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2024 Salute to Nurses Letters A-B

Anna Jaques Hospital

Lisa Devenish, Anna Jaques Hospital

Lisa has been in various nursing roles serving the local community of Newburyport, but for the last 22 years, she has dedicated her career to the cardiology department of Anna Jaques Hospital. Lisa’s nursing expertise puts everyone in our department at ease, from the doctors to the technologists. Her quick wit and charm bring the patients comfort during what can be a very stressful time. Lisa is hardworking and dedicated to providing the safest care for her patients. We are so lucky to have her at Anna Jaques Hospital.

Nominated by Ashley Keighley

Kasey Plourde, Anna Jacques Hospital

Kasey was our angel. We had a difficult labor and complications with a cesarean section. I was lucky to have Kasey as my nurse throughout the entire daytime labor. She assisted with the C-section (she was so boss — she ran the show, keeping everything organized and in line) and helped with my recovery from a trying delivery. She helped guide me with compassion and strength and made me comfortable to just let everything go. She also gave me insight into being a mom and a human, which was amazing. This nurse will forever be in my family’s life; we talk about her often.
Nominated by Kelly McNutt

Heidi Tyrrell, Anna Jaques Hospital

Heidi is a special nurse. Every patient is like one of her family members, and she treats them as such. Her 8- to 12-hour shifts are all about kindly and thoroughly fulfilling her patients’ needs. I have never seen her angry in the five years I have worked with her. She is always sweet and loving, and her patients feel that warmth. They feel the benefit of her compassion, as do her coworkers. 

Heidi is also an advocate for her patients. If she feels they would benefit from another night in the hospital, she will call the doctor and discuss her reasoning. She does not take the opportunity to sit down at the nurses’ station very often; she is too busy caring for her patients, no matter what their needs may be. She is a patient’s dream and an excellent employee and friend.

Nominated by Suzi Cashman

Artius Health 

Robin Bishop-Davis, Atrius Health

Robin makes her job as a nurse look easy when it is anything but. She always has a smile on her face when I come to check in on her, which is saying a lot since we have been short-staffed and slammed with a high volume of patient care.

She has a ton of patients who know her by her first name and only want to talk with her when they call. This is because she genuinely cares about the well-being of all her patients. She treats each one of them as if they were her own parents. It is always a blessing to have that one nurse you know will always be the calming force in the storm, and her positivity and true empathy for her patients make her that exceptional nurse.

Nominated by Katelyn Shiner

Kristen Cardinal, Atrius Health

Kristen is quiet and thoughtful, so she often floats under the radar among our group of nurses, but she truly does an amazing job with her patient care. She is empathetic, caring, and passionate about making sure our patients feel supported and heard. She has a reassuring air about her and a calming voice that can put the most agitated patient at ease. I have seen her when working with patients, and you can see the immediate effect her calming presence has on them. While we have many voices in nursing (we tend to be a vocal group), it is Kristen’s quiet but deliberate dedication to her patients that personifies what it means to be a nurse.

Nominated by Katelyn Shiner

Kay Phillips, Atrius Health

I was married to Kay for 10 days short of 40 years and with her for 42 years. Sadly, Kay passed away two years ago on Thanksgiving day after a brief illness. I’ve honored her here before, and I just wanted to take the opportunity to remember her again as a wonderful nurse who helped so many people over her long career. 

Kay was a pediatric nurse, and she loved her job. She helped so many parents and their children not just through routine care but through difficult times as well. From newborns to pediatric hospice care, Kay was always there with the right words. She loved the smiles she got from the children and the wonderful thank-you notes from parents. It broke her heart when things didn’t go well for a patient, but she always reached out with comforting words. She was a wonderful nurse and a wonderful person. 

Nominated by Arthur Steinberg

Elizabeth Wade, Atrius Health

Elizabeth Wade is the consummate professional in every sense. She listens carefully, checks for accuracy of what she has heard, and gives wonderful advice (and alternative choices). She looks you in the eye, and I can feel her compassion every time. I feel safe with Elizabeth.

Nominated by Gilbert Williams

Baystate Franklin Medical Center

Linda Judd, Baystate Franklin Medical Center

My wife, Linda Judd, has been a dedicated nurse for over five decades. Her career has seen a myriad of changes. Still, she continues to care for her patients in the dedicated, professional, and loving way she was taught during a time when nursing was a much different profession than what it is today. 

Her accomplishments as a nurse have been many, including helping her fellow nurses as a long-standing co-chair of the Massachusetts Nurses Association bargaining unit. But nothing has meant more to her than the care she has given to her patients for so many years. And based on the many comments and letters she has received from them over the years, it’s clear that they have loved her for what she has given them, too. 

Respected by all those she works with, not only in her profession but also within her community, her church, and the volunteer work she has participated in for many years, she is truly a person who carries a bright light for all who know and love her. Only Linda knows how long she will continue in this profession she has given so much to. But my thought, having known and loved her for 48 of her 73 years on earth, is that only time will tell. As of right now, I see no end in sight.

Nominated by Joseph Judd

Benchmark Senior Living

Brendalin Alger, Benchmark Senior Living at Forge Hill

Working in a memory care unit certainly holds its challenges. Brendalin Alger manages these challenges extremely well. She is a compassionate and caring nurse who provides excellent care to her residents. She is attentive to her patients and tunes in to all the residents’ individual needs. She monitors the medical needs of the residents and comforts them when issues arise. 

Brendalin has been caring for my mom for the last three years. She communicates well with the nurse practitioner and our family to report health changes with Mom. I am confident my mom is getting great care while Brendalin is on duty. Forge Hill is fortunate to have her!

Nominated by Maura Goodney

Christine Berntsen, The Village at Brookfield Common, Benchmark Senior Living

My mother-in-law has been a resident of the memory unit at The Village at Brookfield for almost a year. She is paranoid and delusional and not very trusting. Chris has shown consistent patience, caring, and great clinical judgment. She has gained my mother-in-law’s trust and, over time, has been able to give her the medication she needs to keep her stable. Others have not been able to accomplish this. Chris is caring, communicates well with the family, and goes above and beyond to help her with activities of daily life. 

With the building of a trusting relationship, we have seen my mother-in-law go from isolation to interacting with others, gaining weight, and having a much better quality of life. Being a nurse myself for over 30 years, I know quality care when I see it. I thank God for caring nurses like Chris.
Nominated by Diane Volk

Cindy Betkoski, The Village at Brookfield Common, Benchmark Senior Living

Cindy’s attention to detail is outstanding. She’s caring, always in contact with me — even if it’s something minor — has a wonderful sense of humor, and is extremely knowledgeable and professional. My stepdad, for whom I am the healthcare proxy and power of attorney, adores her.

I’ve worked as a social worker in a large skilled nursing facility in New York, and I can say from experience that Cindy is one of, if not the, best. She is well-deserving of this recognition.

Nominated by Daphne Hodgson 

Jason Carreiro, Harbor Point at Centerville, Benchmark Senior Living

Jason has been an angel for my mom and other patients at Harbor Point. He is compassionate, has a sense of humor, is very humble, and is a great person who fights for his patients.

