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Elliot Health System
Nicole Reedy, Elliot Hospital
My wife, Nicole, is a powerhouse. She has sacrificed many moments with our own children, ages 11-17. Her compassion is seen through the care she provides. Her wealth of experience and information make her beyond competent. Working in the emergency room allows her to work with all sorts of people, without judgment, always giving the best care possible. She is a fierce advocate for her patients. While we miss her when she isn’t home, we know that she is changing the world by helping those who need help. Her energy and love of nursing have now been passed on to our daughter, who plans to pursue a career in nursing.—Nominated by Denis Reedy
Christine Damelios, Emerson Hospital Clough Birthing Center
During a very painful and difficult night following surgery Christine didn’t leave my side during a panic episode and tremors. She assured me she would stay with me until the panic subsided, and I was calmer. She was compassionate, caring, professional, and managed my pain in the best way possible. So grateful for Chris.—Nominated by Dawn Gagye
Jillian Cedrone, Emerson Hospital
I had surgery on Jan. 27 and Jillian was my nurse during the day on the 28th. That morning, I was discouraged and anxious about adjusting to my post-op diet and not feeling so well afterwards. Jillian kept checking in on me at least once or twice an hour, encouraging me to keep trying and asking how I was doing and if she could get me anything. Jillian is a great nurse and I was so grateful to have her during my stay.—Nominated by Gabrielle O’Halloran
Julie Dawson, Emerson Hospital
My pre-op nurse Julie was phenomenal when she greeted me. She had the best positive energy. She made me feel completely at ease. She made me feel like her main priority, which relaxed me even more. She was very sensitive to my concerns and didn’t make me feel bad for them. I could tell that she really cared, and I wasn’t just another patient. I hit it off with her so much I want to be friends. 🙂 I’m so grateful for Julie being…Julie.—Nominated by Marissa Reyes
Lori Deal, Interventional Radiology, Emerson Hospital
Lori is an absolute pleasure to work with. Over the past couple of years, especially during these difficult COVID-19 times, Lori has been the primary nurse responsible for placing PICC lines and mid-lines and instrumental in teaching these skills to other providers in the hospital. Lori makes herself available to place these lines on nights and weekends, even when she’s not supposed to be on call. Lori always puts her patients’ needs foremost, and helps out her co-workers in any way that she can. Lori’s dedication to her patients and to the practice of nursing makes her deserving of recognition.—Nominated by David Woodford
Christine Desjean, Naka Infusion Center, Mass General Cancer Center, Emerson Hospital
When one has a chronic disease, one receives regular attention from one’s medical providers. I have been fortunate to be under Christine’s excellent care for the last five years. Besides being a skilled nurse with excellent technical knowledge, she’s a caring person, treating me as a member of my care team but ready to push back when it’s warranted. She—and her nursing colleagues— have a fine relationship with the physicians. Christine’s boundary between personal involvement and professional detachment is such that we’re not only nurse and patient, but also good friends. Christine is a fine nurse and fine person who deserves recognition.—Nominated by Matt Fichtenbaum
Jane Destroismaisons, Naka Infusion Center, Emerson Hospital
Nurse Jane from the Naka Infusion Center is exceptional. She’s gifted in her work performance, as well as her kindness and attention to detail. Knowing that she will be my nurse puts me at ease, and I appreciate that. Nurse Jane is truly an asset to the health-care world.—Nominated by Kaitlan Wilson
Lauren Dominquez, Emergency Department, Emerson Hospital
Lauren is amazing. She exceeds expectations with each patient. She’s very kind, and has a heart of gold.—Nominated by Jonasha Jackson
Amanda Elfman, Emerson Hospital
Amanda is extremely intelligent and caring. She uses her knowledge to educate her patients. I watch her deliver incredible kindness every night shift that we work together. She inspires me and encourages me in my own pursuit of nursing and I am forever grateful that I get to work with her. She’s truly inspiring. Thank you for everything, Amanda.—Nominated by Chloe Spedden
Johanna Eliot, Wheeler 5, Emerson Hospital
I was happy each shift that I learned Johanna would be my nurse. She made sure I had everything I needed and did her best to encourage me and make me comfortable. She and Patient Care Tech Chris made a great team. When there were issues with equipment (broken bed, external catheter, skin irritations), Johanna responded quickly. I wish the nursing staff at rehab had the same level of care and compassion as Johanna.—Nominated by Susan Dean
Vicki Everett, Emerson Hospital
I met Vicki when my first child was born in 2017. She was direct, and seemed intense at first. But her guidance was clear and concise, and I found myself referring to it over the years through my second, and now third, pregnancy. Her competence is unparalleled. Everything I remember about perineal care, nursing babies, being able to tell what I’m doing right or wrong, all came from Vicki. She imparted the most knowledge for helping me heal and helping my baby nurse, and in the end that’s the most important thing. I was THRILLED to see her again for the birth of my third child, just a week ago so that I could tell her how important her guidance was to me for the last four-and-a-half years. She gives the best of her knowledge to her patients, and thus empowers them to give the best possible care to themselves and their babies. She is the one nurse whose name and face I remember, and always will.—Nominated by Nancy Cook
Sarah Finn, Emerson Hospital
Sarah Finn is one of the most compassionate and kindest bedside nurses I’ve ever met. Her soothing voice conveys calm and kindness. Whether she’s working with a difficult situation involving a mother and family whose premature baby has a feeding problem or tending to a very ill baby in special care nursery, she acts with intelligence, love, and comfort. She is humble and a role model for other nurses and physicians. Sarah keeps her cool under pressure and acts in the best interest of her patients every single day. She’s not only an excellent clinical nurse, but also a precious co-worker, always willing to lend a hand with a positive attitude. Sara is certainly an angel disguised as a nurse.—Nominated by Julia Shafer
Michele Fremault, Emerson Hospital
If you’re lucky, you sometimes meet someone with whom you click immediately. That happened when I met my nurse, Michele Fremault, at Concord’s Emerson Hospital. We intuitively liked each other despite decades of age difference.
I was an anxious new patient, having been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation and a ruptured heart valve. Michele’s breezy professionalism was calming. We found ourselves sharing our stories, and in doing so we found a common sense of humor. I looked forward to her shift. I was so impressed with her capacity for nursing. When a doctor came to my bedside, Michele would come right in, offering information, answering the doctor’s questions, and asking questions I would not have thought of.
After a few brief days, I was to be moved to another ward that housed cardioversion patients. I was about to lose my caretaker, my advocate, and my friend. One of the nicest things I remember was when another nurse came in and said, “We are all telling Michele that she has to let you go.” My Emerson stay gave way to another hospital and a lengthy healing time with many capable nurses. But Michele had something special, and I will always remember and appreciate her care of this old guy.—Nominated by Alan Hart
Sharon Hamandi, Emerson Hospital Clough Birthing Center
Sharon was our labor and delivery nurse during the birth of our second child. After a traumatic birth of our first child, Sharon was an incredible breath of fresh air. Throughout the entire process, she kept calm, kept us calm, listened to all of my needs, and brought a beautiful positivity during a stressful/painful time. She also ran an incredibly efficient birthing room. After giving birth, she took amazing care of our little one and still managed to hold my hand throughout my stitches. She was a jack of all trades and managed to be everywhere all of the time. In addition, she was my biggest cheerleader (besides my husband, of course). Her kind words and unending positivity helped me give birth despite a nonfunctional epidural, and then made me feel like a rock star with her gentle help in initiating breastfeeding. Sharon completely changed my narrative in bringing my son into this world. I will forever be grateful to her.—Nominated by Kimberly Soel
Ekaterina Klinoff, Emerson Hospital
I met Kat when she gave me my COVID vaccine. She was so kind and compassionate that I was overjoyed when I found out she was going to be a nurse on my unit. I value Kat as a nurse. She started during the pandemic, which I am sure was terrifying. She kicked butt, and she does what she needs to every day to help keep the community safe and feel heard. She cares about her patients so much. We work on a difficult floor, often with very difficult patients. She’s always so willing to stop what she is doing to help her co-workers. We are so lucky to have Kat.—Nominated by Stephanie Blood
Dayna Kowesky, Wheeler 4, Emerson Hospital
She’s one of the most down-to-earth nurses I have ever met. She went the extra mile in caring for me on more than one day during my long stay on Wheeler 4. I could tell she wasn’t just there for a paycheck and that she cared about her patients. She was always smiling and delivered the most perfect care.—Nominated by Melissa Carey
Dee Lombardozzi, Emerson Hospital
She was amazing during my postpartum care. So friendly, competent and overall, the best nurse I have had for postpartum care. She was friendly to all of our visitors as well, and made the experience amazing.—Nominated by Kimberly Rot
Bryana McGrath, Emerson Hospital
Bryana continually goes all out to deliver compassionate, individualized care to her patients. It is an honor to work beside her.—Nominated by Nicole Potter
Jackie Milner, Emerson Hospital
Jackie works hard on the Transitional Care Unit and is passionate about what she does. She loves her co-workers and is always ready to lend a hand. Jackie is always happy and she shares that with all her patients. She’s very knowledgeable, she advocates for her patients, she’s a good communicator, and she’s very easy to work with. Jackie deserves to be appreciated for everything she does to help our patients.—Nominated by Geraldine Nabawanda
Bethany Poindexter, Emerson Hospital
Bethany Poindexter is the finest manager, leader, and nurse I have ever known. Although she is the manager of the entire Emergency Department, she is often seen working on the floor as a nurse. When we had a patient come in as a code the other day, she was in the trauma room, leading the way. She is a very sophisticated and humble person, and very subtle in her ways. But she is always looking out and intuitively knows what each patient and nurse needs to continue delivering the best quality care. She was a full-time nurse in the ER during COVID, and became manager last summer. I couldn’t be more grateful for her exemplary leadership and trust. Many appreciate her work, and she’s truly beautiful, inside and out.—Nominated by Suzanne Thompson
