is fortunate.—Nominated by Denison Penney

Linda Russo, NICU, Tufts Medical Center Floating Hospital

Our newborn baby was transferred to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Tufts Floating after he was born with respiratory distress syndrome. Linda encouraged us to visit our son often and answered every question we posed, often clarifying medical jargon that we did not understand. She advocated on our behalf, included us in rounds, and made us feel as though we were truly members of a team. Linda especially helped me by facilitating an environment where I felt comfortable breastfeeding and providing enough supplies to get us started. She frequently updated us about his progress after I was discharged and he stayed behind. We were extremely fortunate to have her in our corner, and would like to thank Linda and all of the outstanding nurses at Tufts NICU.—Nominated by Anne Marie Landoli

Dawn Salina, NICU, Tufts Medical Center

My neighbor Dawn is a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit nurse. I’m clearly not a NICU patient myself, but I was admitted to Tufts for an extremely scary neurological problem. Dawn not only visited me as a friend and neighbor before and after her shifts at the hospital, but also did some research on the syndrome that had hit me, and gave me much reassurance. She is an exemplary employee of Tufts and a great representative of the nursing staff.—Nominated by Ann Steeves

Marc Silva, NICU, Tufts Medical Center

I am reminded of Marc’s smile in the neonatal intensive care unit after my children were born and, if I’m not mistaken, during my delivery as well. Marc’s professionalism and love for children are apparent when you approach him. When your first set of twins is in the NICU and you are in your hospital bed, you only want to be with your children. Marc initially took care of both of my twins, and then one or the other. Before he made them name tags and gave them cute blankets and hats, Marc knew the difference between them—even before I did, and that is the biggest comfort a new mother of twins can have. He got to know them so well individually that he could tell other nurses, and even me, what specific care each one needed. He taught me, a first-time mom, all of the basics and made sure that I was comfortable with feedings and holding my babies for the first time. Marc made the overall NICU experience the complete opposite of what I thought it would be, and I had more peace of mind and less anxiety about leaving my kids in the NICU. He still checked on us even after we were no longer in his care. He never fails to keep that smile, no matter what shift he is working, and treats the patient as his own loved one.—Nominated by Ramona Teodosio

Veronika Testa, Tufts Medical Center

I have worked closely with Veronika for many years, and still do. She has initiated and managed a kidney disease education program for patients approaching transplant and dialysis, helping to resolve these patients’ fears and concerns at an important transition in their care. She has organized flu clinics, shuttle services, and medication administration in the clinic with minimal oversight and at a very high level. She also coordinates closely with the main hospital to make sure that transitions of care are seamless.

Veronika is caring and gentle with patients, providing food to diabetic patients with low blood sugars. She also works closely with the clinic support staff as a mother figure, making sure everyone is happy and well taken care of.—Nominated by Ronald Perrone

Veronika Testa, Tufts Medical Center

Veronika is thoughtful, funny, considerate, and beyond helpful in so many ways it’s difficult to put into words. She deals with the insurance company when my medication has not been delivered, she deals with the supplier when my medication is in limbo, and she does a lot of this after hours, on her own time, without hesitation, and without my asking her to help. It’s her instinct to jump in and assist her patients at any time of day, whether she is working or not.

Her clinical expertise goes beyond the kidney department. She monitors my health, my well-being, and everything else in between. She is the fairy godmother of nurses—she puts each patient first, and you feel like she truly cares. And she remembers every detail of every discussion, whether it be medical or a fun fact about one of my children.

