Salute to Nurses Letters: Hospitals S-W

Senior Helpers

Jennifer Norris, Senior Helpers

Jennifer is a compassionate nurse with a kind heart who truly cares for those in need. She takes the time to listen, understand, and assess the overall situation and gives the patient and their family a chance to get their questions answered. She advocates for the best care possible.—Nominated by Judith Haas

Sherrill House

Nurses, Sherrill House

Many of the staff nurses at Sherrill House, a 196-bed not-for-profit nursing and rehab center in Jamaica Plain, care for some of our frailest and most vulnerable citizens, many with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias. Others help our short-term rehab patients regain the health and stamina they need to return to their homes.

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While many nurses would not choose to work in a residential nursing facility, it’s a special calling for the nurses of Sherrill House—an opportunity that draws not just upon their clinical skills, but also their ability to offer comfort, compassion, and empathy. They are essential advocates, conveying preferences about treatment and care to physicians and other medical professionals and thereby ensuring that care is truly resident- and patient-centered.

In addition, these nurses are highly attuned to the spiritual dimension of their work, and they collaborate with our chaplain to ensure that each individual’s spiritual needs are met. This is especially true when a resident is nearing the end of life. In these cases, the nurses are alert to the special needs of both residents and their family members, and partner with other staff (social workers, chaplain, etc.) to provide the most compassionate care possible. They are, as individuals and as a team, exceptional caregivers.—Nominated by Karen Soorian

Shriners Hospitals for Children

Sandra Barrett, Shriners Hospitals for Children

When I think of an individual who truly demonstrates what nursing is all about, Sandy stands out. She’s been a Shriners nurse for over 33 years. She has held numerous roles in that time, including staff nurse, assistant nurse manager, and care manager (her current role). Her dedication as a patient advocate has always been exceptional.

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As the co-coordinator for our cleft lip and palate program, Sandy works with parents facing the prospect of sending their baby off to surgery. Sandy guides these parents through every step, spending as much time as needed talking, answering questions, and preparing them for the next steps. The trust that Sandy nurtures with these families exemplifies the essence of nursing. She’s a professional who understands the importance of patient- and family-centered care and, with her colleagues, makes sure that the child is always central. It’s an honor to work with Sandy and to nominate her for recognition.—Nominated by Arlene Swan-Mahony

Darlene Conti, Shriners Hospitals for Children

Darlene works with acutely injured children, specializing in perioperative services and providing operating room care. These patients have experienced trauma including major burns, and are often critically ill. Darlene knows how to care for them in the OR and how to support their emotional needs.

Darlene has followed many of their lives over the years. She recognizes them and interacts on a personal level. Darlene demonstrates both the caring that is a hallmark of a Shriners nurse and the professionalism of a seasoned nurse.

Darlene is committed to the mission and vision of the hospital and is an asset to the Perioperative Department. She’s a dedicated team member who always makes sure that the care provided in the OR is of the highest quality.—Nominated by Patricia Dougherty

Rich Grady, Shriners Hospitals for Children

Rich began his career at Shriners as a technician in the operating room and worked his way up to nurse manager of the burn unit while attending nursing school, working as an intensive-care unit nurse, and now managing the unit. The work is challenging in many ways, but Rich keeps an even temper and calm attitude even through the most difficult times. He always supports his staff and ensures that they have all the tools and training they need. He is a technically excellent pediatric ICU nurse and has become a skilled and perceptive manager. He’s a wonderful asset to the burn program.—Nominated by Rob Sheridan

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Inpatient Unit, Shriners Hospitals for Children

Despite changes in the organization over the past year, the entire nursing staff on the Inpatient Unit continues their top-notch care. No matter what, they never lose sight of the patient and their family while caring for pediatric patients. They constantly demonstrate incredible compassion and advocacy. They are all true professionals committed to the best outcomes for their patients.

Caring for children with devastating burn injuries often showcases their impressive clinical skills. Although their patients are often extremely ill, these nurses never waiver or panic as they concentrate on the patient and apply their skills and judgment. Multidisciplinary collaboration is often in the forefront. Their teamwork is truly inspiring.

They are also educators—in the community, internationally, and, of course, in the hospital. They are mentors, teachers, and coaches to nursing students from around New England.

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

Cheryl Kelley, Shriners Hospitals for Children

Cheryl works in the operating room, where she demonstrates exceptional skill and compassion in caring for severely burned children. Working with children who have such devastating injuries requires enormous empathy and kindness—qualities that Cheryl demonstrates with each interaction, both with the patients and with their families.

Cheryl cares for acutely injured children as if they were her own. She provides expert perioperative care, as well as such personal care as washing the smell of smoke from a child’s hair and then styling it. She knows many of the children who came to the hospital while their injuries were acute, and she has followed them through years of recovery. She smiles and calls each one by name, often exclaiming over how they have grown and how great they look, and asking them about what’s going on in their lives now.

Cheryl is a role model who’s deeply committed to the mission and vision of the Shriner’s hospitals. She’s a tremendous asset to the Perioperative Department and we are fortunate that she’s on our team.—Nominated by Patricia Dougherty

Jeanne MacDonald, Shriners Hospitals for ChildrenBoston

Kindness, generosity, empathy, and love make Jeanne worthy of this award. She’s always happy, no matter the time or the number of patients. She always makes them feel safe and protected. For us, she will always be the favorite.—Nominated by Yarymary Daaz

Jeanne MacDonald, Shriners Hospitals for ChildrenBoston

A nurse at Shriners for many years, Jeanne brings contagious positivity and love to the workplace every day, putting smiles on every patient and coworker. Working with children who have acute burn injuries is not easy. Her compassion for those children—the fine details of each dressing change, the thorough education she shares with families, and her emotional support for the children and their parents—are only a few of the ways she makes each patient experience better.

I have only worked with Jeanne for the past two years. I’m sure those who have worked with her longer have endless examples of how special she truly is. I have one recent example: As an occupational therapist, I collaborate closely with nurses on patients with hand burns and scar management needs. One patient needed extensive caregiver training, as they were going abroad for a month. Jeanne devoted an hour during a busy clinic to work alongside me, teaching the parent how to change a dressing, how to progress the dressing each week, and how to avoid infection. The parent went from being completely overwhelmed to confident and grateful.

This is Jeanne’s practice with every patient. She never appears stressed or rushed, whatever is going on around her. She gives her full attention to each patient who steps into her clinic room, setting up the family and patient for success and healing. I am honored to work on Jeanne’s team.—Nominated by Brittany Martellaro 

Outpatient Nurses, Shriners Hospitals for Children

Shriners is a small gem that provides exceptional care for children with burn injuries and other disorders. We have seen a huge shift in care moving from the inpatient to the outpatient setting throughout the health care industry, and it’s also evident in the SHC outpatient clinic.

The outpatient nursing team cares for children with small burn injuries, those who have been discharged after a 23-hour stay for reconstructive surgery, and children who need ongoing care for a very large burn. On any given day, the nurses might care for a teenager with burns over 50 percent of his body, a little girl who placed her hand on a glass fireplace door, or a child with an electrical injury who now needs outpatient wound management. The nurses move from clinic room to clinic room with finesse and confidence, greeting each child and parent or guardian with warmth and the assurance that their child will receive the best care. They ease the parents’ guilt, teach while providing care, and include the family in the next steps. Caring for children with burns is a specialty that requires skill, passion, and dedication. The nurses in this very special burn clinic live up to this, and it is an honor to work with them each day.—Nominated by Arlene Swan-Mahony

Mary Jo (MJ) Pedulla, Shriners Hospitals for ChildrenBoston

I have the great fortune to work with MJ every day. In each interaction, she places the patient and family in the center of decision-making around care and services. As a seasoned patient-safety registered nurse, it’s easy for me to say that MJ’s leadership makes a difference in the lives of really sick kids. Her steady hand on what really matters makes our environment a safe and caring place for kids and parents.—Nominated by Joan Trottier

Mary Jo Pedulla, Shriners Hospitals for ChildrenBoston

Mary Jo is the director of Patient Care Services (also known as the chief nursing officer). One day—and for a week after—she got involved in moving a patient from another country. There was some difficulty with the mode of transportation. As the hospital administrator, I watched Mary Jo work tirelessly for days to ensure that the logistics were safe and appropriate for the patient, who finally arrived the following week. Although this wasn’t patient care per se, her efforts were truly impactful for this patient. No one will ever know the extent of her efforts.—Nominated by Eileen Skinner

Kara Sher, Shriners Hospitals for Children

Kara carries out the Shriners mission of compassionate, patient-centered care in a way that deserves recognition. As the Flyer RN, Kara cares for patients across the hospital. As an expert burn care nurse, she proficiently provides care to pediatric patients in the intensive care unit, the inpatient unit, the post-anesthesia care unit, and the outpatient department. She knows how to prioritize her time and always senses where she is needed most. A team player, Kara is quick to rearrange her schedule to suit the hospital’s needs. Her practice centers on patients’ best interests. She’s a strong advocate for patients and their families, and always seems to know how to change a dressing or carry out a procedure to ensure the best outcome for each patient. She personifies patient-focused, family-centered care.