Jackie Reidy, Emerson Hospital
Jackie is a solid, dependable staff member. She displays excellent intuitive judgment about her patients’ status and acts promptly on their changing conditions. Jackie understands the purposes, objectives, practices, and procedures of the department, and has therefore been instrumental in mentoring new employees. Her thoughtful input in the Surgical Directions work group inspires enthusiasm, and she strives for excellence at every opportunity. I was pleased with Jackie’s ideas to improve the workflow in post-op; it’s easy to complain, but Jackie views problems as opportunities, which is a trait that comes from real leaders.—Nominated by Wendy Repucci
Wendy Repucci, Emerson Hospital
Wendy faced all of the challenges during COVID, good and bad, and tried to boost morale at such a difficult time.—Nominated by Rhonda Smith
Virginia Savini, Emerson Hospital
Gina is a strong clinician and mentor to her fellow nurses. At the beginning of the pandemic, she stepped outside of her comfort zone to become an instructor for a course that is required of all Emergency Department nurses. Since then, she’s consistently gone the extra mile to learn, precept new staff, and share her knowledge. She has grown into an excellent instructor, weaving personal experience and compassion into her approach. As an educator, I appreciate Gina’s commitment, and her desire to expand her knowledge and understanding of pediatric nursing to improve the care that is provided to every pediatric patient treated at Emerson Hospital.—Nominated by Erin Patisteas
Megan Spinella, Emerson Hospital
Megan has given me and her other patients the utmost care, attention, and compassion. She’s diligent, competent, and (most of all) empathetic.—Nominated by Ismail Bouzouina
Kaitlyn Taylor, Emerson Hospital
Kaitlyn Taylor always puts the patients first. If somebody makes a mistake, she doesn’t get mad and get an attitude—she just says, “Everybody makes mistakes.” She is always smiling, and she always say hi to me and asks how I’m doing.—Nominated by Jonasha Hatcher
While rounding in the Emergency Department, I witnessed an act of pure kindness. Kaitlyn was the charge nurse trying to manage a very busy emergency department while sitting with a young patient who was struggling with a behavioral health emergency. Kaitlyn knew the environment was overstimulating this patient, and took her limited available time between directing patient flow from incoming ambulances to assisting her team to sit with this patient, speak in the kindest voice, and offer a comforting hand. This simple act of kindness and heartfelt moment made this struggling patient’s time a little better. This is what makes nurses amazing in everything they do. I’m proud to work side-by-side with our nurses at Emerson.—Nominated by Mark Mahnfeldt
Kate Tomlinson, Emerson Hospital Clough Birthing Center
I had four extended stays from October to December last year. I was horribly sick and they didn’t know what was wrong. Her compassion and care made all the difference.—Nominated by Nancy Cook
Simon Torres, Emerson Hospital
Simon is amazing. He’s very patient, and all his patients and co-workers love him. He always goes the extra mile to ensure his patients are comfortable and get the best care.—Nominated by Kaylah Israel
Claire Walker, Emerson Hospital
One instance that truly shows Claire’s compassion and empathy comes to mind. She learned that one of her previous patients was in the Critical Care Unit. Claire used her “lunch” break that night to go to the CCU and visit the patient. She sat and held her hand for as long as she was able to. I know how much the patient and her family appreciated this act of kindness.—Nominated by Samantha Brault
Julie Ward, Emerson Hospital
Julie is a most productive staff member in patient support who consistently outperforms and constantly improves productivity while never compromising quality. Julie has contributed thoughtful quality improvement suggestions and has followed through on making these necessary changes happen, especially while implementing quality initiatives brought forward by Surgical Directions. Julie is a doer, and she is remarkably successful. Julie has been instrumental in the “chart-check” nurse role and has contributed thoughtful changes to the process. Julie saw a need to manage staff and patient schedules and took prompt, independent action. Even though it adds to her workload, it’s in Julie’s character to unselfishly step in and oversee this, for which I’m very grateful. Finally, Julie exemplifies nursing at its finest, and I’m grateful for her dedication and support.—Nominated by Wendy Repucci
Peg Nelson, Fenway Health
Peg exceeds expectations by working behind the scenes for contacts, medications, appointments, and all the duties that a normal day-to-day nurse doesn’t have the time for. Peg finds the time, 24/7, and often reaches out with notes of care. These are well beyond the selfless duties of any nurse, and that epitomizes a fantastic nurse. Peg hasn’t only done exceptional medical care for me, but also exceptional care behind the front lines. In my case, that’s far more important than any in-person care. I am forever indebted to Peg for her care outside of the medical facility.—Nominated by Ernest Berardinelli
Florence Sawyer School
Karin Frostholm and Julie Hendley, Florence Sawyer School
Karin and her co-nurse, Julie Hendley, have worked tirelessly to ensure that the students and staff at Florence Sawyer school have remained healthy, in spirit and mind, throughout the pandemic. They have worked nights and weekends to contact-trace, respond to worried parents’ emails and calls, and nurse sick students, all with grace and humor. They exemplify good nursing.—Nominated by Mark Levine
Kristen Padulsky, Franciscan Children’s
Kristen works on the Medical Units at Franciscan Children’s, which serves a diverse pediatric population facing complex medical issues, including extreme prematurity, neuromuscular syndromes, traumatic injuries, strokes, cancer, and rare genetic disorders, among others. In addition to her clinical role, Kristen has been integral in building a pediatric palliative care program within our institution. This past year, our small, close-knit units suffered several unexpected and tragic patient losses. It is unimaginable to lose a child, but the loss is felt that much more when you’ve care for a patient for months or years.
During these difficult times, Kristen provided exceptional emotional support to our staff, including myself. Patient loss was a new experience for many of our young nursing staff, and Kristen was there to support everyone in novel ways. She also has been incredible in identifying gaps in our existing palliative services for patients, orchestrating family visits, finding new ways to support quality of life, and ensuring patients’ needs are being met beyond their daily medical care. I know that I am not alone in feeling very grateful for Kristen’s calming and supportive presence in our institution, and our patients and their families are lucky to have her advocating on their behalf.—Nominated by Brittany Ryan
Gosnold Partial Hospital Program
Christine Wilcox, Gosnold PHP
Nurse Wilcox dedicated herself to delivering in-person psychiatric services throughout the pandemic. As a psychiatric nurse practitioner, Christine is an integral part of a team of eight clinicians, treating individuals in an intensive outpatient, dual diagnosis, long-term group setting. Her expertise and devotion to her patients in a time of extraordinary need is recognized and appreciated by all who have the honor of working with her, or being her patient.—Nominated by Nicholas LeRoy
Greater Boston Home Health Care
Sheila Adams, Greater Boston Home Health Care
Sheila is my visiting nurse and she goes all-out to make sure I get the services I need. She’s set up rides for me to medical appointments and makes sure I have enough food and am getting it OK. She helped me get a hospital bed paid for by Medicare, helped me with problems with an oxygen tank, and made sure that I’m using it properly. Sheila is very understanding and dedicated to her job. She listens and isn’t judgmental. She keeps up with my primary doctor and my vital signs and asks about medications.—Nominated by Louise Baxter
Harbor Point at Centerville
Patricia Schlehuber, Harbor Point at Centerville
Patricia came into our lives at the end of our mother’s life. She cared for her closely, and cared for my family as deeply as she did my mother. She went out of her way to manage our expectations, help us through the harder days, and kept us all connected with our mother both in person and from afar. There is no greater gift than the work she does with our family and so many others. Her care was exceptional and gave my mother so much peace in her final days.—Nominated by Melanie Masterson
3 Berenson Allen Nurses, Hebrew Rehabilitation Center Roslindale
Nurses on 3 Berenson have always worked well together, and are like a family. Many of them have been together on the floor for years and know each other well, including their moods, communication skills, and above all their own growing families. When requesting days off, they usually include the names of the nurses who will cover their shifts.
Like all of us who witnessed and were part of the COVID pandemic, 3 Berenson nurses delivered and supported each other hand-in-hand. They provided the best-needed care and saved the lives of so many affected patients, making their condition as comfortable as possible despite the scary ordeal. Though it was a challenging person-centered care approach, the daily tasks became manageable, and labor was automatically divided because they had each other’s support. They worked together as one, and deserve to be recognized.—Nominated by Ross Mangilog
Kendra Grimes, Hebrew Rehabilitation Center Newbridge on the Charles
Kendra is a gift to Hebrew SeniorLife. She is so dedicated to her patients, the staff, and her clinical team. She not only takes care of the patients’ medical needs, but sandwiches that in with her great care and compassion. The wealth of clinical knowledge she brings to the table is incredible. I constantly see her researching and growing her knowledge base.—Nominated by Christina Karalolos
Fana Hailemichael, Hebrew Rehabilitation Center Roslindale
Fana Hailemichael is not only a nurse manager on 5 Berger (Memory Care Unit), she’s also a caregiver and advocate for the 44 patients in her unit. She stands for them with passion and devotion. She has no problem leaving her office to help a patient to the toilet, give them a shower, or take a walk with them. Not only does Fana demonstrate compassion for the patients and their families, she also cares for her team. More than just their manager, she and her team are one. She always has time to provide emotional support, compassion, understanding, encouragement, and advice to her staff. When a staff member is going through a difficult time or has an emergency, she goes out of her way to make any accommodations possible so the staff member is able to tend to her family or personal matter. I am honored to salute Fana and thank her for her humor, love, compassion, respect, and support.—Nominated by Carline Cenat
Fana Hailemichael, Hebrew Rehabilitation Center Boston
During this past year, Fana Hailemichael’s leadership has been remarkable. Overseeing an advanced dementia memory support unit at Hebrew Rehabilitation Center in Roslindale during a pandemic is no small feat. Fana expertly developed the floor team, ensuring that there were no weak links. As a result, a floor that was vulnerable to a COVID-19 outbreak was shielded.