I can’t say enough about how valuable Veronika is to the Tufts community, and I am very fortunate to have her as part of my health care team—Nominated by Karen Rose-Gillis

Timothy Winn, NICU, Tufts Medical Center

Our experience at Tufts was unexpected. Our son was born about a month early at Cape Cod Hospital, and we were told almost immediately that he would need a higher level of care. We were both transported to Tufts and that’s when we met Tim in the NICU. Being wheeled down to the NICU that first time is an experience I’ll never forget. Seeing the machines and hearing their distinct beeps and tones while passing the isolettes with the tiniest humans inside was overwhelming. We were introduced to a calm, warm nurse who instantly put us at ease. Tim’s soft-spoken, honest, compassionate nature got us through those few weeks. When we arrived and saw Tim each day we could exhale, even if he wasn’t assigned to our son. We knew Tim had his eye on Tucker no matter where he was needed on a given day. As a NICU parent, you don’t always feel like you’re part of your child’s care. Tucker had the best nurses looking after him—how could we top that? But Tim made us feel welcome and needed, and was our advocate. He was present and heard during rounds and we felt like we had our own personal superhero. Since our experience at Tufts and getting to know Tim, I decided that I need to make people feel the way that Tim made us feel. He was such an influence in my life and my family’s that I took the leap and applied to nursing school. I only hope I can be half the nurse that Tim is.—Nominated by Melanie Mimmo

UMass Memorial Health Care
Kristin Blomgren, UMass Memorial Health Care

Kristin loves her job, and especially her patients. Being a good listener is an important part of the healing process, and that she is. She and her husband have two high school daughters. They are both super students and great athletes, but her eldest has type 1 diabetes and requires 24/7 care. Being a mom, wife, nurse, and community volunteer makes Kristin an excellent nominee.—Nominated by Pat Dow

VNA Care
Julie Genovese, VNA Care

Knowledgeable and confident, Julie has the gift of listening with kindness. She is dedicated to helping people and making her patients feel better about their condition.—Nominated by Jim O’Donnell

Susan Parenti, Visiting Nurse Association of Boston, VNA Care

Sue provides hospice care twice a week to my brother, who lives with me. She graciously accepts our phone calls and finds a way to calm us down when either of us is anxious about some new issue. She knows what my brother is feeling. She can deal gently but firmly with a proud, middle-aged, “heels dug-in” individual who is too proud to accept help. Sue is undaunted. She accepts “no” graciously and finds a way to turn his rejection into a “yes.” She turned him around and he knows now that she only wants to help him cope. She will treat and counsel him about complications ranging from pain to excess fluids, fatigue, weakness, persistent cough, sudden skin tears, bleeding wounds, breathing and sleep issues, and bodily functions. Knowledgeable and talented, Sue is a huge comfort to us, and we feel like she is part of our family.—Nominated by David DiPerna

Walden Behavioral Care
Alina Birch, Eating Disorders Treatment, Walden Behavioral Care

As a young nurse, Alina cares for many adolescents and adults with a variety of eating disorders. Patients of all ages find Alina approachable as she makes an extra effort to recognize their personal anxieties and fears.

She administers care for patients who come to us from all over the world, accommodating their traditions, rituals, and diversity with kindness and respect. Equally important, Alina is well respected by her peers and by all members of the interdisciplinary group that formulates the specific care plans administered by the nurses. Alina will soon graduate from a nurse practitioners program and hopes to stay in the field of eating disorders, where she is an asset to a vulnerable population.—Nominated by Lucille Force

Walpole Area VNA
Lucy Gariepy and Lisa O’Connor, Walpole Area VNA

Lucy and Lisa come to my 103-year-old stepmother Tina’s home. They give Tina her biweekly injections and treat her 97-year-old sister Mary’s swollen and rashy legs every other day. They check on both of them after falls or other unexpected issues. I am eternally grateful for their professional, kind, and caring suggestions and encouragement.—Nominated by Jane Giovannucci

Watertown Middle School
Katie Swift, Watertown Middle School

Katie is the school nurse at my daughter Eva’s middle school. Eva has Type 1 diabetes that requires constant monitoring. Katie understands the complexity of Type 1 and takes amazing care of my daughter every day. She knows how serious it can be for Eva’s blood sugar to go too high or too low. Eva has a continuous glucose monitor, and Katie has an app on her phone to vigilantly watch Eva’s blood sugar throughout the day. Because Katie is there, I know that my daughter is not only safe, but healthy and truly cared-for. Katie has a thorough understanding of the devices and procedures necessary to properly manage Eva’s diabetes, and often gives us great advice about current research. She always contacts me when it’s necessary.—Nominated by Lauren Kelleher

Wentworth-Douglass Hospital
Lindsey Richards, Wentworth-Douglass Hospital

Lindsey was one of the first nurses to care for me when I was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer at age 25. She cared for me for many long nights during my three-week hospitalization. Her love and support extended beyond the hospital as we became good friends, even having play dates and lunch dates with our little ones. Since our first encounter, she has risen to become the floor charge nurse overseeing everything. Whenever I have been admitted, she makes sure that the nurses know and understand my complete history, so I am beyond well cared-for. She always smiles and will jump to help no matter what.