In addition to her bedside clinical skills, Kara is a nursing leader. She serves on or co-chairs several committees, and is involved in many performance improvement initiatives. When she sees the potential for improvement, she works until it is achieved. Her leadership skills and clinical expertise make Kara an excellent preceptor and educator. She has precepted many nurses in her years at Shriners and is a knowledgeable Pediatric Advanced Life Support and Advanced Burn Life Support instructor. I am fortunate to have the opportunity to work with a skilled, dedicated nurse like Kara.—Nominated by Melissa Gorman

Kara Sher, Shriners Hospitals for Children

“NURSE: A person formally educated and trained in the care of the sick or infirm.” Kara brings so many more definitions to mind. She exemplifies compassion, not only as she performs two-hour dressing changes with exquisite precision, but also as she precepts new critical-care burn nurses. For example, she has been known to seamlessly take novice nurses under her tenured wing throughout the difficult stages in a patient’s recovery, staying at the trainee’s side with constant guidance and support. Kara also has a canny knack for blending her expert burn care knowledge with a keen sense of humor at just the right time. These innate characteristics help keep the clinical team calm and focused while caring for the most vulnerable and fragile acute burn children. Kara: a true NURSE.—Nominated by Mary Jo Pedulla

Lori Viveros, Shriners Hospitals for Children

After working with Lori in the burn unit operating room for many years, I’m nominating her for her consistent can-do mindset, technical skill, and positive attitude in the face of the sometimes physically and emotionally demanding nature of her work. The burn unit often needs unexpected access to the OR, and needs to adjust the nature and timing of operations. Lori works creatively to find the best solution. Her technical skills as circulating or scrub nurse are excellent. She shrugs off the annoyances from documentation and other administrative requirements and focuses her attention on creating the best OR environment for patients.—Nominated by Rob Sheridan

Signature Healthcare

Jennifer Maitland, Brockton Hospital, Signature Healthcare

Jennifer’s compassion is memorable. She has the ability to see within. She knows what to say and what to do. She is so competent she makes some of the doctors look bad. She helped me in my time of need, and I probably wouldn’t be here to write this letter if it weren’t for her. She makes you feel cared about and special. She explains everything in words you can understand. She is very understanding of families’ needs and goes out of her way to make you feel comfortable. If she can’t answer a question, she finds out. There are so many magical things about her. She is wonderful and will do whatever it takes to make you feel secure and unafraid. I have even seen her make calls to help her fellow nurses.—Nominated by Theresa Jean

South Boston Community Health Center

Colleen Catoggio, South Boston Community Health Center

Colleen is a wonderful nurse who cares deeply about helping patients in South Boston receive empathy and excellent medical care.—Nominated by Victor Catoggio

South Shore Health

Kimberly Azulay, South Shore Medical Center, South Shore Health

As nurse supervisor for our internal medicine practice, Kim oversees a clinical department with 50-plus staff. Her transformational leadership style has created an environment of autonomous nurses. She is committed to providing a streamlined, efficient department and works with providers by managing in-basket tasks. Kim develops protocols and policies to ensure that we are delivering the highest patient care set for an ambulatory practice. She often works side-by-side with her staff, encouraging them on difficult days. Kim is the subject-matter expert for our adult triage nurses and develops algorithms for concise treatment plans. I am thrilled that she is studying to become a nurse practitioner.—Nominated by Jeanine Farah

Joan Cooper-Zack, South Shore Health

I used to worry a lot. Then I met Joan, who worries all the time for the rest of us. I still do, too, but not as much now. Joan does her worrying in a measured, methodical, and inclusive way that makes everyone better and keeps our patients and colleagues at the very center of our planning. Is a Nor’easter coming? “No problem.” Joan made sure we knew the risks in advance and had a plan. Unplanned utility failure? “No problem.” Joan knew we had drilled for that and were prepared. Sudden influx of patients with the flu? “No problem.”

We have codified our learned experience and borrowed best practices from others. The hazard vulnerability list goes on and on, but the one constant is Joan’s dedication to her patients and colleagues. She is a recognized expert who gets other experts in emergency preparedness from across the entire region around the same table. She uses her extensive training and boundless energy to make sure all the details are covered, every time, whatever the scenario. This important planning and training is not easily visible. Joan is famous for always asking the right question at exactly the right time. The patients and colleagues of our health system, as well as the South Shore community, are indebted and grateful to her. Thank you, Joan, for keeping our patients and us safe.—Nominated by Timothy Quigley

Karen Donahue, South Shore Health Center for Wound Healing, South Shore Health

As nurse manager for the wound center, Karen became responsible for a diabetic patient with an open incision of his ankle from a complicated trauma fracture that required multiple surgeries to receive hyperbaric oxygen treatment—the only option short of amputation or more invasive surgery. Karen advocated with his insurance company numerous times to turn their denials into approval. She relentlessly supplied the necessary data after working with wound center physicians to document the necessity of this treatment. She researched the Underwater Hyperbaric Medical Association’s safety indications, rules, and regulations. Throughout this process, she constantly reassured the patient and provided him with both emotional and clinical support—this horrific injury threatened not only his leg, but his livelihood and quality of life. All the while, she made sure that his wound care and diabetic care were appropriate, and that his home situation and ambulatory status were accommodated, as he could not bear weight and used a knee scooter—which she also obtained for him—to get around. He couldn’t drive, so she made sure that daily transportation to the clinic would be provided for his 40 daily treatments.

Thanks to Karen’s tenacity and dedication, the patient started his hyperbaric oxygen treatment last Dec. 24. Karen has followed him and watched his progress. He’s currently at treatment number 38, and will in fact need 20 more. The best news is that he’s responding to treatment, with few people knowing or understanding how much work went into getting him care.—Nominated by Gary Gibbons

Kristen Esson, South Shore Medical Center, South Shore Health

Kristen is a well-respected member of the ambulatory team at South Shore Medical Center. She works in the Norwell site, which sees 250,000 annual patient visits. Kristen is often described as being passionate in her work. She has deep expertise and endless empathy, and is especially skilled in working with complex patients suffering from substance use disorder (SUD).

Kristen led the ambulatory division’s efforts in our massive education campaign, “Words Matter,” which taught 1,400 nurses how to reduce the stigma that interferes with optimal treatment of these SUD patients. In the long and winding journey that it will take to win the battle against this complex disease, I want Kristen with me like a family member—the highest standard one can provide, and one that she always meets.—Nominated by Jeanine Farah

Jeanine Farah, South Shore Health

Jeanine oversees the practice of nursing at the busy, 250,000-annual-visit South Shore Medical Center. She is relentlessly positive as she works with providers to adjust the way that care is delivered across four physical sites by over 100 providers who team with 140 nurses and 200 superb medical assistants. Jeanine is intelligent and possesses a wonderful, engaging style, wrapped in and delivered by a deep Staten Island accent. She’s well-respected by all members of the entire health care team—both within the ambulatory setting when she sets the bar high, and across the entire system.—Nominated by Timothy Quigley

Stephanie Kerr, South Shore Health Center for Wound Healing, South Shore Health

Stephanie is committed to excellence, embracing a supportive environment demonstrating respect, value, and caring. She is passionately committed to the well-being of our patients, most of whom have significant complications affecting their ability to heal.

Stephanie leads, mentors, and teaches by example, following our doctrine “It’s a patient with a wound.” She made sure the whole team had accurate, reliable, and reproducible documentation so that we could best evaluate and treat patients while sharing information with colleagues across the health system and allowing us to bill for services correctly. At the same time, she was one of our go-to clinical nurses leading a performance improvement project on compression standardizing across the health system.

When we had an Epic upgrade last December, Stephanie made the software’s very basic wound module fit the complexities and case mix of our patients (averaging 95 per day). She quarterbacked the module’s build, development, and implementation. She was our problem solver, and she integrated an initially siloed module across the health system, standardizing and unifying wound descriptions across in- and outpatients, including wound photographs. From accurate, efficient, reliable, and reproducible documentation…from workflows and smart sets to coding, billing and compliance…Stephanie was part of the IT, informatics, and Epic implementation teams, and an active member of the ambulatory advisory council.

Amid all that, she remains focused on the patient. She created ongoing education and training sessions specific to their wound care. She epitomizes patient-centered care-taking and holds herself accountable. She is transparent to all of us with her knowledge, creativity, and genuine passion.  —Nominated by Karen Donahue

Jean (Jay) LeClair, South Shore Medical Center, South Shore Health

There are nurses that come along throughout your career who are great mentors, skillful in their patient care, compassionate to others, and fiercely protective of their staff. There are nurses who are loyal to the cause, and you know that they will always be there, no matter how difficult situations get. Jean has all these qualities, and has become a top nursing leader at South Shore Medical Center.

Through staff education and mentorship, Jay has led the way for nursing to work to the top of their license in the ambulatory setting. She works with physicians and nurses to create safe care plans that keep patients out of the emergency department. Jay is certainly a trendsetter—we are often asked to share our developed workflows with other practices because they are proven to deliver safe, efficient, and effective care. I can’t think of anyone who deserves this recognition more than Jay. I thank her for all she has done for patients, peers, and the nursing profession.—Nominated by Jeanine Farah

Noreen MacLean, South Shore Health

Noreen has experienced many types of nursing in her 34-year career, from intensive care at an academic medical center, to emergency department in a busy regional medical center, to leadership and off-shift supervision, and for the past three years—fortunately for us—as a patient safety officer in our busy 400-bed health care system.