As a leader, she nurtured quality and excellence, and each staff member worked to ensure the highest of practice standards and maintain both quality care and quality of life. Fana not only brought high standards and high compassion, she also encouraged joy and fun, and stressed the importance of caring for one another. Despite the challenges a pandemic brings, you can feel love and compassion as you walk off the elevator. Dance, laughter, and music surround you. Best of all, the atmosphere created by Fana makes you ask, “What pandemic?”—Nominated by Tammy B. Retalic
Bozhena Kogan, Hebrew Rehabilitation Center Roslindale
Being a nursing leader isn’t easy. It’s great to be called a leader, but few are actually worthy of this title. Bozhena Kogan is one of the very few. She started at Hebrew Rehabilitation Center as a naïve new grad nurse and matured into our highly regarded senior director of nursing at our Roslindale campus. It was a big adjustment, as the responsibilities are a 24-hour schedule. Being motivated and compassionate for the care of the geriatric population, she focuses her attention on many demands. With the support of her family and peers, she exemplifies the true spirit of a leader. She continues to motivate staff, encourages professionalism, and doesn’t forget to remind them to comply with clinical practices, policies and procedures, quality measures, and the goals of the department.
When the COVID pandemic hit, Bozhena became very hands-on and visible, wearing scrubs. You can see her pushing beds, giving fluids, and helping with meals. At times she even lost track of the numerous meetings she was required to attend because she wanted to help her staff. She always updates the teams about what’s going on with constantly changing requirements around infection control. Her constant presence on the floors was noticed, and staff appreciated her support for the struggling direct caregivers. Despite the very hectic work schedule, she always manages to ask about the well-being of our families and peers. What great qualities of a LEADER.—Nominated by Ross Mangilog
Sofia Lazebnik, Hebrew Rehabilitation Center
I would want Sofia to care for my loved one if I were unable. She is always welcoming and positive. I’ve seen her interact with many patients with a kind, gentle, loving manner, like they are her own parents. She is supportive to the patient-care assistants and helps them get the job done. She questions why and how to do what is being asked of her and her co-workers because she wants to do the right thing.—Nominated by Nadya Kopelman
Lorraine Notice, Hebrew Rehabilitation Center Boston
Memory Care Unit Morning Nurse Lorraine Notice’s dedication and passion for her patients do not go unnoticed. Lorraine demonstrates compassion, love, and kindness to her patients each and every day. No matter how busy she gets, she always finds time to listen to her patients when they want to share memories with her.—Nominated by Carline Cenat
Karen Pecararo, Orchard Cove, Hebrew SeniorLife
Karen Pecar is an exceptional nurse recognized by the many residents of Orchard Cove, a part of Hebrew SeniorLife. Her services include health care, education, and supporting people experiencing aging. Karen is highly regarded for the regard she shows each client and the preparation she has made to the patients. She demonstrates exceptional experience and knowledge of geriatric care, and she is a wonderful teacher.
Recently, she changed checking my blood sugar from using a needle to the FreeStyle Libre, and taught me how to use the new method. She is, in real words, “the glue that holds us all together.” She is an important leader with three part-time clinicians gathering information daily from our emergency response system, home health nursing team, outpatient therapy providers, and our residents. She routinely communicates with specialists, pharmacies, and insurance companies, keeping the needs of our residents front and center. She provides direct care through teaching and educating each resident as much as possible, whether on the phone or in person. She listens first and then triages medical issues in order to organize the specific work that needs to be done. She is an essential piece of the OC community and the systems that provide best care possible, medically and to a true sense of well-being.—Nominated by Phyllis Moore
Sara Sheehan, Hebrew Rehabilitation Center Boston
Sara Sheehan, an informatic nurse, provides services that go far beyond the technological aspect of her role. This past year, Sara balanced leading the nursing teams while preparing for the upcoming computer system upgrade, facilitated and guided surveyors through the many surveys, and provided leadership coverage during the most challenging time of the Omicron surge. Whenever asked, Sara shifted and pivoted to assist in any way—always with the focus on ensuring that our patients and her fellow nurses had the support needed. She did it all, even when she had to put her own responsibilities to the side.—Nominated by Tammy B. Retalic
Ruth Talban, Hebrew Rehabilitation Center Newbridge on the Charles
Ruth collaborates with her nursing team throughout all shifts. Ruth has demonstrated strong resilience over the past two years, from caring for a household of COVID-positive patients at the beginning of the pandemic to now, when she cares for those who are frail and approaching the end of life. Ruth consistently advocates for her patients when there is an acute change in status and is extremely proactive in ensuring a safe plan of care. She knows her patients very well. When a patient is noted for having a change in respiratory status, Ruth responds quickly and notifies the provider immediately. Her excellent clinical assessment skills, and advocacy for needing patient care orders for treatments that will make her patients comfortable, are extremely appreciated.—Nominated by Lozel Greenwood
Guylaine Valet, Hebrew Rehabilitation Center Newbridge on the Charles
Guylaine is committed and compassionate to her patients. Through the past two years, Guylaine has demonstrated strong resilience—from caring for a household of COVID-positive patients early in the pandemic to today caring for those who are frail approaching end of life. The second and third waves of COVID affected the Memory Support Unit again, and Guylaine’s assertiveness and excellent communication skills with implementing the appropriate infection control practices helped all succeed together. On the household side, where there were varying dementia-related behaviors, such as wandering, Guylaine led her team to practice strict adherence to infection control guidelines to ensure her patients’ safety and well-being.—Nominated by Lozel Greenwood
Anna Wang, Hebrew Rehabilitation Center
Anna is caring, compassionate, and a strong patient advocate. Tonight her strong assessment skills and intuition led her to pick up on a blood pressure drop in a patient who had fallen earlier in the shift and was later sent to the hospital for further workup. She is such an asset to our nursing team.
Another example of Anna’s big heart: A patient who doesn’t have family nearby wanted a clock in her room. It’s very important for this patient to know the time. The clock in her room was broken, so she was stepping out of her room quite often to check the time. We couldn’t find an appropriate clock on the unit. One day, after she finished her shift, Anna went out and bought the nicest wall clock for the resident, who was happy and felt loved.—Nominated by Nadya Kopelman
Anna Zhyhymont, Hebrew Rehabilitation Center
Anna stands out as someone dedicated to the nursing profession—a person with good heart, compassion, and excellent skills. She cares for every single patient, and she works hard, and always wants to learn more. I have witnessed her interacting with many patients with a kind, gentle, loving manner, like they are her own parents. Anna is very bright, extremely hardworking, dependable, responsible, and great team player.—Nominated by Nadya Kopelman
Hillsborough County Nursing Home
Stacy Brissette, Hillsborough County Nursing Home
On Christmas Eve 2017, my elderly father, with Parkinson’s disease, fell and broke his hip clearing snow off my equally elderly mother’s car. Following emergency surgery, he landed in a local rehab facility, Hillsborough County Nursing home in Goffstown, New Hampshire. This being my first insight into my dad’s limitations, it was devastating and overwhelming. This is when we first met Stacy.
Stacy was the evening nurse on the facility’s rehab unit. Every day I stopped there after work, there was Stacy, holding the place together. A young nurse, she would simultaneously be doing her charting, keeping an eye on wandering residents, and holding the hand of a delirious wheelchair-bound man nearing the end of his complicated life. Yet somehow, she never once let on that my ridiculous questions and frustrated demands were too much for her. She was always there and able to help. She was consistently effective and unflappable. After three months, my dad was ready to go home. While we could never have done it without Stacy’s consistency and advocacy, I never even so much as thanked her for her part in his recovery. It was her job, and I was busy. I didn’t forget her role in his recovery, but life went on.
Fast forward to spring 2021. Dad clearly needed more care than we could provide at home. He was falling and needed help, so he reentered the same rehab facility. This was over a year into the COVID pandemic. Long-term care and skilled facilities had faced mass deaths, loss of staff, and incredible stress and uncertainty. They were underpaid, overworked, and underrecognized.
The first night he was there, I stood on my dad’s unit watching overworked aides run from call bell to call bell, trying their best to meet the needs of their patients. I noticed a small placard that said “Stacy Brissette, Charge Nurse.”
