Salute to Nurses Letters: Hospitals L-R

Lahey Hospital & Medical Center

Dawn Hagerty, Lahey Hospital & Medical Center

Dawn has been my nurse coordinator since I had a liver transplant in January. I turn to her for information and recommendations regarding my ongoing care. One of the nicest, most caring people I know, she always answers with a smile and returns my calls no matter how trivial the issue. Nothing regarding her patients is trivial to her. I think all nurses are just one step shy of angels, and Dawn is at the front of that line.—Nominated by Stephen Colfer

Dawn Hagerty, Lahey Hospital & Medical Center

Dawn is the best post-liver transplant nurse coordinator ever. Two years after my transplant, she is quick to respond no matter when I call or email her. She’s compassionate when assisting in the office or over the phone, and quick to follow up as needed.

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You never feel rushed. Even when you know that you’re making her run behind, she always takes the time to make sure that your questions are answered and everything is explained. It’s always a pleasure to go see the doctor when Dawn is there.—Nominated by Judy Couture

Irene Lincoln, Lahey Hospital & Medical Center

My son was a patient in the emergency room at Lahey Peabody. He had a head injury, and had passed out. Irene is a friend of mine who was off duty that night. I was away in Nantucket and couldn’t get home. Irene came in to care for him and ease my mind. She stayed with him until he was discharged.

Irene has also cared for several of my elderly relatives, and she always made sure that they were properly cared-for and at ease. She cares for patients as if they were her own. She has taken care of her own family to keep them at home until their deaths. She is a true role model and is currently attending college for her master’s degree in nursing education.—Nominated by Erin Maribito

Susan Morneau, Pulmonary Clinic, Lahey Hospital & Medical Center

Having a positive tuberculosis test never worried me until I started listening to the drug commercials on television. So many of those heavily-promoted ads had disclaimers: “You’re your doctor if you have TB….” I didn’t have TB, but I did have a positive skin test, and I wouldn’t want that to prevent me from taking a drug if I needed it. Still, I put off antibiotic treatment until I met Susan in Lahey’s pulmonary clinic.

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Although I’d spoken with several doctors over the years, Susan immediately made me feel comfortable with taking antibiotics for four months. We touched base each month in person, by phone, or by email. I appreciated that she treated me like a peer rather than a patient. The four months flew by with no ill effects. Deciding to be treated prophylatically wasn’t easy, but Susan was right there with me. I appreciate her compassion, expertise, and care.—Nominated by Mary Leach

Judy Vechmamontien, Lahey Hospital & Medical Center

Judy is the most compassionate nurse. I was admitted for nine days, and every day she was more amazing, making sure I was comfortable and had everything I needed. I had her two years ago and she still remembered how sick I get with asthma. I will always remember her.—Nominated by Janice Whittemore

Linden Ponds             

Jennifer Anderson, Linden Ponds

Linden Ponds is an independent living residence in Hingham and home to more than 45 retired nurses representing every nursing specialty. We recognize excellence in nursing. I wish to nominate Jennifer, a nurse practitioner in our medical center, for recognition of such excellence. Jennifer is part of a team that’s responsible for the health and well-being of over 1,100 Linden Pond residents. She speaks the language of kindness, sees with a “third eye,” and hears with a “third ear.” These gifts enhance her nursing practices and make her a secret angel among us.—Nominated by Jeanne Rose Thompson

Lowell General Hospital

Melinda Peloguin, Lowell General Hospital

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Melinda is my infusion nurse. She has been kind, caring, and compassionate through many rounds of chemotherapy. She has supported not only me, but also my caregiver husband. She has been a constant source of information and help and checks on me after treatments on her own time. All nurses are special people with a calling to help others. Melinda is an outstanding nurse because she has chosen to specialize in cancer care with love and compassion.—Nominated by Kay Johnson 

Malden Hospital

Anna Gibbons, Malden Hospital

My mother Anna worked at Malden Hospital for close to 50 years in positions including surgical staff nurse, student nurse preceptor, ostomy and wound specialist, and supervisor.

She graduated from Maine General Hospital in 1945. In 1944, along with thousands of other young student nurses, she joined the US Nurse Cadet Corps. The commitment was to help wherever in the United States she was needed to replace medical staff that was sent overseas. She served as head nurse of Maine General’s emergency room.

The nurses who joined the USCNC were willing to help their country in WWII, but they are the only uniformed military organization that has not been given veteran status. It is time that these thousands of nurses were recognized.—Nominated by Carol Dobie

Massachusetts General Hospital

Violeta Alvarez, Cancer Center Infusion, Yawkey 8, Massachusetts General Hospital

After receiving a very difficult diagnosis and starting aggressive treatment, meeting Violeta was like an angel had been sent from heaven at such a difficult time for me and my family. Violeta is a gentle soul, very caring and compassionate. She did everything to make me feel comfortable and safe, and helped ease my anxiety over the treatment and diagnosis. Violeta helped answer our many questions. She is a great and caring nurse, and my family and I are grateful for her care. —Nominated by Maria I. Garcia-Ariston

Kim Baker, Massachusetts General Hospital

Kim is an infusion nurse who has gone beyond her job description to take wonderful care of my wife.—Nominated by Mark Cirone

Genevieve Bradley, Massachusetts General Hospital

During her time as a medical/surgical nurse, I’ve seen Gen work the heaviest assignments and still have the bandwidth to take on additional patients. She can solve any problem, whether it’s a difficult assignment or an action situation. As a bedside nurse, her quick thinking has pulled more than one patient out of a critical situation.

Gen has worked both ends of the nursing spectrum, from med/surg to case manager and from stressful bedside situations to stressful discharges. Neither side is easy, and both are equally unsung.

I’ve seen Gen’s compassion in both nursing and her personal life. On her med/surg floor, she treated patients with issues ranging from drugs to Alzheimer’s with equal levels of care and respect. She has powered through even the most difficult situations and won praise from families and colleagues alike.

I’ve watched her learn an entirely different skill set as she has grown from a bedside nurse to a case manager, which is never easy. The youngest nurse case manager in MGH’s history, Gen made it through orientation in less than three months, when the standard is six. She’s one of the most talented and empathetic nurses I know, and I see nothing but great things in her future. Nominated by Daniel Kaepplinger

Sherry Choi, MICU, Massachusetts General Hospital

My husband entered MGH in January, concerned about complications that resulted in his death. In the two days that Sherry knew me, she let me relate my whole life story with a man I loved so dearly. She advocated for him in ways I didn’t know I needed her to do, and she treated my Bob like he was her own husband. She treated him, and my whole family, with more love and compassion than I have ever experienced. It wasn’t just her job—she held me when I said goodbye, and she showed up at his wake to make sure we were all OK.Nominated by Carol Harvey

Elizabeth DiTavi, Massachusetts General Hospital

I am an ovarian cancer patient who has experienced Elizabeth’s incredible dedication, expertise, and compassion over the course of several years.

Elizabeth has anticipated my needs, coordinated my care, and helped arrange tests, appointments, and medications. She is always cheerfully available to help at every instance, planned or unexpected. Elizabeth is truly interested in your well-being. She’s an exceptional advocate for those in her care, trustworthy and helpful. I am grateful for all she does, as I’m sure is everyone who is privileged to receive her care.—Nominated by Sarah Eaton-White

Naomi Harmon, Katie Kafkas, Chrissy White, Megan Dean, Massachusetts General Hospital

These four were my primary nurses when I was confined to a floor for patients with compromised immune systems for four months while awaiting a bone marrow transplant. Bacterial and fungal infections caused several very high fevers that left me completely debilitated. These nurses treated me with dignity and respect when I couldn’t do anything for myself. They knew me so well that they could tell when I was about to spike a fever, and intervened to lessen its impact. Always cheerful and optimistic, they kept me and my wife from getting discouraged on some very rough days.