Nominated by Lynnette Walker

Amy Carter, Benchmark Senior Living at Waltham Crossings

Amy Carter has displayed exceptional care and compassion as a Waltham Crossings nurse. She goes above and beyond to ensure the well-being of our residents, demonstrating a genuine concern for their comfort and easing any fears or anxieties they may have. One of the ways Amy exhibits her compassion is through her careful listening and empathetic responses. She takes the time to truly understand her residents’ concerns, validating their emotions and offering support. She creates a safe space for our residents to express their needs, fostering trust and building a solid patient-nurse relationship.

Furthermore, Amy serves as a strong advocate for her patients. She prioritizes their needs and ensures that their voices are heard. By collaborating with the healthcare team, she advocates for appropriate treatments, interventions, and resources. She respects patients while providing guidance and support when needed. Amy’s caring and compassionate nature, clinical competency, excellent communication skills, trust in care, and advocacy for her patients make her an invaluable asset to the Waltham Crossings team. She sets a remarkable example for others in the field and profoundly impacts our residents’ lives.

Nominated by Tanisha Nkuusa

Bernadette Duncan, The Atrium at Cardinal Drive, Benchmark Senior Living

Bernadette offered kindness and support during a trying visit with my partner, who was having a challenging day. Bernadette not only dispenses medication but also offers professionalism and a warm heart. She was able to mollify my partner while she was having a hard day with her progressing condition of Alzheimer’s. Bernadette is a credit to her profession and a fine example of care found at The Atrium at Cardinal Drive.

Nominated by Wally Swist

Christine Dunn, Academy Point at Mystic, Benchmark Senior Living

Chris has consistently been professional and compassionate when dealing with my mother’s medical needs and general care. She maintains a calm demeanor with a good sense of humor. Chris is also very good at maintaining contact with me about medication changes or other issues. She is very collaborative with other care providers for my mother, as well as with me.

Nominated by Lise Mayers

Zeina El Jenaynati

Zeina El Jenaynati, Adelaide of Newton Centre, Benchmark Senior Living

Zeina is the kindest and most caring nurse I have ever met. My mother, a former first-grade teacher and professor of education, has Alzheimer’s disease, and watching her memory fail has been painful. Watching Zeina taught me to accept the change and to cherish my mom’s warmth and wittiness, which haven’t been lost. Zeina teaches by example, showing us how a memory-impaired elderly woman can live with dignity and connection to others.

Nominated by Lisa Diller

Paul Mansfield, Orchard Estate of Woodbury, Benchmark Senior Living

Paul is always helpful with any issues. When he is working, I know my mom is in the best hands. He has helped me and my family numerous times, from comforting my mom to making sure she has the care and medications needed. He makes her feel that her feelings matter, and when she’s had issues, he runs to help. He puts our whole family at ease, and we know she is well taken care of.

Nominated by Tami Guglielmelli

Meagan Marcoux, Greenwich Farms at Warwick, Benchmark Senior Living

Meagan was so kind and caring to my brother-in-law, who has several challenges. She went out of her way to help him. She was an angel! Meagan has excellent nursing skills and is so compassionate. She treats her patients with dignity and great patience. We are so grateful to her for giving her all and going above and beyond. She is truly a blessing to all she surrounds.

Nominated by Madeleine OLeary

Amanda Palis, Whisper Woods of Smithtown, Benchmark Senior Living

Amanda is the best nurse at Whisper Woods of Smithtown. She is highly competent and efficient, and she has unbounded patience and compassion. She also has a great sense of humor and always goes above and beyond her duties. She takes the time to listen and is always cheerful and motivating to me and all the many other patients she sees daily. I love her!

Nominated by Helen Czanowicki

Amanda Palis, Whisper Woods of Smithtown, Benchmark Senior Living

I was introduced to Amanda, who began caring for my mom several months ago. She has been consistently communicative on even the smallest of issues, and, at 89 years of age, there is always at least one issue. She is proactive in contacting outside doctors and following up on orders that are needed for her to care for my mom properly. She is very careful not to overstep her boundaries, but I believe I can rely on her opinion to help me decide how to handle many small matters like cuts, diet, when to escalate care to a specialist, etc. 

Most importantly, she treats my mom with patience and compassion. Amanda also understands the emotional side of caring for the elderly.

Nominated by Linda Passante

Amanda Palis, Whisper Woods of Smithtown, Benchmark Senior Living

Amanda is an amazing individual who is compassionate, friendly, and caring. She is patient and is someone who I consider a family member. She truly loves my parents and has always advocated for them and what was in their best interest. She is truly one of a kind.

Nominated by Regina Ruoff

Robinah Pamilton, Adelaide of Newton Centre, Benchmark Senior Living

Robinah Pamilton is the senior day-shift nurse at Adelaide of Newton Centre, a memory care facility. It is my understanding that she has been working at this facility since it opened in 2019. From the beginning of my mom’s stay in this facility and every day since then, I have observed and come to know Robinah’s deep dedication and care for the residents. Even though she works a full shift, she arrives early and leaves late. She works through breaks — with a laser focus on the ever-changing needs of the residents. She appears to have boundless energy. She is keenly knowledgeable but also cheerful and kind.

She dispenses medications and rays of sunshine in her interactions with the residents. She follows through with her promises and can be counted on to be on top of everything that needs attention in her shift and the days ahead. She is dynamic and has a good sense of humor — often making fun of herself — and is easy with a laugh or hug to soothe nerves and fears. As a caregiver, I have come to count on her to clarify medical terms and to give me hope in an otherwise hopeless situation. When I know Robinah is on duty, I feel I can relax a bit, knowing that my mom will get the care and attention she needs to help her navigate her day.

Nominated by Gwen Wilcox

Christine Perate, Sturges Ridge of Fairfield, Benchmark Senior Living

I am writing this on behalf of my mother who lives at Sturges Ridge. Christine is the nicest and most attentive person to my mom. She goes out of her way to check on her when there is a need — and even when there isn’t. I can’t tell you how much my family is comforted by having such compassionate people working at Sturges Ridge.

Nominated by Susan DiMartino

Barbara Pierce, The Birches at Concord, Benchmark Senior Living

Placing Mom in memory care was one of the most difficult things I have ever done. I am also a nurse, and having a caring, competent nurse take over her care was critical to our decision to make the move.

There are many bumps in the road as your loved one acclimates, but Barbara has always greeted me with a smile and given me her 100 percent attention, even though I knew she was busy. She uses critical thinking skills, and if she doesn’t know the answer to my question or how to address a concern, she finds out. She communicates well and seems to have a deep respect for residents. I trust her judgment and know that if she has concerns, she will follow through.

Nominated by Debra Samaha

Fatima Salazar-Avalos, Benchmark at Rye, Benchmark Senior Living

Fatima demonstrates competency, compassion, and expert care every day here at Benchmark at Rye. She communicates with every member of the staff to ensure a safe and productive environment that encourages trust between residents and associates. Fatima remains calm against the daily pressures that can come from working with seniors diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and various dementias. She is a leader in our community, and we are proud of the work she does and continues to do.

Nominated by Julia Evans

Roxanne Salerno, Orchard Estate of Woodbury, Benchmark Senior Living

Roxanne is devoted to the residents of Orchard Estate and truly cares about their health and well-being. My mom has advanced dementia, and it has been a difficult disease and decline. Roxanne has supported her needs and has provided compassion to my family along the way. 