A million thoughts went through my head. This nurse who had shown fortitude four years ago—not only was she still here for us, but she had been promoted. Never in my life have I recognized a more appropriate promotion, as well as evidence of pure devotion to a calling. It was simple: Stacy cared for these people. This nurse has weathered every storm she faced and remains the go-to for helping Dad remain dignified, cared for, and recognized as the person he once was. While she makes us feel as though he’s the only one, she does this for so many people and families. She’s there evenings, weekends, and holidays. She is calm, clinically astute, and always empathetic. Somehow, when we’re at our worst, there she is. For years, Stacy has been there for us and countless others.
Nursing home facilities have been largely underrecognized, yet they do incredibly important work. They care for Americans in their most vulnerable days. Recognizing an individual who understands, respects, and embodies this care is crucial to the future of these facilities and to our elderly. Please honor Stacy Brissette at Hillsborough County Nursing Home. This letter is a voice for all of those people who have encountered her, most of whom do not have a voice.—Nominated by Sally Sites
Home Care Nurses
Team Samantha, Home Care Nurses
How do I nominate a dream team of nurses? My daughter, Samantha, is blessed and lucky enough to have just that. This team of nine nurses did the impossible: they made it safe for my medically fragile daughter to survive COVID at home. They were like a Special Forces team that went into action and worked around the clock assessing, giving respiratory treatments, pulmonary toileting, medication administration…everything for three weeks to make sure my daughter survived a respiratory infection that was unlike any other—it was relentless, and it didn’t have a name at the time.
We didn’t know until much later that what she had survived was COVID. It terrifies me that if she had been hospitalized—we had her hospital bags packed because she was that sick—she would’ve been placed on a vent, and there’s no doubt in my heart and mind that she would not have survived. These amazing nurses saved her life. On a daily basis they take amazing clinical care of Samantha, but more than that they care about her as if she were their own child. They are dedicated, reliable, diligent, wicked smart, and we love them like family.—Nominated by Ana Burke
Khadija Seidu, Home Care Nurse
Khadija has been taking care of my daughter at home for many years now. She loves her like her own and is very diligent with her numerous medication and treatment procedures. She is very good at training any new nurse who’s assigned to us.—Nominated by Nandini Mallick
HopeHealth Visiting Nurse
Katrina Fleischmann, HopeHealth Hospice
I am not at all prone to hyperbole, but I actually can’t imagine a kinder, more empathetic, or compassionate nurse. My father suffered multiple strokes and was on hospice. Katrina cared for him for more than a year-and-a-half, and was unfailingly gentle and savvy. He was in a lot of denial about his condition, and she instinctively knew how to reach him with humor and honesty. There were numerous ups and downs, including multiple crises, and Katrina was always calm and effective and helped him beyond measure.
In hospice, the nurse in charge balances a lot of moving parts, and it’s even more complicated in a home setting, where personnel came and went on a near-daily basis for so long. Katrina was able to establish so much trust with my father that he began to relax and tell her the truth about things, whether they were physical, emotional, or spiritual concerns. Katrina managed everything deftly, and helped my father feel empowered and autonomous during his last days.
Beyond that, Katrina was superb with our whole family. I was one of my father’s two primary caregivers, and she constantly checked in to see how we were doing and to make sure that we were taking care of ourselves, too. It helped me more than I can say.
About a week ago, we finally lost my father, and Katrina was on the overnight call list to make sure that she would be the one to respond when the end came. Despite having worked all day, she arrived in the middle of the night and helped comfort us, while also making sure that my father’s final moments were dignified and peaceful. I could never thank her enough.—Nominated by Ellen White
Kristen Hughes, HopeHealth Visiting Nurse
In the course of my employment at HopeHealth, I’ve had the opportunity to work along with Kristen, the palliative specialist. Kristen is a passionate nurse who brings empathy and compassion to all of her patients and their families. She is skilled at having the difficult conversations about disease progression to help her patients understand their diagnosis and identify their goals of care. Kristen strives to manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life. She comforts her patients where they’re at in their understanding of their disease. I thoroughly enjoyed working with her; I learned so much about providing palliative care to patients facing life-changing or life-ending diagnoses.—Nominated by Deirdre Marzano
John D. O’Bryant School of Mathematics and Science
Carrie Peace, John D. O’Bryant School of Mathematics and Science
Carrie Peace is the nurse at the O’Bryant School in Roxbury, where my son, Thomas, has been a student for the past five years. “Nurse Peace,” as she is known, is a vital member of the school community, and has helped make O’Bryant safe and successful for countless students. Many kids in the public schools, like my son, require medicine and/or medical assistance, and school nurses make it possible for these kids to learn and thrive. Nurse Peace has been a kind, caring, and stabilizing presence in my son’s journey through high school, as well as being an advocate for his education. I salute all of the nurses in Boston’s schools, but especially Nurse Peace, for helping ALL kids to get the education they deserve.—Nominated by Emily Craig
Joslin Diabetes Center
Julie Griffith, Joslin Diabetes Center
I’ve been seeing Julie Griffith as my nurse educator in the pediatric ward of Joslin Diabetes Center for many years now. The nurse educator role, particular in diabetes care, is highly influential in the way a patient approaches their own diabetes management. Especially in the pediatric unit, the nurse educator comes in during a very difficult time in a patient’s life. Although people can be diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at any age, it typically is diagnosed in children and adolescents. After diagnosis, patients and their families will feel an overwhelming range of emotions: confused, stressed, angry—and overall, just scared.
This is when they are tossed a lifeline from the nurse educator, who knows the ins and outs of diabetes and is there to help patients find the care that works best for them. They encourage the patient to try new technologies, such as continuous glucose monitors and insulin pumps, and they help them navigate the very tangled world of diabetes, including managing the disease with school, sports, diet, activities, and every aspect of a young life.
Julie came into my life during a low point. I was diagnosed at age 13, but I learned to manage my diabetes throughout high school as a three-sport athlete. When I entered college, diabetes management was even more difficult. I began to experience diabetes burnout, and struggled with the overhaul to my everyday life. During this time Julie became my lifeline again. She understood the mental and physical challenges I was facing, and helped me overcome them.
During the pandemic, Julie continued to be that lifeline. I surpassed the age of the pediatrics unit in 2020, but Julie stayed on as my nurse educator. She knew how important it was for me to have someone to rely on during a turbulent year, especially while immunocompromised people feared for their lives.
I last met with Julie in December. I can hardly put into words what she’s meant to me over the past 10 years. Julie is kind, patient, caring, and empathetic. She understands the toll that diabetes can take on everyday life, and helps patients find ways to not just live, but to thrive with diabetes. She embodies everything that a nurse is. I want to say thank you, Julie, for making me into the strong person living with diabetes that I am today. —Nominated by Meghan Gabel
Ashley Keating, Joslin Diabetes Center
Ashley has been instrumental in guiding our family through having a child with Type 1 diabetes and managing his care. She cares. She’s knowledgeable and provides us with a foundational understanding of this disease both mentally and physically. The Campbell family wouldn’t know what to do without Ashley. She’s the best, and we know she always has our back. —Nominated by Chad Campbell
Pamela Walcott, Joslin Diabetes Center
Having worked with Pam Walcott over the past three years, it is difficult to think of only one time she has exhibited compassion, clinical competency, excellent communication, trust in care, and advocacy for patients, because she does this DAILY. Pam has worked at Joslin for over 13 years as the senior clinical research nurse in the Clinical, Behavioral and Outcomes Research Department in the Clinical Research Center.
Day in and day out, she leads by example, ensuring patients are comfortable, explaining study procedures to them, and answering all questions in an assured and calm manner. Her ability to read patients and interact with them is natural to her. Pam makes sure she has the need-to-know information before working with a patient (history of fainting, falls, dietary restrictions in case of low blood glucose, etc.) as patients with diabetes are at risk for many things. Pam always asks for consent to retry a blood draw or IV placement, should a venipuncture not flow or an IV fail, and always leaves it up to the patient whether they want to continue. It is in these moments that Pam demonstrates her advocacy for her patients, because while the study coordinators and principal investigators focus on the protocol adherence, Pam’s No. 1 priority is the patient.
A fantastic problem-solver with troubleshooting talents, Pam makes sure every study visit runs smoothly and according to protocol. She has taken on every single training of new nurses and study coordinators who have rotated in the CRC, and holds them to a high standard. She knows that new staff will take a bit of time to master clinical skills; however, she always encourages the staff to try on their own once trained, but ensures that she is always there for support. —Nominated by Julianne O’Connell
Kronos Health/Edgewood Retirement Community
Lenaya Burns, Edgewood Retirement Community
On Jan. 5, 2021, I had an urgent care appointment with Lenaya Burns, a nurse practitioner for residents at Edgewood Retirement Community. We hadn’t met before. Lenaya came to my apartment, took a detailed history, examined me, asked what I was worried about, and ordered tests. She shared the results with me and checked on my symptoms regularly. By Jan. 15, my symptoms had worsened, so she arranged for a CT scan the next morning. Hours after the CT scan, she called to tell me there was a likelihood I had ovarian cancer. Before calling me, she had called my primary care physician, and then Lenaya and I considered next steps. She suggested several options, including Dana Farber Cancer Institute/Merrimack Valley, which I selected. She made the referral to DFCI on Monday, and on Jan. 22 I had my first appointment there. In the interim, I saw Lenaya again because she was concerned about deadly blood clots—she was right, and I got emergency treatment.