I was most recently hospitalized for a pleural infusion and had three-plus liters of fluid collapsing my right lung, causing a shift of my heart, trachea, and left lung. Even though Lindsey was not directly in charge of my care on those long nights, she came to check in on me and help administer meds so I didn’t have to wait. I have complete faith in her. She has always answered my questions and even given me tips for issues I might have been experiencing. Without the love, care, and support from her and the other amazing staff, I would not be alive today.—Nominated by Natasha Blaisdell

Winchester Hospital
Gail Forthoffer, Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Center, Winchester Hospital

I would like to acknowledge Gail and her entire team for the exceptional care they provided to my father. Their clinical skills were extraordinary and they listened when others would not. More importantly, their compassion and patience with my father during his last few days gave him the hope he needed in that difficult time. With all the challenges in today’s healthcare environment, I’m impressed with the kindness displayed to him and many others.—Nominated by Sharon Bourassa

Sonya Quinton, Winchester Hospital

Sonya was my RN during emergency surgery and a five-day hospital stay. She has a gentle, caring, and kind presence that always gave me complete comfort to help me heal. Sonya’s outstanding commitment and self-assurance make her a positive role model in a challenging profession.—Nominated by Marybeth Leary

Yuliya Vigdorchik, Winchester Hospital

When my wife brought me to the Winchester Hospital Emergency Room, I was in very serious condition with a failing mitral valve. The ER staff, supervised by Yuliya, did a wonderful, timely, professional job treating and caring for me. The ultrasound technician was able to get informative video recordings showing the detached strands of my mitral valve whipping around in my bloodstream with each heartbeat. After five hours or so, the supervising nurse made the correct call to have me taken by ambulance to the Massachusetts General Hospital ER in Boston.

A couple of months ago I returned to Winchester Hospital to thank Yuliya for her professional judgment and action when I needed a lot of help. I have nothing but good words and thankfulness for Yuliya and the ER staff that afternoon.—Nominated by Thomas Maher

Woburn Medical Associates
Colleen Dimambro, Assistant to Peter Azar, MD, Woburn Medical Associates

Colleen is a gem in the healthcare field. She projects a calm, welcoming effect as she efficiently schedules appointments, helps arrange consultations with outside doctors, and answers patient questions knowledgeably and clearly. Timely in answering calls and managing follow-up, Colleen is an asset to both the patients and the doctors that she serves. —Nominated by Ruth Cavallaro

Woburn Public Schools Health Services
Annmarie Concannon, Woburn Public Schools Health Services

My daughter Annmarie is an honor graduate of Salem State College who spent five years at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, 20 years at Winchester Hospital, and three years with the Woburn schools. After I had two severe bouts of pneumonia in January 2017, Annmarie made appointments at Massachusetts General Hospital, where I was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and was placed on oxygen. She handled all the arrangements for oxygen supplies and accompanied me on follow-up trips to MGH.

Last June, I fell and broke my hip, then spent two weeks in the hospital and at rehab. Annmarie was invaluable when I returned home. She set up home care doctors’ appointments, which she also attended to discuss my prognosis. She carefully checks all prescriptions and looks for changes in my physical condition. Depending on the weather, she will reschedule to prevent further lung infections or flu symptoms.

Annmarie is well respected by her peers for her abilities and sensitivity. Over the years she has availed those same qualities to all of her family and friends. She is readily available to me, visiting often and relieving my stress as she checks on “dear old Dad” —while also being a mother of five and working full time as a school nurse.—Nominated by James Foley

 

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