Roxanne continually checks in on my mom’s vitals and assesses her health. My mom has had multiple hospitalizations and recent wound care needed for her legs. Roxanne ensures the wound is thoroughly looked after, kept clean, and healing. She also stepped in when my mom needed oxygen and spent the day advocating on her behalf to ensure the facility had oxygen for her to return from the hospital. I’m so grateful for her and appreciate the love and superior medical care she provides my mom. She is a true professional with a big heart in the Orchard Estate community. 

Nominated by Tara Isler

Trician Salmon

Trician Salmon, The Village at Buckland Court, Benchmark Senior Living

My mother, who is 96, returned to The Village on January 20, 2023, after a week in the hospital and another three weeks at a rehabilitation center. When she was discharged from the rehab center, they did not arrange for oxygen or provide us with her medication list and were unprepared for her discharge, even though we had spoken to her social worker about the discharge time. 

When we arrived at The Village, Trician Salmon took charge of the situation, speaking with the rehab nurse about the “unsafe discharge” and following up on the missing oxygen and medications. She directed them to fax the medication list and was told the company they had ordered the oxygen from was closed, but she was able to arrange for an oxygen delivery at 6 p.m. on a Saturday. Without her, my mother would have had to return to the rehab center or be taken by family to an emergency room.

Trician went above the call of duty, but we have found that to be her nature. She cares about people, listens to concerns, helps to assist her residents, and is dedicated to her profession of helping others. You have an incredibly special staff member in this nurse!

Nominated by Donna Healy

Trician Salmon, The Village at Buckland Court, Benchmark Senior Living 

Her dedication to the residents is so admirable, and it shows in the excellent care she provides. You never hear her say, “Not my job.” Kindness, fairness, caring, trustworthiness, emotional stability, and compassion are aspects of her personality that serve her well as a nurse. She always keeps me updated with my brother’s care, even when I know she is so busy. Her sense of humor is fantastic and helps to put a smile on my brother’s face. I can’t thank her enough for choosing nursing as her career.

Nominated by Carol Knochenhauer

Aster Sikander, Benchmark Senior Living at Hamden

Aster is a nurse at Benchmark Senior Living who has cared for my mother in both the traditional and memory care units. She is compassionate and caring. She comes by to medicate my mother and takes the time to select something on television for her. She comforts her and will facilitate a phone call to me if my mother is upset.

Aster is also very observant and recently contacted my mother’s nurse practitioner regarding a leg wound that she felt needed to be evaluated. I appreciate that so much since I visit often and did not notice that wound.

Aster relates so well with the elderly residents and those with dementia. She communicates concerns with the primary care doctor or nurse practitioner, who I know values Aster’s judgment. When Aster is caring for my mom, I know she is in good, caring hands.

Nominated by Jim Block

Sherly Smith, Sturges Ridge of Fairfield, Benchmark Senior Living

For the last several months, Sherly Smith has kept in touch with me on a regular basis regarding my husband’s medical needs in memory care. I trust she is looking out for his health and welfare, and knowing this gives me great comfort. She returns my phone calls. Sherly is always approachable and has a pleasant smile while answering even my sometimes simple questions.

Nominated by Carolyn Shelton

Emma Vacek, Middlebrook Farms of Trumbull, Benchmark Senior Living

This building wouldn’t run without Emma. She is the best nurse in this building. She takes the time to know each and every resident in this building, not just as a resident or a patient, but as a person. She communicates with them at the level they’re on so that they understand and feel comfortable. Emma advocates for what’s best for our residents and makes them feel included in the decision. 

Emma is an extraordinary person. She is a highly skilled, extremely knowledgeable, compassionate team player who displays and promotes the highest ethical standards. She effectively demonstrates the true meaning of patient-family partner and advocate. Emma communicates well with all levels of staff, clinicians, residents, visitors, and families. I have always found Emma to be trustworthy, hard-working, and intelligent. Emma’s dedication to her patients is admirable, and it shows in the excellent care that she provides.

Nominated by Danielle Ortiz 

Nancy Wamwere, Benchmark Senior Living at Nashua Crossings

Nancy works on the memory-impaired unit, which in itself should be commended. Most of these residents aren’t able to communicate effectively or even at all. My aunt (who is now nonverbal) was showing a slight change in her behavior, and due to Nancy’s constant presence, she recognized this as a potential concern that needed to be addressed by an in-house doctor visit. Shortly after that event, my aunt again was more agitated than usual — stumbling, trouble swallowing, etc. — and due to Nancy’s vigilance, she got the hospitalization and therapy she required. 

Nancy’s advocacy and compassion for her residents is second to none. As family members who reside out of state, we need not worry about the care and supervision our loved one receives while Nancy is on watch.

Nominated by Karla Rogers

Katie Wellington, The Village at Brookfield Common, Benchmark Senior Living

Katie has been wonderful to my sister at The Village. She constantly listens to her and gives her direction and comfort. She also calls me when she feels there is something I should be aware of and advises me on how I should proceed. Katie never limits our time with her until she ensures we understand what is happening and advises us on appropriate procedures. Her ability to provide comfort is outstanding, and her nursing skills are excellent. We couldn’t ask for a better nurse than Katie Wellington. We are blessed to have her.

Nominated by Mary Allen

Katie Wellington, The Village at Brookfield Common, Benchmark Senior Living

The Cullen Family would like to salute Katie Wellington, one of the nurses at the Village at Brookfield Common, for her continued support with the care of our husband and father. Katie shows compassion to him and our family and has a positive attitude. Katie has always made herself available to address concerns that we have had while on- and off-duty. 

When he was admitted to the hospital, Katie reached out to inquire about his well-being. We thank Katie so much for taking care of our husband and father. We appreciate all she does and are so glad she is part of his care team.

Nominated by Kathy Court

Bentley University

Jaqueline Burgoyne, Bentley University Health Center
Jaqueline is a sweet and empathetic woman. I felt safe talking with her. Jaqueline always replied quickly and helped me with important issues as an international student. She is very caring and responsible, which makes me feel very safe and comfortable with her.

Nominated by Amelia Martinez

Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital – Milton 

Barbara Pinchera, Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital – Milton 

Barbara Pinchera is a nurse practitioner for Employee Health Services at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital (BIDH) – Milton and BIDH – Needham. She has the very important job of caring for the nurses and other staff who provide care for our patients. She is the primary provider who sees our injured staff members. 

She handles each case with kindness and caring, and follows up with staff members until she can clear them back to their role. She often works to find new and innovative ways to meet their needs and always advocates for them as individuals. She’s also helping to lead the charge to find ways to get one step ahead by preventing injuries before they happen, working to make the hospital safer for patients and staff alike. We are so lucky to have her.

Nominated by James Lawson

Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital – Needham

Laura Biederwolf, Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital – Needham

Laura is one of our new graduate nurses who works in the medical-surgical unit at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital – Needham.

Laura made a special connection with an elderly gentleman she cared for in our medical-surgical unit the day before his planned discharge. While caring for him, she learned that his shoes were missing. He didn’t have any family or a ride home, so he planned to take an Uber. Laura saw that it was going to be a rainy day and was concerned about sending him home with only socks, which would become soggy. She was disturbed by the thought of this and called the emergency department and other departments to see if any shoes were found that could be his or if any were available for this patient. She had no luck finding any. 