The speed and competency with which Lenaya managed all this was incredible—and during the pandemic, too. A year later, I’m finished with chemo and two major surgeries, in remission, and on maintenance therapy. A doctor at DFCI said, “That nurse practitioner probably saved your life by acting so quickly.”—Nominated by Joan Kerzner
L.D. Batchelder School
Coleen Reska, L.D. Batchelder Elementary School
Nurse Reska, our district’s nurse leader, has been instrumental in the success of our district’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. She has led her team to unpack the guidance from the departments of Elementary and Secondary Education and Public Health and to communicate this information to the parents and families of our district. She implemented contact tracing in our schools; led symptomatic, test-and-stay, and pooled testing initiatives; and continued to do her “regular job” as a school nurse throughout all of the unprecedented challenges this year.—Nominated by Patrick Daly
Lahey Hospital & Medical Center
Janice Morrissette, Lahey Hospital & Medical Center
I have had the pleasure of working with Janice for years. I recently had a patient in the hospital who was really struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety, and missing his therapy pup. When I mentioned it to Janice, she was ON IT! She immediately reached out and arranged for our hospital therapy dog to come by for a visit. She is a wonderful problem solver. She is a fabulous, compassionate, funny, energetic, lovely nurse. —Nominated by Nancy Todd
Ravi Narasimhadevara, Lahey Hospital & Medical Center
Ravi is very helpful to anyone who is needs help. There is no one like Ravi. —Nominated by Sandhya KC
Donald Walk, Lahey Hospital & Medical Center, Peabody
Don works in the infusion room. He exemplifies what it means to be a patient advocate and a team player. His kind and calm demeanor puts his patients at ease. He is such a hard worker and always willing to help his fellow nurses. Don works tirelessly (sometimes even on his days off.) to schedule patients for their infusions in a timely manner that works for them. Our patients are often going through treatment for difficult diagnoses and Don goes above and beyond every day, whether that means taking time to listen to a patient’s concerns or buying holiday decorations for the department to brighten everyone’s day. He is such a kind and empathetic nurse who works to make every patient he encounters feel appreciated. With all that he does, he never asks for praise, and we hope he can be appreciated by the Globe for being so wonderful. —Nominated by Marie Walton
Don Walk is one of the most caring, compassionate, hard-working nurses I’ve ever met. He is always early for work and stays late to finish things up even when he doesn’t need to. He spends so much time making appointments for his patients and makes sure their infusion experience is excellent. He is just a great coworker and I know that when he’s on, we’ll all have a great day. Don spends his own money to buy decorations to make the unit festive for all holidays. Patients love him and his IV skills are phenomenal. I’m so lucky and blessed to call Don a coworker, and he deserves recognition for a job well done every day. —Nominated by Amy Benammi
Don works in the infusion room at Lahey Peabody. He exemplifies what it means to be a patient advocate and a team player. His kind and calm demeanor puts his patients at ease. He’s a hard worker who’s always willing to help his fellow nurses. Don takes on a lot of responsibility to help his unit run smoothly. He works tirelessly (sometimes even on his days off.) to schedule patients for their infusions in a timely manner that works for them. Our patients are often going through treatment for difficult diagnoses and Don goes the extra mile every day, whether that involves taking extra time to listen to a patient’s concerns, or buying holiday decorations for the department to brighten everyone’s day. He’s a kind and empathetic nurse who works to make every patient he encounters feel heard and appreciated. With all that he does, he never asks for praise. —Nominated by Marie Walton
Kathy Weisse, Lahey Hospital & Medical Center
Kathy Weisse has spent her entire 30-year career at Lahey Hospital in Burlington, specializing in orthopedic medicine. Not only is she a caring, compassionate, and excellent nurse, but she is also my mom. She has shown me how to provide excellent care as I started my career in the health field. I hadn’t realized how much of what she taught me at home would carry over into caring for others. Her clinical competency is unmatched. Kathy educates patients in the most caring and communicative way, breaking down everything. She deserves much more applause and recognition. —Nominated by Shannon Kelley
Fran White, Lahey Hospital & Medical Center
Fran White was my nurse manager at Lahey Hospital and Medical Center on the 6 Central Floor for 20 years, and she is nothing less than extraordinary. In my 43 years of nursing, I have never known a nurse manager who was as intelligent, encouraging, organized, and fair as Fran. I have never heard her raise her voice or seen her lose her temper, but she exudes a quiet strength and is most effective and respected as the nurse manager of an incredibly busy liver kidney transplant pre-and post-op floor.
When Fran expected a particularly difficult night due to patient acuity or staffing issues, she would often show up at six in the morning, with coffee cake and fresh fruit. I was the charge nurse on the night shift, and, inevitably at 6 a.m. it was all hands on deck. Every staff member was involved in someone’s room or in an emergency situation, and as the charge nurse I felt the pressure of the call button going off and felt the stress of needing to answer it. So often I would hear Fran’s soft voice on the intercom answering that light. And then I would see her running down the hallway to take someone to the bathroom or help them with a bedpan. No task was below Fran—if we were expected to do it, she also did it.
Every morning, Fran holds a huddle at the desk with the night shift and the day shift. No matter how chaotic the floor could become, she was always the voice of optimism and reason. She also used this time to acknowledge accomplishments of different staff members, whether it be educational, personal, or just that they had stepped up the shift before and made a difference to their patients and co-workers. Fran knew about it and publicly acknowledged them.
Fran is about to retire, and after many years of an amazing career she deserves a nod and a salute for what she has done for the nursing profession, for Lahey Hospital and Medical Center, for the 6 Central Floor and patients, and for so many nurses like myself who were privileged to call her their nurse manager. —Nominated by Denise Gallagher
Lexington Public Schools
Nursing Team, Lexington Public Schools
This group of 19 dedicated, skilled school nurses have helped students, families, and the staff navigate the ever-changing landscape of the pandemic. They’ve taken on additional roles, working past their contractual hours—doing contact tracing, pooled and symptomatic testing, hosting multiple COVID-19 and flu vaccine clinics, and providing education and support to so many individuals. I am so proud of this group of nurses. They are truly amazing.—Nominated by Kaen Rufo
Lowell General Hospital
Bonnie Boie, Lowell General Hospital
Waking up from emergency surgery is scary. Then being told I had cancer, an ileostomy, and a decent-sized incision was a lot. I had no idea how to take care of my ileostomy, so Bonnie, who is the ostomy and wound care nurse, walked me through all of it many times. She answered all questions and made me and my mother (who was helping me) feel confident that we could do this. She’s always caring and attentive when answering emailed questions about my wound or ileostomy. She’s a miracle worker, and anything she suggests always works. She is kind, and I am so grateful that she was my nurse.—Nominated by Amie Teixeira
Cindy Gaston, Lowell General Hospital
Cindy was extremely caring, patient and compassionate. She made my hospital stay much easier than it would have been otherwise. The health-care system has endured such a toll over the last two years and Cindy has kept a positive outlook in communicating with her patients.—Nominated by Jeanne Wagner
Martha’s Vineyard Hospital
Melissa Dolby, Martha’s Vineyard Hospital
Melissa has worked in the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital Family Medicine Department for approximately nine years and was instrumental during COVID, choosing not to work remotely, instead arriving on campus daily to support patients and families when they needed it. In early 2021, she deservedly moved into the role of nurse manager, at which she excels.
As a leader, she is knowledgeable, supportive, always composed, and engaging. The daily challenges of coordinating a multi-office department, and her unflappable, pleasant, and witty response to these challenges, shows what a true leader she is. She’s always ready to jump in and assist with whatever needs to be done, and her staff reflects this will-do attitude. Melissa was recently nominated to sit on the Mass General Brigham Ambulatory Nursing Counsel, where her insights and abilities are sure to be appreciated. It has been my honor and pleasure to work with Melissa.—Nominated by Pamela Thomas
Patricia Gazaille, Martha’s Vineyard Hospital
Consistently positive and always striving to improve her clinical skills, Patty treats patients with the utmost respect in all circumstances. She has the trust of all her co-workers and makes people’s lives better every day. Life is better with Patty Gazaille in it.—Nominated by Helen Green
Patty goes the extra mile to make everyone she comes across in the emergency room leaves with a remarkable impression of her love and care. She has shown how much she cares and understands the reason for being in the emergency room. I am honored that she takes care of not just myself, but my special needs son, who adores her.—Nominated by Janice Richardson Coke
Laura Schubert, Martha’s Vineyard Hospital
The birthing process is never easy, but it presents unique challenges for a 44-year-old woman, post-IVF, during COVID-19, on an island seven miles from the mainland. Add an emergency midnight cesarean section and you have what could have been a daunting experience, but the care, compassion, and patience of one special nurse made the experience a joyous event of adding a much-wanted, much-loved addition to one small Massachusetts family. Thank you to Laura Schubert for allowing us to focus on our new addition in a safe and caring environment.—Nominated by Kimberlee Labonte
Massachusetts Department of Public Health
Debra Perry, Department of Public Health
Debra Perry has been my supervisor for over seven years as regional coordinator for the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program (SANE). Deb is always there for support at any hour of the day or night when we are called to the Emergency Department to care for a sexual assault victim. As our clinical coordinator, she answers our clinical or technical question in order to give the “GOLD Standard” of care to our patients. No two cases are the same, and the care must be done correctly, since it’s all time-sensitive. Under her direction, I never feel alone when a complex situation arises on those 2 a.m. cases. Deb is there, a phone call away, with her calm and knowledgeable demeanor to ensure that everything is addressed for our SANE patient.
