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2023 Salute to Nurses Letters: Mass General Brigham

Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Shuli Aronson, Brigham and Women’s Neonatal ICU

Shuli was my daughter’s primary nurse during her NICU stay. From our admission into the Growth and Development Unit, Shuli made my husband and me feel welcome. She knew, more than we did, that this would become our second home, so she made us comfortable. She took so much time and care to prepare us for all the obstacles being a new parent to a preemie brings. 

She advocated for our daughter numerous times, always with our daughter’s best care in mind. She knew when our baby was ready — and more importantly, not ready — for advancements, and guided us through what was right for our daughter’s progress. She educated us on every aspect of our daughter’s care in the NICU and taught us all of the tasks we needed to learn to care for her at home. Shuli always answered our questions patiently. The NICU is never where you expect your baby to end up for six weeks, but Shuli made sure that we still felt like the parents. She cared for our baby in the big, lifesaving ways and in the small ways, like when she set up a whole “first Christmas” photo shoot on Christmas Day. We’ll have these memories forever, and Shuli will always be part of them. We couldn’t appreciate her more and we will never forget her. – Nominated by Jacquelyn Cuomo

Megan Falcone, Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Nurse with blond shoulder length hair wearing dark blue sweater.
Megan Falcone

I never had a more caring, kinder nurse than Megan. I was taken to the Tower at Floor 11A, Room 14, for a week-long recovery from surgery on my lower right lung. Megan was there on my second day, I think; it was a weekend. She introduced herself: “My husband’s Italian, I’m Irish. He makes the meatballs.” She attended to my needs — walks, hygiene, etc. — as if she were an old friend. On Sunday, as she was about to take me for a walk around the block, she noticed I was going to AFib [atrial fibrillation]. “Not on my watch!” she said. She took me back to bed, settled me down, and called in the doctors, who changed my meds. What might have happened if she didn’t notice that? Another time, when I had an embarrassing “accident” in the bathroom, she took care of it and me. – Nominated by Francis “Frank” Iafolla

Elizabeth Foley, Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Liz was very thoughtful and knowledgeable about what I was experiencing. She went out of her way to give me the best care and attention. All of the nurses on Floor 12 were great, but the focus Liz gave to my case really made me and my family feel comfortable knowing we were in great hands. – Nominated by Daniel Ranahan

Patricia Ryan-Kanelos, Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Patricia Ryan-Kanelos defines selflessness and kind-heartedness. Patty is assisting, long distance and in person, with the care of her brother, who had a stroke in Florida. She also takes great care of her aging parents here in Boston — all while serving as the charge nurse in the operating room at the Brigham, where she has worked for 30-plus years. – Nominated by Kathleen Ryan

Ellen McKeon-Levine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital

I’ve worked with Ellen for the past 11 years. She’s great to all of our patients, showing them care and comfort. She works hard every day and never complains. Ellen lights up every room that she enters and is caring to everyone she meets, even if it’s just 10 minutes helping to get a patient onto the table. She is the kind of nurse you hope to get when you need any kind of procedure. She tells every patient she’s working for them and always makes sure they are comfortable and are relaxed for the procedure. She is a GOAT [greatest of all time] of the nurses in Angio/Neuro and deserves to be recognized. – Nominated by Angela Schiavone

Julie McGillicuddy, Brigham and Women’s Neonatal ICU

Julie was one of my daughter’s primary nurses during her six-week stay in the NICU. During such a scary time in our lives, Julie always was a bright light. She provided excellent care for not only my daughter but also for my husband and me. She wasn’t our daughter’s first primary nurse, but we met Julie about a week into our NICU stay and connected. After watching her care and love for our daughter’s roommate, I knew we had to have Julie on our team. The patience with which Julie taught two new, scared parents of a four-pound baby was remarkable. She never made us feel unprepared (which I’m sure we were) or self-conscious about any questions we had. 

Our first week with Julie was the week of Thanksgiving, and she insisted on taking family photos to capture our first holiday together. Even though dressing a preemie is tricky with all the wires attached to their tiny bodies, Julie helped us put our daughter into multiple Thanksgiving outfits so we could capture these memories. We called every morning to learn how our daughter had done overnight, and when Julie was her nurse, the two of them were always cuddling while Julie did her charting and notes. It warmed our hearts knowing that she was being held and loved by someone who truly cared when we couldn’t be there. After a scary incident the day before our daughter was to be discharged, Julie advocated for her to the doctor and nurse practitioner team. We trusted Julie, as she knew our daughter best. She believed we could be great parents and gave us all the tools we needed to succeed when we got home. We were so lucky she was our nurse on our last day in the hospital, it was the perfect sendoff as she walked us out to the elevators. She has made a lasting impact on our family and we are forever grateful for her.
– Nominated by Jacquelyn Cuomo

Medical ICU, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and 3 West, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital

They say it takes a village, and that’s true — it takes doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, nursing personal care attendants, and housekeeping. 

Last August, my husband Jim hemorrhaged from his blood thinners. He was in shock when brought to the emergency department at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. The ED staff saved his life, and he was taken to the surgical intensive care unit. From there, he went to the medical ICU for two months. All the nurses were kind and compassionate. My husband is a quadriplegic from a spinal cord injury at age 14. Because he was intubated and later had a tracheostomy, he couldn’t speak. The nurses patiently tried to read his lips. They made sure he was listened to and never ignored. He could only communicate by making a clicking sound with his mouth. One of the nurses, Helen, made signs as a reminder to never completely shut his door so he could always be heard. This made him feel less anxious and valued. Michelle comforted me when he was in one of many critical events. There was Kayla, who noticed critical changes on his ventilator settings and was prepared when he had cardiac arrest. 

Jim was critically ill and the staff kept me updated and cared for me, too. There were many bad days, but his care was always the best. Everyone rooted for him to get well. After two months he was transferred to Spaulding in Cambridge to get stronger. The staff were excellent there, too. They listened and supported us. Kara was one of the best listeners. Casey, Amanda, Jay, and Brad were compassionate and caring. They encouraged Jim to get dressed and out of a hospital gown, to just feel normal. 

After two and a half months at Spaulding, Jim was discharged to continue care at home. Deborah, the nurse from case management, arranged for us to be home for Christmas. Jim was back in the MICU this January and March and again received expert care. I know I’ve left out the names of so many nurses and staff who cared for Jim, but you are all forever in our hearts for your expertise and kindness. – Nominated by James Miczek

Obstetrical Nurses of CWN 9/10, Brigham and Women’s Hospital

I am proud to have been a nurse for the past 37 years. It is much more than just my job; it’s who I am, to my heart and soul. Throughout my career, I’ve seen the greatest of humanity in my colleagues. I have always felt so fortunate to be part of this incredible group. In this past year, especially, I have frequently felt and seen compassion and care by amazing nurses. I watched my husband lose his year-long fight against an aggressive and deadly skin cancer in August. The nurses from Old Colony Hospice were irreplaceable in helping him and my entire family travel this devastating journey. His care in our home, where he wanted to live his final days, was extremely difficult. These nurses cared for him and taught us to do the same. I’m forever grateful for their invaluable support. My co-workers from the BWH postpartum unit were also amazingly supportive throughout my husband’s illness and following his death. They showed us endless compassion. I have never felt such care. They carried us.