She worried all day, and although she was just finishing a long 12-hour shift and was exhausted, she drove to Target to buy him some slippers and returned to the hospital to drop them off. She didn’t tell anyone about this amazing act of kindness. I only learned about it because we were discussing patient situations in which our new graduates felt they made a difference in our nurse residency program, and she shared this story. Laura showed so much compassion and empathy in this situation. It truly wowed me to learn how Laura went above and beyond expectations to make such a difference for this patient.

Nominated by Heidi Alpert

Michelle Carrel, Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital – Needham

Michelle Carrel began working as a clinical nurse in the medical-surgical unit at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital – Needham two months ago. She is exceptionally hard-working, caring, and always willing to lend a hand to her colleagues. For example, just after completing orientation, Michele cared for a patient with needs that would have presented a challenge even for a nurse with far more experience than Michelle. After receiving care from Michelle, the patient commented on how kind Michelle was and said that no other nurse had been so attentive to her needs and cared for her the way Michelle had. 

Shortly after that, Michelle cared for a patient with cognitive issues. With Michelle’s outstanding assessment skills, she recognized that the patient had immediate safety issues. Michelle arranged for the patient to be observed one-on-one while she facilitated a transfer to an environment with appropriate monitoring and equipment to maintain her safety. The professionalism and respect Michelle demonstrated for this patient while ensuring she received outstanding care was that of a far more experienced nurse.

Most recently, Michelle came to the assistance of a brand-new nurse who was struggling with her assignment. Without hesitation, Michelle jumped in and cared for her colleague’s patient who was being discharged so that her colleague could focus on her other patients and the discharge would not be delayed. Michelle is a skilled, hardworking, and caring nurse, and we are so fortunate Michelle has chosen to begin her career as a nurse in Needham.

Nominated by Amy Krushell

Stav Enbar, Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital – Needham

Stav Enbar is a nurse in our medical-surgical unit at Beth Israel Deaconess – Needham. Stav is very thorough and caring in her practice. Stav gets rave reviews from her patients. One patient recently wrote, “I don’t know how to thank you enough for being the best nurse I have ever had (and I have had hundreds over the years). Not one could ever come close to you. Know that you are an angel to me.” This patient noted Stav’s professionalism, compassion, and caring manner. 

Stav worked with another patient to help him stop smoking. He asked Stav to dispose of his cigarettes and to help him start his journey to give up smoking. Stav worked with him while he was in the hospital, and he called Stav back 90 days post-discharge to let her know that he hadn’t smoked in those 90 days. He was so appreciative of her support in jump-starting his work to stop smoking. On a busy medical-surgical unit, it is often difficult to do the “extras” for patients, but Stav always tries to do whatever she can to help her patients meet their care goals. She clearly makes a difference!

Nominated by Heidi Alpert

Tess Gilbert, Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital – Needham

Tess is a phenomenal nurse. She works as a radiology nurse at BIDH and is one of the most caring and conscientious nurses I have worked with. She always gives more than 100 percent. In addition to her role in radiology, she is one of our most active peer supporters and provides incredible support to all staff. She brings joy to her colleagues and patients. 

Her physician colleagues have stated she is one of the finest nurses they have ever worked with. Several examples depict this. We had an extremely challenging patient and were unable to put oxygen on him, given his developmental delay. The radiologist was ready to say we could not complete the procedure on this patient and recommended transferring him to Boston to do it with anesthesia, which would have been a disservice to this patient. Tess would not give up, and calmly and gently put the oxygen on him after a little sedation was given. In all other scenarios, we would have said this patient could not be cared for without anesthesia, but as a result of Tess’s diligence, skill, and grace, we were able to complete the procedure. 

Recently, she also “saved” another nurse who called her about removing a suture. Although she was on her way home, Tess called the radiologist and provided instructions to this nurse. She even offered to turn around and come back to help. The patient was going home that evening and was very bothered by the suture and did not have plans to see anyone to remove it, so Tess coming to the rescue immensely benefited this patient. Tess is always willing to get involved in any patient care challenges to provide support and to share her expertise. She is all about patient safety and goes the extra mile to ensure patients are prepared and appropriate for procedural sedation. Tess is truly an incredible individual and nurse. She is a jack-of-all-trades and is definitely the nurse you would want caring for you if the need were to arise.

Nominated by Heidi Alpert

Irma Kume

Irma Kume, Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital – Needham

Irma Kume is an extraordinary clinical nurse in the medical-surgical unit at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital – Needham. Having worked in Albania as a primary care physician, Irma understands the medical needs of her patients far beyond her expected level of practice, which facilitates her ability to deliver collaborative care. Irma’s background and clinical expertise have earned her our medical staff’s unwavering trust and respect. Irma is an outstanding leader and teacher. With so many nurses beginning their careers in medical-surgical, Irma always has an orientee by her side while simultaneously functioning in the role of charge nurse and ensuring that her unit is running smoothly. 

Irma always helps and supports her colleagues, and they adore her. Irma is the first person who offers to help when you approach her unit, and she pursues every issue to a resolution. Irma’s clinical expertise is matched only by her kindness and compassion. For example, there’s the time that Irma’s patient had a difficult night in the hospital, and she went out of her way to facilitate a private room for them; the anxious patient that Irma just sat and held until they were finally able to relax; and our kitchen employee who Irma learned was having a birthday and bought a special Starbucks drink for. It seems that hugs are always being exchanged between Irma and her patients and family members, and there is a story behind each embrace. 

Irma was a recent recipient of the prestigious international DAISY Award, which recognizes the skillful and compassionate care provided by nurses. Irma was nominated for this award by one of her patients, who chose to come to the hospital to present the award to Irma amongst leadership and her colleagues. Irma Kume is truly a special nurse, and we are so fortunate that she has chosen to work as a clinical nurse in the medical-surgical unit in Needham.

Nominated by Amy Krushell

Luanne Piatelli, Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital – Needham

Luanne Piatelli has worked as a clinical nurse in the medical-surgical unit at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital – Needham for many years. When COVID-19 peaked and hospitals were in crisis, Luanne was in Needham delivering compassionate care to patients and supporting and guiding her less experienced colleagues. With the current labor challenges, we are so fortunate that Luanne readily picks up countless extra night shifts. 

With so many seasoned nurses having transitioned to critical care and specialty areas, Luanne has remained in medical-surgical, caring for patients and serving as a resource to newer nurses, as they gain skill and confidence in their roles. Luanne precepts so many nurses on the night shift. During our meetings with new staff, Luanne is mentioned all the time as a source of guidance and support for them. 

Luanne is a wonderful caregiver. She will go to any length to ensure that her patients have an outstanding hospital experience, and patients are so grateful for her kindness and expertise. Luanne cares for and about her colleagues as well — she bakes for them, corrals them to plan for Nurses Week bake-offs, and lends them an ear when they need it. Luanne’s knowledge and commitment to our hospital is unparalleled. We are so fortunate that Luanne Piatelli continues to practice as a medical-surgical nurse at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital – Needham.