Caring, compassionate, and professional, they were supported by many of the fabulous nursing staff of Lunder 10. I wouldn’t have weathered this experience half as well without them.—Nominated by Ronald Fiore

Kaitlyn Hudson, Neurosurgical Intensive Care Unit (Lunder 6), Massachusetts General Hospital

When my 50-year-old sister was in the MGH Neurosurgical ICU (Lunder 6) for a week in early February, Kaitlyn was her nurse for four 12-hour shifts, providing expert care and, ultimately, supporting her as she died.

As a physician, and across the course of my sister’s progressive illness, I have observed hundreds of nurses. Kaitlyn was exceptional in combining technical competence and compassion. When she observed new or exacerbated symptoms, she initiated alternative care strategies and discussed them with my sister and her husband to be sure that they agreed with the plans. She monitored my sister’s comfort and addressed her emotional and physical needs to minimize her suffering. She created a welcoming environment for my sister’s teenage children during their mother’s last days. She watched with us as the children performed in a web-hosted musical and laughed with us about events that occurred during the ICU stay.

As my sister’s symptoms progressed, and with her agreement, Kaitlynn gently transitioned her care to support dying with dignity and peace. We watched her shift effortlessly from managing a ventilator and dozens of lines to the quiet comfort of supporting a patient and her family as they surrendered to her disease.

In less than a week, Kaitlynn demonstrated all that nursing can be, from managing highly technical equipment and procedures to minimizing the patient’s and family’s suffering. We are deeply grateful that my sister’s last days included Kaitlynn.—Nominated by Patricia Franklin

Jennifer Ryan Kennedy, Massachusetts General Hospital

My wife and I have come to know Jen over the several years that she has been my main infusion nurse. She is always dependable, empathetic, precise, and able to put me at ease. Jen is well-liked and respected by her peers, as well as doctors and nurse practitioners. Her personality and confidence in her knowledge and abilities enhance her professionalism. Many nurses have attended to us since I was diagnosed with cancer; Jen Ryan Kennedy is the one who stands out. Nominated by Richard Halpert

Barbara Kenney, MGH Everett Family Care, Massachusetts General Hospital

To meet the rules for this nomination I chose a random date of Feb. 4, 2019, but I could just as well have chosen the same day in 2017 or 2016. You see, I work with Barbara, the nurse manager of our busy family practice. Every day, I see how caring and compassionate she is with patients, her immediate staff, and the physicians. Barbara is by-the-book about following policy, yet she is most fair and kind when the need arises. I would love to salute Barbara, and I think she’ll be very surprised and humbled.—Nominated by Rosemarie Joyce

Lunder 10 Nurses, Massachusetts General Hospital

During the 45 days that my brother was a patient with acute myeloid leukemia on Lunder 10, the nurses who covered him were extraordinarily professional, kind, and knowledgeable in all interactions. I salute all of the nurses who worked with him from mid-November through late-December 2018.Nominated by Sarah Cavanaugh

Kristen Nichols, Massachusetts General Hospital

Kristen has been my infusion nurse for the past two years, and I’ve seen her smiling face pretty much weekly during that time.

Kristen stands out from the other nurses. During my infusions she pulls up a chair and talks with me. She asks me questions and is genuinely interested in the answers. She takes her time and never hurries. Even though I know how busy she is, she has the remarkable ability to make me feel like her only patient. I feel more like I’m out chatting with a friend than sitting in a hospital getting chemo. She makes me feel welcome, comfortable, and taken care of. She’s encouraging and positive; she always tells me how well I am doing. Her optimism is infectious. Kristen makes all the difference in how I feel about having chemo on a regular basis.

She is also extremely good at her job. She is my go-to person for questions and, because she knows me so well, she understands my point of view and advocates for me. Her optimism, pragmatism, and solution-oriented approach have made a big difference, especially around quality-of-life issues. For my birthday, she got me a gift and a card signed by the entire floor. She tells me when she’s going to be out on one of my days, and asks someone who knows me to cover. Kristen goes out of her way to make me feel special, and her support has made a difficult experience easier.—Nominated by Deborah Walsh

Nicholas Raposo, Massachusetts General Hospital

When my first child was born last December I had the most amazing nurse (Nick) to walk me through such a crazy, amazing, painful, anxiety-inducing, beautiful day that I will be forever grateful.

Nick came to me at the start of his shift at 7 a.m. as my second epidural was being placed, because the first didn’t fully take effect. My contractions were pretty intense by this time, and Nick coached me through each one while I tried to be as still as I could for proper placement. He was incredibly attentive all day, answered all of our questions with patience and understanding, and made the whole experience pleasant. He stayed with us through his shift.

I was so sad when it was nearing 7 p.m. that Nick would miss the main event, since I was expected to take a while. But active labor came fast. My daughter made her entrance at 7:12 thanks to coaching from Nick and the rest of the staff, so he was there to meet her. That amazing day was all the sweeter for Nick’s attention, care, and knowledge. We are so grateful for all of his help bringing our beautiful baby girl into the world.—Nominated by Amber Jalbert

Krista Scorsune, Massachusetts General Hospital

When she worked on Lunder 10, Krista was often assigned to care for my niece, Janelle. Krista made sure that Janelle, Janis, and Patrick understood Janelle’s treatment plan. Krista’s dedication to her work and to Janelle is amazing. This year she will run the Boston Marathon in Janelle’s honor. Thank you, Krista, for everything you have done for Janelle, Janis, Patrick, and Holly.—Nominated by Joanne Lavender

Krista Scorsune, Massachusetts General Hospital

My daughter, Janelle, was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma in April 2018. She did well until August, when she needed spinal cord surgery. After that she became a regular inpatient at MGH. Krista, who works on the oncology floor, was regularly scheduled to care for Janelle.

Krista epitomizes compassion. She treated Janelle, my husband, and myself like family. Krista made sure that Janelle’s pain was always managed properly, and they formed a tight bond. Krista had recently received her nurse practitioner degree and her knowledge was unsurpassed. She always had answers in the midst of an extremely scary battle. We needed to know how the side effects of medications interacted with Janelle’s cancer treatments. Blood counts determined whether Janelle could get chemo. Krista patiently explained what her level was, where it needed to be, and how to get it there. It was so overwhelming that we asked the same questions repeatedly. Krista has the utmost patience and wouldn’t leave until we understood Janelle’s treatment plan.

Krista was essential to coordinating Janelle’s care with various doctors. Janelle was one of Krista’s last patients before she moved into a new NP position. They exchanged phone numbers and stayed in touch. One day, Krista visited Janelle to tell her that Janelle inspired her to run the Boston Marathon and raise funds in her honor for Caring for a Cure, a nonprofit established by MGH nurses to help families fight cancer. Janelle’s advice to Krista was “Don’t stop.”

Sadly, Janelle lost her battle last November. Krista continues to train for the Marathon and has surpassed her fundraising goals. She is now part of our family’s life, and beyond special.—Nominated by Janis Tobin

Christine Stahlinski, Massachusetts General Hospital

Knowledgeable and compassionate toward each patient’s needs, Christine gets involved with ensuring their well-being. Nominated by Gary Stahlinski

Kimberly Sullivan, Kidney Transplant Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital

Kim has been following me since I received my kidney transplant in March. She calls me after blood tests to tell me to increase certain medicines or to lower others. She greets me with a smile and asks about my wife and kids when I see her in the clinic. She has compassion and empathy, and embodies all the qualities that I expect of an excellent nurse. Kim is the person I go to if I have a medical problem or I need help with “red tape,” and she has never failed me. She is sweet, dedicated, and deserves to be nominated as a great nurse—because she absolutely is.—Nominated by John Sforza

Ying Sun, Massachusetts General Hospital

Nurse Ying is a most pleasant person—no frills, businesslike, but very kind and efficient. She has an excellent fund of knowledge, which she uses not only in her expert patient care (including advocacy when needed), but also in her teaching, and instructing patients and trainees. She is always willing to help lighten others’ loads on the spur of the moment. She is “the soul” of the unit in which she works (Lunder 8, Neurology) —a unit from which one could nominate all of her coworkers for their excellence, compassion, knowledge, and advocacy.—Nominated by Ferdy Buonanno

White 8 Nurses, Massachusetts General Hospital

My mother was a patient on White 8 for several days last December. She was 88 years old and, fighter that she was, hanging onto her life. The nursing staff—Janice Pellegrine, Adam Gill, Marie O’Connor, Jeff Wahhab, Tiffany Le, Stacey Greenberg, Megan Buckley, Caitlyn Sullivan, and Lynette Le—supported my mom and her family in this journey.