My daughter was expecting her first child during this difficult time. I worried about her well-being, but was comforted in knowing I would be with her while she had her baby at my hospital. Incredibly, days before her delivery I was diagnosed with COVID-19 and I couldn’t work or be present for her delivery or postpartum stay. I was heartbroken, again. My incredible coworkers of BWH CWN didn’t miss a beat. They not only cared for my daughter and her husband and baby in the most skilled and loving ways, but also included me, home sick in my bed, as part of the amazing experience. One dear friend placed my nursing school graduation picture in my grandson’s crib so I could be close. My daughter said the nurses miraculously made it possible for her to move through her sadness to experience the joy of becoming a mother. To call these gifts “above and beyond” is an understatement. As nurses, we are guided by our hearts, and we often have to change our plans quickly to provide what our patients and families need at any particular time. These nurses were a blessing during this emotional roller coaster of the past year.
– Nominated by Colleen Myers

Mantar Singh, Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Nurse with mustache and goatee wearing black turban.
Mantar Singh

Mantar was polite and attentive to all the medical details, all the while answering questions thoroughly. He advocated for me to be able to exercise a bit away from my windowless room, and got me access to the chapel. I believe that my faith is powerful medicine that promotes healing tremendously. I’m so lucky to have him on my team of other nurses, visiting doctors, oncologists, and my primary care doctor, who all stopped by since I was admitted. Mantra also went over to a distressed, wailing patient and comforted her just as her doctor arrived. Thank you, Mantar, for being such a good sou. – Nominated by Denise Randall

Sean Viera, Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Sean is a hardworking nurse on an extremely busy Burn/Trauma/Renal Transplant unit, where he’s now one of the more senior nurses because so many others retired over the past year. Sean works hard to provide excellent patient care, often taking the harder assignments to lessen the load on his colleagues — all while also being the charge nurse, which is already a busy job. Sean is often asked to train new nurses and does so with enthusiasm, pushing them to be the best nurses they can. Beyond working hard every shift, he almost always picks up an additional shift each week to help with the staffing shortage, improving patient safety and work satisfaction for his colleagues. Sean deserves recognition for his commitment to his patients and colleagues. – Nominated by Shannon Viera

Nicole White, Brigham and Women’s Hospital

I can’t say enough good things about Nicole and all the other nursing and support staff on 8S and 8B, where my daughter, Leah, who is a kidney transplant recipient, has been admitted more than 20 times throughout the past year. Nicole demonstrated superior nursing skills with compassion and humor. She was a significant emotional support during the past 11 challenging months of complications from the transplant. Nicole and the rest of the staff were always there for my daughter’s complex medical needs and to ensure clear communications among her many doctors and providers. I don’t know how we would have made it through such a difficult year without the compassionate, professional care we received.
Nominated by Bill Rapp

Joanna Woodman, Wound Care Center, Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Always showed me dedication to finding the best solutions for patients. Extremely informative as well. – Nominated by Musaab Tariq

Cooley Dickinson Hospital

Azure Layton, Cooley Dickinson Hospital

As the new nurse manager here at Cooley, Azure has taken on a huge task of keeping the Emergency Department whole. She has been a safety advocate for the department; a confidante engaged in countless discussions on workflow; a powerhouse with appropriate discipline and performance improvement; a pleasant leader; and one of the best managers we’ve had. She really understands the craziness of health care and the need for more resources, people, and safety for all staff. She should win awards every day for her courage and generosity in a very difficult time in health care. She’s worth keeping forever. We couldn’t have asked for better. – Nominated by Christine Kellogg

Ann Lebrun, Cooley Dickinson Hospital

Ann is our nursing director, but she’s worn many hats during this pandemic, jumping in wherever she’s needed. She does whatever it takes to keep our inpatient floors running smoothly — coming in at all hours of the night to take over for sick nurses/supervisors, taking on full assignments in a critical nursing shortage, and just being available for her staff and their needs. She’s always kind and caring with both patients and staff. She cares about our well-being and listens to our fears, complaints, and needs without judgment. Her professionalism is unmatched. – Nominated by Erin Bernard

Martha’s Vineyard Hospital

Desma Warren, Martha’s Vineyard Hospital

Every day, Desma shows how much her patients mean to her by going above and beyond to care for them and their families. She doesn’t hesitate to put the patients first and ensure their needs are met and all aspects of care are handled. The pediatrics department is truly blessed to have Desma as part of their team. – Nominated by Ashley Fauteux

Mass General Brigham Home Care

Crystal Augusta, Mass General Brigham Home Care

Crystal works as a clinical coach, helping to on-board new nurses. Crystal sets an excellent example of the highest level of care, documentation, and communication for her new nurses. She is knowledgeable and compassionate. Last Monday, I was asked to do a joint visit with Crystal, so I observed her bedside manner directly. She is a stellar role model for our new staff. – Nominated by Shannon Viera

Mary Buccieri, Mass General Brigham Home Care

Up until my mid-70s, I had never really had an illness that required extensive hospitalization and rehabilitation. In the hospitals I had fine attention and care. I felt safe. Upon returning to my home, where I lived alone in senior housing, I worried about my limited mobility, extreme weakness, serious weight loss, and a feeding tube — all connected to my current illness.

Mary came with home care and a ton of experience. I was scared. Mary was reassuring and calming; she had seen it before. My feeding tube — my nutrition lifeline — pulled out twice in the nighttime, and true panic set in. I could die or go through a painful procedure. Mary came immediately upon my frantic calls to her. When my knee continued to go wrong after surgery, Mary pushed the surgeon to give me better treatment. He was not happy, but Mary turned out to be right.

Mary cared for the physical and emotional needs of this older, alone patient. There was no greater sight than Mary, hefty traveling medical bag shouldered, coming toward my door across the parking lot. I felt safe again. – Nominated by Richard Murphy

Massachusetts General Hospital

Briana Busch, Massachusetts General Hospital

I got an emergent vascular case on my first shift after three months off, which also happened to be a night shift. I felt very out of place, but luckily Briana Busch was there help me. She is a wonderful, excellent nurse whom I’d trust with my family. Her practice is most caring and top notch, exceeding all expectations. Briana deserves to be the American Nurse Idol every day, not just the night I appreciated her help so much. – Nominated by Anna Hall

Laura Cameron, White 3 Post Anesthesia Care Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital

Laura went out of her way to make sure my pre-op, post-op, and recovery experiences went as smooth as possible. I had colon surgery and was in the hospital for the week. Laura’s professionalism made my hard experience much easier. – Nominated by Steve Santoro

Tim Campbell, MGH Transplant Department, Massachusetts General Hospital 

Bald, rotund, red-faced man with hazel eyes and a serious expression.
Tim Campbell

Tim shows excellent communication skills and advocates for me when I had a kidney transplant. Tim has been the go-to nurse for all my questions and communications for the doctors. He is always on the ball, getting right back to me. He is the most competent, caring, and knowledgeable person I have met in the transplant unit.
– Nominated by Gail Weisberg

Rachel Carey, Massachusetts General Hospital

Rachel Carey was my dad’s night nurse during his last days on Ellison 16. Rachel filled the room with energy and matched my dad’s personality perfectly. I remember thinking, “he has met his match.” Rachel was kind yet confident. Her care for my dad and the relationship they created in such a short amount of time was amazing. My dad loved to banter and make people smile, and Rachel filled that role perfectly. Her knowledge kept us all at ease.  She comforted us when we needed it most and we are forever grateful for her. – Nominated by Samantha Lundstrom