Nominated by Amy Krushell

Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital – Plymouth

Mary O’Brien, Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital – Plymouth

Mary O’Brien is the nurse we all aspire to be. She is smart, a ferocious patient advocate, has amazing assessment skills, and is a tireless teacher of those coming up. Though she has retired, she continues to work many hours every week. Mary is a patient and excellent teacher. She never hesitates to volunteer to orient a nurse new to her department. She knows her patients well and is in frequent contact with PCP (Primary Care Physician) staff to ensure continuity and excellence in care. Mary is the epitome of what a nurse should be.

Nominated by Donna Roche

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Samuel Grizzle, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Sam was our primary nurse through our twin girls’ nine-week NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) stay. The NICU is a hard and dehumanizing place — filled with wires and tubes and lacking many of the normal newborn experiences. Sam humanized our girls and cared for our well-being throughout the process. For the girls, he continuously demonstrated care by spending extra time holding them when they wanted to be held and making them crafts to commemorate their milestones that we will cherish for a lifetime. Every day we arrived with Sam on shift, he had tidied up their room, made a craft commemorating a new weight or age milestone, or had written out their health plans for us to ensure clear communication. We always felt our girls were in good hands when Sam was on and breathed a sigh of relief when he was with them at night. By the time the girls left the NICU, the crafts Sam made them celebrating their weight milestones, their month-to-month birthdays, and holidays were enough to fill their newborn baby memory box.

In the NICU, the parents are often overlooked extensions of the patient, but not with Sam. Sam reliably and gently checked in with us about how we were coping and what could be done better. He made sure to involve us in their care whenever possible, and when we called in to check in on the girls, he always let us know what outfits they were in and what their mood was like, little nonmedical touches that we cared about. On hard days, he was our voice, and paired us with resources whenever possible. But more importantly, Sam provided a listening ear on days when everything felt like too much.

I am a physician myself. I have seen and witnessed firsthand the daily grind of the healthcare system — the long hours, poor collaboration amongst care teams, unnecessary chatting and paperwork — that can burn out and harden even the most caring and thoughtful healthcare workers. This makes Sam’s above-and-beyond care all that more remarkable. The little touches to make our girls (and us parents) feel like humans made all the difference in the world and were critical to our family’s survival over 66 days. For his commitment and care for his patients, he is an excellent candidate for this recognition.

Nominated by Katie Rizzolo

Laurie Knight, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
How do you begin to thank someone for saving your child’s life? I’m not sure we’ll ever know how to do so properly. Laurie became family to us while we were navigating our 110-day NICU stay. She entered our lives on the worst day and stayed by our family’s side until we experienced the best day: going home as a family.

Not only is she incredibly gifted as a nurse, but she offered our family kindness and support when we needed it most. We would count down the days until Laurie’s next shift because we always knew it would be a good day when she was there. To have an incredibly skilled nurse love your child in such a way through one of your family’s most vulnerable moments is invaluable. Laurie, we thank the world for you every single day.

Nominated by Sarah Adams

Emily Leonard, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Nurse Emily Leonard was a consistent shining light during my treatments for AML (Acute Myeloid Leukemia). I am now blessed to be in remission. She took special care when administering her duties, down to the cute smiley face she would sketch on my port bandage. 1,000 salutes to her.

Nominated by Jon Damian

Elizabeth MacNeil, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Some healthcare workers may consider it just a job, but I am telling you that Elizabeth goes above that. I have seen several doctors and nurses in the past year, and they offer excellent advice. But by comparison, all things considered, Elizabeth is simply the best, and she should be proud. Her responses are quick and thorough. What sets Elizabeth apart is not just her competence but her remarkable ability to swiftly address questions and solve problems.

Elizabeth exhibits a genuine concern for her patients. Her caring approach goes beyond the routine tasks of a nurse, creating a compassionate environment. Elizabeth’s commitment to the well-being of her patients raises the bar for the level of care in the field, making her not just a nurse but an invaluable asset to the healthcare community.

Nominated by Ed Winters

Delaney O’Brien, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Since Dec. 8, 2023, I have spent five weeks hospitalized on the seventh floor of Beth Israel’s Fleburg wing. My husband and I have been consistently impressed by the excellent level of care that I received.

Although it seems unfair to single out one person among such a dedicated staff, I feel the need to acknowledge one particular nurse. Delaney O’Brien went above and beyond each time she was assigned to me. She always displayed her medical knowledge as she kept me informed about all procedures, treatments, and medications. She gently prodded me to do things I thought were too difficult, and her encouragement made a difference. Delaney’s bright, cheerful manner lifted my spirits each day she worked with me.

I returned to Beth Israel to begin nine days of immunotherapy. Delaney welcomed me with a hug. When I arrived in my room, I saw Delaney had already written a welcome-back message on the whiteboard. She also gifted me slippers and a fleece blanket. Such caring clearly goes way beyond the norm.

Nominated by Joan Bidgood

Isabelle Quarrier, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Isabelle came into our lives at one of the darkest periods; our daughter was born at 25 weeks and was fighting for her life in the NICU. Isabelle immediately became one of the nurses we clung to. She was so calm and knowledgeable that, as parents, it always put us at ease knowing our daughter was in such good hands. When Isabelle would work overnight shifts, she would spend time rocking and reading to our daughter. When you cannot be there to give your child love, it means more than you can ever imagine to have such an incredible nurse offering them love and comfort. There will never be words to express our sheer gratitude to Isabelle!

Nominated by Sarah Adams

Melanie Somerville

Melanie Somerville, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Melanie (she always referred to herself as Mel) was one of two nurses charged with overseeing my care post-open-heart surgery for a failed mitral valve. Close to the time of my surgery, my wife, her sisters, and my adult son all came down with COVID-19. I somehow avoided getting it but had no family able to be present for the surgery or post-operatively (the hospital policy forbade them to visit).

Enter cardiac intensive care nurse Melanie. She was so competent, compassionate, upbeat, friendly, and attentive to me that she was able to relieve my anxiety about how I was doing after the surgery. To me, open heart surgery is a very serious thing, and I was afraid for my life. What Melanie did was so above and beyond; she brought tears to my eyes and smiles to my face. She was aware that no family members could come to visit me, so she spent extra time just conversing with me, making me laugh and, in essence, becoming a friend that I really needed at the time. This was in addition to her performing all the medical tasks that needed to be done (vital signs, bed adjustments, IVs, etc.). I will never forget her smile, work ethic, and quick wit. 

Her skills were, in my mind, equal to the surgical team that fixed my heart. I am doing very well today because of her and the entire team at Beth Israel. As a former teacher and social worker here in Massachusetts, I thank them all from the bottom of my now-healed heart. Love you, Mel!

Nominated by Edward Beecher 

Dominic Vito, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

I am a senior anesthesia resident who has worked closely with Dom in our Trauma ICU (Intensive Care Unit) and Surgical ICU. He is kind, funny, easygoing, and, most importantly, clinically excellent. He always gets the sickest patients and does a phenomenal job in their care. 

I have seen him effortlessly balance 10 or more drips and medications, a renal dialysis machine, and giving blood products and fluids, all while working closely with the physician team. He always has great ideas and is not afraid to advocate on a patient’s behalf. His bedside manner is exemplary. 

His coworkers like him because even amid some times of chaos and despair, Dom is able to lighten the mood. He is an excellent nurse, and I hope he continues to stay at BIDMC.