While we knew that she was at the end of her life, it was a process of acceptance for her. The White 8 nurses met her where she was, and guided her, as they cared for her so beautifully. Their care was exquisite in every way. She was kept clean and comfortable, and these nurses honestly loved her. They also cared so well for our family, who were struggling with the realization that our mother was dying. We will never, ever forget our experience on this unit and the care that our mother received from the White 8 nurses. They turned a very difficult time into a positive memory, as they gave her their deepest respect and dignity.—Nominated by Bruce Robinson

Elizabeth Wilson, Massachusetts General Hospital

Elizabeth is a top-notch medical professional, caring for patients with compassion and respect.—Nominated by Jon Pomfret

MelroseWakefield Healthcare

Anne Benson, MelroseWakefield Hospital, MelroseWakefield Healthcare

Anne not only took care of my baby Emma, but also took care of our entire family during the most emotional time of our lives. She was a true advocate. Whether it was switching her oxygen delivery system or asking for her IV to be removed, Anne always had Emma’s best interest in mind. She kept up to date with what was discussed during rounds and what the next step in her care plan was. I felt like I was part of the discussion with Emma’s health care team. Anne encouraged me to rest, to sleep, and even to cry sometimes—all of which helped me take care of Emma. The whole staff, from the Labor and Delivery nurses to the Special Care Nursery nurses who finally sent us home, saved Emma’s life.—Nominated by Allison Hamner

Andrea Christopher, MelroseWakefield Hospital Intensive Care Unit, MelroseWakefield Health Care

Andrea is the kindest, most diligent, thoughtful, enthusiastic person I’ve ever met. She feels deeply not only for every patient, but for their entire family. She’s the first to volunteer to take a sick patient, help her colleagues, or spend time educating and supporting families. She tirelessly makes sure her patients get every medication on time, are repositioned frequently, and are comfortable. She watches the trends of not only vital signs, but labs and emotions. She advocates for the patient and updates providers as necessary. No matter how stressful her patient assignment, staffing ratios, or home life is (she has the cutest, busiest three toddlers), she tackles the day with a smile. Every patient and provider is lucky to work with Andrea on the team—she’s the best.—Nominated by Kristen Aprile

Kim Kerrigan, MelroseWakefield Hospital, MelroseWakefield Health Care

A patient who was undergoing external-beam radiotherapy for metastatic esophageal cancer had presented with some confusion. One particular Wednesday, this patient became agitated, and verbally and physically aggressive, hitting staff. Someone called 911, but Kim de-escalated the situation before the Emergency Medical Services arrived. When she found out that a hospice consultation was scheduled for the following Monday, Kim spent the rest of her shift (and stayed late) to meet with the family, who were upset and didn’t feel safe with the patient at home.

Kim arranged for the visiting nurses association to make an emergency visit that same day, rather than waiting for the weekend. Thanks to Kim’s diligence, the VNA saw the patient a few hours after the incident at Radiation Oncology with a structured care plan that the patient and family could agree to. Kim’s persistence allowed the quick VNA response to make the home safe for both patient and family.

Kim is dedicated to the physical and emotional well-being of people with cancer. She cares for people with compassion and makes sure they have the resources they need for physical and emotional balance, both in and outside of the clinic. Patients know that she is their ally. Kim seeks opportunities to hone her expertise, and contributes to the future of nursing by mentoring students in their clinical rotations and giving them an understanding of what a unique difference an oncology nurse can make.—Nominated by Elisa Scher

Kelly Spurr, MelroseWakefield Hospital, MelroseWakefield Health Care

Kelly and I are both Labor and Delivery nurses at MelroseWakefield. I nominate her not for one particular shift or incident, but because she is an exemplary nurse, teammate, and patient advocate while being the kindest, most compassionate colleague I can think of.

Clinical situations that demand quick, competent emergent interventions happen nearly every shift, so I can’t choose a single example. Whether it is intrauterine resuscitation, stat C-sections, post partum hemorrhage, opioid-addicted patients, or patients suffering from psychological illness, Kelly handles it calmly and gracefully with clinically sound care.

On top of being a nurse, Kelly is also a mother of four and a student pursuing her bachelor of science in nursing online. She works nights full time while managing a full personal life. One of her children was recently diagnosed with epilepsy. On top of everything else she does, Kelly had to manage emergency room visits, doctor appointments, and multiple hospitalizations for this child. It hasn’t affected her work performance one bit. As a mother of a disabled child myself, I am all too familiar with the physical and emotional toll having a sick child can take. I am beyond impressed with how Kelly has handled all of this. She embodies all the attributes a nurse, colleague, and person could aspire to have. —Nominated by Nina Passerini

Methuen Public Schools

Eileen McCarthy, Methuen High School, Methuen Public Schools

Ten years ago, Methuen Public Schools embarked on a two-pronged approach to substance abuse and its daily impact on our nearly 2,000 students.

Eileen worked with me daily on identification, treatment, and strategies to navigate these difficult social situations. Without her medical expertise, we never could have built a model drug prevention program that continues to expand. Her concern for each child and family was so sincere that many students modeled behaviors that simply weren’t possible when using substances.

Simply put, Eileen was integral as we continued to provide services for more and more students. She is an outstanding example of professionalism.—Nominated by Dean Brouder

MinuteClinic, CVS Pharmacy

Carol Khalarian, CVS MinuteClinic

Carol and I are full-time providers co-managing a very busy, fast-paced clinic. Together, we provide excellent care while maintaining the clinic with no other staff. That requires everything from administrative duties to ensuring patient confidentiality to seeing thousands of patients every year. Sharing a clinic and a panel of patients can be quite challenging, and I am very fortunate to have such a wonderful and supportive partner. We accomplish things effectively and efficiently despite the high patient volume and endless tasks.

Carol is kind, caring, and hard-working. She is willing to help out with coverage and flexible with scheduling, which enables a great work/life balance. Her patients speak highly of her and say how much they enjoy coming to our location. She provides comprehensive exams and follows up to ensure that her patients are doing well and on the path to good health.

Her passion for nursing is evident in her commitment. She also has an extensive nursing background, so I often rely on her clinical expertise to improve my own patient care. She promotes a healthy, supportive work environment that allows me to pursue my passion while providing exceptional care to our community of patients.—Nominated by Gillian Magni

Gillian Magni, CVS MinuteClinic

Gillian is my clinic partner. In a world where I hear about nurses bullying each other and cutting each other down, I am very lucky not to experience this with Gillian. She and I are full-time providers for our clinic, and we run the whole show. We’re responsible for all patient care with no other direct clinical staff on duty. If something needs to be done, we do it, and that’s no small task—from administrative duties and ensuring patient confidentiality, to thousands of patient care visits a year, to communicating about clinic business even though we rarely work together directly.

Gillian is the ideal workmate, always open to lending a hand. She worked overtime to cover the clinic while I was ill with the flu. Her care with patients is evident, because when I’m in the clinic they look for her and wonder when she will be back so that they can see her. She takes full responsibility for her patients by following up with them directly.