In this current role, Noreen has made an especially impactful and powerful difference for all patients. She works closely with frontline clinicians and support colleagues to first determine the root causes of errors, and then to fix them so that vulnerable patients remain as safe as possible. Noreen beautifully applies the growing science of safety, and her knowledge of complex operational systems, to guide the problem-solving process in a constructive, yet accountable, manner—and she is well-respected because of it. Noreen uses data, not anecdotes, and never reaches a conclusion without first examining all aspects of a problem and getting input from all stakeholders. We in nursing, as well as across our entire system, appreciate her open and none-judgmental style, greatly value her wisdom, and know that we are truly privileged to work with Noreen.—Nominated by Timothy Quigley

Kathleen Melvin, South Shore Health

It is a rare person who can blend deep technical skills with deep clinical skills, wrap that in a positive demeanor, and infuse it with relentless energy. That aptly describes Kathy, a nurse who leads a skilled team that supports the complex clinical environment across the ambulatory and acute care settings. Kathy has led this organization through multiple upgrades and an entirely new electronic medical record conversion (EPIC). A skilled and empathetic listener, Kathy can teach even Luddites how to become competent in contemporary technology. Kathy is well-respected by her nursing, provider, and information technology colleagues thanks to her tremendous work ethic and keen eye for detail. While many institutions struggle with large-scale, big-bang conversions or upgrades, Kathy and her superb colleagues have made the impossible seem routine. We know for a fact that it is anything but, and that’s why we want to acknowledge what a gift Kathy is, each and every day.—Nominated by Timothy Quigley

South Shore Medical Center Nurses, South Shore Medical Center, South Shore Health

I have the honor of working with amazing health care professionals who provide exceptional patient- and family-centered nursing care with compassion and integrity to achieve wellness in an ambulatory care setting. Our nurses provide long-lasting educational support for our patients through face-to-face, telephonic, or written means. We have the privilege of seeing our patients through health and sickness, creating long-lasting relationships. Through 250,000 annual visits to SSMC, nurses are cultivating those relationships and growing in their profession. I’m proud of the work we accomplish every day and for the commitment that the nursing staff provides. For this, I say: Thank you for all your exceptional work and congratulations on a job well done.—Nominated by Jeanine Farah

Andrea Stephen, South Shore Medical Center, South Shore Health

The supervisor for our Family Medicine practice, Andrea is one of the most compassionate nurses I’ve had the pleasure to work with. Her team approach to nursing through education has let the way to high vaccination rates among all groups at SSMC. She serves as a leader and promotes educational opportunities to her staff of medical assistants and nurses. Through these opportunities, she encourages her staff to think outside the box and develop new processes to improve the patient experience. Thank you, Andrea, for your contagious smile and for always going the extra mile to support your team.—Nominated by Jeanine Farah

Leesa Spain, South Shore Hospital C4, South Shore Health

I had bilateral knee replacements the day after last Christmas and did pretty well for a couple of months until I developed a bleed in the right knee, which is extremely painful. When I was admitted to South Shore Hospital, I had this nurse on C4, Leesa, who was extremely supportive and comforting through excruciating pain. She gave me alternative methods to deal with pain, teaching me to take deep breaths, and stayed with me while we waited for a doctor to give me medication. Leesa was an angel. I don’t know how else I would have dealt with this pain.—Nominated by Virginia Woodbury

Spaulding Rehabilitation Network

Johngelyn Alleyne, Spaulding Rehabilitation Network

I first worked with Johngelyn when I was in training as a resident physician caring for stroke patients. She was a phenomenal colleague and teammate—always making sure that patients got home safely with the right medications, instructions, and follow-up appointments, while ensuring that their family and loved ones understood the plan. She educated colleagues and empowered nurses to ask questions that improved the quality of care we delivered on the stroke floor.

Since then, she became the nurse manager on the inpatient spinal cord injury floor, while I now see outpatients in the clinic downstairs. Recently, a patient who needed to speak with a nurse who was very familiar with spinal cord injuries came into the clinic. Johngelyn came down to work with them for a few minutes because our outpatient nurses have more experience with general rehabilitation. She shows exemplary compassion with patients and is a consummate leader among colleagues. It has been a privilege to work with and learn from Johngelyn over the past several years.—Nominated by Chloe Slocum

Ann Caberoy, Spaulding Rehabilitation Network

In her 16 years as a nurse on the stroke unit, Ann has worn many hats. Starting as a staff nurse, she has cared for patients who went on to complete rehabilitation and returned home—some went back to work, others became long-term volunteers at our hospital, helping to educate and support other stroke survivors. Ann has touched so many lives here that even when she was accepted for a job elsewhere, she chose to stay at Spaulding because of her close-knit, collaborative relationships with nursing and other clinical staff. “It wouldn’t be the same,” she says, reflecting on a career that stretches back to when some of our senior physicians were still in training.

When she became charge nurse, and later nurse manager, Ann strove to foster a strong support network for the nurses on her floor. She says her management philosophy is “always try to meet people halfway,” and she is widely respected by the unit nurses as a result. As a nurse manager, Ann and the therapy program leader co-developed a discharge checklist that helps doctors and nurses communicate better, leading to a more streamlined discharge for patients and families preparing to return home. Her checklist is still in use, and still helping stroke survivors and their loved ones.—Nominated by Chloe Slocum

Lucy Dalusma, Spaulding Rehabilitation Network, Brighton

Lucy is not only a big support to her coworkers—I’ve heard others call her their hero, and she has saved me several times—but she also works with patients whom others consider difficult, and she does it with compassion. She is often asked to serve in other roles, and she does it for the good of our patients’ safety. It’s hard to even describe what she does, because she does it without any hoopla.

Spaulding is ranked No. 2 by US News and World Report and Lucy shows what makes Massachusetts hospitals the best. I suggested nominating her to a few other nurses, and they all agreed—she is an unsung hero, and the nurse that I would want to take care of me if I were sick.—Nominated by Winona Campbell

Amanda Davis, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Brighton

Amanda is my wonderful colleague on the Traumatic Brain Injury unit. She is kind, compassionate, and devoted to her patients, their families, and her coworkers.

As the team’s physical therapist, I’m in constant contact with Amanda to ensure patient safety. No matter how busy she is, she always makes time to give her teammates a fully detailed handoff. She respects others’ time and does her best to have our patients ready for therapy so that they don’t miss a minute. She is always visible on the floor and has no qualms about assisting in whatever way she can, whether the patient is hers or not. She constantly exceeds her job description to make patients and their families feel safe and cared-for.

One of my favorite memories is the time Amanda brought in an ice cream cake for a patient’s birthday. The patient had no family and his group home attendants couldn’t be there, so we bought him a cake and sang to him after physical therapy. I’ll never forget him smiling ear-to-ear, feeling so special that we remembered his birthday.

Another time, a young patient with diabetes needed very strict blood sugar monitoring, which the family was having trouble getting a handle on. Thanks to Amanda’s hard work collaborating with the doctors and our dietician, the young woman was able to return home on a great insulin regimen.

I wish there were more nurses out there like Amanda. She truly makes the world a better place.—Nominated by Alyson Moriarty

Amanda Foote, Spaulding Rehabilitation Network

Amanda has been a nurse on the brain injury unit with very good critical thinking and assessment skills for almost three years. One morning she received a report from the night shift nurse about a patient who was not doing well. The patient’s blood pressure was running low, and overnight interventions hadn’t helped much. Amanda was not happy with the direction the patient was going, and took it upon herself to advocate for the doctor to check labs, as well as other interventions.

Despite the physician pushing back that nothing could be found, Amanda insisted that something was not quite right. Thanks to her insistence, the source of the patient’s infection was discovered and successfully treated.

Amanda has a great attitude at work. Patients request her by name for their care team. She also works well with other team members, always willing to work with rehab, case management, and the nursing assistants to make sure that the patient’s overall needs are met. Amanda is never afraid to speak up against anything that will not benefit patients, and likewise advocates for things that will improve the unit and patient safety.—Nominated by Pauline Clarke

Jillian Keady, Spaulding Rehabilitation Network

Jill consistently exceeds the requirements of her clinical role as a nurse. She takes the time to provide individualized care not only to her own patients, but to all of the patients on her floor. She effectively and efficiently coordinates care with other providers to ensure that patients’ needs are met, especially for the medically-complex. Jill advocates for her patients and cares about their emotional well-being. She is the first to lend an ear and open her heart when someone is having a tough time.—Nominated by Lily Lichtenstein

Miriam Lautenschlager, Spaulding Hospital Cambridge, Spaulding Rehabilitation Network

I’ve had the pleasure of working with Miriam as her nurse manager over the past several years. She works on our Transplant Unit, caring for patients with newly transplanted lungs, heart, liver, and kidneys. Our unit also houses a complex medical population requiring telemetry, dialysis, VAC dressings, intravenous therapy, and tracheotomies.

