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2023 Salute to Nurses: Letters U-Z

UMass Memorial Health

Kathleen Minucci, UMass Memorial Health

Kathleen is the kindest, most professional nurse on earth. Her work ethic is unmatched. – Nominated by Bill Loftus

Nurses, UMass Memorial IVF Clinic

Infertility occurs in one out of every eight couples. My husband and I are part of the one. UMass IVF Clinic is a small IVF practice in Worcester. We entered the practice in January 2022. We met with our doctor for follow-up appointments and procedures. Throughout the whole process of lab work and procedures, I met the many nurses who work at the clinic. The nurses provided guidance, prompt communication, and advocated for me. I will never forget them giving support and providing glimpses of hope when I no longer wanted to continue. As a nurse myself, it is hard being a patient. The nurses were compassionate with sensitive topics. They answered my questions and followed up on my concerns. As our graduation from the clinic nears, I will not forget the kindness and compassion given to me by my nurses. – Nominated by Thin Malatesta

VA Bedford Healthcare System

Bedford VA Hospice Nurses, VA Bedford Healthcare System

All of the nurses who worked in the hospice unit of the Bedford VA took outstanding care of my father. When he passed, they were deeply compassionate and went out of their way to honor his memory and service to the nation. I wish I could choose just one nurse, but the entire unit was outstanding. They cared so much for both the patient and the family. – Nominated by Christina Ascolillo

Welch Senior Living

Assisted Living Nurses, Welch Senior Living

After 54 successful years in my career, I’ve decided to hang up my “cap” and retire. Truthfully, I can’t say that I looked forward to retirement because I love what I do. Nursing is so gratifying. The delight I felt every time I gave a reassuring word to my residents, families, and staff and saw them smile reminded me of the importance of impacting peoples’ lives positively. 

I’ve worked with so many outstanding nurses over my career that I can’t name them all. Many of them were with Welch Senior Living, and I’m proud to honor all the nurses that I’ve been so fortunate to work with and mentor. I would like to recognize the nurses that have worked over many years from Allerton House at Central Park, Allerton House at Harbor Park, Duxbury House at the Village Memory Care Residence, The Village at Duxbury, The Village at Proprietor’s Green, RiverCourt Residences, and Providence House. They have all been amazing. They’re remarkable, and they work tirelessly for their residents, families, and staff, very often going the extra mile to ensure residents receive the care they deserve, families are heard, and staff are valued. Not a day has gone by that I am not reminded in some way how lucky I am to have worked with all of them. – Nominated by Eleen Laramee

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! Trish 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

Tanned, freckled woman with short blond hair  in her 60s or 70s smiling a big toothy grin.
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 number one 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 woman with long black hair in loose curls wearing long-sleeved beige shirt.
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 miles!) for her patients. 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 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 patient and their families, but the staff as well, is palpable. – Nominated by Kelly Holden

Westford Family Medicine

Donna Crowe, Westford Family Medicine

I’ve worked with Donna since 2010. I am a family physician and she is the nurse in my office.  She is retiring this year after 30-plus years working for Lowell General Hospital. Donna is an amazing person, friend, co-worker, nurse, mother, and grandmother. She is my go-to person daily for so many different things. She is a great resource for me and the patients and is such an advocate for them. She’ll go to any lengths to help them, including scouring senior centers and nursing homes for old wheelchairs and fixing them for patients to use, buying medications for patients who can’t afford them, giving patients her lunch when they were hungry and had low blood sugar — I could go on and on. I will miss her terribly when she retires this summer and I know I will be calling her often with questions that only she can answer.
Nominated by Christen Fragala

Whittier Hospital Medical Center

Audrey Canton, Whittier Hospital

On very busy night with many complex intensive care level patients, Audrey calmly orchestrated their safe admission, assisting our nurses so that there were no gaps and all patients had a safe continuity of care. Her dedication often goes well beyond her scheduled supervisory time, often into the early hours of the next morning. She leads our nurses with such alacrity and grace. – Nominated by Ronald Gaudette

Winchester Hospital

Maureen Celata, Winchester Hospital

Maureen Celata, a member of Winchester Hospital’s post-anesthesia care unit, is an experienced nurse who is filled with care and compassion for others. She is the one you want to see when opening your eyes after surgery. She will be there to take care of you both physically and emotionally. Maureen never sits still and is always “cleaning house” and asking how she can help others when not busy with her own patients. She has taught many nurses in post-op care and is a truly special mentor. Winchester Hospital is very lucky to have her on their team. – Nominated by Terry Bomal

Mackenzie Griffin, Winchester Hospital

My daughter Caroline and her husband entered Winchester Hospital with eager and joyful anticipation. Their due date had come and gone, and they were more than ready to meet their firstborn. As a nurse mother with 45 years of clinical experience, I was hoping for a supremely uneventful delivery. That’s not what happened.

Mackenzie immediately put me at ease with her warm and knowledgeable demeanor. I felt confident that she would provide the assessment, intervention, and reassurance that all deliveries call for. She was the perfect match for Caroline’s emotional needs and exactly what the upcoming situation would require.

Caroline’s delivery was routine — until it wasn’t, due to the umbilical cord being wrapped around the baby’s neck and shoulder dystocia. Mackenzie recognized the situation and, being the true professional that she is, immediately summoned assistance. The result was a healthy nine-pound baby boy. I’m overjoyed at the care the entire OB team provided, but especially grateful for such a wonderful nurse. Every time I look at Daniel I am reminded of the miracle of life, the precariousness of birth, and the professional dynamics of the skilled Winchester OB team. I will always be grateful that Mackenzie was my daughter’s nurse.– Nominated by Judy Gallagher

Brenda Roy, Winchester Hospital

Brenda Roy is a uniquely dedicated longtime nurse who gives her all for her “Winchester family.” I have worked with Brenda for 20-plus years, and she never ceases to amaze me with her drive and spunk, her versatility, and her genuine care for her profession. Brenda is our most senior nursing supervisor, yet she runs circles around so many younger in years. She picks up many extra shifts, and nobody ever wonders if she will make it in a snowstorm — she always does. She is a valued mentor and leader with a wealth of knowledge and life experience. Brenda is a very special member of Winchester Hospital’s nursing supervisor team, and I want to let her know how much she is appreciated. – Nominated by Terry Bomal

Brenda Vollmar, Winchester Hospital Anticoagulation Clinic

Brenda is a caring professional who helps me monitor critical INR [international normalized ratio] levels. Through her fine, efficient, and knowledgeable efforts I’m able to prevent a stroke. Thank you, Nurse Brenda. You’re a life saver. – Nominated by Harold MacCaughey

Editors: Spence & Sanders Communications, LLC.

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