Nominated by Patrick Lau

Maureen Watchmaker, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Maureen is an RN case manager who works with the high-risk Medicare population at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Maureen’s role involves collaborating with interdisciplinary teams of inpatient RNs, occupational therapists, physical therapists, PCPs, and hospitalists to help patients successfully transition home after an admission.

Maureen takes her job to heart and treats every case as if it were her family member. Maureen’s outreach after discharge is instrumental in helping patients understand and organize their medications, identify their red flags, and ensure a follow-up appointment is scheduled with their PCP. Maureen puts 110 percent effort into her work and often works late into the evenings. She then turns around and signs back on at 6:30 a.m. to ensure that her patients have exactly what they need to help prevent readmission. 

Maureen’s advocacy has made so much possible for elderly patients who have little to no support at home. It’s not only the extra in-home services, such as house cleaners, shoppers, meals, personal aides, medical equipment, and rides Maureen arranges that make a difference but the true compassionate care she provides. It is the great joy that Maureen takes in caring for her patients and getting to know them. She is often the only bright light a lonely, elderly patient has during their day. Maureen follows her patients for 30 days post-discharge. I know many of her patients have cried when she has discharged them because she was so kind to them.

This type of nursing is what makes Maureen so extraordinary and appreciated by all who work with her and those who receive her exemplary nursing care!

Nominated by Donna White

Beth Israel Lahey Health Behavioral Services

John Carnemolla, Beth Israel Lahey Health Behavioral Services

Nurse John is the most compassionate and caring faculty member I have ever come across in my years of experience. He is always ready and available to help when needed, 24/7. He inspires everyone else to be better at what they do, too. My day is automatically better when he comes in. He remains sensitive and considerate when helping others, regardless of language barriers or cultural differences. He is a role model for many. Thank you, nurse John!

Nominated by Yankelina Duran

Beth Israel Lahey Health Primary Care

June Figurido, Beth Israel Lahey Health Primary Care

June is the most caring and compassionate nurse I’ve ever worked with in over 30 years of clinical practice. She is empathic, responsible, organized, thorough, and thoughtful. 

June embodied compassion and integrity as she triaged, treated, and listened to her patients who were fearful and struggling with the pandemic. When we started seeing patients in person again, many asked if they could meet her in person just to say thank you and to see her face after speaking to her on the phone. She is the heart and soul of our practice as we try to take the world in for repairs one at a time.

Nominated by Dan McCullough

Boston Children’s Hospital

Oleta (Lily) Andros, Boston Children’s Hospital
Lily took care of our newborn baby, Patrick Meade, who was born with a congenital heart defect. She cared for him overnight, and she made an instant connection with him. He was so happy to see her one month later when he returned to the hospital. She is the best!

Nominated by Colleen Malachowski

Laurel Barrie, Boston Children’s Hospital

On October 21, we got the call that our daughter, Juniper, may have a liver match. We were admitted very early in the morning, and things immediately went wrong when crucial medication was withheld, causing our girl to become sick very quickly. Laurel was our nurse and was in no way responsible for that, but she was so incredibly helpful to us before our girl was whisked off to surgery. Many days later, we were welcomed back to 10 Hale by Laurel! She had made a special effort to make our daughter’s room very special with kind notes and unicorn sheets. We were fortunate enough to have had her many shifts during Juniper’s very long stay. 

After we went home on December 22, she was quickly readmitted on Christmas Eve with complications. Laurel was in 10 Hale and once again ensured that a very welcoming room was waiting for Juniper and me, complete with a Christmas tree, extra fancy sheets, many personalized notes, and hugs. She made the hardest thing our family has ever gone through so much nicer. She felt like a friend to me and was the one my daughter most looked forward to seeing. 

Nominated by Shelby Boudreau

Rachel Bassil, Boston Children’s Hospital

We were inpatient with our newborn daughter for the first four months of her life. It was by far the hardest thing we have ever faced. Rachel went above and beyond to be there not only for our daughter but also for our family. She became Christiana’s primary nurse, and when we couldn’t be there, she was. She kept us updated and always advocated for our child. I truly believe their bond helped us all, including our daughter, get through it. Rachel became like part of our family. 

We have since been discharged and readmitted twice, and having Rachel there makes each time easier. She knows our daughter and her routine, and is one of those nurses you always want on your team. Her dedication and caring demeanor never went unnoticed. It’s nurses like her that make me want to go back to school and become a nurse myself! I don’t think she realizes the impact she has on her patients and their families. We are truly so grateful for her.

Nominated by Jana Velasquez

Jennifer Bilak, Boston Children’s Hospital

Jenn is an extraordinary nurse who goes above and beyond her clinical expertise to compassionately provide care to her patients. Jenn cared for both of my children in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) and patiently answered all of our questions regarding our children’s care no matter what. She helped us feel comfortable as parents by making sure we were asking all our questions and concerns to their medical team. She would also help us advocate by ensuring we were included in rounds. 

Most recently, she took care of our daughter, Anaia. We were always so happy when Jenn was the one assigned to her because we knew she would take great care of her. We have fond memories with Jenn and enjoyed all the laughs we shared during our time in the NICU. Jenn made sure that she made us laugh, whether in person or on the phone, and would ask us questions about our life outside of the NICU. That’s how I knew she truly cared about our family’s well-being, too. Nurses like Jenn need this kind of recognition because they go above and beyond patient care, and that really means a lot to parents like me. Thank you, Jenn, for all you do!

Nominated by Alexia Arriaza

Sean Brannon, Boston Children’s Hospital

Sean is the most incredible nurse. He took care of my 3-month-old after open heart surgery, and you can tell he loves what he does. As a nurse myself, I was so impressed with Sean. He treated my daughter as if she was his only patient. I never had to ask him for anything; he was so on top of things! He even went above and beyond and helped me wash her bottles when they were piling up. That was so, so appreciated, as having a newborn with such a big surgery is super stressful. I knew my daughter was in the best hands with Sean if I had to step away from time to time.

Nominated by Ashley Sheridan

Frances Calapai, Boston Children’s Hospital

Frannie has gone above and beyond to care for our daughter during our weekly trips for her infusions. She treats us like family and makes sure my daughter is comfortable and enjoying herself. 

Nominated by Joy Funk

Leah Cohen, Boston Children’s Hospital

Leah Cohen has been beyond amazing with our son, Kai. She listens to the child and the parent and shows a genuine interest in our son. Leah has gone above and beyond to assist him and seeks the advice of others when needed. She has helped us navigate this medical journey, and our son loves seeing Leah Cohen all the time!

Nominated by Lindsey Flores

Larissa Demers*, Boston Children’s Hospital

Larissa was simply amazing from the very first day our daughter was life-flighted from Pennsylvania to Boston. She was one of our main nurses, and we were thrilled about that. She cared for our very ill 3-month-old baby girl as if she were her own. She was always so reassuring and incredibly easy to speak with. I always felt 100 percent safe when she was on and caring for Gemma, our daughter. She just put me at ease with her genuineness. She was the best nurse we’ve ever had.

Nominated by Janelle Seigfreid

*Larissa Demers is a former Boston Children’s nurse.