Gino Chisari, Massachusetts General Hospital

Gino is the director of Mass General’s Norman Knight Nursing Center for Clinical and Professional Development, where he provides exemplary leadership to meet the ongoing educational needs for Patient Care Services staff and consults on educational needs within the hospital and wider community. He is a sought-after speaker for educational programs across health care professions and advances high-quality patient and family-centered care by working among health-care teams. Gino remains abreast of research and best practices and has the extraordinary ability to anticipate changes in health care, strategize about how to meet these changes, and then work with his team to develop innovative educational methods to address the changes. Gino also expertly represents the essence and value of the nursing profession and advocates for excellent patient care at Mass General, nationally and globally. He is a past president of the American Nurses Association Massachusetts and remains actively involved in advancing nursing through the association. Gino is the consummate professional nurse and role model. He is wise, kind, dedicated, and accomplished. Nursing leaders are not always recognized for the role they fulfill in providing a foundation for nurses to practice and a blueprint for nursing’s future. Gino deserves to be saluted. – Nominated by Carole MacKenzie

Kendra Connolly, Massachusetts General Hospital

Although we don’t work side by side, Kendra is a colleague who deserves a shout-out. Having practiced as a bedside oncology nurse for many years, Kendra does not forget her roots or her commitment to practicing safe patient care. She knows how challenging it is to become chemotherapy-certified in the acute care setting. It’s now even harder thanks to post-pandemic challenges. Inpatient oncology nurses often manage very complex patients. It can be challenging to balance the needs of their patients with the time it takes to thoroughly review the critical components of chemotherapy administration. In her clinical nursing leadership role as a nursing practice specialist, Kendra advocates for ways to minimize the risk of errors in chemotherapy ordering, preparation, and administration. Her understanding of the increasing demands of staff nursing makes her a strong advocate for patient safety. – Nominated by Joanna Krawiecki

Samantha Edwardh, Massachusetts General Hospital

Samantha Edwardh played a crucial role in the last days and hours of my dad’s life. My dad had Merkel cell carcinoma, a rare form of aggressive skin cancer that took his life less than 48 hours after diagnosis. Our family was in shock and completely shattered. Stricken with fear, we watched Dad take a room on Ellison 16. I vividly remember seeing the word “Oncology” as we exited the elevator and crossed the threshold of the unit. We were certainly not prepared for what would occur over the next few days. 

Samantha was in his room when we arrived. Sam was kind, soft-spoken, and had a smile so bright you could see it through her mask. She spoke directly to my dad, immediately picking up on his incredible sense of humor and began to laugh with him. They were a perfect match. She was gentle with my mom, changing her humor to softness. She spoke slowly and deliberately to be sure we understood her role and what the next few hours would hold.  

I couldn’t know that Sam would play such a crucial role in holding my family together through the most difficult time of our lives. Sam worked endlessly to comfort my dad, care for him, and maintain his dignity, all while looking out for my mom and educating us along the way. She laughed with us, cried with us, held our hands, and even showed us dance moves that my dad had taught her. She was simply amazing. Sam had a way to keep us at ease as everything started to progress. She held our family together when we simply could not do it ourselves, and she stayed until my dad’s last moments.

Samantha Edwardh’s name will always remain with us. Every patient and family deserve her. Her work ethic, perseverance, kindness, and her smile. Her calmness in the middle of a horrific storm is admirable. She is a beautiful human being and I am forever grateful for the care and respect that she showed my mom and dad. I do not believe that Sam will ever understand how much she did for our family in those last hours. – Nominated by Samantha Lundstrom

Erin Fonseca, Massachusetts General Hospital

Erin is an incredible nurse and person in our family’s life. Our son has Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC), has daily seizures, and has been through multiple brain surgeries. We work closely with his doctors but it is Erin who lives each day with us. She listens to our difficult questions and stress, and then kindly advises and strongly advocates for us. Every decision is a joint decision. These conversations do not just include medical care but school concerns, behavioral and social issues, and family dynamics. 

She takes our emergency calls when his seizures are clustering or he is failing, and calmly, astutely guides us. She feels our heart ache and celebrates our little victories. The doctors we work with at MGH are no doubt incredible but I think what makes the Herscot Center above and beyond other TSC centers in the country/world, is the personalized nursing care that we receive. Erin deserves recognition for her exceptional nursing care. – Nominated by Corinne Imperatore

Ellen Francis, Neonatal ICU, Massachusetts General Hospital

We all know nurses are trained to care for the sick and vulnerable, but my family’s experience reminds us that nurses take care of much more than that. They also took care of two very anxious new parents of a baby that needed to be transferred to the Neonatal ICU. 

Our son, Owen, was born with some breathing difficulties and a pneumothorax. Our family was shaken when our local hospital Med-Flighted Owen to the MGH NICU. We couldn’t wrap our minds around the situation and were overwhelmed with emotions. The idea that our precious baby was less than healthy seemed unfathomable. The NICU nurses were exactly who we needed. Ellen was a calming presence during Owen’s admission. She made him comfortable, worked with the medical team to set up his immediate and long-term care plan, and kept us informed throughout the process. She was kind and patient with my husband’s questions, and she took the time to speak with me via video conference, since I was still admitted in another hospital. The entire NICU staff was incredibly impressive — professional, dedicated, and sympathetic. We can’t thank them enough. They took the time to understand what we needed beyond Owen’s medical needs and we will forever be grateful. – Nominated by Kaitlin Raboin

Brian French, Massachusetts General Hospital

Brian is the director of Mass General’s Maxwell and Eleanor Blum Patient and Family Learning Center and the Knight Simulation Program. He leads these programs and their staff with vision, compassion, and dedication to the best practices for educating patients, their families, and the staff providing care. Brian has championed implementing the principles of health literacy inclusively to meet the needs of people across generations, as well as across educational and cultural backgrounds. In doing so, health-care information is provided in a clear, safe, understandable, and respectful manner for all patients. The Knight Simulation Program affords interdisciplinary staff to apply knowledge and skills safely in clinical practice situations with expert guidance. Simulation is a valuable teaching tool to address the learning needs of our changing health care environment.  

Brian is compassionate, intelligent, and talented. Nurses returning to school for advanced degrees often seek his advice. Brian spends extra time meeting with students, reading scholarly proposals, and supporting and advising them to achieve their degrees. Through Brian’s mentoring, these nurses have gone on to become the next generation of accomplished nursing leaders. – Nominated by Carole MacKenzie

Leah Gordon, Massachusetts General Hospital

Woman with shoulder length hair in tight black curls wearing statement jewelry.
Leah Gordon

Leah Gordon has led racial equity and diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives for her colleagues since 2021. In those two years, Leah has been providing education and building skills on how to provide culturally appropriate care.