She is passionate about the clinic and her community, and her love of keeping patients healthy is the reason she went into nursing. If I need anything, she responds right away so that we can work as a team. Taking care of patients can be challenging, with very ill people and unique personalities, and I feel blessed to have such an amazing support system in Gillian. She makes my work easier and my day lighter, so that I can pursue my love of helping patients day by day. —Nominated by Carol Khalarian

Mount Auburn Hospital

Tracy Anderson, CareGroup Parmenter Home Care & Hospice, Mount Auburn Hospital

Tracy was my visiting nurse last October and November after I was hospitalized for a seriously infected toe. She was the “medical eye,” changing the dressing, watching the toe heal from the “inside out,” and reporting to my podiatrist. She explained the expected healing process carefully. She brought along another registered nurse whom she was mentoring to be a visiting nurse. Given the serious risk of bloodstream infection following my knee, hip, and mitral valve replacements, she also brought in the VNA’s wound specialist to help assess my situation.

Tracy monitored the healing process carefully, taking photos on each visit. When the frequency of her visits was reduced, she made sure that I understood how to change the dressing properly myself. When the time came for her last visit, she realized that the hidden area of healing from the inside out was reinfected, and made sure that I contacted the podiatrist immediately. Her diagnosis was spot-on, and two days later I had only a partial amputation of the top bone, as opposed to removal of the entire toe—or more.

Tracy’s common-person demeanor and way of speaking hide her deep understanding of human biological processes and disease, and her ready recognition of changing symptoms as they present themselves. She is disarmingly unassuming and friendly, and when she explains what’s going on, you know that she’s the “real deal.”  She was always there when she said she would be, or always called if she was going to be late. A person who starts her day by giving insulin shots to her family’s diabetic rescue dog, Tracy is a nurse’s nurse.—Nominated by Michael Voolich

Melissa Ginnings and Tracy Daly, CareGroup Parmenter Home Care & Hospice, Mount Auburn Hospital

When her oncology team told us that there were no treatment options left and they would refer my wife Nancy to hospice, it was a devastating conversation. The hospice nurse practitioners, however, were there immediately with amazing and compassionate care, both for Nancy and for our extended family, in her last weeks of life.

Melissa came to our house to meet us and to understand what kinds of support we needed in our home. Her kindness in understanding Nancy’s complex medical and emotional needs made us both trust her immediately.

When Nancy needed to be hospitalized within 24 hours, inpatient hospice nurse Tracy took over the process of coordinating with her many physicians and supporting me through the difficult decisions surrounding Nancy’s final days. Tracy was available at any time of the day or night, and right through the weekends. She explained the options at each decision point and guided me kindly through difficult choices.

Melissa and Tracy both saw Nancy in the hospital. After her death, they stayed in touch through one of the most difficult times in my life. Their directness and compassion made an unbearable situation more bearable.—Nominated by Allison Bayer

Amy Griffith, Mount Auburn Hospital

Amy did everything she could to make sure my brother was comfortable and well cared-for. She advocated to help him transition to end-of-life care when he couldn’t do it for himself. I couldn’t speak more highly of Amy. Her patients always come first, and she always acts in their best interest.—Nominated by Nicole Crook

Barbara Maxwell, Mount Auburn Hospital

Barbara is an exceptional nurse, and I don’t use those words lightly. In my career, I’ve worked with many good, and even great, nurses—nurses with strong clinical skills, who are caring and compassionate, and who support their colleagues. Barbara is all of that and more. Every day that I work with her I not only learn something, I also laugh and look forward to my next shift. Her magic is making everyone around her better. Her critically ill patients benefit from her wisdom and skill, their loved ones benefit from her support and teaching, and her colleagues benefit from her assistance, her sharing of knowledge and stories, and her humor.

Barbara is retiring this year from a lifetime of caring for others as a nurse in order to enjoy caring for others as a grandmother. Her colleagues are excited for her and sad for ourselves. However, we are all better nurses for having worked with her.—Nominated by Eileen Searle

New England Baptist Hospital

Molly Barker, New England Baptist Hospital

As a new graduate nurse this year, Molly has been a great asset to the NEBH team in so many ways. Her compassion for her patients and coworkers, coupled with her great work ethic, allows for thorough and centered patient care. She is a great advocate for all of her patients. Her great teamwork, along with her willingness to help and her positive attitude, makes her an inspiration who strives to learn more each time she steps onto the floor. Molly will go on to do great things throughout her nursing career—and she reminds me why I wanted to become a nurse in the first place. Nominated by Shannon McDonough

Ann Callahan, New England Baptist Hospital

Ann doesn’t only take care of patients; she takes care of an entire staff. Ann is a charge nurse in the operating room who ensures that the OR runs smoothly. She keeps cases moving and surgical delays to a minimum, and makes sure that the entire nursing and physician staffs have their best day possible. With 16 continually running operating rooms, this is no small feat.

Ann knows who likes to work with whom, who has a particular skill that will enhance a patient’s operative experience, and who is having a bad day and needs a break. The staff trusts her completely. She will move heaven and earth (as well as staff and cases) to make sure that you get to your son’s Little League playoff game, the school function that was only scheduled last week, or the flight or meeting that a surgeon needs to make. She does it without impacting the workflow or anyone even being aware that she is handling a special situation for one of us.

Working in the OR is stressful. Our patients are sicker, their care more complex, and time constraints abound. In order to give patients a successful outcome and a good experience, you need to have a happy, unstressed staff, from the orderlies to the surgeons. Ann makes this happen. We in the Baptist OR have a top-notch reputation for the care we give to our patients—care that we can provide because Ann takes such wonderful care of us.—Nominated by Bernadette Foley

New England Mothers First

Cynthia Vella, New England Mothers First

According to its mission statement, the practice was born of a vision for a collaborative, referral-based service that would work specifically toward the betterment of breastfeeding for mothers, babies, and families. I’ve had the pleasure of being Cynthia’s patient since my son was born in December 2018.

Thinking (and overthinking) aspects of breastfeeding is always challenging, and I was nervous and scared because I didn’t have a good experience breastfeeding my first baby. Cynthia listened to me and tended to both my baby and me from the moment I became a patient. She is truly dedicated, caring, compassionate, and enthusiastic toward both babies and mothers. Highly regarded in her field, she’s an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. I am pleased to say that, with Cynthia’s help, I am breastfeeding my second baby and feeling very well post-partum. She should be saluted for her contributions to her patients, as well as to nursing in general and as an expert in her field.Nominated by Heather Losee

Newton-Wellesley Hospital

Jacqueline Bradley, Labor and Delivery, Newton-Wellesley Hospital

The birth of my daughter was a week overdue when I went to the hospital last September to start induced labor. Even though this is my second baby, there’s an 11-year gap in between, and I was extremely anxious. As my contractions got closer together, I was moved to labor and delivery, where I was met by a petite blonde nurse who was an absolute gem.

Jacqueline answered my questions, put me at ease, rubbed my back and hips during painful contractions, and coached my husband on how he could help. When the pain made me shiver, she gave me heating packs while listening to my concerns and supporting me in every way. It blew me away that Jackie was the driving force in my delivery. She held my hand as my water broke, and coached me to take deep breaths and push. When my sweet baby girl came into this world Jackie grabbed her, placed her on my chest, and rubbed her back so that she would take her first breath (which took longer than normal due to swallowing meconium). Then she immediately placed Daisy on my breast so she could nurse and bond with me. I was awed that Jackie was at my side for 10 hours. More than a nurse, she was a coach, a friend, and a huge supporter who helped to deliver my baby. I am forever grateful to have had Jackie by my side.—Nominated by Stephanie Selwyn

Stephanie Felix, Labor and Delivery, Newton-Wellesley Hospital

Stephanie was our night nurse when I was admitted last winter to induce labor. As first-time parents, we were unsure what to expect. Stephanie put my husband and me at ease by explaining the plan of care. When complications arose, she sat at my bedside and explained what she was monitoring. When things quickly escalated and turned dangerous for both me and my baby, Stephanie stayed calm and mobilized her team to get me into the operating room within minutes. To keep me calm, she stayed with me and explained what was happening and each team member’s role. While everyone’s role was important, Stephanie stood out as a leader by delivering extraordinary care to me and my family.—Nominated by Aiello Loren

Michelle Fordham, Heather Seiger, and Melanie Weinick, Newton-Wellesley Hospital

Michelle, Heather, and Melanie (Team Purple) have helped a group of patients with blood cancers cope with the transition of new physician and administrative staff to ensure that things run smoothly for the team. We couldn’t have done this without their help. We have some very complicated chemotherapy regimens that require attention to detail to keep patients safe and their minds at ease. Team Purple’s knowledge and dedication to our patients helps them actively participate and advocate for the patients on our panel. Thank you so much for everything you do every day.—Nominated by Shannon Miller

Alison McCarthy, Emergency Department, Newton-Wellesley Hospital

A charge nurse in the hospital’s Emergency Department, Alison is easy to talk to. She is very compassionate to patients, family members, and all ER staff, including radiology and CAT scan. She is always easy to contact to discuss any issue, and very understanding.

