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Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Lisa Arvine, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
My wife, Kathleen, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer last November. In keeping with Dana-Farber’s core values of impact, excellence, and compassion, Lisa has been a true lifeline during Kathy’s chemotherapy and surgery over the past four months. Living in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.—far from the Boston area—makes going to treatments more difficult. Lisa and the entire gynecological oncology team have been so reassuring that I’m nominating them all for their unique care approach.
They have recognized Kathy as a unique patient with unique treatment needs. Lisa always greets her with a smile and a hug, listening carefully to her questions and feedback. As someone in the pharmaceutical industry, I understand how our health care system can sometimes overlook the patient’s voice. Lisa and the Dana-Farber team’s approach to patient care is a gold standard that shows what’s right with our health care system.
Thank you, Lisa and team, for bringing such a high level of compassionate care to my wife in a very dark, challenging time. You have made an immense difference in our lives.—Nominated by Joseph Ruhmel
Kelsey Baker-Brooks, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
I was diagnoses with chronic lymphocytic leukemia in 2017, and in 2018 my oncologist decided that treatment was necessary. I was lucky enough to be accepted in a drug trail at Dana-Farber. One of the three drugs is administered by infusion, and I have spent the past six months getting it. Kelsey was my nurse through most of this.
She was kind and compassionate. She put me at ease with a scary process and did all that she could to make me comfortable, including getting my blood samples to the lab as quickly as possible to that I could go home at a reasonable hour, bringing me warm blankets, and even serving food when I couldn’t get lunch myself.
Kelsey was genuinely interested in what was happening in my life. At the time, we were building a home in New Hampshire, trying to sell our New York home, and moving from one to the other. On each of my monthly visits, Kelsey asked about my family and everything that was happening. She remembered the details even though I was one of many patients.
Toward the end, it became difficult to find a useful vein. When the lab phlebotomist failed, Kelsey found one with minimal discomfort. She encouraged me to celebrate my last infusion by ringing the bell in the infusion area; she and all the other nurses on duty cheered. It was a great moment, and I’m grateful she asked me to memorialize it. Having cancer is tough, and being infused with powerful drugs for hours on end is difficult, but Kelsey made it easier.—Nominated by Nicholas Bruno
Christine Bordonaro, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Christine is my infusion therapy nurse. Before I started chemo, I used to see her once a month for five or 10 minutes for injections. She’s always so pleasant and professional that we started to develop a friendship. She’s seen me cry, laugh, be sad, be happy—yet she always treated me with such care. I knew I was in good hands when I started chemo. I’ve watched her treat other patients with the same respect, as if you were the only one in the room with her. She never fails to ask about your family, your day, your schedule—about you. She’s just really special. It’s a tough place to be, but she puts you at ease and is a natural caregiver.—Nominated by Kelly Herlihy
Brittany Bowes, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Brittany has been my nurse—and, I daresay, my friend—from the moment I called Dana-Farber to ask about a cancer clinical trial. She has always been the person to help arrange out-of-town testing (I live in New York and come to Boston every two weeks), listen to my concerns, and make me feel that the Dana-Farber team genuinely cares about me as a person, not just a patient.
When I got my first status CT scan, Brittany knew how anxious I was for the results, so she kept checking her email and called me with the good news, rather than have me wait one more day—all on her day off.
Brittany always ends our appointments with “Call me if you have ANY questions or concerns,” and she really means it, as I’ve discovered over the two years I’ve known her. She responds immediately when I call or email her about any issue. She is the most organized, personable, and caring nurse I’ve known. Thank goodness for nurses like Brittany.—Nominated by Elizabeth McCabe
Karyn Brundige, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Karen is a terrific nurse, just perfect. She is very compassionate and caring. It’s almost as if my son is her only patient—but I know that he isn’t. Karen is excellent at communicating and has the best follow-up skills. She’s always clear about my son’s condition and treatment plan. I trust her expertise, her intelligence, and her knowledge. Karen always offers support via email and is only a phone call away.—Nominated by Angela Isaac
Katie Buckley, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Katie has been with me since my first treatment. She has become more than just my nurse—she’s my friend. I am currently on a trial treatment and she stays in the room and makes me feel comfortable while it’s administered. She shares stories of other patients who are going through the same treatment and makes me feel like I am not alone. When I recently got engaged, Katie decorated my treatment room to congratulate us. She is truly amazing and compassionate.—Nominated by Elizabeth Morris
Deirdre Callanan, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
It’s obvious as I watch you interact with those around you, Deirdre, that your presence at Dana-Farber is a gift to your patients. After many years of treatments, I actually look forward to our visits. I appreciate your humor and positive attitude; these might not always be easy in the oncology environment. I see how busy you are, but you always take the time to ask about me and my family. For your skillful and compassionate care, I thank and salute you.—Nominated by Fred Ruland
Susan Carrozza, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
I have monthly appointments at Dana-Farber for a clinical trial. I have a superb team—oncologist, nurses, technicians, etc.—and Sue, as a clinical research nurse, is at every appointment. When I discuss side effects or have questions about the trial, Sue listens to everything, even hearing what I want to say, but don’t. Always cheery, knowledgeable, caring, and patient, she manages to follow up before the end of my day. That can mean contacting the scheduler if I have a conflict, arranging a dermatology appointment if I have a skin issue, or just checking on me if I had a meltdown earlier.
Sue has given me her contact information in case of questions or an emergency. I often put my questions together over the weekend and email her on a Sunday, expecting to hear back on Monday. Not so: I hear back from her on her day off.
Although I realize she has a lot of patients, she makes me feel like I’m part of a caring and compassionate family that is seeing me through my cancer. We laugh and cry together, and I can’t imagine anyone better suited for recognition. She epitomizes Gandhi’s quote: “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” Sue has definitely found herself.—Nominated by Martha Hunt
Mary Ann Case, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
I have witnessed the care that Mary Ann gives her patients first-hand. She is an extraordinary nurse, a highly seasoned and sought-after educator who expertly guides our newest hires through orientation. While she primarily provides nursing education to our workforce, Mary Ann’s excellence in providing top-notch patient care doesn’t stop at the classroom door. She is the first nurse to arrive to a code emergency and the last one to leave a patient’s room. I know some compassionate caregivers, but I don’t know many nurses who are so skilled at patient care that they can teach to it—and she’s never missed a beat after so many years of teaching. She keeps her continuing education at the forefront of her practice. She advocates for inspired primary nursing from the research bench to the patient bedside.
From Day One, Mary Ann instills in our nurses the passion for patient-centered care. She embodies the values of our professional practice model, which holds the synergy between patient and nurse at our highest level. Mary Ann is a consummate professional who perfectly demonstrates the dedication to patients that we seek in all of our nurses. Her consistent improvement and dedication to her own professional development is what connects her teaching responsibilities to those high-intensity patient care moments during a code emergency. I don’t know many nurses who maintain their excellent bedside manner when they transition to teaching clinical content. Mary Ann is firmly devoted to her patients from the moment her pager goes off to when she follows up with a code-patient weeks and months later. I salute her.—Nominated by Mary Murray
John Christopher, South Shore Hospital, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
My infusion nurse at Dana-Farber Cancer Center in Weymouth, John explained each infusion, including potential side effects, and made sure that I understood each treatment. If the oncologist couldn’t be reached before the end of my appointment to discuss another potential treatment later in the week, John stayed on the case, followed up with the doctor, and called me that evening. At first I was uneasy about having a port embedded in my chest. John gave me a detailed understanding of the port’s benefits, and why the risks of not having it were greater.
John reassured my husband and adult children by explaining each step. After my last infusion, John administered a blood transfusion that had me stressed. Once again, he armed me with the knowledge of how blood is screened for such diseases as HIV, hepatitis C, and others, and made me understand that the risk was much lower than it had been 20 years ago.
John’s life’s work has made a difference in my life. I am grateful for his care and expertise. I was always confident that I was in the best hands.—Nominated by Cindy Sullivan
Meghan Cifrino, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Meghan has been my point of contact since my first consultation last February and continuing through my course of chemotherapy and radiation. She is amazingly dedicated and competent, and always follows through, whether it’s a question about medication, dealing with prescriptions, coordinating appointments and lab work, or fielding our “what if” questions. She is caring, thorough, and compassionate, and I can’t recommend her highly enough.—Nominated by Christopher Barnett
Kimberly Coleman, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
I enrolled in a clinical trial last July for CAR-T therapy. From her first enrollment call to my discharge to today, Kimberly has shown professionalism and compassion. She always says or does the right thing to alleviate our anxiety and instill hope and confidence, even when there was no data to support such feelings. My wife and I feel blessed that Kimberly was my nurse, and we have grown to love her as a friend.
My thanks go out to all the wonderful nurses who took such great care of me—and to Ena, for the Jamaican beef patty and her lovely spirit. Most of all, thank you, Kimberly.—Nominated by Paul Bavier
Kimberly Coleman, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
My trial nurse, Kimberly, has become a special part of my life. She has been with me during every step of the process—before, during, and after the trial treatment—with guidance and never-ending support. She really made me feel comfortable during this difficult journey, making a scary situation calm and encouraging, and quickly formed a strong bond of trust with me and my daughter, managing every aspect of my care during this tough time.
Kimberly attends all of my doctor visits and sometimes even drops in before or after procedures. No matter how busy she was during my hospital stay, Kimberly would come to see me with a big smile, just to say hello and check on how I was doing. She was a bright light in otherwise-long days filled with worries.
She is always available by phone or email to answer questions about prescriptions, appointments, or any other concerns. She always says how thrilled she was by my response to this novel treatment and my quick recovery. Thank you, Kimberly, for everything you do for me. I love you.—Nominated by Elena Popova
Michael Comeau, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Michael was my wife’s infusion nurse for years before she passed away last New Year’s Day. He is one of the gentlest, most caring and compassionate people I know. We grew very close over the years as he shared all the ups and downs of my wife’s illness. I know he felt the pain of bad news as much as we did, but he had to stay strong for us.
My wife enjoyed giving Michael a hard time in a fun way, and we shared many laughs together. I know it brightened his day. It has to be so difficult for these nurses to watch people go through the roughest time of their life; being able to do so compassionately and professionally is a gift from above. Michael more than deserves recognition, and I can never thank him and all the doctors and nurses at Dana-Farber enough.—Nominated by Peter McSorley
Carole DeAngelis, South Shore Hospital, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
I first met Carole during my first stay at Dana-Farber and the first day of my new life as a cancer patient, in May 2017. I was scared and horrified that this was happening. I was only 33 years old and had two young children who needed me. Then I met nurse manager Carole, who has an amazing bright disposition despite being around so much sadness, loss, and suffering. She and I bonded over our love of ice cream, and she became my nurse.