Her educational efforts are improving patient experience and health outcomes across MGH. – Nominated by Jarrod Chin

Judianne Henderson, Oncology Sarcoma Team, Massachusetts General Hospital

Black and white portrait of smiling black-haired nurse in front of fern.
Judianne Henderson

My son was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma and being treated at MGH in Boston. He needed a nurse to come to the house and access his port so he could have fluids in between his treatments. We couldn’t find a nurse to do that. When his sarcoma team got together to see what could be done, Judianne said she would come out and access his port so that he could stay home for a few days. She came after working a long day in Boston, and cared for him like a true angel. She did all this with no pay, just because she wanted what was best for my son. Judianne holds a very special place in our heart and we love her. She gave my son the chance to be at home during a very challenging time. My son loves to see his entire sarcoma team every 12 weeks. He says they are all like family to him. – Nominated by Nancy Gardner

Joanna Krawiecki, Massachusetts General Hospital

While we don’t work together directly, Joanna and I are colleagues. When I mentioned being anxious about my father’s knee replacement surgery and how he would cope with recovery, Joanna did not hesitate to provide information on post-operative recovery care. With her expertise in surgical trauma nursing for over 15 years, I knew I could trust her guidance. She obtained patient education materials and created packets that my father could easily follow and understand. Joanna also advocated for my father when he had trouble setting up outpatient physical therapy (PT) appointments due to confusion about insurance. My father needed a particular PT location that was easily walkable from his home, since he couldn’t drive yet. So, Joanna took the lead and researched the PT location he needed. She found out that they accepted my father’s health insurance, and he was able to book his weekly appointments without delay. Joanna’s compassion and caring nature eased some of those overwhelming feelings, and for that I thank her. – Nominated by Kendra Connolly

Meeghan Kummer, Massachusetts General Hospital

For 35 years, I have watched Meeghan work and tirelessly advocate for her patients. She’s the most compassionate ICU nurse I know. She takes time to sit with patients and families to learn their stories and how to help them as individuals. She always goes the extra step; whether it’s a simple hair wash or an old-fashioned backrub, Meeghan strives for excellence in her care and communication. She makes a point of learning everyone’s name and a bit about them, whether it be residents or fellow nurses. She’s warm and funny. In the last few years, she has had much heartache. She was diagnosed with cancer. She beat it as her mother struggled with another form of cancer and unfortunately lost her battle. When Meeghan returned to work, she had additional responsibilities caring for her elderly father. She worked overtime so she and her husband could put their six children through college. Despite all this, she always came to work ready to do her job and care for her patients.

Now, after more than 35 years, Meeghan has decided to retire. This will be a great loss for MGH. Many people believe that a nurse is a nurse — that they’re all the same. I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt that they are not. I know because I have worked with the best. And that is Meeghan Kummer. – Nominated by Maureen Mahan

Annette Moore, Massachusetts General Hospital

Few individual nurses consistently demonstrate excellent patient care, reliability, compassion, collegiality, and just plain common sense. As a physician, I have worked with Annette for many years. I have watched her in many interactions and heard comments from hundreds of patients. She is the consummate nurse— intuitive, accessible, and creative. Mine is a busy internal medicine practice that spans the entire spectrum of wealth and background. For each patient, she provides individualized care. When necessary, she will begin her own investigation in order to find the best answers available. She knows how to work the system and achieve the best outcomes possible. I’ve had many nursing experiences over the past 45 years. Annette is in a class by herself. – Nominated by John Goodson

Tracey Shorr-Garrett, Massachusetts General Hospital

Few individual nurses consistently demonstrate excellent patient care, reliability, compassion, collegiality, and just plain common sense. As a physician, I have worked with Annette for many years. I have watched her in many interactions and heard comments from hundreds of patients. She is the consummate nurse— intuitive, accessible, and creative. Mine is a busy internal medicine practice that spans the entire spectrum of wealth and background. For each patient, she provides individualized care. When necessary, she will begin her own investigation in order to find the best answers available. She knows how to work the system and achieve the best outcomes possible. I’ve had many nursing experiences over the past 45 years. Annette is in a class by herself. – Nominated by John Goodson

Tracey is a compassionate and outstanding nurse and manager who helped triage COVID and mpox needs over the past three years. She manages our staff, answers questions on the fly, and knows how to quickly find information. She also works in other roles as a nurse at MGH, bringing expertise and kindness into each role. Problem-solving in crises is a skill that should be saluted! Congratulations on wonderful work, Tracey – Nominated by Raquel Rein

Masuma Tavares, Massachusetts General Hospital

Masuma Tavares does not look like the nurses depicted in your ad because she doesn’t wear scrubs (at least, I have never seen her in any). She works with my primary care physician, Dr. Patricia Gibbons, and receives my emails and telephone calls as well as critical test results. She helps Dr. Gibbons help me. There have been so many times that Masuma tracked me down at work, called me after hours, and otherwise reached me so that I could receive critical care (sometimes when I don’t even know that I need it). I am amazed at her dedication and attention to the details of my health — as well as her memory for my complex medical history. She has called me in the evening to say that I must go to the emergency department for a test or take some other action. When I act surprised to hear from her, she says “But I am worried about your heart” (or the clot in your lungs, or whatever). She always sees these interactions through to completion. Her job isn’t easy, since she has many patients, but she is always positive, helpful, warm, and dedicated. Without her help, some patients (including me) would die or develop even worse illness. It takes all kinds of nurses, and she is superb at her job. – Nominated by Roberta White

Kevin Wallace, Massachusetts General Hospital

A dedicated RN for more than 25 years, Kevin currently faces his own health challenges, yet he continues to show up for his patients in need and puts them first to ensure the best care possible.
Nominated by Lindsey Wallace

Mass General Medical Group

Bo Radziwon, Mass General Medical Group

We especially appreciate the skill and dedication Bo brings to her job. Both my wife and I are in the medical group that Bo is assigned to and we feel fortunate to have her looking after us. Even though she is always extremely busy, she makes us feel like we are her only patients. When one of us is prescribed a new medicine, Bo ensures that we follow the directions and follows up to check on our progress. She promoted the COVID-19 vaccines to help us escape the disease. Unfortunately, early last year we both became very ill with COVID. Bo, in conjunction with our primary doctor, arranged for us to get an infusion. Even though it was late Friday evening, Bo stayed long enough to ensure that we got on the list. It’s a joy to know that she is always there, making sure that our medical needs are taken of. We are totally happy that she is on our medical team, as she is truly a wonderful nurse. – Nominated by John Hogan

McLean Hospital

Kate Cederbaum, PACT Program, McLean Hospital

Brunette nurse wearing dark blue jacket and teal blouse standing outside in front of trees and a brick wall edited in bokeh style.
Kate Cederbaum

My 35-year-old son has been hospitalized numerous times since his schizophrenia diagnosis at age 21. In fall 2020 he was very sick and spent 10 weeks at McLean Hospital. Upon his discharge, I was fortunate to connect with the Program for Assertive Community Treatment (PACT) for post-hospitalization care, which was critical to maintaining his health and improving the chance for his recovery. Kate, the nurse practitioner for PACT, is amazing in her knowledge of the illness, the medications, and the journey from severe illness to recovery. She has made an incredible impact on my son’s life… always listening to our concerns, monitoring medications, and looking for new ways to manage both. Of all the people we’ve worked with over the years, Kate is the one who has guided my son and me in a smooth transition to recovery. We continue to work with her, and I wish more individuals who suffer from this illness had access to her expertise and compassion. – Nominated by Joanne Thorndike

Kimberly Jewers, McLean Hospital

Kim is an incredible charge nurse — the kind that you can assign a task, and not only will it get done expediently, but you’ll also get a follow-up. I breathe a sigh of relief whenever she is on, because I know that the day will be much more tolerable with Kim around. What would we do without you, Kim?! – Nominated by Alia Goodheart

Victoria Maxwell, McLean Hospital

Victoria routinely goes out of her way to ensure that patients have the best experience possible while they are hospitalized. She empathizes with patients and is dedicated to their care. She is amazing. Thank you, Victoria. – Nominated by Alia Goodheart

Michelle Wilson, McLean Hospital

A 20-year veteran of Mclean Hospital, Michelle is compassionate to all her patients, advocating for them and working diligently to help them. Michelle has a great work ethic in her role as a psychiatric nurse on an adult inpatient unit. She communicates with clinicians and families constantly. She is a wonderful nurse with endless energy. – Nominated by Karen Slifka