Mirian arrives eager to care for her patients every morning. She’s a strong patient advocate, and the medical staff is confident in her ability to assess and monitor the smallest changes in our transplant population’s conditions. She tackles all assignments with dedication and a positive attitude. She’s an enthusiastic learner and teacher, having oriented many of the nurses on the unit.

Miriam is a super user for the EPIC electronic record system, audits our nursing staffing documentation, and serves on the hospital’s wound committee. Additionally, she frequently serves as charge nurse. In this role, she shows her aptitude for leadership, creating nursing assignments and handling complex patient situations as they arise. Miriam is a dedicated team player and always the first to volunteer for new initiatives. She brings her best every day, and contributes amazing energy to our unit.

On top of all that, Miriam takes three courses per semester in her nurse practitioner graduate program at a Boston university, where she continues to develop her own philosophy of nursing.—Nominated by Janel Wastaferro

Mary Oberton, Spaulding Rehabilitation Network

Mary consistently provides exceptional care to every patient and collaborates well with all staff. She treats patients with professionalism and compassion, as if they were her own family. She brightens the day of everyone she is around.—Nominated by Laura Letellier

Kara Silva, Spaulding Rehabilitation Network

I have had the pleasure and honor of working with Kara for the past year. She is an exemplary nurse and coworker—consistently reliable, compassionate, and dependable. She brings 110 percent every day and is willing to go the extra mile for her patients. Not only does she have solid clinical skills, but excellent interactive skills with patients as well. She is one of the top nurses I’ve known in my 30 years working in health care. Thank you, Kara, for all that you do.—Nominated by Jessica Farman

Holly Stein, Rehab 3 West, Spaulding Rehabilitation Network

Holly has been doing her job so well that I am amazed by her work performance. She always treats the patients, her coworkers, and everybody else with so much respect. In all, Holly is one of the most caring and respectful people I have ever met.—Nominated by Roudlene Volcy

Julia Wagner, Spaulding Rehabilitation Network

Julia is very dedicated to her patients and pays close attention to minor details. She had a patient who required dialysis every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday off-unit in the HD suite. This patient also had an extensive wound requiring a wound VAC (a device that decreases air pressure). The VAC often gets temperamental and beeps incessantly if not attended to promptly. Julia knows this, yet even when she is very busy with her other patients she makes time to go down to the HD suite and ensure that the VAC is suctioning properly and not beeping. Not only is this good patient care; it is also being conscious of the disruption that it would cause to other patients and staff in the HD suite.

Julia comes in on her day off to work on unit initiatives such as the newsletter that promotes better patient care and/or safety. She reaches out to other disciplines if she believes they can halp improve patient experiences. She is often called upon to train new nurses, which requires more patience to ensure that they aren’t overwhelmed.—Nominated by Pauline Clarke

Nora Ann Walsh, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital

As a fellow nurse, I have worked with NoraAnn for the past two years and have admired her compassion, flexibility, and heart of gold from the first day. This winter she stepped into the role of wound nurse while our full-time wound nurse was out on leave. While voluntarily filling this role, she continues to work regular hours on the floor as a staff nurse, and regularly precepts students as well.

One young patient required very complex wound care that was painful and stressful, and could sometimes take hours. While I was attending to this patient, I needed a second opinion and called upon NoraAnn, whose calm confidence set both me and the patient at ease as soon as she entered the room, knowing that we had solid backup. She offered to help complete the wound care, and my confidence in her skills and demeanor helped me provide this patient with the best care. I was grateful to have her at my side, and I feel honored to work with her every day. She gives that level of respect and importance to every patient, and can always be counted on to support the unit. She’s an excellent nurse and person, and I am honored to nominate her for this recognition.  –Nominated by Megan MacDonald

Wendy York, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital

Wendy is an off-shift nurse who always exceeds expectations. She’s hard-working, conscientious, skilled, professional, and a team player. I have worked with her for years, and she should be recognized for all of these things.—Nominated by James Jones

St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center

Kevin Comisky, St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center

I’ve had the opportunity to experience Kevin’s compassionate care twice in the past few years. Kevin is on the vascular surgery floor. The first time, in July 2017, he encouraged me to get on my feet and moving after my five-artery bypass surgery. He checked on me constantly, and I’ll never forget how good he was.

The second time was after my carotid artery surgery in January. I had had a bad night with no sleep, thanks to a malfunctioning machine that beeped all night with false blood pressure readings. Imagine how happy I was to see Kevin’s name on my board to be my nurse that day. He remembered me from my previous stay, and took charge immediately. My b.p. was fine; the machine was faulty. When he asked a resident if I could have water and food, it arrived 10 minutes later. He got rid of all my IVs and tubes so I felt like a real person again. Kevin stayed with me most of the day and made sure my discharge papers were in order so that I could go home. Kevin is a wonderful nurse and person who more than deserves a salute.—Nominated by J. Kevin Hughes

Barbara Keane, St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center

My sister Barbara has demonstrated the highest degree of nursing skill, attentiveness, and compassion every day of the past and current year. Not only is she a faithful and highly versatile employee of St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, but also the primary advocate and caregiver for our elderly parents, aged 93 and 97, and for our beloved sister, who has multiple myeloma. As our parents’ health care proxy, Barbara has triaged many, many problems by phone or by rushing from Newton to Wrentham to asses our mom and dad and prevent unnecessary emergency room visits.

She has made herself an expert in the details of multiple myeloma, often pointing out specifics that expert physicians had overlooked in our sister. Barbara has guided every choice in her treatment and bone marrow transplant.

Patients and staff at Saint E’s rave about her, and Barbara’s painting of St. Elizabeth hangs in the hospital’s main lobby. She is never off-call and always gives 100 percent, whether to hospitalized patients or infirm family. She’s a real lifesaver.—Nominated by Ellie Goolkasian

Joan Sherburne-braun, St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center

Joan is a nurse, childbirth educator, clinical leader, and safety hero on our labor and delivery unit in Brighton. Her passion and excellence are apparent every day.

A month ago, our Code Pink safety alarm (to prevent infant abductions) sounded, and Joan sprang into action. She hurtled down multiple staircases to find the abductor, and almost tackled her before security told her it was a drill.

Joan streamlines and reorganizes processes to improve safety and efficiency. She worked with the administration to obtain the same fetal monitors for all labor rooms. This huge undertaking improved nurses’ efficiency—they no longer struggle to find the correct cable for each different monitor.

This month, Joan took on another role and became a super-user for the new computer system upgrade. She cheerfully supported her peers during a challenging experience.

Joan is also a patient advocate. On one very busy day, a family came to our unit wanting a tour. Joan jumped up and greeted them with a warm, welcoming smile and began educating them about what makes St. Elizabeth’s great—that we are the only Level 3 High-Risk Center with a small community feel. When the family said they were trying to get into childbirth classes, Joan lit up and explained how she taught the class. She encouraged them to come even though the class was “full” and helped them sign up. This is how she treats everyone around her.—Nominated by Cheryl Cirillo

Christine Steele, St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center

Chrissy has been a nurse at St. Elizabeth’s for a few years now. She is incredibly passionate about patient care and consistently exceeds the expectations of the people entrusted to her. Manifestations of her passion are as simple as listening to an especially anxious and severely demented patient’s stories about a long-gone husband, or as complex as purchasing teddy bears for people who miss their pets. I have seen her clock out after her shift, and then spend an hour trying to find a contact lens case for a patient who left theirs at home.

Her drive does not stop with the personal needs of her patients. She is also a strong advocate for process and quality improvements in the hospital ward, often using her own time to work on changes that will ensure the very best patient care and improved communication with the health care team. This even extends to students and recent graduates. She has been a huge proponent of the “New Grad” hiring program that helps ease the transition from nursing school to full-fledged floor nurse. The amount of time (both on and off the clock) that she has given to this program is nothing less than admirable. Nurses like her truly save lives and serve as an example to all employees to remember why they went into health care in the first place: to be an advocate and a helping hand, in whatever manner necessary, for those who need it the most.—Nominated by Henry Ferland

St. Joseph Hospital

Jennifer Borodawka, St. Joseph Hospital

Jennifer has been my nurse for several years. She is extremely proficient in all areas (including our recent transition to electronic medical records) and does a great job training both experienced and novice nurses. Most important, though, is her ability to inspire comfort and confidence in everyone she interacts with. She is the absolute best.—Nominated by Jennifer Page

Sturdy Memorial Hospital

Ellen Gilbert, Sturdy Memorial Hospital

Ellen has served for 35 years as an oncology nurse at Sturdy. We know her from the monthly support group she leads for breast cancer survivors. From those who were recently diagnosed to those who have been cancer-free for years, we all benefit from Ellen’s caring nature. Always there to meet a tear, she provides comfort in the midst of physical and emotional challenges. Ellen provides an environment in which we can share our weaknesses and, in so doing, become stronger. We sincerely thank Ellen for contributing to our collective wellness.—Nominated by Diane Rantz

Sutton Hill Center

Kirsten Brady, Sutton Hill Center, Genesis HealthCare

I salute Kirsten for her compassion, respect, professionalism, patience, and kindness to my 92-year-old father. She has been caring for him in this nursing home since my mother passed away a year ago. I cannot even find words for how amazing Kirsten is. Consistently patient and kind, she always listens to my concerns and acts quickly to ensure that my dad is well taken care of. I also love watching her with all of the other elderly patients—the respect and compassion that she shows to each of them is so overwhelming it has actually brought tears to my eyes.