Carole was a constant in my life during that year and a half. She showed so much love and compassion. She embraced my good days and my bad days, and always leant a listening ear during my chemo sessions. She bonded with my boys and made them unafraid to visit Mommy, hooked up as she was to wires and machines, by giving them popsicles and letting them spin on the stools. She made this new normal as comforting as possible.
Besides her amazing bedside manner, Carole has outstanding nursing skills. Because she took the time to really get to know me, she knew right away when I got sick and used great clinical judgment to make sure that I promptly got the care that I needed. She advocated for me to my oncologist to ensure that I got the best treatment.
I feel so lucky that I got the privilege to have Carole as my nurse, and now my friend. She supported my family, physically and emotionally, in a way that I will never forget.—Nominated by Melissa Clifford
Bonnie Dirr, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
I have experienced the most compassionate care from Bonnie since I received a stem cell transplant in 2017. She was always there, encouraging me, as I struggled through the initial stages of treatment. She reached out to me with kindness, caring, and genuine concern, and she was never afraid to put the brakes on me if I drifted off the treatment plan. I could confide in her with anything going on in my life.
What I admire most is that Bonnie has her own medical issues, but never once complained to me. I consider her my confidant. No matter what I bounced off of her, she had great answers. She always returned my calls like I was her only patient, no matter when I called.
The treatment from Bonnie and my team at Dana-Farber has saved my life. I’m approaching two years since my transplant, and with the world-class treatment I received I’m running the Boston Marathon. Bonnie has encouraged me from the start to pursue my dreams. I am grateful and blessed to have her in my life. Her profound impact will last a lifetime. Bonnie richly deserves to be recognized for her dedication and commitment to her time-honored profession.—Nominated by Paul O’Mara
Hannah Freedman, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Hannah is the ultimate example of compassionate, considerate, professional care. Ever since my fall 2018 Hodgkin’s lymphoma diagnosis, Hannah has been a reassuring and clinically competent force in my treatment. Upon my first visit to the infusion room late one Friday evening, I was overcome with uncertainty and fear. Hannah greeted me with her characteristic energetic, warm manner.
Hannah always responds to even the minutest questions about my care with the utmost patience and professionalism. She brightened difficult moments with engaging conversation and always made the extra effort to offer a warm blanket, a chemo flow adjustment, and (most importantly) a smile.
Hannah displayed amazing camaraderie with the Yawkey 8 team, and it was so encouraging to feel enveloped by a highly dedicated nursing team who always stepped in to support me and each other. Hannah, Christine, and Jeannine were incredibly meticulous and caring. Together, the nursing team compassionately dealt with the complexities derived from my decision to avoid insertion of a central line, and patiently took the care to carefully insert my IV every two weeks.
It was particularly meaningful to have a brilliant peer like Hannah as my primary nurse, who made my entire treatment process not only bearable, but even enjoyable. My last infusion was in January. Although I do not miss the chemotherapy, pain, hair loss, and fatigue, I do miss Hannah’s warm smile, humorous stories, and professional care.—Nominated by Sarah Stone
Briana Galante, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
When you are diagnosed with advanced-stage cancer, you are filled with uncertainty and fear. I went through chemo every week at BWH Ambulatory Infusion Center at Main Campus at Dana-Farber. I was apprehensive the first time I received chemo last June. I can never forget Briana’s compassion. I received chemo every week until October and Briana was ready with a hug and a beautiful smile each time. Her embraces were warmer than the blankets she covered me with. She was confident and competent beyond measure. I trusted to my core that she would go out of her way to care for me. I’m sure everyone she cared for felt the same way. I will never forget my care team at Dana-Farber, but Briana most of all will always fill my heart with hope. I salute her and hug her back with all my heart. Thanks to Briana, I am well today, and hope to be this way forever.—Nominated by Nalini Goyal
Shahrzad Giudici, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Nurse Shar is a beautiful human being. Not only is she the most professional and meticulous care provider, but she is also incredibly compassionate. She prioritizes my comfort as a patient in often uncomfortable or uncertain situations. She’s made cancer treatment so easy for me that I actually look forward to my monthly visits, if you can imagine that. She makes me feel cared-for, and more than just another patient. She’s not just there to administer medicine and move on—she asks how I’m feeling, answers questions, and follows up with my oncologist if she’s unsure about anything. She went out of her way to ask about my well-being while she was incredibly pregnant, and even after she was up nights with her new child. Kind and loving people like Shar turn otherwise depressing and negative circumstances into opportunities for caring and uplifting connections. I’m lucky to have her on my care team.—Nominated by Amanda DeGiorgi
Daniel Gorman, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Dan has played an integral role in providing exceptional care for my father. He’s compassionate and efficient, and even answers my emails when he’s on vacation. As a nurse myself, I appreciate seeing a nurse as genuine and caring as Dan. He answers my most insignificant questions with an abundance of knowledge.
The care provided at Dana-Farber has been fluid, and that’s made a difficult situation much more manageable. At previous hospitals, you could feel like you were just a number. That hasn’t been true at Dana-Farber. It’s difficult to convey the comfort and ease we feel when we make our monthly visit with Dan. Besides being an exceptional nurse, he is just a good person in general. He is an asset to Dana-Farber and deserves to have his compassion and dedication recognized.—Nominated by Karina Arbing
Jennifer Halter, Dana-Farber/Brigham Health’s Cancer Center at Milford Regional Medical Center, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
I met nurse Jennifer on Dec. 15, 2017 at my first infusion (AC) for breast cancer. I was scared and alone; Jennifer was comforting and compassionate. She always asked how I was doing and answered my questions or directed them to my oncologist. I continued my AC treatment until the end of January 2018. That February, I was given Taxol for 12 weeks, along with Herceptin for a year.
Jennifer was comforting when I had a scary reaction to my first Herceptin infusion. I also needed lovenox injections twice daily for a blood clot in my neck. She encouraged me to give myself the injections, and I eventually overcame my fear.
Jennifer was with me for every step of my journey. She met my family and friends during various infusion visits, and I got to know her and her family, too. It was hard to say goodbye when my final infusion arrived, so I told her I would “see you later.” Going from visiting the infusion site to not visiting was a huge adjustment that no one prepared me for. Jennifer is a gem and DCFI is lucky to have her. I am now in remission thanks to modern medicine and the amazing staff at Dana-Farber.—Nominated by Marlena Brucato
Alison Hamel, 10th Floor Gynecology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Alison is extremely competent clinically, and her extraordinarily warm manner illuminates her training and always makes patients feel at ease. Her ready smile, no-nonsense attitude (when necessary), and ability to perform hands-on exams make the patient feel comfortable. Her quickness, her cooperation when the patient wants to laugh and joke, and her ability to support the doctor all make her my nomination for Nurse of the Year. Alison is a bright light on Dana-Farber’s 10th floor. I never feel uncomfortable asking her anything, and I feel better knowing that my busy oncologist has time to make my prognosis and treatment all the more state-of-the-art because Alison is there to handle routine matters. Alison’s spouse is also a helping person—a police officer—so that’s a double win for Massachusetts. Thank you, Alison, for making my transition from National Taiwan University Hospital by way of Mass General to Dana-Farber a delight, and for everything that you do.—Nominated by Sandra Schwab
Taylor Jane Healey, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Facing a life-changing medical diagnosis is beyond challenging. Getting a superb level of nursing care during exigent treatments makes all the difference in the world.
Taylor Jane has been my infusion nurse several times. Taylor has an amazing combination of technical skill, empathy, and leadership. From the moment we met her, she earned our full confidence. Taylor communicates the overall plan and details the steps required for the infusion session. Her efficiency shortens the treatment time. We tend to ask detailed technical questions, and are impressed with her thorough knowledge of clinical oncology.
On one of my visits, I experienced a severe complication right before the infusion session. Taylor took the lead in getting assistance from other medical professionals, even though that’s not her primary role. She dug deep to find the source of the issue. She reviewed my case history in depth, looking for explanations.
Taylor showed tremendous empathy that session. She didn’t release me until she was sure that it was safe for me to go home. She based her decision not just on my responses, but on her people assessment skills. We later learned that Taylor checked for several days whether I needed to return for further treatment.
Schedules don’t always allow Taylor to be our nurse. She remembers us, knows my case, and is extremely efficient, along with being friendly, pleasant, and engaging. Our big smiles when she does walk into the room show just how much confidence we have in Taylor. We have benefited from the care of many nurses since my diagnosis. Taylor stands out as one of the greats.—Nominated by Sandra and Peter Meissner
Melissa Hohos, Center for Sarcoma and Bone Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
When facing adversity, it is important to look for the angels among us—those special people who come into our lives to help us through our challenges. I first met clinical research nurse Melissa on the day I was diagnosed with cancer for the third time.
I was instantly struck by her energy, compassion, and spirit. Melissa listens and understands the challenges of treatment, and does all that she can to make the process less frightening. She shares her knowledge and offers helpful suggestions that make treatment more comfortable. On the good days she shares my joy, and on the tough days she offers hugs. She always gets back to me quickly when I have questions or concerns. These simple gestures might not seem like much, but they mean a great deal to me.
Her guidance is immeasurable and I am forever grateful to have Melissa to turn to when I need support.—Nominated by Janet Tornell
Catherine Hulme-Freudenberger, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Catherine has been my oncology nurse since April 2018. She administered my chemotherapy treatments for 12 weeks from April through July, and then every three weeks since then. She is professional, kind, knowledgeable, and forward-thinking. Her calm demeanor always puts me at ease. When I experienced some minor complications, she exhausted all options for my care.
Catherine truly listens and cares about what is going on in my life. She communicates well with my oncologist and physician’s assistant. I have come to trust her completely.
Catherine also brings mindfulness training to her coworkers and patients. She has shared tools, along with her knowledge and wisdom in this area, opening up my thinking to cope with both the emotional and physical sides of cancer. I was blessed when Catherine was chosen as my nurse. She has been a gift to me and my family and has made the difference in the positive experience that I’ve had during the most difficult time of my life.—Nominated by Deb Linehan
Melissa Jasset, 6 Yawkey Pavilion, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
I commute from the Washington, DC, area three times a month to participate in a clinical trial. Melissa has been my infusion nurse since the beginning.
Melissa has always been there for me. She is extraordinarily caring; she puts me at ease during treatment, and has shown interest in my life, including my pets, family, and feelings about my disease. I value her clinical judgment. She is always cheerful, upbeat, hopeful, calming, compassionate, and caring. She is a ray of sunshine with respect to the incurability of the disease.