One small incident sticks with me. A patient passed away from cardiac arrest and the funeral home came to transport his body. Alison came into the Computed Tomography Department to notify us, so that we could close our doors to give the funeral staff and family members some privacy. That might seem like a small thing, but not having all eyes on them meant the world to that family.

Alison has stood out in other ways many times during my career at NWH. From advocating a patient’s concerns to us, or giving us a “heads up” for a stroke patient before the actual stroke pager goes off, or helping with a difficult patient or family member, Alison keeps the ER running efficiently every evening that she’s here.—Nominated by Alex Fahie

Christina Nadeau, Medical Oncology, Newton-Wellesley Hospital

Chris has made an amazing impact on the care of oncology patients and the professionalism of staff. She developed new policies for the oncology nurses and staff throughout the institution, guided staff through education on administering medications, encouraged them to obtain certification in the specialty, and singlehandedly bridged the connection to the Mass General Cancer Center. Her easy way and kind, gentle manner makes adding new staff and patients seem easy. Chris takes it upon herself to educate patients and staff about individualized treatments, putting all at ease in the most difficult situations.

Her other specialty is hospice. The transition is difficult, but her expertise makes comfort the key word. Chris advocates not only for patients, but for the nursing profession and what it means to be an asset to the hospital.—Nominated by Anonymous

Christina Nadeau, Medical Oncology, Newton-Wellesley Hospital

Christina’s mornings start early, checking with the Medical Oncology unit’s night staff to see how things are going. As the unit-based nursing educator, she checks with the team continuously to answer questions, provide updates on nursing practice, and instruct staff on safe chemotherapy administration. She is at the elbow, giving instruction and support as staff care for patients receiving chemo infusions. She’s certified in oncology nursing (OCN) and enthusiastic about the specialty, hoping to inspire everyone to seek certification. Why wouldn’t you want to achieve certification and show that you are an awesome OCN yourself?

When a new oncology patient comes to the unit, Christina is there reviewing the orders, checking to see which nurses are on duty, and discussing the treatment plan with the team. She collaborates with pharmacists and physicians to make sure that everything needed is available and ordered. She greets the patient and lets them know that she will be working with them and a staff member getting passed off on chemotherapy administration. Patients know they are in good hands as she walks everyone through the safety steps. When treatment is over she reassures the patient and tells the staff nurse they did a great job. By now it’s late in the day and time to go home, but Christina is checking with the evening staff to make sure all questions are answered before she says goodnight.

I am fortunate to work with such a dedicated and caring professional, and thank you for this opportunity to share Christina’s daily contributions to the nursing practice and patient care.—Nominated by Jean Roberson

Northeast Clinical Services & Aveanna Healthcare

Marcia Dixon, Angela Pelletier, and Sue Skop at Aveanna; and Lois Harbaugh, Kara Fragodt, and Allison Silva, Northeast Clinical Services and Aveanna Healthcare

My daughter, Samantha, is an amazing young lady who has Rett Syndrome and is medically fragile. Her medical issues are too numerous to list and, frankly, heartbreaking to talk about. Samantha’s nursing team takes amazing care of her clinically and compassionately. These incredible women love Samantha as if she were their own flesh and blood. They truly care about her well-being, beginning with how much care they give her. They brainstorm Samantha’s ongoing problems on their own time. They are relentless and ingenious.

They are also her fierce advocates in school, at doctors’ offices, and in the community. In school, they advocate for every minute of therapy and education that she needs, and they know when she needs to rest. They come up with potential solutions with Samantha’s doctors, always balancing her quality of life. In the community, they walk proudly with Samantha, unafraid of stares, open to questions, and facilitating her interactions with others. They are willing to do just about anything and go just about anywhere with Samantha so that she can enjoy her life.

Samantha is blessed to have this dream team taking care of her and supporting her family. We are so very grateful to be on this journey with nurse angels by our side.—Nominated by Ana Burke

Sandra Ford, Northeast Clinical Services

Sandra is very aware of my son. She provides the best care and I always feel safe when she is here. She communicates very well, so I know that I can sleep well and focus on other tasks. She is a fast learner with a peaceful disposition—a huge asset to this household. We are very happy to have her caring for our child.—Nominated by Amy Jozan

Patricia Horner, Northeast Clinical Services

Pat provides exceptional care for a woman living with us at Northeast Arc. She knows everything this individual loves, and goes out of her way to make her happy. Pat will cheerfully give her a manicure, help her choose the day’s clothing, and put on her makeup. She sings, dances, and does whatever it takes to make this person smile.

Pat helps her live a full, fun life while balancing G/J-tube care (a tube implanted in her stomach and small intestine), respiratory treatments, daily personal care, wheelchair safety, mechanical life use, frequent medication administration, and many other responsibilities for someone with complex diagnoses and history.—Nominated by Renee Pawlowski

Maggie Moise, Northeast Clinical Services

Maggie has cared for our daughter Corissa for the past six years. Cori is a very energetic 14-year-old with a rare genetic disorder. Maggie’s compassion is endless. She has the utmost patience when Cori struggles to express her needs. Maggie took the time to learn sign language so that she can better understand and communicate with Cori. She not only treats Cori like her own daughter, but also enjoys filling the role of “best friend” and doing all the things a teen girl does. Maggie is simply the best thing that has happened to my daughter.

She’s also a competent nurse who carefully reviews and administers the 18-plus daily medications Cori needs. She checks and double-checks against doctors’ orders and questions any discrepancies. She has great foresight when Cori feels ill and offers advice when there is an impending situation brewing. She is always willing to attend the many doctors’ appointments in Boston, and she speaks up for Cori’s best interest.

I trust Maggie to always do what’s right, watch over my daughter like a mom, play the role of fun-loving best friend, and always have Cori’s best interest in mind. I rely on her to advocate for my daughter’s medical needs at school every day. Maggie knows Cori inside and out, and professionally conveys her concerns—and praise—to her teachers.

Maggie is family. She is a true asset to our home and Cori’s world. Cori loves her Maggie and we are blessed to have her working in our home and at school. She just makes our life so much better.—Nominated by Amy Belanger

Carla Odiaga, Northeast Clinical Services

When you introduced yourself, I didn’t realize how lucky I was to get such a great nurse. Thank you for your patience.

Thank you for the care you give my son. Your professionalism and compassion are appreciated. You gave my son the best care and calmed him down when he wasn’t feeling good. I will never forget your kind ways. You answer my questions without hesitation. My son and my family love you.—Nominated by Sahra Wadi

Donald Palladino, Northeast Clinical Services

Don is a nurse case manager for clients that I have worked with under Northeast Arc in Danvers. While we one-to-one nurses are shift workers alone in the field, I’m consoled by knowing that Don is a go-to manager. He is everything that client, family, and nurse should need: knowledgeable, acknowledging, considerate, and calm. Thank you, Don, I couldn’t do this job without you.—Nominated by Kathleen Fisher

Koudani Traore, Northeast Clinical Services

My two sons, Gabe and Caleb, both have cystic fibrosis. Koudani has been one of their home care nurses for years.When Gabe was admitted to the hospital last November, Koudani visited him and attended a team meeting to prepare for his return. She spent a lot of time cleaning and preparing the house to prevent more infections. She’s always on top of their medication needs and changes.