As a nurse myself, I understand how difficult it can be to give our patients the very best care, and I often find Kirsten going that extra step. She sits with my dad and her other patients and respects their feelings, a remarkable trait for a younger nurse. Thank you, Kirsten, for all that you do.—Nominated by Carla Moriarty

Tenacre Country Day School

Mary Torrence, Tenacre Country Day School

We are very fortunate to have Mary, our school nurse, as part of Tenacre’s team and community. “Mrs. Torrence,” as she is affectionately known to our 200 students, is concerned with the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of students, faculty, and staff. Her efforts are instrumental in creating a culture of community and caring so that we feel connected and can fully engage in teaching and learning.

Mary’s smile, calm demeanor, empathetic nature, knowledge, and professionalism bring comfort to a child in need. She understands that a loose tooth, bump, or bruise can be a big deal to a child. When emergency first aid is required, Mary’s quick thinking and strong clinical skills provide the needed care. Everyone is treated with respect and compassion. Students communicate with Mrs. Torrence easily. As they grow older and visit the nurse’s office less, they often give her a shout-out to express appreciation.

Mary has brought health and wellness considerations to the forefront in the ever-changing school environment. She has identified health services that warranted enhancements, developed strategic plans, and collaborated with leadership to bring viable programs to fruition. She sits on a number of board and faculty committees, including Health & Safety and Wellness. Her initiatives and standards are incorporated into school programs. Mary keeps staff aware of current matters through training sessions and Wednesday Wellness emails. Colleagues see her as a hard worker, problem solver, and innovator, and seek out her counsel. Mary has shown great pride in her profession and we salute her, and those in her field.—Nominated by Irv Dunn

The Community Family

Susan Morton, Dutton Center, The Community Family

Five years ago our family was searching for a day program for my brother Phil, who suffered a head injury in a 1980 automobile accident. We were referred to the Dutton Center in Wakefield, under the direction of nurse Susan. After just two meetings with Sue, Phil’s initial interview, and his subsequent acceptance orientation, it was clear that we had found a great place for my brother. Much of the credit for this fine program and its services was (and still is) due to the hard work of Sue, with assistance from her staff.

Sue is a fine manager of program, process, and people. She makes it all look easy, somehow, but we know that it is not, especially given the special needs of her many clients and the number of staffers that she directs every day. She is plainly immensely knowledgeable and experienced. She’s a role model and mentor for her staff, both new and experienced.

Sue is always helpful, compassionate, calm, and a patient caregiver. Her excellent communication skills are important not just to her clients, but to her staff, family members, and personal caregivers who support these clients. The peace of mind that she gives to families is hard to measure.—Nominated by James Rastellini

Town of Harwich

Susan Jusell, Town of Harwich

The sole nurse for a large population of senior citizens in Harwich, Susan is devoted to her long list of patients, as they are to her. Available days, nights, and weekends, she sees patients at home, in assisted living facilities, and in weekly wellness clinics. She also conducts twice-weekly balance and flexibility classes and writes a health column in the bi-monthly Council on Aging newsletter.

Susan keeps in touch with local physicians, as well as town police and rescue personnel, and often follows patients to emergency and medical facilities. She frequently provides or coordinates medical rides on short notice. At least twice, she has enlisted her husband and teenage daughters to help a senior into an assisted living or nursing home.

As a Council on Aging volunteer who works closely with Susan, and as the husband of a woman who has needed her excellent diagnostic and treatment skills, I can attest that Susan is a truly dedicated professional with a real heart.—Nominated by Ralph Smith

Tufts Medical Center & Floating Hospital for Children

Adult Oncology Nurses, Tufts Medical Center

These dedicated professionals helped me through some tough times during my bone marrow transplant. Without their dedication and sympathy, I never would have pulled through. I can’t single out one individual. They are my second family. God bless them all.—Nominated by Scott Poirier

Catherine Bacolod, Tufts Medical Center

Competence, intelligence, and professionalism define Catherine. She is not just an active role model for the younger operating room nurses, but also for resident physicians and other providers in the OR. Whenever someone doesn’t know where a piece of equipment is, or how a surgeon likes a case set up, or when a particular patient need requires extra care, people ask Catherine, because she knows exactly what to do. If you have an operation at Tufts, you will want her in your room.—Nominated by Jon Simmonds

Kaitlin Destito, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Floating Hospital for Children

I delivered my daughter, Emma, at a community hospital, where she was emergently intubated and transported to the Tufts NICU. Kaitlin was our primary nurse for the week that Emma was there. I wasn’t able to hold Emma, hear her cry, or feed her. Kaitlin was compassionate and sensitive to our needs. She was hurting with us.

One day, I was upset that I had not been able to hold Emma yet. Her prognosis was poor. Kaitlin let me help turn and reposition her, and I was finally able to hold for that moment. However brief and seemingly insignificant, that little gesture made a huge difference to me.

Since I’m an adult ICU nurse myself, Kaitlin made sure to tell me about all the lines going in and out and what all the numbers meant. Any time something beeped or alarmed, she assured me that Emma was OK while she addressed the issue. She even advocated for Emma to have pain medication when she had trouble breathing. I will be forever grateful to the entire Tufts NICU team.—Nominated by Allison Hamner

Mark Diethelm, Tufts Medical Center

Mark is an outstanding nurse. I have worked with him for 13 years and have learned and grown so much from the things that he has taught me and his professionalism. He always demonstrates leadership as a professional and in advocating for his patients. He’s great at communicating with team members, as well as patients and families. Mark is a very trusted friend and coworker, and I salute him.—Nominated by Keisha Mungal

Noreen Dolan, Tufts Medical Center

Before my September 2016 open-heart surgery, Noreen would always call after hours to see how I was feeling and make sure I had all my ducks in a row for surgery, after surgery, and follow-up appointments. She goes out of her way to pop her head into my room and say hello, even if I’m not her patient that day. Noreen and Tufts are top-of-the-line.—Nominated by George Russell

Karen Dowler, Tufts Medical Center

As an infection preventionist, Karen no longer cares directly for patients, but her effect on their safety is immense. Specifically, she has spearheaded improvements in preventing urinary catheter infections and making sure that reusable invasive medical devices are cleaned and disinfected properly. Her attention to detail, collaboration with staff, integrity, and relentless focus on protecting patients from infection have touched the lives of hundreds—unbeknownst to them. She is fearless about tackling potential sources of patient harm. Karen truly cares and uses all of her skills, talents, and intellect to keep patients safe every day.—Nominated by Susanne Meninger

Gretchen Duffy, Tufts Medical Center

Gretchen has exuded compassion, empathy, and professionalism since I met her during my heart transplant in 2012. We meet every three months, more or less. Last year I was hospitalized for a deadly pneumonia with complications. She came to all parts of the hospital to reassure me and my family.

Gretchen always follows up on my clinic visits promptly and explains the results. She is what every nurse should aspire to be. All nurse/transplant coordinators are fantastic, but Gretchen stands out.—Nominated by Patrick Sullivan

Londa Dugan, Tufts Medical Center

Londa defines what it means to be a nurse. She cared for me during the birth of my daughter last January. This being my first pregnancy, I wasn’t too sure what to expect. I never expected to have an emergency C-section.

I couldn’t have gotten through that surgery without Londa. I had planned on having my mother with me in the delivery room, but she wasn’t allowed in during a C-section. Londa cared for me like my mother would have. She provided words of encouragement and supported me when I couldn’t raise my own head. I leaned on her to fight through the pain. I was beyond scared, and only Londa put me at ease.

I believe her devotion to her patients to be extraordinary and rare. They say that you forget what delivery was like, and maybe I will. But I will never forget Londa. She was instrumental in bringing our daughter Isabella into the world, and I can’t express strongly enough that she deserves recognition.—Nominated by Julie Nason

Caitlyn Egan, Tufts Medical Center

Caitlyn is my buddy, and a wonderful nurse. She took it upon herself to get to know me a bit while I was in the hospital for 2 ½ weeks. She is loving, caring, attentive, and one of the best nurses.

She figured out that I don’t like to ring the call button, so she came in every so often just to see if I needed anything. Sometimes I heard typing, and she was doing her work outside my room so that I could call for help. She didn’t flinch when it was time for an embarrassing procedure; she knew I was embarrassed and made me feel OK about it. She even took time to visit me when I was admitted to another floor. Her wonderful smile and personality made me feel like I was going to be OK. Thank you for being awesome, Caitlyn. You will always be my buddy.—Nominated by Maria Monroe

Terry Hudson-Jinks, Tufts Medical Center

Advocacy is defined as support; a stance; recommendations; a push for people or a cause; the representation for ethical and moral values or for the promotion of the right thing to do for the right reasons. Advocacy seeks to ensure, especially for the most vulnerable, a voice and a safeguard of their rights, views, and wishes. Advocacy may also be courage, and nurses often act as an advocate with strength, compassion, and humility during times when most would not.