Melissa is very competent, organized, and efficient: She prepares me for EKGs, places leads before the end of the infusion session, and does whatever she can to save time without skimping on important details so that I can make my scheduled flights home. She’s my professional advocate, and she makes me feel secure while receiving treatments, calming and reassuring me with smiles and warmth while waiting for results.
Melissa had introduced me to diverse other patients without compromising the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. I’ve learned that we have much in common. These circumstances make my treatment experience more pleasant. My life has changed due to this awful disease and this clinical trial. Melissa has helped me adjust and made the experience more positive.—Nominated by Arlene Spirer
Liz Kasparian, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
As a cancer patient already, life got even more serious when my doctors diagnosed me with metastatic triple-negative breast cancer. I was scared. I really wanted the best in my team as I fought once again for my life.
Clinical trial nurse Liz is nothing less than outstanding. She’s a true professional who takes her job very seriously. She explains the trial thoroughly, starting with the protocol, the drugs, and probable side effects. It’s not a short list.
This journey isn’t easy and Liz has your back every step of the way. Between appointments, she’s never more than a phone call or a text away, even on her days off. She makes sure your side effects are under control. If you need a prescription for that, she’ll call your doctors and make it happen. She’s always there, behind the scenes, making sure you’re comfortable and able to live your best. Liz puts my health and quality of life first. She always includes my husband in our conversations and answers all of our questions.
It takes a special person to do this job, and I couldn’t be happier to have Liz on my team. She’s a wonderful nurse and an amazing human being.—Nominated by Pat Schiestl
Elaine Kelly, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
I forgot to pick up my medication at Dana-Farber’s pharmacy during one of my treatment visits. I panicked because the pharmacy was due to close at 6 p.m. and I had just gotten home in Rhode Island at 5:30. I called research nurse Elaine and asked her how I could get the meds in time for my next dose. She ran to the pharmacy and picked up the prescription just minutes before closing time. Then she met me at a shopping mall that’s convenient to both of us. Thank you, Elaine, you are a credit to Dana-Farber and to your profession.—Nominated by Richard Testa
Margot Lafreniere, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Margot is always compassionate, professional, and efficient. She goes out of her way to make sure that my stay and treatment are as pleasant as possible. She never forgets any details, and explains every step of the process.—Nominated by Victor Dentico
Tricia Lemon, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Tricia has been my infusion nurse almost since I began chemo for pancreatic cancer a year ago. This is a complex cancer, with many pre-meds and chemo drugs infused over five hours. Tricia makes sure I know what each thing she gives me is for, what side effects it might cause, and how long each will run. She has given me helpful hints on combating some of the effects of both the cancer and the drugs. She checks on me frequently to make sure I’m doing well and have what I need.
Tricia has a lot of experience with patients who have gastrointestinal cancers like mine, so she can give me the information I need. She truly cares about me and my family and does everything to make me feel almost at home there. She’s a true asset to her unit, the facility, and the nursing field. She is sweet and empathetic, putting me at ease when I walk in anxious about the treatments. She ensures that I have the meds needed for my visit and contacts providers quickly to verify any changes or additional needs. I am so grateful for her compassionate, professional care.—Nominated by Jeanne Tripp
Stephanie Linskey, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Stephanie’s keen attendance to the ending cycle of chemo is one of the most important, and always overlooked by other nurses.—Nominated by Kathy McAuliffe
Jennifer Lowell, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
A cancer diagnosis isn’t easy for anyone involved—patients or families. Going in and out of Boston for treatment can be a burden and a truly negative experience, but with support from a nurse like Jennifer, you feel comfortable even while your body is being filled with toxic chemicals. You know there’s someone on your side who is fighting for your survival just as hard as you are. She welcomed my family, even when they drove her crazy with questions. She endured my loving husband’s warped sense of humor with unending wit and a smile.
Her honesty about what was happening and what I could expect through each treatment was spot-on and eliminated a lot of worry. When I was told that the first round of chemo wasn’t working as planned and I would need to go from bi-weekly to weekly for 12 more weeks, she reassured me that we could get through it. When I had complications, she made suggestions, and when they didn’t seem to help, she looked into more alternatives. Jennifer was my biggest cheerleader, yet she was straightforward and tough on me when appropriate. She taught me to take care of me.
Once, she waited two hours after her shift to make sure she could administer my chemo that day, because she knew I was anxious to work with anyone else by then. I could not have been more grateful. I came into Dana-Farber with Jennifer as my nurse, and left with an amazing new friend.—Nominated by Mary Lucas
Diane Lucier, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
My exemplary oncology nurse Diane is the hallmark standard of what a nurse should be. In June 2015, I was diagnosed as having just entered the acute/aggressive stage of multiple myeloma, a blood cancer. One year later I successfully underwent an autologous bone marrow transplant. I am exceedingly fortunate to be under the care of an excellent hematologist and two leading oncologists, but my greatest blessing of all is having had Diane assigned to me since May 2017 as my “personal” nurse to administer my chemotherapy and attend to my medical needs.
One month ago I began my fourth chemotherapeutic treatment, after three previous drugs failed to bring me into remission. Four years my junior, Diane calls herself my sister, but she is actually more like a mother to me—not just applying her fine training and expertise to all of my medical needs, but listening to me, without regard to my medical condition or personal life, with such genuine motherly love, care, and protectiveness for me as a person, rather than just another patient. Never once having feared my hairy Greek forearms, Diane ever-so-deftly administers my IVs every week with no pain whatsoever, nor ever leaves any marks after removing the needles.
Knowing that I live by myself with no caregiver, Diane threw a most wonderful surprise 63rd birthday party for me in the infusion room, complete with cake, cards, and many gifts of needed clothing. Now tell me, please, what other patients receive such excellent care and tender, loving treatment? —Nominated by James Kyprianos
Demetra McDonald, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Being diagnosed with a rare bone cancer as a 36-year-old mother of three is unbelievably hard. DD (Demetra) has been my primary oncology nurse from the start. She’s become almost like a mother to me as I go through 14 rounds of chemo. She lets me cry when I need to, encourages me when I need it, and toughens me up when I need that.
I was slated for surgery after six treatments. DD gave me a big hug before I left that chemo session and gave me her email address in case I had questions. That ended up being really useful because I did have some questions about bathroom logistics, since I couldn’t walk during infusions. Not only did DD answer those questions, but she made sure to have everything I needed when I got there.
After surgery I needed to have my leg re-dressed every other day. When those fell on infusion days, DD didn’t hesitate to change my dressings, even though that’s not really part of her job.
Best of all, some of DD’s tricks of the trade have been invaluable. When she administers the doxyrubicin, she has me chew on ice, which constricts blood vessels in the mouth and throat and can reduce sores there. She also helps me balance the medications with side effects.
This has been a really hard journey, and I still have a few months to go. But having DD by my side makes it bearable.—Nominated by Margaret Howard
Lauren McGovern, Milford Regional Medical Center, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
I met Lauren a few weeks after being diagnosed with stage IV bladder cancer in October, as I was led into the infusion suites to start treatment. She was pleasant as she thoroughly explained the procedures, the drugs, and the side effects, while answering my questions. I knew right off the bat that I had a great nurse.
Side effects from immunotherapy landed me in the main hospital for a week. Who shows up to see how I’m doing but Lauren (along with research nurse Katie Pasquale). Taking time to visit your bedside is something that patients appreciate and remember.
I was taken off the immuno study and started chemo treatments. Throughout this process, Lauren has been consistent with her care and concern, her understanding and knowledge of working with a patient in need. I noticed before my most recent treatment that Lauren would not be my nurse. She was there to say hello anyway when I arrived—she had to be away from her patients today, but she wanted to see how I was. As we talked about ourselves and our families, she decided to get my arm ready for the infusions. She didn’t have to do that; she did it because she cares.
Because of acts like that, I can’t imagine having any nurse but Lauren. She’s the best.—Nominated by David Dallamora
Jennifer McKenna, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
I’ve known Jen since I was diagnosed with stage III breast cancer in 2009. She helped me so much back then, but since my metastatic breast cancer recurred in August 2015 Jen has taken on a greater role in offering support, compassion, and extraordinary clinical care.
When I found out one Saturday in September that it had spread to my brain, I texted Jen. She immediately called me to discuss the plan of action. She is very responsive, knowledgeable, and compassionate. I feel that I’m in excellent hands at Dana-Farber because of Jen. I look forward to my monthly checkups with her and know that she will address my questions and concerns. Thanks to Jen, being a patient there is a pleasure.—Nominated by Carol Chaoui
Stephanie Morrissey, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
I met Stephanie three years ago when my advanced-stage ovarian cancer came back within two months of finishing 12 cycles of chemo and surgery. This means that my cancer is incurable. You can only imagine what was going through my head—my children were just 11, 18, and 23 at the time. My mom and family had just lost my dad to cancer.
I was put into a clinical trial, meeting with Stephanie every week. Her passion, honesty, and kindness to me, and most of all to my family, is a cure in itself. My now 13-year-old son isn’t scared, and in fact bops around DFCI during my chemo. Even when my first trial was no longer effective, Stephanie had a Plan A AND a Plan B. My family and I are no longer scared, but hopeful and appreciative. Stephanie has given us the gift of life and hope, and she shows this compassion and care to all of her patients.—Nominated by Liza Litzow
Melissa Perna, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Melissa has been there for me as my chemotherapy nurse nearly every two weeks for the past 18 months. She’s cheerful, well-informed, compassionate, meticulous, competent, kind, understanding, and on top of all the ins-and-outs of my sometimes-complicated treatment for pancreatic cancer. Her approach and friendly demeanor have made visits to the infusion suite more than just tolerable, but almost fun, where they could have been dismal and just too scary. Busy as the nurses at Dana-Farber are, she always seems to really have time for me. It’s been amazing…and that is saying a lot, under the circumstances. I can only wish that anyone needing nursing care receives the kind of care Melissa routinely provides.—Nominated by Amy Filice
Emily Powell, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
I was anxious and afraid when I was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer, but Emily made me feel comfortable, safe, and special right from my first treatment. I had infusions twice a month for six months. Emily took the time to keep me informed and made me feel like I was her only patient, even on days when she was very busy. With each treatment, she got to know me better, as well as the family and friends who accompanied me. She made sure that I was comfortable before beginning the infusion, answering questions or bringing me a drink or a blanket.