Gabe has been home for a month, and his care needs have increased. Koudani is doing labs twice a week without complaint, and still makes sure that he gets the best care possible. She and her staff provide the best home nursing care I could ask for. We have a wonderful team.—Nominated by Neal Hassan 

North End Community Health Center

Diane Valko, North End Waterfront Health

Diane is a capable, caring visiting nurse who cares for my 92-year-old mother. She walks to our house in any weather—freezing, raining, or snowing—and goes out of her way to gather all the facts and present the best advice. She calls me after each visit and then emails all the medical notes, test results, and medication recommendations or prescriptions. My mother looks forward to her visits, and I find them invaluable. People in our neighborhood tell me that she is giving the same wonderful care to many other elderly patients. –Nominated by Carmela Laurella

North Shore Medical Center

Stephanie Aham, North Shore Medical Center

I have worked with Stephanie on the evening shift in the post-anesthesia care unit (PACU) for more than seven years.

Stephanie is a memorable nurse who has all the qualities of greatness. She is a compassionate advocate for her patients as they wake from anesthesia. She works with the anesthesia team to address such problems as nausea, vomiting, and low or high blood pressure, keeping patients safe and comfortable.

As a leader, Stephanie is often in charge on the evening shift. She is fair and keeps the patient flow going smoothly. She makes sure we get our half-hour dinner breaks—nobody likes “hangry” nurses. Stephanie volunteered as point person for NSMC’s Peri-Operative Unit-Based Practice Council, where five to eight PACU nurses meet monthly to discuss things like self-scheduling, holiday call coverage, and Nurses Week activities. She has organized raffles and poster boards over the past several years to celebrate “Us” during Nurses Week in May. She even spoils us throughout the year with her delicious homemade chocolate chip cookies. I salute you, Stephanie. Your love for your profession shines every day.—Nominated by Elizabeth Babeu

Deanna Barreio, North Shore Urgent Care, North Shore Medical Center

North Shore Urgent Care in Danvers is better defined with Deanna on board. Caring, compassionate, direct, experienced; someone who has that sixth sense of what needs to be done—how to direct the patient, the team, the flow of our clinic. She has driven our team too many times to count, placing lines; assisting with imaging and lab ordering; communicating with specialists, primary care physicians, pharmacy, the hospital; guiding the medical assistants; coaching the other nurses; listening and being that special nurse who can proactively start care even before the patient’s coat is off.

Deanna shines here. She has empathy and humility, and is caring just enough to get the patient to laugh and agree to whatever she needs them to do, always with a smile and some humor thrown in. With our moving, changing, sometimes complicated day, she remains emotionally stable—our captain, our leader, keeping us all level-headed and our stress levels in check—again, with a smile and even a hug to keep us afloat.

Deanna is a person with incredible physical and mental endurance, working 12-hour shifts, never complaining, keeping her skills sharp and on-point, her judgment keen, with just enough compassion to be our equal and inspire us all to carry on. Deanna is the glue of our clinic, our team, our success, and by far the hardest worker I have had the pleasure of working with.—Nominated by Marth Mannion

Jake Bevilacqua, North Shore Medical Center

Jake is always advocating for safe patient care, and for being nurse advocate for our advanced practice in nurse anesthesia. He’s a pleasure to work alongside.—Nominated by Leah Murnane

Mamir Calaunan, North Shore Medical Center

I have worked alongside Mamir for years and he demonstrates compassion and clinical competence every day. He consistently communicates with patients and other team members effectively to meet the needs of his patients.—Nominated by Gail Koontz

Jana Carson, Salem Hospital, North Shore Medical Center

Jana was my post-surgery nurse this March. She was professional and confident as I woke up from my procedure. I am normally in control of most situations, but she assured me that everything was OK and guided me through the process to get me back in my room for recovery. Jana showed compassion and competence. I trusted her, and she was surely my advocate. I’m sure it was just another day at work for her, but it wasn’t for me. Every experience I had with the nurses at Salem Hospital was excellent, but I especially want to thank Jana for her professionalism and hard work.—Nominated by David Simpson

Jana Caron, North Shore Medical Center

Jana was my husband’s recovery room nurse after a recent surgery. She was compassionate while he was groggy and patient when he was frustrated. She got him a heating pad for his neck pain before he even knew he wanted it. She laughed at his jokes while monitoring him closely.

She was friendly with his family while always being professional and fulfilling her responsibilities. We appreciated her competence and cheerfulness during that stressful time.—Nominated by Elaine Simpson

Betty Davis, North Shore Medical Center

As a cardiologist, I can always count on Betty’s judgment to think on her feet and anticipate problems. She’s an excellent patient advocate; if she notes a problem, I know that it’s an issue I need to address. She takes excellent care of her appreciative patients. Because of her experience and sound judgment, the hospital often assigns her to teach newer nurses. She is among the best nurses I’ve ever worked with, and I feel assured my patients get the best care from her.—Nominated by Mario Motta

Jean Dibble, North Shore Medical Center

I have worked alongside Jean for nearly 30 years and she demonstrates compassion and clinical competence every day. She communicates effectively with patients and other team members to meet her patients’ needs. PTs have often expressed trust in her clinical delivery and expert education.—Nominated by Gail Koontz

Stephanie Ferraro, North Shore Medical Center

My colleague Stephanie is responsible for providing psychiatric medications for patients with major mental health issues in two of our adult psychiatric programs. Her diagnostic skills are excellent, and she is incredibly knowledgeable about the medications she prescribes. She demonstrates caring, compassion, and competency in working with a difficult population, with whom she is attentive, respectful, and considerate. She makes extra effort to help those with very difficult mental health issues. Furthermore, she’s a crucial part of our team. She collaborates and communicates effectively with the mental health providers to best serve patient needs and provide them with excellent care.—Nominated by Iris Miller

Carly Holm, Salem Hospital Emergency Medicine, North Shore Medical Center

Carly always talks to patients calmly, and helps them when they are in distress. She is very friendly and works diligently and compassionately with her patients. Carly takes time to listen and make sure she can do whatever’s necessary to make the patient comfortable.—Nominated by Judy Petrozzelli

Heather Joyce, Salem Hospital, North Shore Medical Center

The best nurse that I know, Heather is hard-working and genuinely cares about every patient. As a labor and delivery nurse, it can be difficult to help people deal with the pains of childbirth. She knows exactly what to say to help those patients who forego medication work through their pain and deliver their babies naturally. They are always grateful for her words that moved them not to give up. On top of all that, I want Heather nearby if an emergency happens. She knows exactly what to do and performs very well under pressure. She can easily take charge of a situation and assign roles to everyone present so that no time is wasted.

One day, Heather didn’t have a patient to take care of, while I had one who was laboring naturally in out-of-control pain. I didn’t know what to say, but Heather came into the room and talked the patient down. She then stayed with us, helping to reposition her and aid her labor until she had the baby. My patient and I were both grateful that she was there.

That’s who Heather is as a nurse: someone who truly cares about her patients and her coworkers. This is why she’s my role model, and why she deserves recognition.—Nominated by Christine Roy

Linda Keenan, Irmide Noel, Barbra Miller, and Anne Ridley, Union Hospital, North Shore Medical Center

I’m nominating the night staff at Union Hospital’s emergency room. Despite uncertainty about our future with NSMC, our doctors will attest that we continue to show care and compassion to our less-fortunate patients. Some of us have been at this facility for over 20 years, and it is closing. We’ve been through such major life changes as parental deaths, the births of grandchildren, and the loss of four coworkers. Understanding the financial reasons behind closing Union campus doesn’t make it any less painful. Through all of our challenges, we could always call 500 Lynnfield Street home. In spite of all this, we continue to care for our patients: the homeless, the chronic alcoholics, the single mothers, Lynn’s large Spanish population, and the elderly.—Nominated by Anne Ridley

Gail Koontz, North Shore Medical Center

Our IV therapy nurse, Gail deserves recognition for outstanding skills acquired during her long and valuable experience. Gail is a rare find. She has worked in the ICU, ES, and throughout the hospital. Capable in all IVs and picc lines, Gail’s expertise at vein anatomy and ability to locate a difficult or challenging vein is outstanding.