MGH Institute of Health Professions

Biobehavioral Clinical Instructors, MGH Institute of Health Professions

I work with a group of nurses who generously give of their time to teach students on their inpatient psychiatric units. Coles, Tammie, Anneke, Barbara, Francisco, Nicole, Elyssa, Kerri, Danielle, Kameko, Bonnie, and Denise provide settings across the Boston area for students to learn more about mental illness and how we treat it. They’re like the postal service: Through snow, sleet, and working their other, often full-time jobs, they show up. They dispel stigma, they demonstrate caring, compassion, and openheartedly share immense storehouses of book-learning and practical application. I appreciate their work so much, and I know students do, too, as they consistently let me know how helpful their clinicals are. I want the whole community to know. – Nominated by Kate Kieran

Margie Sipe, MGH Institute of Health Professions

We usually think of nurses as caring for patients. But nurses desperately need care, support, and guidance to nourish and replenish our souls as we care for our patients. Margie is an incredible nurse educator and leader with a practice that centers on caring for nurses. Margie has developed, educated, and held almost every nurse leader in New England. She tirelessly and continuously models the importance of caring for each other, and for oneself. She is an outstanding advocate for advancing nursing practice, holding the professional nurse in her heart and touching each nurse individually to give us strength to continue to practice with care, empathy, and kindness. – Nominated by Mary Samost

Newton-Wellesley Hospital

Mary Minor, Newton-Wellesley Hospital

Surgical Triage Nurse Mary Minor knowledgeably answered all my questions relative to my follow-up care. She was upbeat and encouraging, and is definitely an asset to the reputation of Newton Wellesley Hospital. – Nominated by Susan Ritter

Salem Hospital

Elisabeth Babeu, Salem Hospital

All too often, we think of nursing only within the hospital setting, and Liz Babeu is a post anesthesia care unit nurse who has always received accolades from her patients. But most people don’t realize that Liz also contributes to the community outside of the hospital. Last fall, Liz worked with high school students to raise supplies for war-torn Ukraine. She showed that nurses care for everyone, not just the sick. Through this role modeling Liz not only helped people in the Ukraine, but also demonstrated to impressionable high school students the importance of supporting everyone. Liz has the gift of giving and connecting people. – Nominated by Mary Samost

Tiffany Bressler, Salem Hospital

Tiffany Bressler is a stat nurse working the night shift. Her work has helped many patients’ lives, and they’re probably not even aware of it. Tiffany rounds the hospital while checking in with nurses to see if she can help with our more critically ill patients. She’s a great resource for everyone working the night shift, especially us new grads. No question is too silly to ask her, and she always answers in depth. If Tiffany’s on when my new grad colleagues and I call a CRT (cardiac resynchronization therapy), she makes sure the patient is taken care of and later provides in-depth education on what happened. Tiffany is also a passionate advocate who goes to bat for the patient every single time. Most importantly, she is an incredibly empathetic nurse during her patients’ most stressful moments. It’s a shame more patients don’t recognize her hard work because they’re probably asleep. Hopefully this salute will give her the praise she deserves. – Nominated by Katrina Blaus

William Leedy, Salem Hospital

As a charge nurse in the operating room, you must keep your eye on many things, particularly during an evening shift that is likely to have emergencies. Will Leedy, the evening charge nurse, is a proud veteran who draws on his military experience to organize the OR. We had a patient rushed to surgery this week with a ruptured spleen. This patient would quickly bleed to death. When Will received the urgent call from the emergency room, he quickly identified and organized his team of nurses, surgical techs, anesthesia techs, and the blood bank to be on point. He assigned roles for each team member and was ready when the patient, surgeons, anesthesiologists, and emergency department nurses arrived. The surgery was performed swiftly, and the patient survived. At the end of the procedure, Will acknowledged his team with a shout-out to leadership. He took no credit for the wonderful outcome. Instead, Will attributed it to the hard work of his amazing team. – Nominated by Mary Samost

Jeremy Sciascia, Epstein Center for Behavioral Health, Salem Hospital

I’ve never met Jeremy. However, as a nurse myself, I know that he was often the only ray of sunshine for someone enduring a dark period of uncertainty, worry, clinical complexity, and intense learning about a new condition. Extended hospitalizations and rehospitalizations can be stressful, sometimes without clear progress and often with setbacks. Through many conversations, I heard about Jeremy deliberately guiding, informing, supporting, and caring for the patient and family. Sometimes it was funny, sometimes it was sad, sometimes it was direct. Once it was playing basketball, skillfully and painstakingly gaining the patient’s trust for necessary intervention. Jeremy celebrated as the patient stabilized for discharge and welcomed a follow-up visit with genuine enthusiasm. As a psychiatric nurse practitioner, I suspect he sees many families in crisis. It is the unfortunate truth. However, Jeremy, through much experience and wisdom, provided hope and constant care at a time and in a manner that requires me to describe him as an important partner, trusted adviser, and expert clinician. I salute you and thank you for your knowledge, commitment, and advocacy for those who need you. – Nominated by Eileen O’Connell

Karen Stevenson, Salem Hospital Birthplace

Karen is the Mary Poppins of nursing. She exudes a caring confidence that was exactly what I needed after giving birth. Her skills as a midwife, lactation consultant, and nurse put my husband and me at ease when my son was born. We were lucky enough to have Karen’s help when my son had trouble latching, and then she was my nurse when I developed some complications. Almost seven months later we still talk about Karen and credit her for our easy transition home with a newborn – Nominated by Lynn Hirsh

Smiling blond nurse with red framed glasses wearing a black jacket and black scrubs.
Vessela Trendafilov

Vessela Trendafilova, Salem Hospital

I had the great pleasure of meeting Vessela in the wound clinic as she cared for my father. Vessela is kind, gentle, and always listened to my father. She was interested in his stories and made him smile. He was there for a chronic vascular wound and he was in incredible pain. Vessela worked closely with his surgeon and together they created a plan to help heal his wound. My father has since passed, but he passed with his wound healed and in no pain. The time he spent at the wound center is a fond memory for me and my family. Thank you, Vessela, for taking such good care of Dad and making his last few months comfortable. – Nominated by Mary Samost

Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital

Elizabeth Adams, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Cambridge

Elizabeth Adams is a compassionate, competent caregiver for each of her patients. It can be challenging to care for patients going through difficult times in an oncology unit, but Elizabeth provides information and care in a way that shows empathy. She is a strong advocate who will do what it takes to ensure her patients’ voices are heard. Nurses don’t always have time to sit with patients, but Elizabeth makes that time to listen and get to know them, no matter what. She shares her thoughts and experiences with the team to ensure her patients have the best possible experience. Empathy is a powerful skill in nursing, and Elizabeth demonstrates this with ease. – Nominated by Meaghan Fahey

Jocelyn Aguirre, 3 West, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Cambridge

Jocelyn, the 3 West clinical practice leader, not only tries to improve nurses’ clinical skills and help them navigate difficult situations, but is also constantly engaged in different projects to improve patient care. Jocelyn brings cheer to the unit and engages staff in team-building activities. Jocelyn is a true asset to our nursing team and this commitment to excellence is greatly appreciated. – Nominated by Elvira Minasyan

Jocelyn Aguirre, 3 West, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Cambridge

As the clinical practice lead, Jocelyn is passionate about making the work environment safe and happy. Five days a week, Jocelyn puts all her energy into doing the best job possible. She has increased positive patient outcomes by completely changing and enhancing the work environment. She often exceeds patient expectations, too. When one patient was finally cleared to drink liquids, he told Jocelyn that the first thing he wanted was a vanilla shake from Starbucks. Jocelyn surprised the patient with a shake that same day. He couldn’t express how much that meant to him. Motivated by his nurses, including Jocelyn, he gained the strength to move to Spaulding Charlestown for intensive physical and occupational therapy. This is only one example of how selfless Jocelyn is as a nurse, team leader, and friend. Jocelyn, thank you for all of your hard work. We wouldn’t be 3 West without you. – Nominated by Marlene Vescera

Elena Bragg, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Cambridge

She supports complicated patients with both oncologic and dialysis-dependent care and trains nursing staff members. – Nominated by Louis Ercolani

Emily Fiorenza, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Cambridge

Emily Fiorenza works on the Complex medical unit, where the patients are very complicated and need a lot of care. They can consume a lot of a nurse’s time. Emily is one of the most patient souls. She takes her time to ensure that the patients get the care they deserve. Emily never shies away from the difficult, and her calm presence puts them at ease. Emily can usually get a patient to smile through their pain. She’s also a great teammate and very helpful to the personal care attendants. When Emily serves as the charge nurse, she ensures that assignments are fair and equitable. She reaches out to ensure that everyone is having a reasonable day. Emily does committee work and brings feedback to the unit to foster positive change. 