After six months I was moved to Floor 10, and I was unhappy not to have Emily as my transfer nurse anymore. I still visit her floor and keep in touch. Emily is a great asset to Dana-suzyFarber, and I’ll always be grateful that my journey started with her.—Nominated by Barbara Coelho
Robin Sommers, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
I’m approaching nine years as a patient at Dana-Farber and Robin has been my nurse practitioner that entire time. She has exceptional skills and compassion, and thoroughly explains lab results and my overall medical condition.—Nominated by Michael Glass
Jennifer Stefanik, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Jennifer has saved my life in critical cancer situations multiple times. She is responsive, wonderful, and caring. She is among the best nurses I’ve ever had, and I have heard the same from multiple other people.—Nominated by Ryan Sayesr
Christina Taubert, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Chrissy always shows compassion, caring, and concern for the people she works with. She follows up their visits with phone calls and helpful ideas. She’s always pleasant, and takes all the time necessary to make her clients feel “at home.” A true gem.—Nominated by Martha Gabriel
Marianne Tawa, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Marianne has been on the treatment team since I became an outpatient at Dana-Farber. She helped to allay my anxiety and my family’s fears after I was diagnosed with a rare cancer. Through her compassion, understanding, and clear description of the disease and treatment, I knew what to anticipate.
She was also there after the initial chemo and radiation treatments to help me deal with the aftereffects. Her timely replies to my telephone calls and online messages let me know that patient care extended beyond my hospital visits.
Years have passed, but her support remains appreciated. Please accept this nomination for a nurse who deserves to be called a wonderful, skilled clinical specialist, as well as a nurse with genuine compassion and caring.—Nominated by Ronald Nappi
Jamie Terwilliger, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
I met Jamie during my first infusion for leukemia. This process takes both a physical and a psychological toll. I saw her for all of my many infusions, some lasting nine hours, and she demonstrated great compassion by explaining each step and what I could expect. She helped make my wife, who is also a nurse, comfortable throughout the experience. Sometime her competence expedited the process, which was important because I had a long commute home. Her smile, wonderful personality, and supportive care fit the nickname we gave her: my angel.—Nominated by Ron Caldarone
Jamie Terwilliger, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
When I was seeing Jamie for an infusion, I once mentioned that my next appointment was four hours later. She said I shouldn’t have to wait that long to see the doctor, and then persuaded the check-in staff to move up my appointment. Always efficient, caring, sweet, and a wonderful nurse.—Nominated by Jack and Beth Mowatt
Jackie Tuskan, Yawkey 8, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
My son was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma when he was in his fifth year of college. It was an extremely difficult time for my whole family; the anxiety, fear, and stress were overwhelming. We decided to go to Dana-Farber for treatment, and it was the best decision we could have made.
We were so impressed with the level of care we received from the doctors, nurses, and entire staff. The care, compassion, and treatment that we received from the nurses on the 8th floor were especially important. My son went through 12 chemotherapy appointments and was declared cancer-free last November. I can’t thank the people at Dana-Farber enough.
I am writing to thank one very special nurse. We had a few different infusion nurses, but Jackie was our primary. All of the nurses were incredible, but we became very close with her. She was an outstanding caregiver who made us feel at ease. Jackie was very knowledgeable and always helpful and supportive. She helped us medically and emotionally. Knowing that she would be with us for an infusion was especially comforting. She even made us laugh at times.
My son is now in his final year as a pharmacy major. Jackie arranged a tour of the pharmacy at Dana-Farber for him. Her kindness, sincerity, and concern are but a few of the qualities that make her such an outstanding nurse.—Nominated by Joseph Quinn
Meghara Walsh, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Meghara is a dedicated research nurse in genitourinary oncology. I have worked with her for about nine years. She stands out for many reasons. She is compassionate in the face of the most challenging patient problems. She is very intelligent and detail-oriented, and her competence makes everyone else’s jobs easier. Meghara is among the best nurses I’ve worked with in my 30 years as an oncologist. She works long, 10-hour days despite having a young family, and she always brings her “best self” to work. The needs of her patients come first, and I’ve never heard her complain or try to take the easy way around an issue. She meets the daily challenges head-on.
I have tremendous professional respect for Meghara. Research nurses work very independently and have to synthesize a large amount of clinical data and make decisions. It’s challenging work, and Meghara is stunningly capable. Her proficiency and professionalism have benefited the other genitourinary research nurses she’s trained—our large research group has approximately 40 members. Meghara is integral to all aspects of patient care on research trials. Without her, we wouldn’t be able to offer the large number of cutting-edge trials that bring hope and opportunity for a longer life to many patients who need non-standard treatment options.—Nominated by Mary-Ellen Taplin
Alyssa Ywuc, Yawkey 8, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Cancer helped me realize that I have some truly incredible people in my life. My Dana-Farber team has managed to keep me alive despite dual leukemia and lymphoma diagnoses. I am eternally grateful to the infusion nurse who spent the most time with me. Alyssa has been an extraordinary source of communication, knowledge, and insight, as well as an amazing advocate for both me and my family over this past year. Several times she’s brought up potential problems and taken it upon herself to resolve them with the proper personnel. For example, before I left the hospital she got me a prescription that I might or might not need, but that couldn’t be called into an outside pharmacy. That saved me having to make a special trip back to Dana-Farber for the medication.
Her technical skills are spot-on. Whether she’s troubleshooting a port that isn’t flowing well, investigating a medication reaction, or preparing and administering chemotherapy drugs, I always feel completely confident. She has the rare combination of a phenomenal sense of humor and exceptional compassion.
Cancer and chemo are scary, but Alyssa is always calming and reassuring. Even though the Yawkey 8 infusion ward is usually very busy, I always feel like I’m her only patient, and never feel rushed. We now consider Alyssa part of our family and a great friend. We were fortunate to meet the best nurse under the worst circumstances. Working in oncology requires a special kind of person, and Alyssa is that special. For her, it’s clearly more than a job … it’s a calling.—Nominated by Catherine Ferguson
Dexter Health Services at American International College
Mary Paquette, Dexter Health Services
I have had the pleasure of being both Mary’s patient and her colleague for the past three years. Serving full time as the director of health services at AIC, while (until recently) working weekend shifts in emergency medicine at a local hospital, shows Mary’s commitment to delivering the utmost in patient care and advocacy.
I have long suffered from chronic, sometimes debilitating lower-back issues. I saw several care providers before Mary’s expertise, attention to detail, and referrals finally led to a diagnosis and a path to relief. Her skills as a nurse practitioner are rivaled only by her deep compassion and personal investment in her patients. This remarkable bedside manner led me not only to a deeply competent health care provider, but also to a sincere and trustworthy friend.
On top of her strengths as a caregiver, Mary’s leadership and ingenuity have transformed the capabilities and perception of Dexter Health Services. She has worked tirelessly to reach out to students through new campus-wide health programming and a healthy-living promotion, expanded the scope and availability of Dexter’s services, and routinely works off-hours to meet the emergency needs of students, student-athletes, faculty, and staff. Under Mary’s leadership, the clinic has grown from serving eight to 10 patients per day to 30-50.
While the rules say that this nomination must come from one individual, I am really submitting it on behalf of the entire AIC community, who wish to express their sincere gratitude to a true professional who has helped make the campus a safer and healthier place.–Nominated by Robert Cole
East Boston Neighborhood Health Center
Marie Mondesir, Neighborhood PACE, East Boston Neighborhood Health Center
Marie is a primary care nurse at EBNHC’s Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE). She works on a supportive housing unit that has a 32-bed dementia care focus, with transitional and palliative care. She shows up with a smile on her face every day, ready to work, and often ends her report or update with the words “…we need to take care for these people….” She’s an emotional person, and she takes each death or new arrival to heart, giving everyone their fair share of attention and love.
Marie supervises a crew of equally caring health aides who have known and respected her for many years. She trusts them to tell her when they see something different, and she works together with them, epitomizing the idea of teamwork within our diverse program. Marie’s peers and providers at PACE seek her opinion and consultation when things aren’t going quite right for a participant; she gladly helps out, with no task being too little or too large.
I don’t know how she does it, but she’s always available to put in extra time when there are sick calls or open shifts, and she never says a negative word. It’s not unusual to see Marie sitting with residents at mealtimes, helping to feed a participant or reassuring a family member. Families grow to trust and love her, knowing that she always has their best interest in mind.
Tears are shed at the end of our seniors’ lives, and none are more heartfelt than Marie’s. She truly puts herself into her work and serves our largest growing population with pleasure.—Nominated by Katherine Topazio
Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital (Bedford Veterans Affairs Medical Center)
Gary Grant, Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital
This isn’t a typical entry about a special nurse. Gary is my father, and he deserves recognition for his role at the VA.
My dad has been one of the brightest figures in my life. He’s always one to listen and offer sound advice. He’s encouraging and motivating, and he makes me feel heard. He’s so smart and he cares for his patients so much. He is a tremendous nurse, thanks to his ability to communicate so well. I turn to him for advice because he always has the best nuggets of wisdom. He’s kind, and he makes you feel like you can take on the world and he’ll have your back.
Gary talks about the “Reminiscing Groups” he holds with his patients. It’s a space where people can chat about movies, books, and sports from the past. It’s a great way to get to know his patients, and for them to interact with one another.
My dad is incredible at what he does. He’s a hard worker who doesn’t complain; he just gets the job done, no questions asked. I am so proud of him and his ability to care for others. I’ve known that he’s special all my life. I look up to him and hope that I can achieve all that he has in his career. He deserves recognition because he is truly one of the best. —Nominated by Gabrielle Grant
Nelda Grant, Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital
My story will be very different from your other submissions. Nelda is my mother and has taken care of me all my life. She’s kind, hard-working, and dedicated to her family. She sacrificed for me and my brothers by working nights, weekends, and overtime shifts to help us get through school. I look up to her, and if I can be even half the person she is, it will be a life well-lived. She’s a compassionate mom who believes in all that we do. She’s my greatest, my biggest fan, the person I turn to for any and all advice. As a mom, she’s Wonder Woman—she does it all.