Deb has her master’s degree in forensic nursing and is a master at data collection and presentation—hence her nickname, “Data Deb.” She always pushes to improve our care to the SANE patient. She’s there for both the SANE nurse and the SANE patient, making the arduous experience of being a sexual assault patient or the nurse caring for that patient as good as it can be, to allow the healing to begin. Thank you, Data Deb.—Nominated by Patricia Cooney
Massachusetts Eye and Ear Hospital
Mass. Eye and Ear Nurses, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Hospital
In the 18 years I’ve worked at Mass Eye and Ear as a director, I have stood arm-in-arm with these nurses. There isn’t one nurse who stands out, but rather multiple nurses from all areas of the hospital—their professionalism, their respect for their patients, and their outstanding care and commitment while putting their personal needs aside. For example: How is this patient going to get home safely on the train? At the end of their shift, one nurse rode the train with the patient, bringing them to their loved ones. Many hands were held, hugs were given, tears were shed, and laughter was shared to help ease fears and worries. These nurses perform so many acts of kindness, courage, and commitment every day, from the new nurses to those with many years of experience who are teaching as they do their jobs. To all of these fine nurses that I have had the pleasure of working with, I salute you for the courage you showed in this pandemic and what you do on a daily basis.—Nominated by JoAnn Graziano
Massachusetts General Hospital
Joyce Barkin, Massachusetts General Hospital
I had a virtual visit with Joyce Barkin on Jan. 7 regarding intestinal issues and recurring left-knee pain. Joyce contacted my primary care physician immediately and secured a referral for a knee specialist, and I got an appointment the following week. The knee pain had been ongoing for six months, so it was soothing to get an appointment for an expert diagnosis.
Joyce is a nurse in Dr. Robb Nicholson’s office, and I have had interactions with her over the past decades as Dr. Robb’s patient. However, it’s very reassuring in this difficult time to have someone that listens patiently, and gives good advice.—Nominated by Patricia Previte
Kristen Bodnaruk, Massachusetts General Hospital
Kristen has been my husband’s primary infusion nurse since he was discharged from the hospital in March 2021 after being diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia. At the time, family members weren’t allowed in with the patients, so she was taking care of everything he needed solo while making sure that I was kept in the loop. Kristen now meets us every time with a smile, asking about our family. She always has his best interests at heart and make sure he gets into the infusion unit early, if needed, so that he can get home sooner. She is almost always one step ahead and has a transfusion ready to go before we even know he needs one. Several times we went in when my husband wasn’t feeling quite right. Luckily, because of her instincts and how well she gets to know her patients, she checked his vitals repeatedly and caught a few fevers that landed him in a lengthy hospital admission. Kristen has been working at MGH for over 20 years, specializing in oncology patients going through leukemia. With all her knowledge, experience, and kindness there isn’t anyone else I would want taking care of my husband. She is very special and treats her patients with such kindness, compassion, and respect.—Nominated by Alyson Achorn
Cathy Bonin, Massachusetts General Hospital
While my primary care physician was on maternity leave I developed some health problems, and Cathy was always available to answer my questions and direct my care. She always made me feel comforted and never made me feel like was overreacting. She has a great sense of humor and is one of the best nurses I have had the pleasure to be cared for by.—Nominated by Leslie Olsher
Izzi Carlo, Massachusetts General Hospital
I am nominating my daughter Izzi for the at-home hospice care she provided her father Bill Carlo, a non-Hodgkins lymphoma patient, over Christmas and New Year’s. Izzi is a graduate of Boston University’s Sargent College and Northeastern University’s graduate nursing program. She works at MGH Bigelow 7 and this fall starts part-time studies at Northeastern to be a nurse practitioner.
For more than two years, Bill had undergone many difficult procedures: stem cell transplants, immunotherapy, chemotherapy, and radiation. Just in time for the holidays, however, his team told Bill he had come to the end of the road.
Despite being a new nurse with no hospice experience, Izzi met the challenge of making Bill safe and comfortable in our family’s dining room. She had to get used to the lack of resources and direction she’d normally have in a hospital. Thanks to COVID and holiday schedules, the hospital’s hospice triage team was stretched thin, but everyone saw that Izzi could handle it.
Providing hospice care to the man who had raised her was heartbreaking. Bill was so proud that she had become a nurse. Every member of the teams who had served him at MGH had heard all the stories about his daughter Izzi, the nurse at Mass General. MGH had become Bill’s home away from home, and now it was Izzi’s.
As the days went by, Bill’s breathing became the heartbeat of the house. Exhausted, Izzi adjusted Bill’s meds, washed and turned him, kept him warm, and comforted him with words of love. After 10 days, Bill passed with Izzi at his side. She loved him as a daughter first and foremost, and was grateful that she could serve him as a nurse when he needed it the most.—Nominated by Sue McGovern
Abigail Carpenter, Massachusetts General Hospital
I was in MGH for 40 days with a lung transplant and she worked with me every day to get better. Her care and positive attitude really helped me get better.—Nominated by Pat Lovett
Jen Chan, Massachusetts General Hospital
Nurse Jen is fantastic. She always puts me and my daughter, who is 15 months old, at ease during the stressful experience of managing food allergies. She’s one of the only nurses who can keep my daughter calm enough to get her vitals. She makes sure our questions are answered and we’re as comfortable as possible during our very long appointments. Recently, my daughter started blowing Nurse Jen kisses—it’s very sweet. Thanks for all that you do.—Nominated by Lindsay Simeone
Kerry Chen, Massachusetts General Hospital
My daughter Kristen was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 2016, when she was seven months pregnant. Kristen was a patient at MGH in Lundar 10, and Kerry Chen was one of her team of nurses.
Over time, Kerry and Kristen developed a close relationship. Kerry was there for spinal taps, CAR T cells (stem cell transplants), chemo, and more. Even when Kerry wasn’t on duty she called or texted Kristen, whether she was in MGH or at home.
Driving up from the Cape or in from Stoneham, Kerry always made myself and my wife feel comfortable, as if Kristen was her only patient. She helped explain the procedures and guided us through this most difficult time.
Kristen passed on Dec. 21, 2019. Since then, Kerry has kept in touch with us and with Kristen’s husband Bryan. We consider Kerry part of our family. She has a special gift with a huge heart, and we love her dearly.—Nominated by Jim Hoar
Cherrylanne Curran, Massachusetts General Hospital
If I or a loved one is ever hospitalized, I’d want Cheryl as my nurse. Growing up in Boston, her roots are deep in the city. She calls Dorchester home and has lived there her whole life. She has seen the challenges other families, and sometimes her own, faced, and she wanted to help. I started working with Cheryl six years ago on the IV team at MGH. At the time, we were both IV techs with dreams of becoming nurses. Cheryl was accepted into a nursing program and started her first semester at a well-known college that took a turn and lost their accreditation. Like many, she struggled with having done all this work and overcome so much for it to not count. Eventually she was accepted into another program at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences—and then the pandemic happened. She postponed her 2020 wedding and continued on with school through the craziest time we medical people have ever seen. I am so proud of her hard work in getting her RN, but her story doesn’t stop there. In her two years as a nurse, she has grown so much. She has taken on a leadership role to help the new nurses coming on and she is almost too good at her job. She cares about the patient and what is truly best for them. When I finish my schooling, I’ll consider myself lucky if I can become half the nurse she is.—Nominated by Kimberlee Cogan
Leah Fingerman, MGH Pulmonary Associates, Massachusetts General Hospital
I met Leah when my favorite doctor of all time came to Mass General. Dr. Hallowell is so amazing that it was fitting that he was paired with the most amazing nurse. Leah exemplifies the definition of a nurse. Leah is intelligent, kind, and caring. With my lung issues, COVID has been a very time scary time. Leah and Dr. Hallowell have been there for me throughout. She is always available to answer questions, listen to my fears, and guide me. I’m so grateful for her care, I’m not sure I can even put it into words. Just knowing I have her and Dr. Hallowell there has made my life better. I have been able to navigate this pandemic with their help. Her care is second to none. I am blessed to have been in the care of such an amazing nurse.—Nominated by Jamie Slavin
Rose Gallagher, Massachusetts General Hospital
I have had the pleasure of working with Rose over the last three years. Rose has extensive knowledge in her specialty and uses it to make best clinical decisions for her patients. She takes the necessary time to evaluate learning needs, and educates both patient and family on medications, treatments, and disease process. She is also a great advocate for her patients and their families. She is kind and compassionate, and these values help to ensure that every patient she encounters gets the best care.—Nominated by Caren Whittington
Stefanie Iannalfo, Massachusetts General Hospital
I’ve worked with Stefanie for the last decade. Stefanie’s compassion has always been apparent, but in the past year she’s exceeded expectations in caring for her patients and her peers. Stefanie is an oncology nurse who personally connects with each patient, gets to know them and their families, and adjusts her care to meet their individual needs in innovative and creative ways. She recently cared for a patient with mental illness who was restless and distrusted health-care workers. Stefanie built rapport with this patient by allowing him to walk in the hallways almost constantly. This was extremely time consuming, as this patient was a fall risk and a flight risk, and therefore needed staff to be with him at all times. Stefanie artfully engaged him in conversation to distract him from being confined to the hospital. This is not out of the ordinary for Stefanie.