Gail was kind and soothing to a particularly difficult patient just today. She was informative and able to access his vein on the first attempt. I was so grateful on the patient’s behalf for how the situation was handled. This is a typical day for this outstanding nurse of over 30 years, and it’s an honor to acknowledge her.—Nominated by Jean Dibble

Gary Lambert, Salem Hospital, North Shore Medical Center

Gary recently transferred from Surgical Services to our adult mental health in-patient unit. He is kind, thoughtful, and gentle as he administers medication, treating each person with so much humanity it fills my heart. I once watched him listen to a patient who went on and on about many things. Gary engaged with him on every subject. When he was done, he turned to me and said “He only wanted someone to listen.” All patients need to be treated the way Gary treats his patients.—Nominated by Dru Pegnato

Jennifer Marshall, Salem Hospital, North Shore Medical Center

Some of the most underappreciated parts of health care are the off shifts. In addition to one’s own job, an individual might also be a transporter, a tech, a housekeeper, a clerk, a pharmacist, a physical therapist, a counselor, and a world-class athlete.

Jennifer does all of this and more. Her knowledge and care make a difficult profession seem easy. She is very supportive not only of her fellow professionals, but of everyone on her floor. She is one of the best examples of what not only Salem Hospital, but all of health care, can achieve.—Nominated by Paul Sarno

Laurie Morrow, North Shore Medical Center

I have worked with Laurie for years. She communicates effectively to meet the needs of her patients, and shows compassion and competence every day. I recently had to have a wound vac at NSMC Salem Hospital. Laurie assisted and taught me the proper care to expedite my discharge, then visited me at home to follow up. Thanks to her excellent care and teaching, my wound healed well.—Nominated by Gail Koontz

Nicole Obrien, North Shore Medical Center

Nicole is an excellent labor and delivery nurse who understands the medical issues as well as the human/emotional component in caring for patients. She supports the women she cares for regardless of their background. I’m an obstetrician-gynecologist who has worked with Nicole for about 15 years. Her presence ensures that excellent care will be provided, and she has the ability to suggest alternate care approaches to this physician when she thinks they would be beneficial. She is the consummate professional.—Nominated by Michael Reich

Nicole Obrien, North Shore Medical Center

Nicole is one of the most hardworking and dedicated nurses I have encountered. She’s a leader, often assuming the role of charge nurse and ensuring that our busy labor and delivery unit runs smoothly and is well-staffed. She’s caring, forever letting her compassion guide her interactions with laboring mothers and their families. She’s a consummate professional, never letting job stress cloud her clinical judgment or take her focus off the safety and experience of our patients. She’s an advocate with global awareness, often bringing forth feedback about how to improve processes and practices for patients, families, and staff while considering the flow of the unit and safety for all. She’s a teammate, consistently looking to level-load the work, assuming her share and sometimes more to contribute to the overall good.

Considering all of the attributes that Nicole brings to the Birthplace at NSMC, one might assume that the previous comments cover her biggest strength. But while all of that is impressive, Nicole’s heart is what differentiates her. She cares deeply for her patients and coworkers. She is not afraid to feel her patients’ joy, anxiety, and occasional agony. Nicole has a unique way of letting her emotions guide her while remaining professional. She is a true caregiver. She ensures safe and competent clinical care, but knows that the real caring happens outside of IV starts and documentation. Her emotional connection with her patients is genuine, and her prioritization of this type of care inspired this nomination.—Nominated by Caroline Siefken

Jill Ryan, North Shore Medical Center

I have worked with Jill for years. She shows clinical competence and compassion on a daily basis. Jill is holistic and knowledgeable in Reiki. She communicates effectively with patients and other team members to meet her patients’ needs. PTs have often expressed trust in her clinical delivery and expert education.—Nominated by Gail Koontz

Jill Ryan, Salem Hospital, North Shore Medical Center

Jill is a nurse on Davenport 5/Special Surgical Care Unit at Salem Hospital. Every day, I hear from patients, “I’m so glad to have Jill as my nurse today.” She puts her patients and their families at ease when dealing with complicated medical situations after surgery. She doesn’t hesitate to assist members of the nursing and rehab teams. When I had a medical issue at work last September, she quickly assembled a team who made sure I was stable and brought me to the emergency room in a timely fashion. I can tell you first-hand that Jill is a nurse you want caring for your family member. She is an outstanding nurse who advocates continuously for her patients.—Nominated by Sara Robuccio

Anne Stanton, North Shore Medical Center

I’m a registered dietitian who has worked with Anne for over 10 years in a wellness and weight management setting. If I had to choose one word to describe Anne as a nurse, it would be “unflappable.” It describes every aspect of care that she provides to our patients: knowledge, empathy, patience. She works tirelessly and without complaint. Anne stays composed through the most challenging situations, which offers comfort and elicits trust that lets patients simply breathe a little easier. There are too many stories to list, but the common thread is Anne’s ability to perform her duties most thoroughly without losing sight of the human being on the receiving end.—Nominated by Melinda Vaturro

North Shore Physicians Group

Eileen Fagan, North Shore Physicians Group

Eileen is a super upper-crust nurse whose quiet demeanor puts patients at ease. With her knowledge, compassion, and professionalism, she leaves no stone unturned to make sure a patient gets the best care.—Nominated by Diane Caplan

Katelyn LeBlanc, North Shore Physicians Group

We were working in the Lynn office when a patient who lacked active medical insurance couldn’t be seen after the patient service representative denied the service. When Kate found out, she asked me to call the patient (who spoke only Spanish) and ask him about his ailments and why he wanted to see the doctor. She advised him to go to the emergency room. Because of Kate’s care and concern, the patient received the necessary care the same day.—Nominated by Lidia Casey

Katelyn LeBlanc, North Shore Physicians Group

I worked with Katelyn in the New Patient Intake Line at NSPG. She is amazing when speaking with patients and getting their clinical information. Patients were comfortable with talking to her about their medical histories. She advocated for patients who needed an appointment sooner than was available. She is superb at what she does and truly cares about the safety of patients in our facilities. Her clinical expertise serves her well when trying to accommodate a patient. She communicates clearly not just with patients, but with her colleagues as well. She is the best of the best.—Nominated by Bonnibel Gonzalez

Katelyn LeBlanc, North Shore Physicians Group

I have worked alongside Kate for many years. She’s a great team player, always helping and taking the initiative to lead her team in delivering superb patient care. Kate is a very hands-on nurse, involving herself in the creation of processes and work standards and ensuring patient safety at all times.—Nominated by Dirla Mejia

Katelyn LeBlanc, North Shore Physicians Group

Katelyn is absolutely amazing. She has so much compassion, and so many other qualities that you look for in a nurse. She never gets frustrated, no matter how many questions you ask her or what you ask her to do, and she’s willing to help anyone.—Nominated by Alexis Racioppi

Alyson Lessard, Obstetrics-Gynecology, North Shore Physicians Group

Aly does a great job covering other nurses when schedules are tight, completes all tasks in a very timely and efficient manner, and explains everything in a way that is easy to understand. She is very kind and comforting and goes to great lengths to accommodate her patients.—Nominated by Rachel Tarmy

Nancy Phinney, North Shore Physicians Group, Peabody Essex

Nancy follows up with every hospital in detail. An example of her compassion: She went out of her way to call a patient in the hospital who was feeling down about his symptoms. Nancy made him feel much better.—Nominated by Janie Gougen

Notre Dame Hospice

Gary Vacha, Notre Dame Hospice

Gary was my husband Dave’s nurse from February 2018 until he passed away last January. By the time Gary was assigned to us, my husband had declined quickly from his cardiac condition, and we were not at all prepared for the level of caretaking that he would need. Gary put us at ease with the calm, quiet way that he talked to Dave.