Beyond that, I’ve watched her practice as a nurse. She’s smart, and speaks softly to her patients to make them open up. When I visited her at work once, she took me to the cafeteria, where some of the veterans called her “Mom.” I am so proud of all that she does. She’s given me so much—so many opportunities that she never had. My mom is a tremendous woman and an incredible nurse who treats others with respect. She listens intently and always knows exactly what to say. She’s taken care of many veterans in her career and deserves to be recognized for all that she does.—Nominated by Gabrielle Grant
Christine Bello, Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital
Christine is one of the most driven and caring nurses I have ever met. Patients, coworkers, and superiors alike comment on her cheerful and positive demeanor. She is always willing to help the other teams (and even other departments) with one-on-one patient care, cover specialty clinics, and train other clinical staff. Countless times, I’ve seen Christine come in early or stay late to cater to a patient’s needs. She doesn’t complain or say things like, “That’s not my job”—I don’t think that phrase is even in her vocabulary. She has sincere compassion and sympathy for veterans and their families. She explains things clearly and reaches out to fellow staff members when she doesn’t know the answer. And she doesn’t just find the answer, finish the task, and forget it, either; she adds it to her knowledge base for the next time that situation occurs. She recognizes that there’s always room for growth and improvement.
As a veteran myself, it’s refreshing to see such a compassionate nurse caring for the men and women who have served our country. She is a humble and kind individual, and the VA is lucky to have her.—Nominated by Jackie Ardini
Kathy Savage, Special Olympics, Element Care
While playing basketball at the Special Olympics USA games in Seattle, I hit a door frame and got a concussion with a gash in my head. Kathy immediately bandaged the cut and kept me calm as I lay there on the floor, asking me how I was feeling. I was only wearing gym shorts and a T-shirt—did I need a blanket? Did I need anything to drink? She made sure everything was alright until the ambulance came. I kept looking for Kathy among all the people moving around me because she was the calmest and most honest about my injury and the person I trusted the most.
I was injured on Monday and in the hospital until Saturday morning. Throughout those days, Kathy walked across the street for ice from the cafeteria to keep my head cool and prevent swelling. My stitches prevented me from removing my T-shirt when I got out of the ER, so she helped me with that. She recommended foods that wouldn’t upset my stomach. She sat with me in a corner while I watched my team play. She just made sure that I was as comfortable as I could be during those days.—Nominated by Matthew Milet
Deborah Crisileo, MS LifeLines, EMD Serono
Deb gives each patient her undivided attention at MS LifeLines. She works hard to make a personal connection and support each patient to the best of her ability. She works diligently to make every patient feel like an individual, not just a number in a queue.
As a frontline nurse, Deb interacts with multiple sclerosis (MS) patients daily, providing solutions and support by phone. She takes the time to create rapport and trust with each patient.
Because of her long-term relationship with one MS patient, Deb was one of the first people his wife tearfully called when the patient died. Deb had not only supported this patient as he began his medication, but also checked on him regularly, even when he was no longer active in the MS LifeLines program. This immeasurable compassion makes Deb who she is.
She creates valuable connections with each patient, affecting their lives profoundly. Importantly, she recognizes that MS is not a cookie-cutter disease and understands its effect on all aspects of each patient’s life. Deb is committed to helping patients live the best lives they can. In addition to her one-on-one care, she also trains other nurses in the field and mentors new nurses in the department. Patients and colleagues know her for patient advocacy, exceptional clinical knowledge and problem-solving skills, and (most important) her ability to make a difference for patients every day.—Nominated by Kelly MacDonald
Sheimma Rifi, MS LifeLines, EMD Serono
Sheimma is a tireless patient advocate with exceptional compassion. She is well-respected for the wealth of information that she has accrued over more than 10 years as a MS LifeLines nurse, directly serving patients affected by multiple sclerosis (MS).
MS LifeLines is a support program for MS patients and caregivers that answers calls 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Each call that Sheimma takes brings new challenges. While many individuals call with basic questions about their condition, others have more complex issues related to self-care and quality of life. Sheimma is comfortable handling any challenge and is known for her incredible patience when talking patients through their dilemmas. As not all patients have support systems at home, Sheimma recognizes the value of conveying her empathy for each one, staying on the phone as needed and ensuring that she or someone else at MSLL can answer their questions. She takes special care to make sure patients get the information they need.
Sheimma’s colleagues call her “one of the nicest people” they’ve ever met, and as “a bulldog for patients” thanks to her thorough and collaborative approach to serving each individual. Although she is responsible for training new hires, Sheimma is never afraid to ask questions that will help her better serve patients.—Nominated by Kelly MacDonald
Donna Cameron, Emerson Hospital
I arrived at 6 a.m. on Feb. 7 for my left knee ACL/meniscus and ligament surgery (known as “the trifecta” in my personal therapist’s circle). Lucky for me, Donna was the Surgical Day Unit nurse that day.
Donna laughed effortlessly, smiled, and was remarkably cheerful and informative for such an early hour—I even said to myself, “How is she so pleasant with a 4 a.m. wakeup call? I could learn something here.” She reviewed the procedure in terms I could understand.
But her truly remarkable gift was her ability to provide a thorough explanation that I could share with my caretakers after I was discharged. Even my husband—a stickler for details and an anxious person to begin with—was immediately put at ease. He reminded me at discharge how truly lucky I was to have Donna, a woman sincerely engaged in clearly communicating my status throughout the surgery with all of my “stakeholders”—husband, mother-in-law, and father-in-law.
A good nurse exudes compassion for all patients. But an exemplary nurse is also passionate about their calling. Donna is that nurse who genuinely cares, is all-in, and considers the welfare of her patients paramount in the surgical day process. Emerson is lucky not only to have Donna in their Surgical Day Unit, but as the face of the superior care that I received. Thank you, Donna, for being there on that icy, snowy February morning.—Nominated by Colleen McCabe
Patricia Curtis, Emerson Hospital
“Before I leave the hospital, I wanted to thank you for all of the warmth, humor, and compassion you showed me. I so enjoyed our chats. I admire your calm expertise most of all. I came here so afraid and hopeless, and it’s mostly because of you that I began to feel more comfortable and confident in the staff.
“You are a remarkable human and an exceptional professional. Thank you for the impact you’ve had on my stay, and for each soul that passes through.”
I am thankful for my coworker Patti and the compassionate care she shows to each and every patient. She gives RNs everywhere a good name.—Nominated by Heather Birt
Kathy Donahue, Emerson Hospital
A former patient, I now volunteer in the Cardiac Rehabilitation Department at Emerson Hospital. I have both personally experienced and observed Kathy’s care for patients on the rebound from a serious cardiac event, procedure, or operation. She combines a unique blend of compassion and caring while providing high quality, individual care that restores one’s confidence to lead a productive, fulfilled life. Even though she typically works with patients in groups, you always feel like her only patient. She adapts her approach to each individual and is keenly aware of their status during rehab sessions, responding quickly and competently to situations that arise.
As a volunteer, I also get to observe Kathy behind the scenes, making sure that each patient is very well taken care of. She is extremely knowledgeable about the workings of the heart, medications, procedures, operations, and all things related. My rehab was successful because of Kathy.—Nominated by Nick DePasquale
Ann Douvris, Emerson Hospital
Annie took care of me and my baby back in 2016. When my best friend had her daughter there last November, Annie took care of her family, even checking in on them on days when she wasn’t scheduled to work. Thank you, Ann, for all that you do.—Nominated by Ellen Farmer
Stephanie Girouard, NAKA Infusion Unit, Emerson Hospital
I was diagnosed with breast cancer in August 2018 and started chemotherapy in September. I was obviously anxious about the prognosis and how treatment would affect me. I had the good fortune to have one of the kindest, most capable nurses I’ve ever met do my infusions for those 20 weeks. Steph made both me and my family comfortable and at ease at every treatment. I actually looked forward to chatting with her about weekend plans. She always had answers and suggestions for my questions and concerns.
Steph was a true bright spot in what could have been a very dark time. I honestly cannot convey how much her great spirit helped me through my treatments. A nurse can make the greatest impact on a patient, and Steph was that nurse for me. Emerson Hospital is extremely fortunate to have her. She epitomizes caring, competence, kindness, and all that nurses strive to be.—Nominated by Catie Kenneally
Stephanie Girouard, NAKA Infusion Unit, Emerson Hospital
Late last August, my family found out that my mom had breast cancer and would need 16 chemotherapy treatments in 20 weeks. Like any other family, we were all anxious as her dates approached. I vividly remember the day she went in for the surgery to place her port, and then immediately went up to the NAKA infusion center to begin chemo.
That was when we met her infusion nurse, Stephanie. Within moments, Steph put us all at ease and encouraged us to ask as many questions as we had. If she wasn’t sure about a certain side effect, she would find out and report back to us as soon as possible. As treatments went on, we began to dread our situation less and feel more excited to chat with Steph for a couple of hours.
You might think that nurses who deal with so many seriously ill patients would remain distant so as not to get attached, but Steph is the opposite. Getting to know her over the toughest few months my family has ever gone through made us all realize that being a nurse really is a calling for some people. Steph embodies everything that a caretaker should have, and powering through our last few months dealing with cancer was easier because of her. It’s truly hard to convey how deserving of recognition Steph is for having such a positive impact on my mom and my family during the hardest time of our lives.—Nominated by Shannon Kenneally
Ashley Pickering-Brown, Emerson Hospital
Ashley is a diabetic nurse educator who shows tremendous patient care every day. She takes the time to educate patients newly diagnosed with diabetes and handles this stressful time with care and kindness. She is attentive, smart, and caring: the true definition of a nurse.—Nominated by Robbie Giadone
Encompass Home Health
Ashley Madison, Encompass Home Health
Receiving skilled nursing care in my own home has been quite a privilege, and Encompass’s staff has made it possible. Ashley is outstanding among their nurses, and I salute her.
Knowledgeable, competent, caring, and compassionate, Ashley has especially good assessing skills and communication with doctors and specialists. She is always punctual and thorough. She is expert at explaining nursing procedures to both the patient and family.—Nominated by Bob Cavallaro
Extended Family of Wayland
Debbie Shooshanian, Extended Family of Wayland
Debbie visits and oversees the care of many needy elderly clients, manages their medications, reviews care notes, and otherwise makes sure they are safe, comfortable, and happy. She works with their doctors and providers to ensure that they are getting proper, excellent care, and she keeps their families apprised of their situation. Her compassion and attention to detail are exemplary and obvious in her email updates and phone conversations.
She treats our clients as if they were her own parents, and worries about them in the same way when she isn’t with them. We and our clients are so lucky to have her as their champion and caregiver.—Nominated by Michael Abend
Family Nurse Practitioner
It’s challenging to explain my deep-seated, longstanding admiration for this incredible family nurse practitioner, scholar, mentor, and friend. I am a FNP who has been on active duty in the US Navy for almost 28 years. In the early 1990s I attended a conference lecture on women’s health from Mimi (who later earned her doctorate in nursing practice). Her teaching style and level of knowledge kept me returning to hear her speak again and again over the next 25 years. I was a persistent hanger-on when her lectures finished, just hoping to learn more from her. Her clinical pearls of wisdom integrated evidence-based science with compassionate caring techniques. Without question, her teachings have improved health outcomes for thousands of women. Her lectures and books have meant a great deal to my current practice, providing comprehensive women’s health services for shipboard women.