One day, a difficult patient was being admitted to the unit. Other nurses were nervous, but Emily was not, and volunteered to take the patient. Patients often request Emily as their nurse because she’s so positive and caring. – Nominated by Pauline Clarke

Jen Godfrey, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Cambridge

Older woman wearing large, tortoise shell glasses, a lab coat, and blue scrubs gives a slight smile.
Jen Godfrey

As one of the core wound care nurse specialists here, I can’t imagine a more sought-after staff member than Jen. She is our fearless leader in managing complex pressure injuries, surgical wounds, ostomies, and burns. She gets to know a patient in their most vulnerable moments and then rolls up her sleeves sometimes for hours at a time with patience and compassion. Jen puts on her thinking cap for challenging wound care situations and comes up with solutions in real time. She is a resource for all clinical team members, and patients are relieved when she shows up at their bedside. 

One particular patient has 10 complex wounds accounting for 20 percent of their body surface, which works out to a two-hour dressing change twice a week. Jen collaborates with the team and the primary surgeons at the acute care facilities. She is equal parts competent and creative. In addition to her hefty responsibilities for the skin of all inpatients, she finds time to teach and often has students in tow. Patients trust her judgment and staff nurses look to her experience and wisdom. We could not care for some of these complex cases without her. I am not sure Jen knows how grateful we are to have her on our team, but she is so appreciated and valued. – Nominated by Christina Palmieri

Darcy Lafaille, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Cambridge

Darcy puts her patients and co-workers at ease. If Darcy is your nurse, you know no stone will be left unturned, every detail is attended to, communication is seamless, and you will smile even if you feel like crying. Recently, we got a late admission who was medically complicated and urgently needed food and insulin. The kitchen was closed, and the pharmacy had not yet brought up her insulin. Instead of getting overwhelmed or flustered, Darcy tackled the situation head-on, making sure the patient got the dinner she wanted and the insulin she needed. This required her to communicate with nutrition, pharmacy, medical team, the patient, and the patient’s mother. Somehow, Darcy made it look effortless. All the while I could hear the 5-year-old patient giggling as Darcy cracked jokes to help her feel comfortable.
– Nominated by Stephanie Cohen

Casey Macgillivary, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Cambridge

Casey provides exceptional care not only for her patients, but for all patients who need her. She makes every patient feel seen, heard, and cared for. Casey frequently goes out of her way to comfort patients who are struggling emotionally. She listens actively and is always willing to lend a hand, no matter how busy she may be. Casey is not only an exceptional individual but also an excellent team player. She takes her charge role responsibility and embraces it. She collaborates with her colleagues to ensure that all patients receive the best possible care. Her communication skills are excellent, and she ensures that the entire team is on the same page regarding each patient’s care plan. Casey is an amazing nurse and person to whom I would trust my life in any situation. – Nominated by Elvira Minasyan

Lindsay Margolis, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Cambridge

Lindsay strives to advocate and do what’s best for her patients. As an oncology nurse, she helps both patients and their families through difficult parts of their healing journey. When something appears to be wrong or off from baseline, she effectively communicates with the provider to get the care the patient needs. She’s a strong member of the team and highly regarded by all specialties. Lindsay is a true example of what a nurse should be and I hope she realizes how much she is appreciated by both staff and patients for all she does. – Nominated by Samantha O’Neil

Elena McConell, South 3, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Cambridge

Elena is a fantastic nurse and excellent clinical leader in the cardiopulmonary unit. She is patient with newer staff members, always willing to teach and demonstrate. She is great at teaching patients, specifically about their LVAD or transplant medications. [A left ventricular assist device is implanted in the heart to help it pump blood.] Calm and caring, Elena always sees all the moving parts of the unit. During times of urgency, she’ll see that a nurse is super busy and jump right in to help with wound care, repositioning, and pain management. She’s receptive to family members’ needs and ensures patient privacy and dignity. She advocates for patients, frequently coordinating several different departments to organize care to maximize patient outcomes. – Nominated by Lisa Simonian

Medical ICU, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and 3 West, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital

They say it takes a village, and that’s true — it takes doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, nursing personal care attendants, and housekeeping. 

Last August, my husband Jim hemorrhaged from his blood thinners. He was in shock when brought to the emergency department at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. The ED staff saved his life, and he was taken to the surgical intensive care unit. From there, he went to the medical ICU for two months. All the nurses were kind and compassionate. My husband is a quadriplegic from a spinal cord injury at age 14. Because he was intubated and later had a tracheostomy, he couldn’t speak. The nurses patiently tried to read his lips. They made sure he was listened to and never ignored. He could only communicate by making a clicking sound with his mouth. One of the nurses, Helen, made signs as a reminder to never completely shut his door so he could always be heard. This made him feel less anxious and valued. Michelle comforted me when he was in one of many critical events. There was Kayla, who noticed critical changes on his ventilator settings and was prepared when he had cardiac arrest. 

Jim was critically ill and the staff kept me updated and cared for me, too. There were many bad days, but his care was always the best. Everyone rooted for him to get well. After two months he was transferred to Spaulding in Cambridge to get stronger. The staff were excellent there, too. They listened and supported us. Kara was one of the best listeners. Casey, Amanda, Jay, and Brad were compassionate and caring. They encouraged Jim to get dressed and out of a hospital gown, to just feel normal. 

After two and a half months at Spaulding, Jim was discharged to continue care at home. Deborah, the nurse from case management, arranged for us to be home for Christmas. Jim was back in the MICU this January and March and again received expert care. I know I’ve left out the names of so many nurses and staff who cared for Jim, but you are all forever in our hearts for your expertise and kindness. – Nominated by James Miczek

Annie Normile, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Cambridge

Annie made my stay here great. I had a rough time, but she made it easy for me. I love her as a person and am grateful for her. Thank you, Annie baby. – Nominated by Shafoni Barros

Christina Palmieri, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Cambridge

I’ve had the pleasure of working with Christina for the past year and a half or so. She demonstrates excellent clinical competency, and great communication with patients, families, and her team. She’s a great advocate for all patients and thinks outside of the box to problem-solve and provide patient-centered care. She’s a fabulous representation of great patient care every day. – Nominated by Christine Valente

Katharine Schanda, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Cambridge

Katie celebrates her fifth year at the South 2 Transplant and Medically Complex Unit, and she’s the heart of South 2. Her high energy is contagious. Katie is very confident with an innate ability to lead and influence those around her, and she uses this talent to encourage those around her to better themselves and succeed. In her charge role, Katie collaborates with her co-workers to create fair patient assignments. Katie demonstrates excellent leadership and problem-solving skills and is often the go-to person with concerns. The medical staff trust and appreciate Katie’s advocacy and detailed patient care. 