Stefanie is nonjudgmental, empathetic, and kind. She strives to maintain her patient’s dignity and respect when they’re extremely ill in their cancer trajectory. Patients walking in the hallway frequent stop by the “bubble” to chat with Stefanie when she’s the resource nurse. Her infectious personality, wit, and humor are welcomed by patients coming to grips with their cancer diagnoses. If my family member were sick, I would want Stefanie as their nurse, because she’s a fierce advocate and an expert oncology nurse.—Nominated by Christina Alexander
Annette Moore, Internal Medicine Associates, Massachusetts General Hospital
Annette has provided extraordinary care through the last two pandemic years with her work in the Internal Medicine Associates, a primary care general internal medicine practice at MGH. In the first year, this meant answering countless calls from patients paralyzed by fear. Her desperately needed reassurance comforted those with chronic conditions.
For the past year, the volume of outpatient COVID work accelerated as our understanding and therapeutic strategies stabilized for those hospitalized, and became more manageable. There were hundreds of vaccine questions to be answered, coming both from those looking for vaccine access and those highly skeptical. Annette continually updated her own knowledge as recommendations were constantly updated. Importantly, her confident voice swayed many to seek vaccination. With the omicron surge at the end of 2021, we were swamped by an unanticipated flood of patients with acute illness. Much has been written about the stress of the beta and delta waves on ERs and hospitals, but the added work that omicron placed on the front desk and nursing workforce for primary care practices was relentless and exhausting. Annette pushed herself to a higher level, providing expert guidance with day-to-day virtual care for the many breakthrough cases.
Outpatient nursing is a cornerstone of primary care. Annette is a spectacular example of the power and importance of relationships built with patients through years of individual interactions. Annette’s work exemplifies the importance of the consistent and continuous care delivered to patients throughout Massachusetts. ER and hospital nursing are critical elements of health-care delivery, but the importance and therapeutic value of trust built between a patient and the office nurse, who is always available to solve problems and provide reliable advice, is what allows acute care settings to most appropriately serve our needs. Caring over time is the essence of what we all want—someone we trust will be there when needed. Annette personifies this every day, every week, every month, year after year.—Nominated by John Goodson
Mary Mott, 7th Floor Lunder Neuroscience Center, Massachusetts General Hospital
Mary Mott was my angel in caring for my husband Richard during his stay on the 7th floor. Her concern, compassion, and patience for our entire family was greatly appreciated. Mary helped me through the most challenging time of my life, and for that she will never be forgotten.—Nominated by Marianne Carino
Lucas Nunes, Massachusetts General Hospital
My father, Dan, went into MGH last May with COVID-19 on top of an existing lung disease. He quickly was transferred to the ICU, and because he had COVID he couldn’t have visitors. I received a call from Lucas, who was awaiting my dad’s transfer. He explained calmly and kindly what was going on. He arranged for me to be able to come into the hospital and meet with him, my dad, and the team to discuss our goals of care. This was the most difficult conversation I’ve ever had, but Lucas was right there to support both of us. He was a great advocate who really listened to our needs and wants for my dad’s quality of life.
Dan was in the ICU for about a week with Lucas as his primary nurse. Of course, this was a scary time, especially since visiting was very limited. One day Lucas went into my dad’s room in full personal protective equipment and spent two straight hours talking, listening to Eric Clapton, washing my dad’s hair, and shaving his face. This meant the world to my dad and my family. He felt like a new man and was beyond grateful for that time Lucas spent with him. Being in the ICU is not ideal for anyone, but Lucas really made my father feel comfortable and brightened his day. Lucas called with an update at least once a day, unprompted. Knowing my dad was receiving such great care from Lucas made it easier for us to not be there 24/7, and we will be forever grateful.—Nominated by Molly McGarry
Lunder 10 Nurses, Massachusetts General Hospital
The nurses at MGH on Lunder 10 are angels. My husband was in and out of Lunder 10 for over five years. The nurses became his dear friends. They listened to his stories and his music on his “orange Bose speaker.” When he was able to walk round and round the hallway, he played his music softly while the nurses cheered him on. When he was admitted on his 70th birthday, before he was taken to his room the nurses posted signs that they’d made wishing him a happy 70th, despite their tiresome, stressful, and complicated duties. My husband met with respect, kindness, and admiration for the strength he showed in fighting his cancer. He was a person first and a patient second. Right up to his last breath on Lunder 10, we never felt alone. His favorite nurses never left him alone. Thank you to all the Lunder 10 angels; I am forever in your debt, and I will never forget you.—Nominated by Mary Ellen Mucci
Mary Omeara, Massachusetts General Hospital, Home Base Program
Mary is one of a kind. As the lead nurse in the Home Base Traumatic Brain Injury program, she deals primarily with patients from the Special Operations community who have a host of service-connected physical and behavioral issues, including post-traumatic stress.
I know that a Green Beret who didn’t complete the program came back because of Mary. He went on to complete an intensive clinical program to help heal his invisible wounds. He told me that Mary was one of the primary drivers for him to come back. This from a special operator with decades of military experience and multiple combat deployments. Mary quite possibly saved his life. A consummate clinical professional who cares deeply about her patients and is fully dedicated to her career as a nurse and clinician, it seems like Mary works 24/7.—Nominated by Daniel Arkins
Jessica O’Neil, Massachusetts General Hospital
Last April, at 15 years old, I underwent major abdominal surgery. This was my first big surgery so it was very stressful. Jess was a nurse on the pediatric surgical unit during the week I was recovering. She went over and above to support and assist my mom and I with anything we needed. While I was at the hospital, I missed a dance competition that I was very excited to perform at. Jess spent extra time talking to me about dance and how I was excited to return after my recovery. She helped me set up the livestream so I could watch my friends who were competing, and adjusted my medication schedule around it. After this experience, I decided that I want to pursue a career in nursing after high school. She really inspired me with her kindness, patience, and compassion. I will never forget how she impacted my life during such a hard time.—Nominated by Alexis Martineau
John Pellerito, White 10, Massachusetts General Hospital
My sister Alice was in and out of MGH for three months in the past year. She had severe rheumatoid arthritis, but now was having pulmonary and cardiac issues as well. We received a call requesting us to meet. Alice, who was a nurse for over 40 years, was fully aware of all that was happening. She insisted on being at MGH as she had graduated from MGH School of Nursing in 1962 and she always said you got the best care there. We met with her care team and were told that things didn’t look good, and Alice wanted comfort care only. Everyone working on White 10 was amazing, but one stood out. John announced his entrance with a booming voice to make her comfortable. He would then gently reposition her, chat with her, and check with us to see how we were doing. He was mentoring a student nurse, and I thought how lucky she was to have him as a mentor. He was scheduled several days that week and always had Alice as a patient. As the days passed, Alice was less and less alert. I arrived one day just as John came into her room. Hearing his booming voice, she sat up in her bed and gave him the biggest smile, even though she was very weak and seemed to have been asleep. The end was coming soon, and she was placed on palliative care. The next day John was again her nurse, checking to see how I was doing. A short time later she took her last breath. I called the desk and John was there immediately. I know that John’s care and concern made it possible for my sister to be at peace. He treated her with the dignity that should be afforded to every patient.—Nominated by Eleanor Donato
Ellen Silvius, Massachusetts General Hospital
Ellen is one of the most extraordinary nurses I have ever worked with. As the nurse navigator for the MGH Comprehensive Sickle Cell Disease Treatment Center, she spends every day advocating for a patient population that has been ignored by the health-care system for decades. While there are numerous examples of her compassion and fierce dedication, one in particular stands out. One patient who had been in and out of the hospital several times over the past year due to complications of his disease was being seen in the clinic. During the visit, Ellen learned that the patient, who was plagued with severe acute and chronic pain, was sleeping on an air mattress. She surmised that this was exacerbating his pain and his frequent hospitalizations. Ellen used her own money to buy the patient a new bed with sheets and a mattress pad. The patient has stayed out of the hospital for longer than he was able to over the past year.
Stories of Ellen’s compassion could fill pages. She has paid for cab rides. She has purchased warm clothing for patients who have none. She has gone to the cafeteria to buy food for patients who haven’t had a real meal for days. Ellen Silvius defines what it means to be a nurse: giving of herself for the sake of her patients without even a second thought.—Nominated by Shart Azar
Victoria Vessering, Massachusetts General Hospital
Our niece was admitted to the emergency room at MGH in January. She arrived in intense pain, suffering from end stage cancer. She had fought a courageous battle for almost four years. She tried to stay at home because she was immunocompromised and there was a COVID upswing, but the pain and swelling became intolerable. At that time, support persons could only stay for a short period, and she would soon be alone. Nurse Vessering admitted her and managed to find her a separate alcove that was private, and thus safe.