In 2017 I deployed for an eight-month Middle East tour. My stress level was high; I was the senior medical officer for a remote military base with minimal resources. In the middle of the deployment I joined Mimi’s Secor Initiative, which became my personal wellness anchor. Thanks to her, I returned healthier, fitter, and wiser than I could have managed without her.
It’s hard to express how much this incredible professional has meant to me over the years. She is a highly dedicated, altruistic, intelligent, compassionate individual who never stops working to improve the human condition, and I give her my strongest recommendation.—Nominated by Catherine McDonald
Heidi Pi, Fenway Health
I am a primary care physician on a team composed of myself, nurse practitioner Helena Turner, and registered nurse Heidi. Helena and I nominate Heidi for her exemplary performance and her commitment to providing quality care to our patients.
It’s been a pleasure working with Heidi for the past few years. She is intelligent, efficient, kind, industrious, and (most importantly) compassionate. She communicates to patients in a slow, clear, methodical, and easily digestible manner, essentially meeting folks “where they’re at.”
She’s a tireless advocate for the less-fortunate and the quintessential example of someone who does “the right thing” rather than “the easy thing.”And she always knows the next right thing to do. Her organizational skills are unmatched and her ability to stay calm in our busy primary care environment is commendable—all while being kind and smiling. She is one of the best nurses I’ve ever worked with.—Nominated by Joseph Baker
Heidi Pi, Fenway Health
An outstanding primary care nurse, Heidi is sought out by providers and patients alike—which is remarkable given that she’s new to this demanding profession. She has impressed me with her efficiency, dedication, and compassion at least once a day in the two years that I’ve had the pleasure of working with her.
Here’s what I mean: A patient of ours (“J”) who has difficulty with mobility made plans to move out of state and live with a relative, but that relative couldn’t accommodate J’s 12-year-old dog. J was understandably near-frantic about this: “I just hate to think what they’d do to an old dog in a shelter.”
Not only did Heidi set him up with a new primary care physician and ensure that his prescriptions were transferred to his new pharmacy … she adopted his dog until he could find a more permanent home that would allow pets. She has assumed full care for this dog for the past eight months—grooming, vet bills, buying food, everything. Never mind the financial burden she accepted on J’s behalf; she is caring for this dog as she cares for our patients—with compassion, grace, kindness, and patience.
Heidi lives Florence Nightingale’s words regarding dedication to the nursing profession: “I attribute my success to this: I never gave or took any excuse.” Heidi never makes excuses and reliably steps in when a patient needs help. She is an exemplary RN; I am proud to be in the profession with her, and grateful that she is the nurse with whom I work most closely.—Nominated by Helena Turner
Sandra Khirallah, Fertility Solutions
Treatments for infertility are physically and emotionally difficult, but Sandra made my two-year journey easier. She was always encouraging and positive, and ready with a box of tissues when I needed it (which was often). When I emailed her questions she would call or write back almost immediately. She always took time to explain the process so that I wouldn’t stress, and she was there with a big hug when we finally conceived.
I kept in touch with Sandra even after I was released to my regular doctor, and she was one of the first people I reached out to when I miscarried one of my twins. She quickly reassured me that the other twin was doing fine, and not to worry. I was so happy to bring my newborn son in to meet Sandra. I still update her with his milestones. She was more than a nurse to me; she was part of my support system. Even now, after my journey is complete, she still takes the time to answer my emails. I can honestly say that Sandra was part of my success.—Nominated by Kristen O’Brien
Jamie Sokolski, Fertility Solutions
Jamie always has a smile on her face when I have to come to the office for testing or to meet with my doctor. Jamie is sweet, compassionate, caring, understanding, and great at her job. She knows the fertility journey is not easy, and puts her patients and what they are going through first in her heart. She gives a hug if you need one and has shed tears with me, and (I am sure) other patients, too. Jamie is not only a wonderful person, but also an amazing medical assistant who cares about every person who walks through the door.—Nominated by Jolene King
Fox Hill Village
Jacinta Murphy, Fox Hill Village
At 5 p.m. on the Friday before Columbus Day weekend, I suddenly found that my 82-year-old wife could not stand or walk. I called the Assisted Care office of our retirement home at Fox Hill Village. Fortunately, Jacinta had not gone home. She came right over, examined my wife, and determined that she was in danger of injury. Jacinta arranged immediate admission to a facility, then made sure that my wife was safe and comfortable there. She stayed with me for three hours, providing comfort and invaluable advice, to our great relief and gratitude. Jacinta was truly our angel of mercy.—Nominated by Roger Thomas
Cheryl Lewandowski, Franciscan Children’s
Cheryl is Franciscan Children’s occupational health nurse, and is not only a wonderful person but a truly compassionate nurse. Every single employee and volunteer has interacted with her on or before their first day, and she welcomes all of them into her office with a smile and a warm greeting.
Cheryl wears many hats for staff. For some, she’s a friend; for some, a confidant; and for some, the person who first recognizes a cry for help. She can sweet-talk even the most reluctant person into getting a flu shot, if not for their own health then for that of the children at Franciscan. Cheryl has a heart of gold, and an innate ability to recognize a need and to help without hesitation. She is what we call a “nurse’s nurse”—the nurse we all strive to be. Cheryl is a mentor, teacher, and caretaker for every employee. She’s a cornerstone of Franciscan and we thank and recognize her for caring for us.—Nominated by Aimee Carew-Lyons
Nurses of Unit 3, Pediatrics Medical-Pulmonary, Franciscan Children’s
I am a social worker who had the honor of visiting a 3-year-old boy in foster care who was placed on Unit 3 for most of his young life. I saw him three to four times a week from January through August 2018, when he was placed in an adoptive home. During those months I spent countless hours interacting with the various nurses who cared for him—there are too many to name, and I can’t single out one to nominate. Each nurse had a special relationship with him, such as Meghan, who sang “You Are My Sunshine,” and Grace, who rocked him to sleep at night.
The nurses on this unit were nothing short of incredible. Knowing that this little guy had no visitors, they went out of their way to check in on him, give him a snuggle, or read him a story. They brought in DVDs and books that he might like, or any little thing that made them think of him. They were there for his first steps, his first haircut, the first words he signed, and everything in between. Nurses stayed late or even came in on their days off if they knew that a major event or procedure was happening. His birthday became a week-long celebration with many gifts, balloons, and rounds of “Happy Birthday.”
The love and care they showed him made a huge impact on his life and gave him the foundation to attach and bond with his adoptive family. I am amazed and grateful for their support of this little boy.—Nominated by Victoria Tucker
GROW Associates, Inc.
Beth Crowley, GROW Associates
I am the CEO of a nonprofit agency serving individuals with complex medical needs, who have either an intellectual or developmental disability. Beth is one of our nurses. I have worked in this field for over 30 years, and Beth is far and away the best nurse in my organization.
The population we serve requires patience, intuitive understanding, and emotional intelligence of any medical professional. Their disabilities render them vulnerable for their entire lives. Despite their intellectual impairments, they share a great acuity for recognizing trustworthy staff members. Many have endured a lifetime of staff turnover. Given their dependence on service systems, each can sense their immediate provider’s compassion and understanding.
Over the years I have watched Beth go above and beyond in her gentle nature and the empathy she expresses while she provides care. I can’t define exactly what a “bedside manner” is, but I know it when I’ve felt and seen it. Hers is wonderful, and is always reflected in the faces of those we serve.
Beth’s clinical competency is exceptional, too. In our most recent state Developmental Disabilities Services Office survey, we received a score of 98 percent—thanks largely to Beth’s clinical efficacy in both service provision and regulatory compliance. Her communication is contemporaneous with all providers and with the individual’s treatment team. She advocates with outside providers whenever necessary. Upon recognizing even the simplest of issues—a simple rash of unknown origin, for example—Beth talks to the team and seeks input from the residential providers.—Nominated by William Wasserman
Hallmark Health VNA & Hospice
Marion Barry-Ravagni, Hallmark Health VNA
I’m struggling both physically and emotionally with a recent ostomy. Marion has been educating, supporting, and encouraging me with twice-weekly visits, bringing extensive product knowledge and a sense of humor. Her balance of compassion and professionalism is extraordinary. It will be a bittersweet moment when I no longer need her help.—Nominated by Phyllis Lanni
Hancock Park Rehab & Nursing Center
Tricia Beaudoin, Hancock Park Rehab & Nursing Center
I am nominating Tricia for the excellent care that she gives on every 3-11 p.m. shift at the nursing home where my mom resides. I applaud her spirit and compassion for the senior residents in her care each evening. She really knows each patient, and can tell at a glance if someone is having a good day or not. If they aren’t, she gives them a little more attention, takes them to a brighter spot, or even starts a sing-along, all on top of distributing everyone’s meds and giving any necessary treatments. She brings her little group to sit across from the nurse’s station where she does her work and she chats with them, smiling at everyone who passes by.
Tricia really wants “her people” to have a good day, and she’ll do a little extra to bring a smile to a tired, elderly person who hasn’t had a visitor in a long time. As a daughter, I’m confident that my mom is well cared-for; it gives me peace of mind when Tricia is working. I’ve been a nurse for 44 years, and nursing homes are not the most glamorous of positions, so we are lucky that Tricia enjoys her wonderful role with the elderly. I salute her for all that she brings to nursing each day.—Nominated by Cynthia Roche-Cotter
Hanscom Air Force Base
Kristen Palumbo, Squadron 66, Hanscom Air Force Base, USAF
Kristen is my daughter. I am not one of her patients, but I do see her get up at 5:30 every morning to get her two children off to daycare and school and herself off to work. That’s dedication. A single mother, she sometimes goes to bed with her daughter at 7:30 p.m. due to exhaustion. Yet she looks forward to working every day as a discharge nurse who handles all New England military bases. Kristen is the last person they see, and she loves to make their transition smooth and easy.—Nominated by Janet Palumbo
Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates, Atrius Health
Kathy Boyd, Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates
When a friend referred me to Kathy, I didn’t know what to expect, but I knew she was special from the moment I met her. She listened intently as I spoke about my various physical and mental problems. After getting all the information, she studied for a moment, and then announced that there was absolutely a plan that could help me. I immediately felt like a person, not a number. Her care and compassion showed as she guided me to a series of programs that probably saved my life. Even as I went to different doctors, specialists, and a therapist, she was always there. She returned my calls quickly, even if I was asking about another doctor’s advice.