Gary has a direct, compassionate way of learning about the patient as a person, and he answers tough questions honestly and openly. Dave trusted him immediately, and shared his hopes and concerns. Gary showed me consistent warmth, sincere kindness, and reassurance, encouraging me to call his cell at any time I felt the need.

The whole Notre Dame hospice team helped my husband stabilize enough to enjoy a longer, better quality of life in his last year. Gary’s communication with his colleagues about Dave’s needs was a big reason for that. Gary’s compassion and connection to his patients, and his ability to support the whole family through the end-of-life process, make him a wonderful nurse who totally deserves this recognition.—Nominated by Marilyn Bayer 

NVNA and Hospice

Joanne Calabro, NVNA and Hospice

Jo is an angel on earth. Her hospice patients love her sense of humor. She always puts the patient first and really becomes part of their family. I once saw her buy sheets on a weekend to make a patient more comfortable.—Nominated by Beth Lynch

Kelley Luttrell, NVNA and Hospice

Kelley is an admissions hospice nurse who sees each patient as an individual. With her extensive knowledge and great listening skills, she is able to deliver the best plan of care. She has a kind way about her and can flash a genuine smile to a patient or caregiver exactly when it’s most needed.—Nominated by Kelly Tammaro

Partners HealthCare

Helen Tieger, Partners HealthCare At Home

Helen touched my heart the first time she visited me last December. Being disabled and living alone is very hard. Her smile, and her wonderful uplifting personality gave me such a feeling of well-being, and her genuine concern went beyond her duties as my wound care nurse. She asked not only about the medical considerations for her visit, but (most importantly) how I was feeling in everyday life. Talking and laughing about so many things was a joy that kept me from sinking into a real funk. Helen is one of “the greats” and I was lucky to have her as my nurse. I’ve really missed her since I was discharged in early February. –Nominated by Lori Bermani

Helen Tieger, Partners HealthCare At Home

I was sore and very scared to heal at home after my open-surgery hysterectomy. I felt lucky that there was no cancer, but also guilty for complaining about the aches and pains that come with any operation. Enter Helen, whose steady compassion and knowledgeable advice helped allay my fears and give me the peace of mind to heal. When my wound leaked, Helen helped me understand why it was happening and why I shouldn’t worry. When I didn’t understand how to use my medications to best advantage, Helen patiently explained each one’s use and the optimal time to take it. When I asked her the same questions over again, she was never impatient, but explained fully and slowly until I could understand. Helen helped me chart out my days: when to walk, when to rest, when to medicate, and especially why I didn’t need to worry.

They say that a little knowledge is a bad thing. In health care, that is so true. I’m someone who needs to know what I’m doing and why, but my knowledge on this topic is limited. Helen is clearly very experienced. She brings a calm wisdom with her easy, friendly personality. Within moments of meeting her, I felt that I could talk about anything without embarrassment. She always called ahead and came when she said she would; she even shared her phone number in case I had questions between visits. Without Helen’s help, I couldn’t have healed both body and mind with peace and confidence. She is a treasure, and I am grateful for Helen’s kind care. —Nominated by Sheila Billings

Catherine Tucker, Partners HealthCare At Home

As an outstanding admissions nurse, my wife Catherine is the first nurse to see patients as they are discharged from hospitals. She has saved countless lives as she found patients arriving home in dire straits and performed lifesaving procedures or called 911 to get them an ambulance back to the hospital. Year after year, she receives the highest rating that Partners gives its employees—“exemplary.” Management and her peers hold her in the highest regard.

In her lifetime, Helen has saved her sister’s life twice and mine once, by performing the Heimlich maneuver. The world is a much better place for having Catherine as a nurse, and I want and need to highlight this wonderful person’s significant contributions to the human race.—Nominated by Bruce Tucker

Pembroke Public Schools

Catherine Haley, Bryantville Elementary School, Pembroke Public Schools

I couldn’t ask for a better school nurse than Katie. My daughter was born with a brain tumor and has had a shunt since she was a week old. Chloe is cancer-free now, but she started getting headaches last year, in second grade. She visited Nurse Katie frequently. Clinically, everything looked great, but she complained of pain near her shunt. This was new territory, and Katie supported us every step of the way, communicating daily and helping us rule out possibilities. Chloe had her shunt revised and the headaches went away.

This year, my son with severe food allergies started kindergarten. This is new territory, too. Katie replies to my emails promptly and I feel that my kids are in the best possible hands—she is knowledgeable, and offered suggestions about his EpiPens to help us feel safe.

Chloe started getting headaches again around Christmastime. After watching and communicating about it daily, we realized she needed another surgery. Chloe is once again headache-free. Katie has never made me feel bad, and really makes me feel like I have a friend in this. I’m constantly second-guessing myself as a mom, and it’s reassuring when she helps me work through things and doesn’t make me feel like I’m crazy. I know how much she does for my kids, and I can’t imagine how many other kids she treats the same way every day. I am thankful to have someone like Katie taking care of my kids. We couldn’t ask for better care.—Nominated by Colleen Tierney

Portsmouth Regional Hospital

Georgette Shapiro, Portsmouth Regional Hospital

Georgette is the epitome of a compassionate, caring, clinically sound nurse. In her 40 years at PRH, Georgette has always put our patients’ needs above everything else. She’s steadfast, reliable, and always available for our patients—whatever their needs. As our director of bed management, Georgette navigates hundreds of patients every day; she does it with ease and makes it fun along the way. She’s an exceptional nurse, and her contributions to the community we serve deserve recognition.—Nominated by Megan Gray

Private Duty

Bonnie Farmer, Home Nurse

I’m nominating my wife of 45 years. I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma cancer in November 2014.

Bonnie was a professor of nursing at the University of Southern Maine. Throughout her career, Bonnie stressed the nursing values of excellence, especially in her gerontological nursing specialty. She demonstrated empathy with both students and patients and advocated for older patients.

Since my diagnosis, I have been treated by oncologists at Dana-Farber and the New England Cancer Specialists in Maine—and, uniquely, receive personalized nursing care from my wife. I feel extremely blessed that Bonnie not only gave me the empathy that one would expect from a spouse, but has provided continuous medical care 24 hours a day. Bonnie stood with me during the emotionally difficult diagnosis, and later during each and every treatment appointment, including a stem cell transplant at Dana-Farber. Every time, the medical staff welcomed her as an integral part of my team of care specialists.

Most of all, Bonnie has led “Team Farmer” during these difficult times. Her medical leadership has provided me with care of such excellence that my cancer is under control, for the time being. Please join me in saluting her.—Nominated by Richard Farmer

Regis College

Nursing Pre-Licensure Faculty, Regis College

The Regis faculty is dedicated to student-centered learning grounded in the mission of the Sisters of St. Joseph and committed to cultural diversity, empowerment, global health, lifelong learning, and caring. The pre-licensure faculty ensures the support and success of each and every student on their path to professional nursing.

Due to their commitment to excellence in nursing education, the academic, laboratory, and clinical faculty work closely to ensure that students are prepared to care for all populations. Consistent with the school’s mission, nursing students care for vulnerable populations throughout Greater Boston and in the acute care setting.

The faculty demonstrates caring through advising, mentoring, and coaching. Their offices are always filled with students gaining additional skills, and they serve as role models by engaging in educational, professional, and community activities. On top of their clinical experiences in the Boston area, the nursing faculty travels with students to Haiti, Argentina, and Chile to care for vulnerable patients. I nominate the talented, caring pre-licensure nursing faculty without hesitation for their admirable commitment to students and patients.—Nominated by Donna Glynn

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