Katie treats patients as family. She recently had a complex patient who was ridden by anxiety, refusing care and therapy. She persisted in bonding with this patient over a period of time and made a monumental impact on her overall outcome. The patient’s anxiety decreased so much that she was able to rehabilitate and return home — something even the medical and therapy staff did not think possible! Katie made a lasting impact on this patient’s life, as she has on many other patients. Katie is a remarkable nurse and an asset to our patients. – Nominated by Janel Wastaferro

Kelly Shine, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Cambridge

Kelly has been on the 4W nursing team since August 2021. A nicer, kinder, gentler nurse is hard to find. Even in the toughest of circumstances with some of our younger brain injury patients, Kelly is always positive and kind. Kelly is loved by her team and is often called the nicest person. Kelly’s gentle demeanour endears her to everyone, even staff from other disciplines. On top of that, she pays close attention to details, notices the subtlest changes in her patients, and promptly brings them forward to the team. Although Kelly is fairly new, she tackles any task that is thrown at her. She serves as the charge nurse and a preceptor, as well as being on a nursing committee. Kelly is the ultimate team player and caring individual who deserves to be recognized for her hard work and positive attitude. – Nominated by Pauline Clarke

Thomas Wickham, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Cambridge

I am a physician on a primarily oncology unit, where our patients are extraordinarily complex and have a variety of malignancies in various stages. These patients often experience side effects and complications to their treatments. Our unit thus requires a highly capable nurse, and we are fortunate to have many, but one nurse stands out — and that is Thomas Wickham. I have been working with Thomas since he first became an RN on our unit. I have seen him work very well with some of the most emotionally complex patients. He takes the time to navigate how to best deliver care to these patients and reach their comfort level. I have also seen Thomas gain an immense amount of medical knowledge by probing to add to his knowledge base. This is one of the few times I have been able to watch a nurse go from the start of their career to prominent proficiency. As a physician, I’m confident that he can manage complexity and that the patients know they are getting outstanding care. – Nominated by Donna Roy

Lisa Grover, Spaulding Nursing and Therapy Center, Brighton

Most dedicated, professional, and tactful nursing supervisor. – Nominated by Natalya Vorontsova

Grace Guimera, Spaulding Nursing and Therapy Center, Brighton

Grace has compassion, knowledge, and clinical expertise. During her shift, Grace always ensures that the patients are taken care of, any concerns addressed, and worries are at ease. Grace is always in communication with providers to ensure her patients receive the best care. Grace consistency adds a personal touch with her outstanding nursing care. – Nominated by Bridget Blake-Mboowa

Nicole Miceli, Spaulding Nursing and Therapy Center, Brighton

Nicole is the nurse manager for the second floor at Spaulding Brighton. Beyond being professional and a good leader, she is warm and kind and empathetic with everyone — patients, families, and colleagues. She exemplifies what nursing should be. – Nominated by Lou Auger

Emily Hazzard, Spaulding Outpatient Center, Wellesley

Emily is more than a team player; whenever you have a medical question or issue, you can always count on Emily to help, even if it’s not one of her patients. If she doesn’t have an answer, she’ll do everything in her power to find it. She goes the extra mile to make sure our patients are safe and able to drive home after procedures, whether helping them get back in their car or finding their families, and she makes sure their questions are all answered before they go home. When patients are clearly confused, she makes sure they can schedule appointments for specialty offices or get any imaging they need. Emily is an amazing nurse, and we are lucky to have her here. – Nominated by Isamar Mullin

Margareth Jones, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Boston

Margareth is one of the most important assets of Spaulding Rehab. She cares about her patients, treats them equally with respect and dignity, and shows empathy to each one. Margareth is very professional and communicates effectively with patients, their families, co-workers, and other health-care professionals. Margareth’s knowledge and problem-solving and critical-thinking skills make her a great leader, coach, and preceptor. She always strives to ensure patient safety, educate them, protect their rights, and double-check for errors. – Nominated by Ibtissame Fijlane

Rachel McManus, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Boston

Rachel recently transitioned into the brain injury charge nurse role and has grown into the role quickly. To give you an idea of how she adapts to handle such a busy, complicated patient population, consider our day on March 16. 

Rachel and another nurse were assigned to do a pressure ulcer survey on all 30 of our patients between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. Rachel usually starts her shift at 7, and besides being in charge, she has a full patient assignment of her own. We had met the day before to plan for the survey and staffing, as we only had one of our five personal care assistants on that day. By morning, our plan fell apart. The second nurse helping with the survey called in sick. Rachel did the entire survey, which consisted of head-to-toe skin checks, all by herself.

It takes a lot of patience and inner strength to hold together a team that needs you. Time and time again, Rachel amazes me with how much she has grown into leadership. The staff love and admire her, and I would not be able to do my job as their director without her. I receive many thanks and appreciations from her patients and their families. Rachel is an avid member of our nurse governance council, and she is also working on a performance improvement project for her clinical ladder. Thank you, Rachel, a million times over. – Nominated by Marianna Parga

Neissa Mondesir, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Boston

Neissa is always positive when working with patients and team members. Despite patients being rude at times, Neissa never lets this shake her. She handles every situation with grace, positivity, and strength. She is a team player and always advocates for what her patients need whether it’s to other staff and medical providers or encouraging family members to be a large part of the patient’s recovery process. There are many examples that come to mind when I think of Neissa being compassionate and always competent. I have never doubted Neissa’s ability to treat and care for her patients. She isn’t afraid to hold up transport to make sure the patient has everything they need for a successful discharge morning and that competence, dedication, and compassion is what make her such a great RN. – Nominated by Alicia MacLellan

Anna Watson, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Boston

It’s impossible to say enough great things about Anna Watson. She is endlessly caring and leads with her heart in all patient encounters. She embodies the values of the nursing profession as a compassionate, patient-centered clinician. One patient in our stroke unit has very little language ability and becomes frustrated easily. Anna discovered that showing up with a cup of coffee and a big smile at the start of the patient’s morning sets a positive tone for the rest of her therapies. Noticing countless small details makes her such an exceptional nurse — we are so lucky to have her at SRH. – Nominated by Ethan Lester

Susan Smith, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Cape Cod

Sue consistently rises above the duties of a staff nurse. Not only does she provide excellent and thorough clinical care, but she also upholds the highest standards for kindness, compassion, and dedication. She ensures patients are well taken care of while she’s on the job and makes sure the quality of care continues on her days off (for example, she makes sure patient/family trainings are scheduled and verifies that it was completed when she returns). Sue will sit and talk with patients (and their families) if they are anxious, confused, disoriented, angry, or any of myriad emotions that they might have — without judgment or impatience. She gets her work done efficiently and still makes time to support the patients throughout their hospitalization. She highly respects all other disciplines though detail-oriented collaboration and advocates for patients during interdisciplinary team meetings. Sue is the best nurse I’ve ever worked with, and she absolutely deserves this salute! Thank you, Sue.
– Nominated by Jen Thompson