Samantha Devlin, Boston Children’s Hospital

Our daughter was an inpatient for almost seven months until she passed while waiting for a heart transplant. Sam not only took good care of her and loved her as her own, but also looked out for our family along the way. Sam attended all team meetings concerning our daughter to provide continuity in her care. Sam advocated for what was best for our daughter on a regular basis. Sam was able to answer every single question I had and make me feel at ease with the plan. Sam helped our family through a very challenging time and is now an important member of our family. My husband, son, and I are forever grateful for all she did for our daughter and us.

Nominated by Kayla Gagnon

Alex Gelaides, Boston Children’s Hospital

As a nurse in the Division of Epilepsy and Clinical Neurophysiology, Alex helps manage the care of critically, medically complicated patients. My son, Bruce, is one of them. He has a rare and very complex neurogenetic condition called Angelman syndrome. It can be overwhelming and often even scary for a parent, but nurses like Alex help make it feel a little lighter knowing he’s on our team. 

For example, when Bruce was twitching during sleep, Alex very quickly triaged with expert doctors. He kept me updated the entire way and then taught me something I could bring forward for my son’s future safety and care. He is incredibly patient and parent-oriented, and he has a very high level of empathy for all we are managing as parents of kids with extra medical and support needs. I truly feel as though he is part of “Team Bruce,” and for that, we’re so grateful.

Nominated by Danielle Kowalski

George Georgoudis, Boston Children’s Hospital (Sports Medicine in Norwood)

George has always been extremely friendly and helpful whenever I saw Dr. Stracciolini. He explained everything in great detail, which made me feel comfortable when getting my injections. He deserves to be recognized for all his hard work!

Nominated by Samantha Shea

Jessica Lally, Boston Children’s Hospital 

Jessica went above and beyond, taking care of my daughter like she was her second mom. She taught me everything I needed to know medically to keep taking care of her, too. She is an outstanding nurse and human being. 

Nominated by Fadia Alasmar

A man with dark hair and wearing a black shirt smiles in a headshot with a gray background.
Eddie Liao

Eddie Liao, Boston Children’s Hospital

My son is medically complex. Eddie has been our consistent RN through the Colorectal and Pelvic Malformation Center. He has shown compassion and care from the first day we met him. He always brings a smile to my face. He has talked me through many troubling times and helped us with troubleshooting, many times to save us the almost two-hour trip to see the team in the clinic. 

Eddie has been a big part of our journey and has made the bumps in the road seem not so big. He always has a smile or something kind to offer, even when I know I’m being a frantic, overwhelmed, overstimulated, overtired, or frustrated (or any combination of those) medical mom. Just thinking about my interactions with him makes me smile. Even my mom knows when I’m having a conversation on the phone with him; she can tell the difference in my voice and demeanor. He’s an amazing human and deserves all the recognition for that.

Nominated by Patricia Linhares

Maggie Maloney, Boston Children’s Hospital 

Maggie was spot on when she realized that I was having a stroke. I was insistent that I was okay, but she knew the lay of the land and called an ambulance — all of this happened while she was out of town, on the phone, on her graduation day from nursing school. Not only am I so thankful that I was saved from being more severely injured, but I was taught an incredible lesson: this was a focused, knowledgeable young woman who should be listened to. I’m also happy to say that she has continued her studies and has become certified as a nurse practitioner. 

Nominated by Peter Wheeler

Kathryn Martin, Boston Children’s Hospital

Kate is a beloved hematology/oncology nurse on 6NE at Boston Children’s Hospital, but she also used her outstanding skills to care for our father when he was in home hospice at the end of his battle with liver cancer. The strength, care, and compassion she was able to show for him, our mother, and all her siblings while going through her own grieving process was nothing short of miraculous, and we will be forever grateful that she was able to lead us through that time.

Nominated by Alexandra Hadley

A young woman with brown/auburn hair wearing a black short-sleeved short smiles in a headshot with a gray background.
Christine McCabe

Christine McCabe, Boston Children’s Hospital

When we met nurse Christine in December 2021, she instantly made us feel like family. Due to our experience and situation with my daughter’s condition, I had a difficult time trusting medical professionals. With Christine, that all changed. Layla and Christine shared an instant and beautiful bond. She would come into our room even on days she didn’t have my daughter as a patient and say hello, interact, and even sometimes rock her in the chair, allowing me to run to the cafe to grab a coffee. She was always mindful of my feelings and very thorough with her work. She is one of those nurses you never forget because of how compassionate and trusting she is.

We took a trip to Boston in 2023 for the Boston Marathon and had the pleasure of meeting up with Christine for some much-needed laughs and hellos. Christine also drove two hours to our hometown in July 2023 to celebrate Layla’s one-year liver transplant anniversary. We are in constant contact to share updates and photos of Layla and her growth. She spent so much time with me, my daughter, and her father during our time at Boston Children’s Hospital, and she has become family to us. We are forever grateful to Christine and all the nurses on 10 Hale for giving us the best medical experience under rough circumstances.

Nominated by Briann Poehler

Megan Nolan, Boston Children’s Hospital

I am writing this letter to wholeheartedly endorse Megan Nolan for her outstanding contributions as the director of nursing and patient care operations at Boston Children’s Hospital. Megan has consistently demonstrated exemplary leadership, advocacy, and mentorship in the field of nursing. With a nursing career spanning 18 years, Megan has accumulated a wealth of experience and consistently exemplified the qualities of a dedicated and visionary nursing professional. Her dedication to the pediatric patients and nursing staff at Boston Children’s Hospital is truly commendable.

Megan goes above and beyond her role by engaging with the community and promoting awareness of the operating room environment. Notably, she organized and led an event for elementary and high school students, offering them a unique “Day in the Life of the Operating Room.” The event included interactive experiences such as a bone lab, virtual reality simulation of scrubbing surgery, airway lab, and gowning and gloving practice. As a panelist, Megan effectively influenced young minds, encouraging them to consider careers in the operating room.

Megan is an exceptional leader, advocate, and mentor who has significantly contributed to the advancement of nursing practice at Boston Children’s Hospital. Her innovative initiatives, advocacy work, and commitment to mentorship have had a lasting and positive impact on the nursing community, both within our institution and beyond. 

Nominated by Andrea Dyer

Roceli Rosado, Boston Children’s Hospital

Our daughter Luisa says, “I love Roceli so much. She is the best nurse in the whole world. She knows how to take care of me. I feel better right away when she takes care of me.” 

As a parent of a rare child, we feel blessed to have our daughter in Roceli’s care during our heaviest days inpatient. Roceli is one of our daughter’s earth-side angels. She has served us as an educator who hears and eases our concerns. She celebrates Luisa’s progress in healing, explains, and gives our daughter agency. I feel short on words that capture her artful excellence in care. Roceli is a national treasure.

Nominated by Evanice Pineda

Emma Streeter*, Boston Children’s Hospital

Our daughter was born with an omphalocele. This means that her liver was on the outside of her stomach because of an abdominal wall defect. We knew ahead of time and were prepared. Boston Children’s Hospital was amazing in saving our daughter and surgically fixing her defect very quickly. 

Every person in that NICU was incredible, but Emma changed our lives. The care and love she showed Audrey was utterly amazing and life-changing. She loved our daughter and fought for her when feeding became hard in the beginning. They were ready to send Audrey to the surgical floor, but she started not being able to keep food down. Seeing how scared I was, Emma made sure to contact whoever she could to get us more time in the NICU until we had answers. I cannot thank Emma enough for making us feel special and keeping Audrey safe. Thank you, Emma, for all you do!