As a nurse leader, Terry embraces this role with audacious commitment to doing good. She embodies this tenet and sets the foundation of the “always” for safe patient care, equality of care, freedom from suffering, and human dignity. Each day, I have the opportunity to watch Terry engage in many conversations using compassionate influence to inspire patients, families, staff, colleagues, and her direct team of nurse leaders to achieve the best possible outcomes.

Terry embraces the call of nursing. In the past, she cared for the sickest of the sick and learned the value of listening attentively to her patients and their families. During highly intense critical-care delivery, Terry encapsulated the essence of good communication and collaboration. Those experiences created her leadership quality and characteristics. Terry promotes what nurses value most—providing health care to those in need—and finds ways to make something that seems unattainable become attainable. It is a privilege to salute the chief nursing officer at Tufts.—Nominated by Judi Cullinane

Pam Levy, Tufts Medical Center

Pam went out of her way to make sure we were all comfortable and knew exactly what was going on. We first arrived two days before Christmas. When we went back on New Year’s Eve, she remembered who we were and made sure that she was our nurse. We’ve gone back once more since then, and she once again made sure she was our nurse. Each time, from the minute we arrived to the minute we left, we felt like family and were never left in the dark about what was going on.—Nominated by Crystal Mangelinkx

Nadine Linendoll, Tufts Medical Center

We are honored to nominate our colleague Nadine for extraordinary work in cancer survivorship. Nadine is a PhD-prepared nurse with a dual degree in divinity and advanced training as a nurse practitioner. In addition to the clinical skills detailed below, Nadine is a highly effective educator, whether with patients or trainees, and a burgeoning researcher with prolific contributions. Her clinical practice epitomizes holistic, patient-centered care. She has an innate ability to connect with patients, assess their emotional well-being, and engage them in individualized survivorship care.

The entire team was reminded of her gifts as we watched her prepare for, and deliver care to, two patients recently referred to our program. Both had been diagnosed with cancer as young children, decades earlier, with little grasp of their treatment. After combing through stacks of paper records and reading multiple articles about their diagnoses and then-standard treatments, Nadine reconstructed their histories and provided them with a comprehensive plan going forward. She reminded them about details of their original clinical course from notes in their records, reminiscing about favorite staff members and family support and creating a quick bond with them. She bore witness to their suffering and long-term health challenges. In one particularly difficult case, one of these long-term survivors developed a second cancer that didn’t respond to treatment. While the diagnosis and treatment options were being considered, she worked closely with the primary oncologist, members of the multidisciplinary tumor board, and the patient’s family to ensure that the patient’s needs were being met. Ultimately, we helped the family transition him to hospice care.

We are humbled by Nadine’s great skill and honored to work alongside her. She richly deserves this recognition.—Nominated by Susan Parsons

Nancy McGann, Tufts Medical Center

Nancy works hard and is gentle with her nursing skills and approach.—Nominated by Denece Clinton

Gretchen Medina, Tufts Medical Center

This fellow nurse has always shown the utmost clinical competency and care with all of her patients. She always monitors them closely and advocates for their needs, whether that be medications, treatments, or just assistance with basic needs. She keeps the doctors up-to-date with her patients’ latest needs and follows through on all of her nursing tasks on every shift. She truly is a compassionate, trustworthy, admirable nurse.—Nominated by Maureen Kavanaugh

Carolyn Shea O’Malley, Tufts Medical Center

When I met Carolyn as a graduate nurse 35 years ago, I was struck by her compassion, empathy, and tireless devotion to patients. Thirty years later, I transferred to primary care, and now I am privileged to work with Carolyn again. She has mentored me in caring for both inpatients and outpatients, but her dedication and compassion are not teachable—they are innate.

I have watched her care for Tufts patients, her own family members, and her colleagues and their families. She never tires of being that dedicated caregiver. As care coordinator, she follows up on patients who have gone home, making sure that their care transitioned smoothly and that they have appropriate services. She’s spent more than one Friday night waiting for the on-call visiting nurse to make sure that a patient didn’t go without services over a weekend.

Carolyn takes care of an elderly patient who has a deteriorating memory, yet stays safe and functional in his own environment. He never has any trouble finding his way to the clinic and to Carolyn when it’s time to refill his pill boxes. He has been known to drop the boxes and come in with the pills in a bag. Fixing that situation can be time-intensive, but Carolyn doesn’t flinch.

In the past year she’s been challenged to care for family members, most notably providing terminal care for her 30-year-old daughter. Her resiliency makes me strive to be a better caregiver. She always puts others before herself. We are fortunate to have such a dedicated caregiver and role model in the Tufts nursing department.—Nominated by Susan Cassiani

Kim Onessimo, Tufts Medical Center

Kim is a true gem to the otolaryngology service. She works in the operating room tirelessly managing equipment, setting up procedures, and fixing equipment. She is one woman covering a dozen different jobs. Since she started, almost every surgeon in the department has commented on how much easier and more efficiently their surgical cases have gone. She may not work directly with patients, but they are safer because of her work.—Nominated by Jonathan Simmonds

Operating Room Nurses, Tufts Medical Center

Every day, the hard-working and dedicated nurses in Tuft’s OR assist in lifesaving procedures for the sickest patients in Boston. They go beyond standard shifts and spend many hours on-call during their days off. Many of them have been there for over 30 years. They’re the most devoted nurses I’ve ever met, and I would trust each and every one of them. They receive very little recognition, so if you see one, give them some love.—Nominated by Eileen Agranat

Kathy Peuser, Floating Hospital for Children

I met Kathy, a nurse on the PBMT unit, when my son was diagnosed with wilms tumor last October. Kathy was so confident in her work that she loaned me a shoulder to cry on and gave me the strength to get through devastation. She taught me everything to prepare us for going home. All of the staff at Floating are such compassionate people, but Kathy made me feel at home. I’m forever grateful for her support and encouragement.—Nominated by Pamela Hannah

Kathy Peuser, Floating Hospital for Children

Kathy has been nothing short of a miracle for my 3-year-old, who was recently diagnosed with ALL leukemia. She has been a shoulder to cry on while providing the best care to my daughter and including me on everything. I can ask her anything and get an honest and truthful answer. My daughter looks up to her so much that she’s decided she wants to be a nurse when she gets older. I’m sure that has a lot to do with Kathie’s ways. I hope my daughter can grow up to become the nurse Kathie is.—Nominated by Kristen Benjamin

Kathy Peuser, Floating Hospital for Children

Kathy is caring and attentive not only to the child’s needs, but to the parents and family as well. She always has a big smile, and she helps the child feel comfortable by explaining to her and her parent the procedures and medication that she will be receiving.—Nominated by Kim Calandrella

Kathy Peuser, Floating Hospital for Children

My family went through the hardest time of our lives, by far, when my 3-year-old niece Paisley was diagnosed with leukemia at about the same time that my brother (her father) passed away. Kathy was exactly what my family needed, exceeding what was required of her in ways that we can’t thank her for enough. She is so perfect with Paisley and there for my sister when she needs a helping hand. She has had Paisley’s best interest at heart since Day One. We cannot thank her enough.—Nominated by Lauren Calandrella

Kathy Peuser, Floating Hospital for Children

Kathy has gone all-out for my granddaughter, who is battling leukemia at the young age of 3. Kathie has the patience of a saint and has guided my daughter and I in so many ways. She has sat with my granddaughter at times when she was testing everyone’s patience, and she could talk and reason with a 3-year-old. We are extremely grateful for all the staff at Tufts Floating, but Kathie stands above during this tough time in all our lives.—Nominated by Mary Calandrella

Kathy Peuser, Floating Hospital for Children

Kathy has been nothing short of amazing while caring for my niece Paisley. My whole family cannot thank her enough. She deserves any kind of recognition for her kindness and passion for her job.—Nominated by Sarah Calandrella

Kristen Ramaci, Tufts Medical Center

One of the kindest nurses I know, Kristen has cared for me numerous times since February 2018. She has something many people lack: compassion. Compassion comes from the heart. You can’t fake it, and you can see it in Kristen’s eyes. She always made me feel like I was going to be OK, even when I knew I was in trouble. She gave me the strength to live. She did something I’ve never seen any other nurse do—she squatted down to talk privately at my eye level, and spoke softly and affectionately. She wasn’t just a nurse doing her job—she was one human being caring for another.—Nominated by Maria Munroe

Judy Rivera, Floating Hospital for Children

My son was born with congenital heart disease in 2017, and we’ve known Judy since 2016. Always smiling and willing to help out, Judy is a great patient advocate. She has pushed for cooperation from my son’s insurance company and has helped get referrals through. She also sat with me when his checkup turned into emergency surgery. We’re so thankful that Judy is on our cardiology team.—Nominated by Brittany Wheaton

Erica Stone, Pediatric Bone & Blood Marrow Transplant Unit, Floating Hospital for Children

A month after my son was born last September he had a respiratory episode and was sent to Tufts. They determined that he had leukemia, and he almost died from it.