Wentworth-Douglass Hospital

Elizabeth Antaya, Wentworth-Douglass Hospital

Elizabeth came to us a new nurse several years ago and has grown into a clinical expert and accomplished clinical practice leader for a very busy medical surgical unit. She cares as much for her peers as she does for her patients, making sure they all arrive safely during snowstorms, and that they have all the tools they need to do their jobs. She promotes a positive practice environment by recognizing the awards and accolades received by her staff. She’s always ready to jump in and help to ensure that patients receive the best care. Elizabeth has a special heart for our long-term care population. She takes the time to address their concerns and follows through with her actions. She is a strong asset to the WDH nursing team. – Nominated by Trish Clark

Patricia Clark, Wentworth-Douglass Hospital

As our nurse liaison for PeriOperative Services, Trish wears many hats! She has been able to provide excellent service recovery and find creative solutions for the surgical team and patients in difficult situations. Whenever there’s concern about a patient experience, you’ll hear the team say, “Where’s Trish?” Additionally, Trish volunteered to assist in the vaccination clinics, helps transport patients to the floors, and even helps clean an area to ensure timely turnaround. – Nominated by Heather Comeau

Katy Guidi, Wentworth-Douglass Hospital

Katy is truly a genuine, caring, and thoughtful nurse and teammate. She goes all out with her patient care; she always goes the extra mile to make sure patients are heard, treated with respect, and shown love and care during their cancer treatment. – Nominated by Kathryn Siegfried-Hefford

Mackenzie Hamilton, Wentworth-Douglass Hospital

Mackenzie has helped patients at the Urgent Care, swabbing through the height of COVID and always smiling. Mackenzie is truly an asset to our team, and her co-workers have nothing but positive things to say. Mackenzie recently returned from the Dominican Republic, where she was part of a team that cared for more than 600 patients with varying complaints and illnesses. We need more nurses like Mackenzie in the world. – Nominated by Beth Driscoll

Christine Hodgdon, Wentworth-Douglass Hospital Women’s Life Imaging

Christine saw an opportunity to support a patient’s needs by advocating for some urgent diagnostic testing. Although this patient was not yet in Christine’s care, she initiated contact with her provider, and monitored her care throughout the testing. This patient was overwhelmed by the process, and Christine’s kindness and reassurance brought the patient to tears with gratitude. Christine is compassionate, kind, and very dedicated, always going all-out to ensure a positive experience at Women’s Life Imaging. – Nominated by Susan A. Delaney

Claudia Hunt, Wentworth-Douglass Hospital

Older blond woman with very freckled and sunburnt face smiling a toothy smile.
Claudia Hunt

A retired RN with 50 years of experience, Claudia returned to the bedside just six months after retiring to help the short-staffed unit she left. Signing on as per-diem, Claudia fills the holes where nurses have left the unit, the hospital, or the profession! At almost 72 years old, her bedside knowledge and love of patient care shines as a role model for the younger generation she works beside. Well done, my friend. – Nominated by Christine Wyrsch

Kathleen Kowalczyk, Wentworth-Douglass Hospital

Kathleen is one of the most compassionate nurses on our unit. She treats all of her patients like family. Her No. 1 focus is always the patient. A few weeks ago, a patient had an unexpected post-op tonsil bleed upon emergence from anesthesia, and Kathleen didn’t hesitate to jump in and help the staff. No questions asked — she knew exactly how to comfort and reassure the patient, make sure they were safe, and above all provide the emergent care necessary to have a positive outcome.
Nominated by Melissa Comeau

Christine McCarville, Wentworth-Douglass Hospital

Selfie of tanned woman with long black hair flowing in loose curls and long eyelashes coated in mascara.
Christine McCarville

Christine is the most selfless person you will ever meet. We’ve been coworkers for several years.  She never says no, and always advocates for her patients as best she can. She’s the kindest and most compassionate nurse I have ever met, and it’s a joy to work with her in the ICU. She treats patients’ families like her own. WDH is beyond blessed to have her on staff. – Nominated by Amy Kovacs

Angela Peaslee, Wentworth-Douglass Hospital

Angela has been a nurse at WDH for almost 20 years. Her dedication to the profession is remarkable, and she’s been such an asset to us. In this climate, inpatient nursing means learning to rely on less-experienced nurses to care for more-complex patients. Angela has been a mentor and role model to our new nurses, guiding them to focus on quality and compassion while managing the pace of their work. She’s been instrumental in developing new clinical coach roles to help grow new nurses. During the worst of the pandemic, she stayed focused on supporting her team and made sure we were caring for each other, as well as the patients. Angela is the nurse you want at your bedside when you or a family member is sick. She’s the whole package of skill, empathy, patience, and advocacy. I am in awe of her on a daily basis. – Nominated by Katie Huston

Jeanne Messier-Reed, Wentworth-Douglass Hospital

Jeanne is a top-of-the-line embodiment of a wonderful nurse. She is a patient advocate and her knowledge of the art of care is far-reaching. She takes the time to care for her patients and stay up-to-date on new procedures, and then goes above and beyond by teaching new nurses. Jeanne’s skill, intelligence, and compassion are what make a true nurse. She has the trust of her peers and the admiration of her patients. – Nominated by Elaine Zubkus

Nicole Rubino, Wentworth-Douglass Hospital

I am an RN in the critical care unit (CCU) and want you to understand the amazing clinical practice leader we have the privilege of working with, Nicole Rubino. I am passionate about my role in caring for the critically ill, so when I see a nurse whose passion and energy make such a difference to so many, I have to share the story.

A new mom unexpectedly required intubation and transfer to the CCU. Mom was intermittently waking and asking for her newborn, whom she hadn’t been able to hold yet. Nicole coordinated with the OB nurse to bring the baby down for skin-to-skin. She lightened the sedation enough, stayed at the bedside, and monitored the vent and hemodynamics so Mom could hold her baby for the first time. It sounds simple, but the complexity of this situation cannot be understated. What was so evident was Nicole’s compassion, heart, and desire to find a way to achieve this important moment for Mom and baby.

Most recently, Nicole worked all night on Christmas Eve. The night was extremely busy. Near the change of shift, we received a patient on an intra-aortic balloon pump. Nicole realized the CCU day shift did not have the experience to care for this patient, so she remained in the CCU to support them, and she stayed until the patient was transferred to a tertiary care facility by medflight. 

Nicole is selfless, giving, a person of the highest integrity, a leader, a mentor, an amazing clinician, and a nurse many are humbled to call a colleague. We’re amazed at the multitude of contributions and positive impact she lends to our team each day, and the difference her input has on the outcome of our patients and their experience during one of the greatest times of challenge and fear. Thank you, Nicole, for caring for us as colleagues and the positive impact you have on so many. – Nominated by Michele Clark

Katie White, Wentworth-Douglass Hospital

Katie has built a program from the ground up that empowers individuals battling substance use disorder. Katie works hard to educate staff and the community about the unique challenges of being pregnant and parenting while working toward gaining, or maintaining sobriety. Katie respects everyone she meets and works to empower them in their journey. Katie is always going to bat for her patients and will go the extra mile (or 12!) for them. She’s a source of light for all of us and a source of strength for our shared patients. – Nominated by Heather Allard

Katie White, Wentworth-Douglass Hospital

Katie has been instrumental in implementing the Eat, Sleep, Console program here. Katie works tirelessly with women and families from the antepartum period through the post-partum period to ensure that they all get evidence-based, standardized care. She educates all staff who provide care to these patients in order to improve care and outcomes. Katie also outreaches to the community through various initiatives such as Green to Go which provides food to families in need, and the STRENGTH Program which offers support and medication-assisted recovery treatment. Katie’s passion to educate and support not only the patients and their families, but the staff as well, is palpable. – Nominated by Kelly Holden

Editors: Spence & Sanders Communications, LLC.

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