Sometimes nurses get too busy or forget why they chose the profession, but Kathy is not one of them. She’s completely professional on every level and shows the best of what a nurse can be. Anyone considering the nursing field should use Kathy as an example.—Nominated by Richard Butler
Christine French, Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates
Christine is far and away the best part of working with Harvard Vanguard’s fertility department. I knew that I was in great hands from our very first meeting. Going through the in vitro fertilization process (especially multiple times) forces you to experience every emotion under the sun: frustration, sadness, excitement, pain, exhaustion, and—hopefully—joy.
Because IVF involves so many steps with frequent blood work, ultrasounds, monitoring, medications, shots, and procedures, I sometimes felt like I was talking to Chris on a weekly, if not daily, basis. She was patient and never got frustrated when I asked the same questions over and over. She always did her best to be helpful, to answer questions, and to provide a shoulder to cry on when needed.
This journey has not been easy or successful, and Chris has been my rock. It’s obvious that she loves her job, and she is incredible at doing it. In addition to being exceptionally kind, impressively knowledgeable, and a fantastic resource for her patients, Chris is that unique and special nurse who is a warm, caring, compassionate advocate.—Nominated by Susan McDonald
Beverly Ketchen, Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates
I have been seeing Beverly for my physical exams for many, many years. She does a great job communicating, listening, and responding to my concerns, and checking me out thoroughly. She makes a special effort to connect with me on a personal level.—Nominated by Peggy Soper
Sarah M. Kleinman, Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates
Sarah is a CNM at the Kenmore location. She always takes the time to explain things and is calm, patient, and thoughtful.—Nominated by Loren Aiello
Barbara Riker, Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates Wellesley
Barbara goes way beyond her role as a licensed practical nurse. She is here working and speaking to patients on the phone, and will even speak to patients in the office if she has the time. The patients just love that she takes her time to talk and explain their lab results.—Nominated by Nicole Wilson
Kristin Richard, Pediatrics, Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates Concord
I’ve had the pleasure of working with Kristin for four years. She is one of the most caring nurses I have ever met. A great communicator, she shows wonderful compassion in all of her actions. She’s very patient and truly listens to patients’ needs and concerns. Everyone around her can feel her sense of calm. I am honored to call her my coworker and friend.—Nominated by Amie Webb
Julisa Williams, Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates
Julisa is a great team player. She provides the best advice. Most of all, she cares. I appreciate her hard work, effort, and understanding.—Nominated by Trysenia S
Caroline Ambros, Hebrew Rehabilitation Center, Hebrew SeniorLife
Caroline is compassionate not only toward the patients, but toward families and colleagues as well. She had a patient with advanced cancer who was very anxious and difficult at times. The patient often screamed out her name, over and over, for hours on end. While Caroline did have to put some boundaries in place, she was kind, caring, and reassuring every time she went into his room. She discussed with the medical team and other disciplines how best to relieve this patient’s anxiety, whether that meant medication or therapies like art and music. The trust that she developed with this most complex patient also reduced his anxiety. While it was difficult for her at times, Caroline handled herself with grace, love, and warmth toward a patient who truly needed it.—Nominated by Heidi McAvoy
Peitra Baker, Hebrew Rehabilitation Center, Hebrew SeniorLife
Peitra was standing at her med cart when she heard a noise. One of her patients was choking and beckoning to her. Peitra called for help and immediately started abdominal thrusts to dislodge the food stuck in the patient’s throat. Her patient became unresponsive. Peitra helped her to the floor and kept trying to dislodge the food. Things didn’t look good. No matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t get the food up or out. Finally, the patient managed to cough out a large piece of pizza. She began to cry and thanked Pietra, calling her “honey bunny” over and over again. She kept saying, “She saved my life! She saved my life!”
Pietra said later that even though things looked dire, she just kept thinking she couldn’t lose her, and continued the abdominal thrusts until she was successful. HSL is lucky to have such a devoted nurse.—Nominated by Aphrodite Winston
Ellen Borden, Hebrew Rehabilitation Center, Hebrew SeniorLife
You know that you’re in good hands when Ellen is working. She excels at clinical care, somehow placing IVs that no one else can manage. She is also a natural and effective leader. She never backs down from any tough situation, which testifies to her dedication as a nurse. When one shift got especially busy, Ellen didn’t hesitate to jump in. She made sure every patient got the medication and treatments they needed, and that the rush went by without patients or families even noticing. There are a million more moments like this to tell about Ellen. She is one of a kind.—Nominated by Anne O’Brien
Carline Cenat, Hebrew Rehabilitation Center, Hebrew SeniorLife
Carline works the evening shift as the charge nurse on the Memory Care floor. She arrives just as most of the patients begin to experience behaviors associated with sun-downing. Carline is not overwhelmed by what some would consider a chaotic environment. Rather, she delivers patient-centered care, knowing just what will alleviate patients’ fears and anxiety.
For example, her medication pass is totally conventional until she reaches Patient M. Patient M is not interested in taking her medications—until Carline starts dancing; only then will M take her meds. Patient B becomes aggressive when he receives his eye drops—unless Carline spends time laughing with him; only then will B accept the drops. And Patient Y will take her medication only after walking at least one lap around the floor with Carline. None of these patients call Carline by name, but they all recognize her welcoming smile, her gentle touch, and her generous heart. Her compassionate care is generally dispensed each shift she works with her patients, their families, and her coworkers.—Nominated by Carol Holleran
Stephanie David, Hebrew Rehabilitation Center, Hebrew SeniorLife
Stephanie is evolving as a nurse. She demonstrates great leadership abilities and is taking steps to advance her education by serving as a quality nurse excellence participant. Stephanie always has a smile and a great attitude. She has completed many improvement projects on the Rehabilitative Services Unit to improve patient care and workflow.—Nominated by Djenney Lobo Lopes
Yoko Davis, Hebrew Rehabilitation Center, Hebrew SeniorLife
Yoko’s detailed patient care is evident in every shift that she works. She cares about the patients and their safety and takes the initiative to advocate for them, resulting in great outcomes. For example, one patient was admitted to our Medical Acute Care Unity and subsequently diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. She and her family struggled with the diagnosis and the rapid course of her disease. They had trouble coping, and many staff found it challenging to establish a therapeutic relationship with them. However, Yoko went above and beyond to support them in this difficult time. The patient’s husband said “No one has been able to bond with my wife like Yoko.” Her good humor, professionalism, and compassion are truly the attributes of an excellent nurse and human being.—Nominated by Anne O’Brien
Elina Dubovsky, Hebrew SeniorLife
An experienced home health clinician, Elina is a case manager for 20-25 patients and a certified wound care specialist.
Elina cares for patients with complicated wounds, participates in community outreach programs (such as blood pressure clinics), and provides education to residents in community settings.
Elina feels so responsible for her patients’ well-being that she sometimes revisits them on the same day to make sure they are safe, to see that their wound dressing didn’t fall off, or to recheck their blood pressure to ensure that the medication is working. She will accept patients who require twice-daily skilled nursing visits with IV treatment as their care manager, even if the visit should be done after hours.
Elina is reliable and respectful to her patients, her peers, and the office staff. Patients often compliment her care and request her as their nurse. I strongly recommend her for a salute.—Nominated by Fanya Prokupets
Jill Enwright, Hebrew SeniorLife
Jill is a home care nurse who works primarily at Orchard Cove in Canton, which is a senior living residence. She provides skilled home care services to residents in this community and also cares for patients in the surrounding towns.
Recently, Jill was asked to admit a patient into home care services outside the demographic territory that she covers. She was asked to see the patient because of her clinical knowledge of IV cases. Jill agreed to admit this patient, and the admission visit ended up being significantly more complicated than we had first thought. She spent a lot of time securing supplies and coordinating care over the phone with the IV company. She had to make multiple calls to the doctor’s office, referring facility, and our home care office to ensure that proper orders were obtained and carried out. Jill did all this while reassuring the patient. It was determined that this patient needed another visit later in the day to complete the care after all the equipment was delivered. Jill volunteered for that second visit.
Jill always does whatever it takes to provide what her patients need, and she does it with a smile. All of her interactions truly exemplify professionalism and compassion.—Nominated by Kim Portello
Paula Fucci, Hebrew Rehabilitation Center, Hebrew SeniorLife
Paula is extremely focused on providing the best care for her patients. She strives not only to follow policy and procedures, but to identify needs and changes on the Rehabilitative Services Unit. Paula leads the team with her experience and knowledge. She speaks up for nursing staff and is often the voice of the unit.—Nominated by Francis Kibugi
Contrina Glynn, Hebrew Rehabilitation Center, Hebrew SeniorLife
A patient arrived on Trina’s floor following stays on two other floors, where behavioral difficulties had posed challenges for everyone involved in her care. But Trina developed a special relationship with this patient, who accepted and adapted to the compassionate limits that Trina set for her. The patient’s family is happy, and commends Trina for doing such a great job with their mother.—Nominated by Ron Treiber
Felicia Gonzalez, Hebrew SeniorLife
Felicia established a wonderful rapport with our staff and patients immediately after joining our Home Care Team as our palliative nurse last December. She demonstrates compassion and empathy, assists families in discussing their care goals, and advocates for her patients. Her clinical skills enable her to work closely with physicians and make recommendations for their care plans.
Felicia has often met with patients after hours so that family members could join the meeting, as she knows the importance of a patient- and family-centered approach to care. Her hospice experience is an asset in her palliative role, as she can help patients transition to hospice if that is in line with their goals.
Felicia establishes trust with patients and their families. It’s not uncommon for families to reach out to her after their loved one passes away and thank her for her amazing care. Felicia is a mentor to our clinical staff and we are fortunate to have her on the Home Care Team.—Nominated by Kim Portello
Janet L’Heureux, Hebrew Rehabilitation Center, Hebrew SeniorLife
Janet’s patient has a diagnosed personality disorder that causes her to need a great deal of attention. After eating lunch with her one day, Janet realized that doing lunch with this patient regularly helped her feel special. Now Janet schedules lunch each week in the family room, where she and the patient have 30-45 minutes of private time together.—Nominated by Ron Treiber
Nadejda Iurii, Hebrew Rehabilitation Center, Hebrew SeniorLife
Nadejda is a very compassionate, knowledgeable charge nurse who knows her patients and communicates well, even with very difficult families. She thinks outside of the box to advocate for her patients’ benefit.