Nurse Erika from the pediatric bone marrow transplant unit is loving and caring with all the kids, not just with my son. Besides doing her job, she also plays with the kids and lifts their spirits. She is always in a good mood.

Even though my son is just 5 months old now, you can see how much Erica impacted him. He smiles and laughs when he sees her, and wants Erica to hold him. If Erica thought something would be helpful, she went to the doctors to get it.

When we had to spend Christmas Day in the hospital, she made our holiday as special as she could. Even though she had to work the holiday, we all had breakfast together. She is like a family member now.

My son will be in-patient again soon and we can’t wait to have Erica care for him. We trust her a lot.—Nominated by Melissa Ansara-burns

UMass Memorial Health Care

America Crocker, UMass Memorial Hospital, UMass Memorial Health Care

I have spent the past 55 years as a psychologist treating people in trouble, specializing in folks whom other therapists refused to see—patients suffering from behavioral addictions.

As a result, I am sensitive to what “good care” consists of. Who would have believed that this 82-year-old would find himself admitted through the emergency room to the hospital’s surgical department due to severe, constant stomach pain of unknown origin? For the next several days I was the target of needles for “one more blood draw,” accompanied by complaints from the nurses wielding these weapons that my veins were “too small.”

After suffering yet more pokes and stabs, and at one point considerable blood loss when an overzealous poker missed the target completely, there appeared a kind, gentle, skilled, and capable nurse who got it right on the first try. What a relief for this old lady who was silently suffering from the fear borne of not knowing what was wrong. America truly deserves a salute, for I will not soon forget her gentle and reassuring manner, nor will my profound gratitude for her genuine good nature lose its glow. Thank you for this opportunity to tell you about this very special nurse—and thank you, America Crocker.—Nominated by Carole Thompson

Diane Malone, UMass Memorial Health Care

I have struggled for years with around 150 episodes of unexplained syncope (fainting), leading to loss of my ability to drive, loss of income, and to numerous hospital visits, admissions, and appointments. Diane has been critical in making my voice heard. She made sure that the correct tests were ordered and that my symptoms, no matter how minor, were fully explained to medical personnel.

More important, she provided exceptional emotional support during my darkest times. She took my phone calls at all times of day—often when I was crying, upset that my independence was taken away while doctors were still struggling to find out what was wrong. Her compassion, kindness, and words of support always calmed me down, even when I was having trouble just breathing. She made sure that my breathing stabilized and that I was crying less before she gave me advice on how to live my life amidst the uncertainty. She made sure I was safe in the bathroom when I was feeling weak, and she would pick me up off the floor after a syncopal episode.

She is my hero, and an inspiration to all nurses. She did everything with a smile and a generous soul, and I will be forever grateful to her.—Nominated by Jill Coughlin

Linda Prybass, Mary Meersman, Tammy Lovewell, Karen Freel, UMass Memorial Medical Center Transplant Clinic, UMass Memorial Health Care

I have interacted with these four caring professionals as part of my monthly appointments in the Transplant Clinic since 2015. They are consistently cheerful, no matter how busy they are. Each one has unfailingly helped with my medical and emotional needs. On one recent visit, I wasn’t feeling well due to complications from my kidney transplant. Their compassion and attention to my needs alleviated my concerns, and they immediately communicated with my physicians to develop a plan as a team. Thanks to their dedication and advocacy, I left with confidence that I would feel better soon—and I did. Their consistent dedication to the nursing profession and all clinic patients makes the UMass transplant program exceptional. I am constantly grateful for their outstanding care.—Nominated by Jill Coughlin

US Navy

Mary Jo Majors,US Navy (retired)

Retired Captain Mary Jo volunteers many, many hours to mentor young people seeking a nursing or medical career in the military. She’s also active in both leadership and member roles in Navy-related organizations. Very compassionate, she does not hesitate to offer assistance when the occasion calls for it.

As a retired captain myself, I have worked with and observed her for many years. She never seeks recognition for her contributions. A special salute is well-deserved.—Nominated by Ivan Samuels

VA Boston Healthcare System

Gregory Walker, VA Boston Healthcare System, West Roxbury

Gregory oversaw my 89-year-old father, a retired US Marine Corps veteran and father of six, for most of last August, until he died on the 21st. It was a delicate situation after my father hit his head at home and suffered a brain bleed that rendered him non-functioning over several weeks. He could hear, and rarely speak, but he held on for three weeks in hospice.

Gregory treated my dad like a war hero, with respect and dignity. He made the family members had access to a quiet, private room. He checked in to see if we needed anything and made sure there was food for one sister who stayed there each night. He listened as a social worker while we came to grips with our father’s dying condition. As denial with hope prevailed, he softly made us aware of the reality in small doses. He was direct, honest, and always respectful, with a good sense of humor when needed. Most important, he kept my dad’s painkillers at just the right amount to make sure that he didn’t suffer for a moment.

All of the nurses were wonderful. When I thanked them personally, one said, “It is an honor to take care of your dad.” I will never forget her words and great respect. But Gregory was the one who stood out as the constant—the one who took charge and took care of us.—Nominated by Christine Nicastro

Village at Willow Crossings

Lydia Fitzgerald, The Village at Willow Crossings

My 90-year-old father is on hospice living in Mansfield, Mass. Lydia has been amazing ever since he came home from the hospital. I was very worried, and she assured me that he will be well cared-for at the assisted living facility. My father can be a difficult patient, but Lydia knows how to handle him with kindness and compassion. She looks him in the eye and explains everything she is doing. I feel safe knowing that he’s under her care during the day shift. She communicates with the family, as well as the patient, about his care. This has been a very difficult time for me, and I am relieved when Lydia enters his room. Along with the hospice nurses, Lydia has helped me get through this extremely difficult time. Caring for the elderly is not a glamorous job. They are at the end of life and not always the most pleasant patients. Lydia is caring and understands my father’s needs.—Nominated by Linda Wallace

VNA Care

Giselle Desroches, VNA Hospice and Palliative Care, VNA Care

Even though Giselle cares for people in their last months of life, she thinks about hospice nursing as “How do I help a person live the best that they can, for as long as they can.”

Among those Giselle cared for was a woman with lung cancer who could barely breathe when she moved. The woman’s life revolved around sitting on a stool in her kitchen. From there, she could easily reach what she needed to get through the day. The patient spent much of her time looking out the window, longing to work in her garden. Morphine would ease her symptoms, but she was against taking it because she associated it with people who abuse drugs. Giselle provided education and support about the medicine and was able to get the patient to give it a try. She stayed with the woman for her first dose to make sure she felt comfortable.

The next time Giselle visited, the woman was outside, enjoying a beautiful spring day. She spent much of the next three months doing what brought her the most joy in life—gardening.

Patients aren’t Giselle’s only focus. She remembered one patient’s wife who was struggling with her husband’s sudden decline. Giselle and the wife talked through her fears and concerns. Giselle prepared the whole family for what to expect during these last days. Giselle said “He died very peacefully, and they were very grateful for that. To me, being a hospice nurse is a privilege. People allow me into their homes and into their lives during what can be a difficult time of life. I carry a piece of each of my patients with me, and it makes me a better person.”—Nominated by Deborah Corkum

Joan Fitzpatrick, VNA Care

Some of Joan’s patients have called her a lifesaver. A wellness nurse, Joan works at community locations providing health screenings, health education, linkage to community resources, and support in making healthy lifestyle changes at VNA Care’s free Keep Well Clinics for seniors.

During one of these clinics, Joan noticed that a regular client’s weight was up and her feet were swollen from retaining fluids. The changes were troubling. Joan sent the woman to her doctor, who diagnosed congestive heart failure.

I have worked with Joan for many years, and I’ve had the opportunity to shadow her at some of these Keep Well Clinics. Most recently, I joined her at a senior housing facility on the North Shore. The seniors were lined up to see “Nurse Joan.” One woman, who was there for support in managing asthma and keeping her blood pressure and weight on track, told me that Joan “thinks of things others don’t. She gives you time to ask questions. You never feel rushed.”

Another client had just been prescribed medication for osteoporosis. She was concerned about a list of possible side effects so long it made the medication sound worse than what it was supposed to treat. Joan listened to her concerns, explained the medication, walked through the pros and cons of taking it, and helped her make a list of questions for her doctor before making a final decision.

Joan’s care helps seniors—many of whom are dealing with multiple chronic health conditions—make the most of their health and continue to live independently in the community.—Nominated by Deborah Corkum

Valerie Green, VNA Care

My colleague Valerie always puts patients’ needs above her own. She cares about their ability to remain at home, and that they understand their medical needs better than they did before she came to them. She shares in their joys and sorrows and worries about them when they have to be hospitalized. When she communicates her patients’ status to her colleagues, she pushes us to be better clinicians. If Boston is truly the City of Champions, it’s not only because of our sports teams, but also because of extraordinary nurses like Valerie, who advocates for her patients when they need a champion. –Nominated by Rodney Hemingway

Carol Jones, VNA Care

Carol leads VNA’s wound, ostomy, and continence program, providing care to people in their homes and supporting colleagues who work with these patients.