She provided a warm, cozy blanket and warm support while she arranged for pain medication. The emergency room was very full and we don’t know how she managed this, but we will always remain grateful that Lynn had this personal touch in a large city hospital at the end of her life.—Nominated by Ann Rinaldi
Caren Whittington, Massachusetts General Hospital
I have very difficult patients with complex issues who require a lot of attention and care. Despite being spread thin by numerous responsibilities and activities in the clinic, Caren is always respectful and kind to my patients. She completes the work and we routinely receive very high marks from patients.—Nominated by Michael Levy
Mass General, Brigham Home Care
Iron Town Team, Partners HealthCare at Home, Mass General Brigham Home Care
All of the nurses on the Iron Town Team who have provided services for me this year have been wonderful. They all go out of their way to do anything extra that I might need. This includes all of the professionals on the Iron Town team. The nurses help you navigate the medical forms, discharge instructions, drugs prescribed, interactions, side effects, etc. They are to be commended.—Nominated by Karen Dutton
Helen Tieger, Partners HealthCare
Helen is kind, gentle, and confident in the most comforting way. My mother-in-law’s elderly husband had a terrible fall and was briefly hospitalized. Upon his release, Helen Tieger was assigned to us for daily wound care for six weeks. Her patient was exhausted, frightened, and completely overwhelmed after his stay in the hospital. Helen’s demeanor, kind words, and expert care helped him through a most difficult time. Throughout the next few months, Helen came intermittently for many health concerns, and always brought her professional but ever-so-gentle care and concern. We are forever grateful for her presence through these last difficult months.—Nominated by Gretchen Wollerscheid
Mattapan Community Health Center
Eileen Rosado, Mattapan Community Health Center
Eileen has, for many years, been a zealous advocate for the patients of Mattapan Community Health Center. And during the two years of COVID testing and vaccination, she has taken the role of clinical leader to a whole new level, even though she was, pre-COVID, promoted into a different role. For me, as a former co-worker, Eileen has always been a source of information, inspiration, and great example of the compassion needed to be a great nurse. No, I am not a nurse, but a great admirer of those who do the job, and do it well.—Nominated by Domenic Cianciarulo
Paula Bolton and Sophie Forte, McLean Hospital
Mental health needs have skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic, and nurses in psychiatric settings face unique and daunting challenges. More and more people require care for serious mental health conditions—often prompted or exacerbated by the pandemic—and health-care workers themselves are fighting emotional exhaustion on top of providing vital front-line care during an epidemic.
Paula Bolton and Sophie Forte at McLean Hospital delivered unsurpassed care to our patients and caregivers alike during the latest COVID surge in late 2021/early 2022, leading the McLean Infection Control team. I was brand new to McLean when the “third wave” of COVID hit, and I was immediately impressed with Paula and Sophie, both individually and together. Paula tirelessly advocated for policies, equipment, and testing capabilities to maximize both patient and staff safety at all levels, and Sophie brought a fantastic combination of determination and positive attitude to everything from filming infection control educational videos to securing 3 a.m. lab results. Paula and Sophie make a terrific team and are amazing, passionate nurses who put their patients and colleagues at the heart of all they do.—Nominated by Catherine Bromberg
Kathleen Cushing, McLean Hospital
Kathleen is an amazing nurse for the patients, and a mother hen of sorts for the staff. She is approachable, kind, and compassionate with all of our patients. She patiently interacts with parents daily. She is an excellent communicator, reaching out to providers via email and phone, and consistently following through with any concerns. All of the staff turn to Kathleen for comfort, or to debrief after a tough day. When I’m not there to care for my patients in person, I have complete trust that Kathleen will care for them as if they were her own family.—Nominated by Heather Ciaramitaro
Alianna Martino, MelroseWakefield Hospital
Absolutely top-shelf.—Nominated by Joyce Pantano
Merrimack Valley Hospice
Carole Barton, Merrimack Valley Hospice
I cannot say enough about the wonderful care and support Merrimack Valley Hospice showed our family. I am so honored that your hospice organization cared for my husband during his illness. The love, compassion, and dedicated staff, made our life a lot easier. Carole was amazing. I have no words to describe the emotions I am feeling.—Nominated by Lauren Brousseau, on behalf of Anonymous
Sandra Schrimpf, Merrimack Valley Hospice
Sandra is always on time, kind, compassionate, gentle, very knowledgeable, and willing to help. I cannot find enough adjectives to describe Sandra and the great job she does to support her patients. She is a great asset to the hospice and the community. I would like to recognize her and give her the merit she deserves. Thank you, Sandra.—Nominated by Lauren Brousseau, on behalf of Anonymous
Miles River Middle School
Marybeth Ting, Miles River Middle School, Hamilton Wenham Regional School District
Nurse Ting has worked tirelessly for the Hamilton-Wenham community as our middle school and public health department nurse. She has managed surges, conducted thorough contact tracing, and worked with the sick or anxious children streaming into her office. In my interactions with Nurse Ting, she has always been professional, kind, and compassionate. She has been a true public servant throughout the COVID pandemic and beyond.—Nominated by Melissa Ciaccia
Milestones Day School and Transition Program
Lyn Ross, Milestones Day School
Lyn is the school nurse at a therapeutic day school for 85 amazing students who battle anxiety, learning disabilities, and social communication difficulties. The pandemic was a source of great stress for our faculty, families, and students, exacerbating already existing vulnerabilities. Lyn rose to the challenge of navigating our community through the pandemic, and continues to stay vigilant or our behalf, tirelessly researching and networking to keep abreast of all COVID-related information. Remaining calm and empathetic, Lyn has opened her evenings and weekends up to faculty and families without complaining, resulting in countless phone conversations outside of the school day. Each student or faculty member who seeks Lyn out is met with compassion, validation, and support. Lyn deserves the most raucous standing ovation imaginable.—Nominated by Sarah Folk
Nurse Lyn Ross demonstrates compassion, excellence in communication, trust in care, and so much more every day that she’s in the school. From communicating with parents to informing staff and students of new regulations, guidelines, and protocols, she’s always there. Nurse Lyn has spread so much happiness in and outside of the school that it doesn’t go unnoticed.—Nominated by Dillon Longmoore
Lyn has been a warrior at our school for autistic students. We went back to school last July, just months after COVID hit us hard. Lyn has protected our students and staff with her tireless efforts—between COVID meetings and parent interactions, she doesn’t stop. Lyn always has a smile, even behind her mask. The kids and staff love her and are lucky she’s here.—Nominated by Michele Steinbrecher
Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt University
Jessica Shachat, Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt University
This is one of several letters written about Jessica. Rebecca and Ricky wrote the following letter regarding Jessica’s interaction and care of Ricky. “Wow! How do I describe Jessica. Phenomenal! She’s had my son, Ricky, a few times. The best part is she bonded with him the visit before and helped him deal with pain in a way no one else has. She joked with him. Made him laugh. Took time to learn about him while he was having a major pain episode. He had been crying in pain for 3 hours. We had tried all meds and all of his ‘tools’ to deal with the pain. She sat by his bedside and calmed him. Talked about his dogs and spent an extended amount of time at his bedside calming him. She never got stressed or excited. She remained calm and loving while he was sobbing in pain. I’m forever thankful for the care she gave my Ricky. The best part when he was admitted, was his nickname ‘crunch wrap supreme’ was written by his name on his whiteboard. That’s incredible. She remembered his name and his nickname she gave him. She’s the best nurse ever.”
Another parent, Carrie, wrote ‘”Jessica was great with my 14 yr old son, talked to him and me about our plan of care and rounded often to check on him, kept us in the loop about what was going on. She made sure he wasn’t hurting and made him feel comfortable! All the staff was great from ER, surgery, recovery and the 8th floor, but Jessica really sticks out!! Thanks so much for making a stressful situation so much better!!”
And here’s another letter from Kasey, who wrote “Jessica has been amazing! We have had Jessica a few times. She is always so happy and playful with my daughter. It means the world to us that she takes her time with our daughter and tries to keep her comfortable and happy. We have been in the hospital for a month now and it has been really hard. But when we have Jessica around it makes it so much easier even when our daughter is not feeling her best.”
Finally, Marcie wrote this about her daughter’s care by Jessica. “My daughter was newly diagnosed with an autoimmune bowel inflammatory disease. This was her second hospitalization, about a week from the first, during which time she received the initial diagnosis. It was all rather scary and overwhelming for my daughter and myself. Severe pain, uncertainty and anxiety are some of the emotions my daughter was experiencing. All sense of normalcy and looking toward the future were fading. Throughout the many medical consultations, labs, imaging, and often disappointing news, Jess was able to talk with my daughter on a level that was informative and comforting about what she needed to do in her care, draws, etc. Jessica has an energy about herself that draws my daughter in. They were able to connect as volleyball players as well. Jess was genuinely compassionate about her approach to care. I thank her from the bottom of my heart.”—Nominated by Carol Shachat
Mt. Auburn Hospital
Wendy Cayton, Mt. Auburn Hospital
How is it possible to look forward to going to the hospital for treatment of metastatic breast cancer? The answer is Wendy Cayton, one of the oncology nurses at Mount Auburn’s Hoffman Breast Center. Wendy is not just competent, as are all the other nurses at this center, but envelops me with trust that she is always checking on what’s right for my particular case. She makes me laugh (laugh? for treatment of the big C?) when it comes time for her to wrangle a colleague to help deliver two simultaneous very large injections as they count one…two…three—and in they go. We talk about family and love of novels during my infusion, and she checks with my oncologist and nurse practitioner to make sure all is going well. It’s not possible to feel down when in the company of Wendy Cayton. —Nominated by Nancy Pike
Kerry Preytis, Mt. Auburn Hospital
After being sent home after a surgical lobectomy for lung cancer, I was readmitted three hours later for atrial fibrillation to the cardiac unit of Mt. Auburn, where I stayed for another three days. Two days later, I was confused and panicked after another morning a-fib event and didn’t know what was happening to me. My nurse that day was Kerry Preytis and, though incredibly busy on her 12-hour shift, she sat and held my hand to calm me down. She took time throughout the day to come and visit, got me a social worker, and generally talked me down and cared for me. It was beyond what she needed to do to fulfill her job. I thank her from the bottom of my heart and feel that she saved me that day. —Nominated by Barbara Lawrence
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