We had one patient with severe delirium, a high risk for falls, and anxiety, who required constant supervision. It was a very difficult situation for the patient’s personal care assistant (PCA), who had seven other patients to care for. Nadejda showed compassion and understanding by finding ways to make the patient more comfortable. For example, she printed the words from songs that the patient liked, and started to sing to her. The happy patient sang along. The PCA was able to assist her other patients, and they could enjoy a quiet breakfast.—Nominated by Elena Shneider
Heidi McAvoy, Hebrew Rehabilitation Center, Hebrew SeniorLife
Heidi is one of the most empathetic and genuine nurses I’ve ever worked with. She especially excels with patients who suffer from mental or emotional disorders. She has a unique ability to create special relationships, build trust, and accomplish the impossible every day. She has a number of patients whom she checks in on routinely, or who call her portable unit phone to talk about something that’s making them anxious. She treats everyone with the same kindness and warmth, no matter what. She also frequently stops by our memory care unit at dinnertime to help with getting patients set up in the dining room, assisting them with their meals, and being a helpful and cheerful presence to all.—Nominated by Anne O’Brien
Natailya Maychuk, Hebrew SeniorLife
Natalya is by far one of the most compassionate, knowledgeable, supportive, and driven nurses I have ever met. I’ve worked alongside her for a few years and she has been so helpful not only to the patients, but to the staff as a whole. She reliably makes sure tasks are completed and is always there when you need her, always willing to help those who need assistance. Natalya understands the difficulty of a certified nursing assistant’s responsibilities and helps us fulfill our duties efficiently and effortlessly.—Nominated by Monique Degrave
Alacia Miller, NewBridge on the Charles, Hebrew SeniorLife
Alacia is more than just a nurse. Her compassion and dedication are impeccable for a fairly new nurse. She was on the 3rd Floor South for the past year, and then moved to a new position on the Rehabilitative Services Unit. Her 3rd floor patients cried when they found out she was moving, but also said how proud they were that she was furthering her career. She wouldn’t just pass medications and complete interventions—she sat and visited with patients, fully embracing “Go Beyond.”
I’m sad that I don’t work with her directly anymore, but I am so proud that she wanted to “Grow professionally,” and thankful for the opportunity to “Succeed Together” for our patients.—Nominated by Christine Ypsilantis
Catherine Njoroge, Hebrew Rehabilitation Center, Hebrew SeniorLife
Catherine is not only an excellent nurse who practices evidence-based nursing; she also provides compassionate care. Catherine demonstrates great leadership abilities and is a true team player. She is professional and maintains great rapport with her patients, families, and colleagues.
Catherine is the core of the Medical Acute Care Unit. I remember the time a patient’s family decided to go with comfort measures. The patient had been with us for several years and Catherine had the knowledge to oversee the clinical situation with the complete trust and confidence of the family, who could then be fully present with their loved one without worrying about clinical decisions.—Nominated by Anne O’Brien
Charlene Schmitt, NewBridge on the Charles, Hebrew SeniorLife
Charlene is a charge nurse on the 3rd Floor North who guides other nurses to make sure their patients get what they need. But she is also very hands-on. For example, she works directly with a patient who has Parkinson’s disease. This patient, a former physician, enjoys having Charlene as a partner in his care. She shaves him, picks out his clothes, talks with him about what he wants to eat, and helps him use his computer. She basically takes on what the personal care assistant would normally do, and she does it because she knows that he enjoys their conversations, and that she’s contributing to his quality of life.—Nominated by Rosalyn Mamlak
Judith O’Malley, NewBridge on the Charles, Hebrew SeniorLife
Judith is a nurse in Assisted Living at NewBridge on the Charles. Outside of her normal duties, she befriended “Betty,” a 91-year-old patient who became withdrawn, depressed, and very anxious. When Judith learned that Betty’s birthday was coming up, she put together a party, complete with presents and a birthday cake, and invited all the residents on the floor. Betty was most appreciative, and became more engaged with others.—Nominated by Jessica Coleman
Yvonne O’Toole, Hebrew Rehabilitation Center, Hebrew SeniorLife
Yvonne does an outstanding job on the 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. shift every day of the week. Not only is she a strong nurse who truly cares about every patient and never lets them down—she’s also a comedian who can surely make any patient laugh, or at least smile. She spends as much time as necessary with each patient, tending their clinical needs and explaining the importance of their prescribed meds and treatments. Then she is bound to entertain them so that they take a deep breath, relax, and feel reassured that their nurse is on top of everything. She is in and out of every patient room, checking on everyone, teaming up with their personal care assistants and making herself visible so that each patient knows that friendly voice is there for them. New patients are often confused or unwilling to follow their doctor’s orders. Yvonne turns those patients’ attitudes positive by explaining from A to Z exactly why it is so important to allow the staff to give them the best care. I hope nursing’s future has many more Yvonnes in the making. I may need one of them to care for me.—Nominated by Camille Gulino
Gemma Tacardon, NewBridge on the Charles, Hebrew SeniorLife
Gemma has been with HSL for 30 years and worked on the Memory Support Unit (MSU) since NewBridge opened, 11 years ago. She is our night nurse, and often goes unrecognized outside of the MSU. She is often unable to meet with the medical team in person, although she does report her patient concerns at the change of shifts and via email. Gemma knows how critical it is for medical providers to have a clear picture of her patient’s condition before any palliative medication can be ordered for administration by the night shift.
In early January, Gemma started noticing a decline in a patient’s respiratory status, and an overall decline at night. Gemma persistently emails the providers about the need for a more palliative approach to her patient’s care, even though this was not being addressed during the day shift. Thanks to Gemma, her patient did indeed meet the criteria for further palliative care. This is just one of many examples that Gemma demonstrates in advocating for her patients’ quality of life, as they can’t do so themselves.—Nominated by Lozel Greenwood
Stephen Tompkins, Hebrew Rehabilitation Center, Hebrew SeniorLife
Even though Steve is a new nurse, he knows his job responsibilities and the clinical needs of every patient very well. We recently opened a new floor and moved a patient there who had previously been on two other floors. The patient’s family praised Steve for helping to create an atmosphere that made their father more content, happier, and more comfortable than on his prior floors. The son said that he can really see a difference in his father, and he owes that to Steve.—Nominated by Roseller Mangilog
Michael Ward, Hebrew Rehabilitation Center, Hebrew SeniorLife
Michael had a special touch with one special Medical Acute Care Unit patient and her family, who were keeping vigil at her bedside day and night. The family knew that they could go home and rest for a few hours when Michael was on duty, because he had an amazing touch with their mom. He kept her comfortable and calm, as any nurse would do, but he had a special way of managing her anxiety and communicating with the family. Michael was proactive so the family never needed to feel like they were missing information.—Nominated by Anne O’Brien
Annette White, Hebrew Rehabilitation Center Medical Acute Care Unit, Hebrew SeniorLife
Annette is a very competent nurse who demonstrates great compassion for each of her patients and their families. She called me recently because she was concerned about a patient’s husband, who had recently had cardiac surgery. This husband comes in every day and spends many hours with his wife even though he’s not 100 percent healthy himself. Annette noticed that he had some bilateral leg edema. She told him that he needed to keep his feet up, then called me to ask if I could find a reclining chair for him. I did, and the man was so grateful for the compassion that Annette had showed him.
Annette advocates not only for her patients, but for their family members, too. She has excellent communication skills and always explains the “why” and the “what”. That gives them confidence in her care and in her judgment.—Nominated by Ellen Borden
Home Care, Hospice & Palliative Care Alliance
Genevieve Drevet, Home Care, Hospice & Palliative Care Alliance, Good Shepherd Nursing Home, Home Healthcare, Hospice & Community Services
Genevieve is famous throughout the Monadnock region. As a hospice nurse, she has touched countless lives from Keene to Milford, N.H., over the past 30-plus years. Her appealing personality combines high levels of traits that are frequent opposites, yet so essential to great care: compassion and practicality, intelligence and heart, hard work and relaxed ease—with ever-present wit, style, and grace.
Genevieve entered our family’s orbit in the late 1980s, when cousin Edie’s husband was in the end stages of cancer. Shortly after that, she helped this same cousin care for her failing mother. Genevieve helped Edie make the end of each life a deep, meaningful, even uplifting experience. She helped quickly resolve any budding conflicts or hurts that would damage those critical last days and hours. She spoke in her lovely French accent, wisely and gently, to thoughts and fears that weren’t even realized yet.
And now, as transient ischemic attack-type strokes gradually confined Edie herself to Good Shepherd more-or-less permanently by February 2018, Genevieve became her personal friend and the family’s guru and counselor, including taking on (gratis) the practical responsibilities of medical power of attorney.
Virtually any health care provider that deals with the aged population in that region will regale you with tales of her amazing contribution and towering character.—Nominated by George Odell
Home Health VNA
Julie Genovese, Home Health VNA
Julie is a visiting nurse who provides special services to her patients in the Merrimack Valley area, with the ultimate goal of seeing them heal and recover at home. Kind and sympathetic, she takes great pride in her organization. Julie gets great satisfaction from helping others and deserves positive recognition.—Nominated by Jim O’Donnell
Maureen Kennedy, Merrimack Valley Hospice, Home Health VNA
“Mo” is a force to be reckoned with. I was recently at work late after running a “pizza night” as part of an evening grief support group for bereaved children. When I checked my desk for anything unfinished from the day, I was startled to hear someone else in the office. It was Mo. She had recently worked back up to full-time hours after being out on medical leave, and was staying late to make sure that all of her paperwork was just right.
We got to talking about her medical leave. It turned out that she had had rotator cuff surgery, and my mother is scheduled for the same surgery next month. Mo gave me some pointers and even offered me her special icing machine. Mo ended up having two tears in her shoulder and one in her bicep. Her doctor had said she might not be able to return to work for nine months, but she “worked her butt off” in physical therapy so that she could get back to work in six.
I first met Mo when we jointly visited a home hospice patient in her mid-30s who had a daughter under the age of 6. As a mental health counselor, I was there to talk to the patient about how to handle this with such a young child. Mo was with either the mother or the daughter—whichever one I wasn’t with—throughout my visit. She was just being there, not doing any nursing, demonstrating an amazing depth of gentle compassion.—Nominated by Susan Toleos
Lynn Gibson, Kronos Health
Lynn Marie is the nurse supervisor of Kronos in Lawrence. She is thoughtful, caring, and supportive of all patients and coordinates proper care for all. She makes you feel comfortable and cared-for.—Nominated by Daniel Gibson