I recently met Linda, a patient who had undergone lower-extremity revascularization surgery. Veins were taken from her arms and legs to return blood flow to her foot, saving it from amputation. When Linda got home, she was in pain and had difficulty walking, as well as other chronic issues that complicated her recovery. She’d been given a wound VAC (a machine that suctions fluids) to promote healing, but the equipment was in an awkward spot and leaking. Linda felt like it was the end of the world, and she wished her foot had been amputated. Carol promised to help Linda feel better.

She kept that promise, focusing first on managing Linda’s pain and helping her significant wounds heal as quickly as possible. The dressing caused a burning sensation, so Carol worked with Linda’s doctor to change to a more comfortable dressing. She got the VAC under control and gave the home health team additional education and support on managing the device. Carol taught Linda about nutrition that would help her heal, and made sure that she had the supplies and medications she needed. Linda said “Carol’s a true nurse. She really cares about her patients. She’s a special person.”

Six weeks later, Linda feels almost 100 percent better. She can walk around her home and use a cane outside. In the short term, she looks forward to walking her dog around her apartment building. “With Carol’s support,” Linda said, “I’m confident I will meet my goal.”—Nominated by Deborah Corkum

Renice Pleasants, Jennifer Beckwith, and Vilma Williams, VNA of Boston, VNA Care

This team of three nurses has provided excellent in-home care for our 96-year-old mother. Each of them is an exceptional professional.

Every senior who wishes to age gracefully at home needs a point person to holistically asses their evolving health needs, to coordinate appropriate referrals, and to provide ongoing direct medical care as the patient’s requirements change. Renice is that person in Mother’s life, and we are most thankful for her high standards.

When Mother had a sore that didn’t respond to her doctor’s treatment, we sought weekend attention at two different urgent care centers, as well as an emergency room, while the sore worsened. Only when wound care nurse Jennifer arrived was Mother’s now-critical ulcer appropriately addressed. We are most grateful for Jen’s early treatment as more new lesions have appeared.

As Mother’s personal care requirements have increased, we are most appreciative for the direct care of her home health aide, Vilma. Her care for Mother’s personal hygiene directly contributed to recognizing new skin abrasions. We are indebted to Vilma for her compassionate, perceptive care.

We nominate these three incredible VNA professionals without reservation and with deep appreciation.—Nominated by Yvonne and Marjorie Powell

Waterford Country School

At the age of 92, Emily has remained active in the service of the special children at the Waterford Country School by serving on its board of directors. Her service to the school spans 67 years. —Nominated by Eileen DeGaetano

Wellesley Public Schools

Pam Sheridan, Wellesley High School, Wellesley Public Schools

Last fall, MaryAnne McDonald,Wellesley High’s secretary for the Athletics Department, was scratched by her cat. MaryAnne’s doctor bandaged the wound and sent her home. Several days later, she lost control over her middle and ring fingers. School nurse Pam examined MaryAnne’s hand and suggested that she get to the hospital that same day. MaryAnne took her advice and went to Newton-Wellesley Hospital, where she eventually underwent surgery by their leading specialist. If it hadn’t been for Pam, MaryAnne might not have gotten the treatment she needed and suffered lasting damage.

School nurses are often thought of as a resource for a headache or a scraped knee, when, in reality, they are the first point of contact for hundreds to thousands of students, faculty, and staff in schools across the country.—Nominated by Shamus Miller

Wentworth-Douglass Hospital

Dawn Gosselin, Wound Healing Institute, Wentworth-Douglass Hospital

As a nurse in the Wound Healing Institute at WDH, Dawn provides expert clinical care while meeting the psychosocial needs of her patients. She listens actively and validates their concerns and frustrations. Being able to identify which concerns she can actually address makes her even more special. For example, she helped one patient obtain the resources to afford supplies, and another to receive care for ill-fitting dentures. These kind acts led to better compliance with their treatment plans.

Dawn shows the same kind of commitment to her peers. She jumps in to help other nurses, stocks supplies, makes phone calls, and assists with providing education. Dawn is passionate about teaching, and has precepted nursing students and new hires. Her holistic approach to help students and nurses see the whole patient, and not just their medical condition, is especially noteworthy.

I salute Dawn for her clinical expertise and her gift of connecting with patients, family members, and colleagues at all levels in the organization.—Nominated by Heather Wilson-Labbe

Jill LaChance, Wentworth-Douglass Hospital

I arrived at the hospital in the throes of labor, unknowingly close to delivering our first baby girl—who arrived just 39 minutes after checking in. This being my first child, I didn’t expect to be in labor for less than two hours, and neither my body nor my mind was truly ready to do this. Jill’s calm and peaceful demeanor anchored me during this whirlwind delivery.

Exhausted, anxious, and in pain, I was still struggling the next day to cope with what we had gone through. The baby sensed my anxiety and cried nonstop as our visitors filtered in and out. At some point it all became too much and I started to have a panic attack.

Jill wasn’t assigned to me, but she was the nurse that I trusted. She came in and told my guests that I needed time to rest—something that I had desperately wanted to tell them but couldn’t bring myself to say. She assured me that the baby would be in good hands with my mother just down the hall, then gave me a hug and said that I was fine and this was normal. When Jill made eye contact I came back into the moment and started to care for myself so that I could take care of my baby. All of the nurses assigned to me were wonderful, but I have to mention how exceptional Jill is.—Nominated by Samantha Curley

Jeanne Marie Stanley, Wentworth-Douglass Hospital

I have worked alongside Jeanne for the past five years. She deserves this award based not only on the work she does at the hospital, but her tireless pursuits at home as well.

Jeanne is an integral member of the new Vascular Access Team. After years of only having the options of basic intravenous or a PICC line for most patients, we have introduced U/S guided IVs and bedside midlines and PICC lines to ensure that every patient has the appropriate IV access. This has decreased the total number of IV insertions and attempts on patients. More importantly, this program allows time to educate staff and the patient. Staff is more willing to call us prior to a known difficult patient, and patients are more willing to speak up and request an ultrasound for placement.

In addition, Jeanne has long been at the forefront of the Interventional Radiology Department, which the Vascular Team works from, as the scheduler, pre-op, intra-op, and post-op nurse. She often acts as case manager for frequent patients who aren’t getting answers from their primary physicians.

At home, Jeanne is a single mother of three children, two of whom are already in college. She spends most of her mornings and her evenings with her chronically disabled sister, getting her routines in while they fight the system for reliable home care. I can’t come up with one scenario that demonstrates Jeanne’s exemplary compassion because that’s her day-to-day standard. —Nominated by Patricia Kinnicutt

Winchester Hospital

Shauna Culhane, Winchester Hospital

Nurse Shauna helped us when our 1-year-old suffered her first major injury (nursemaid’s elbow). Her calming, confident demeanor assured us that we were in the best hands and our daughter would be fine. Winchester scores 10 out of 10, and we’re particularly impressed with our new favorite health care professional.–Nominated by Ryan Newton

Janet Gallant Wood, Winchester Hospital

Janet is an early pioneer as a nurse practitioner. She has always practiced in Gyn/Oncology, which is a perfect setting for her. She is competent, comprehensive, kind, and knowledgeable.

I have been a patient in her practice, off and on, for 32 years. I lived in another city for several years. In all the time I’ve known Janet I have implicitly trusted her. She was most kind throughout those years, and when I consulted her while living in Chicago.

I, too, am a nurse practitioner, and thus a critical judge. Janet’s compassion always shows in our discussions. Even in the most anxious times, she presents facts in a supportive manner. Her memory of important life events is incredible, and she never forgets to ask about them.

Janet has been a significant mentor to nurse practitioners who are new to the profession—indeed, a role model to all, and an asset for those nurses who have worked with her. She also shares her zest for life with her patients.

In summary, she is one of the best nurses I have know in my over-50-year career, and is most deserving of an award. —Nominated by Diane Smith

Winchester Rehab and Nursing Center

Kristine Camuso, Winchester Rehab and Nursing Center, Salter HealthCare

Last winter, my 84-year-old mother decided to transition from her apartment to a residence that would give her added support. As a nurse-daughter who had experienced the worst of skilled nursing facilities while caring for both parents, I had low expectations for finding a safe and caring place. Sensational news reports detailing abuse and unsafe conditions in long-term care added to my angst.

At that time, my mom was a patient on a rehabilitation unit. The case manager suggested we tour the long-term care area in the same building. Kris, the unit manager, greeted us warmly, speaking directly to my mom—not just to me. We knew right away that this would be mom’s new home.

That was two months ago. Thanks to Kris and her amazing colleagues and staff, my mom is settling in to her new routine. Kris’s staff reflects her professional, yet easygoing, management style. They are attentive and caring. Knowing that my mom is happy and receiving safe, loving, respectful care has allowed me to slowly let go of my nurse-daughter role and just enjoy being a daughter.

Nurses in long-term care don’t receive the prestige and respect given to their colleagues in acute care. New nurses often see long-term care as a steppingstone to bigger and better things. Kris exemplifies the type of nurse that our aging society needs. I want to take this opportunity to celebrate nurses like Kris, who make a difference every day in the lives of seniors and the families who love them.—Nominated by Jennifer Wallace

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