Nominated by Jessica Makara

*Emma Streeter is a former Boston Children’s nurse.

Christine Symmes, Boston Children’s Hospital

Christine was incredibly compassionate throughout our daughter’s hip dysplasia journey. Eleanor was diagnosed at 6 weeks old and immediately put into a hip harness at the same visit. As a first-time mom, I was particularly overwhelmed and upset, and Christine went above and beyond to comfort me. She calmly explained how the harness works to correct her hips and that Eleanor would not notice or mind the harness.

Christine even gave me her cell phone number and answered my panicked call after work hours after leaving the hospital. We corresponded over email and phone numerous times when we had more questions throughout the next six months. She explained her rationale with the clinical importance and relevance, and communicated with empathy to help us process the information. We cannot thank Christine enough for making this phase of our life easier.

Nominated by Elisabeth Tierney

Jacqueline Thomas, Boston Children’s Hospital

Even though it has been almost eight years since Jacqueline was our nurse, our interactions with her stand out as exceptional. Our youngest son was born with an apparently genetic nerve condition that resulted in respiratory failure and progressive total paralysis. Jacqueline cared for him with love, respect, compassion, and excellence, attending to his every need with sweetness, honesty, and sincerity. Over Fynn’s six years on earth, he needed 24/7 nursing care, and Jacqueline‘s care stands out as the best.

Nominated by Aimee Lalime

Paige Wallat, Boston Children’s Hospital

Paige demonstrated tremendous compassion when I was in the hospital after my neurosurgery. I was having a tough time, and she did everything in her power to make it as positive as possible for me.

Nominated by Riley Davidson

Amy Walsh, Boston Children’s Hospital

Amy has been a huge advocate for me and now my son. We both have pacemakers and travel from Florida for care. She is always available when I need her and goes above and beyond. She has been present at my surgeries. Most recently, my son had major heart surgery, and she came and checked in daily. During his stay, he needed an emergency pacemaker, and she was right there with me as support.
Nominated by Tracey Grissom

Amy Walsh, Boston Children’s Hospital

Amy has provided professional, compassionate care for years for our three children with heart defects. In addition to her kind and warm disposition, she treats each child as an individual and respects their voices as important team members. 

She goes above and beyond for every patient in her care. She demonstrates that not only as a clinical nurse at the hospital but also as a trustworthy, dedicated nurse at the yearly Keeping the Beat Camp for Children with pacemakers and implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs). Without Amy’s dedication, our children would never have the experience of being able to attend a summer camp like other children. She goes above and beyond, and is someone we consider a part of our family. I know I speak for many other cardiac families who feel the same way. Her genuine care and concern for her patients shines through in every way. Thank you, Amy, from the bottom of our hearts.

Nominated by Tracey Neumuth

Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program

Nicole Sabatino

Nicole Sabatino, Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program

Nicole Sabatino provides critical care and manages a medical clinic that serves over 1,000 women experiencing homelessness, hunger, and poverty at Women’s Lunch Place (WLP), a daytime shelter in Back Bay. The clinic offers free, high-quality health care to women who struggle with the morbidities accompanying a lack of access to the social determinants of health.

Time and time again, I have experienced Nicole’s commitment to enhancing the health and well-being of the women we serve at WLP. She is always kind, competent, and patient with her clients, who often have behavioral health issues that result in difficult appointments. She has been relentless in her advocacy for vulnerable women. Nicole goes above and beyond the scope of her responsibilities, coordinating care with a litany of providers and conducting street outreach to rough sleepers and sex workers.

Nicole is passionate and seizes every opportunity to heal or reduce harm. She understands the high mortality rate connected to smoking-related diseases in the population we serve, and she spearheaded a peer-led smoking cessation group at WLP (again, beyond the scope of her duties), which has helped some women quit and others reduce their use. She also recently became certified to perform post-assault exams, which involve an extremely difficult screening process. She works carefully to gather very specific information about the assault (to be used in a police report) while avoiding re-traumatization.

Nicole has chosen to forgo higher paychecks to work with a vulnerable population that is often overlooked. I am grateful that she oversees the medical team at WLP. Her leadership, compassion, and ability help women heal every day. We salute her.

Nominated by Nancy Armstrong

Boston IVF

Christen Anderson, Boston IVF

Christen is the best! She is always very professional, courteous, thoughtful, caring, and compassionate. Every single interaction with her was so pleasant, effortless, and positive. We were genuinely touched by her kindness and compassion when we were going through a very difficult time with our pregnancy last December. She has proven to be a rock during our years-long journey of family creation.

Nominated by Justin Shi

Victoria Donarumo, Boston IVF

Victoria has been amazing to work with throughout this difficult and uncertain journey. She has gone above and beyond to help me, answer my questions, and support me. She’s been a breath of fresh air during this difficult and stressful time. The simple things, just someone being compassionate and empathetic, don’t go unnoticed at a time like this. She goes above and beyond and should be recognized for that.

Nominated by Amanda Susa

Mackensie Farrell, Boston IVF

Going through IVF is not a journey for the weak. It was emotionally and physically taxing, but Mackensie always made me feel like I could do it. She was so kind and listened as I cried. She never made me feel rushed and always made me feel like I was the most important part of her day. When I went in for my transfer, I knew it would be successful when I saw her there. The comfort she provided me through my journey can never be expressed. She is truly made for this job and is the best of the best.

Nominated by Meghan Collins

Nikki Getek, Boston IVF

Nikki was an MVP on our incredible care team from Boston IVF. She helped me navigate a very difficult journey with grace, compassion, and humor. She went above and beyond at each step, reaching out to celebrate happy moments and extending compassion for challenges and grief. She took the time to get to know our family, which made all the difference in our care. We have called or emailed hundreds of times. I have laughed, vented, and sobbed to her as much as (or more than) I have with family or close friends throughout this process. 

When nominations opened last year, we were in the throes of grief from multiple failed cycles; I wanted so badly to nominate her then, but I put off writing the essay to accompany the nominations. This year, I am finally submitting. Despite our failed cycles, I feel grateful every day that we were fortunate enough to experience top-notch care from this incredible team.

Nominated by Jill Battal

Nikki Getek, Boston IVF

I have talked to Nikki once a week for almost an entire year while going through my fertility journey. Nikki is so compassionate. Through some hard conversations, Nikki always showed us the light and took the time to listen and discuss things. I couldn’t have made it through this year without her support.

Nominated by Emily Humiston

Nikki Getek, Boston IVF

Nikki has been by my side for several years as a part of my IVF journey. She has fought on my behalf, supported me emotionally and medically, and just been a rock. On Jan. 19, she got the whole office together to call me to share that I finally had a positive pregnancy test. Any patient would be lucky to have Nikki on their team!

Nominated by Ayelet Lipton

Ryan Jacob, Boston IVF

Ryan Jacob made the grueling fertility and IVF process as worry-free as she possibly could. Her commitment to answering questions and finding a solution provided me with a level of comfort that I was beyond grateful for. Ryan is incredibly hard-working, empathetic, and intelligent about her field. She not only adds value to Boston IVF but also to all her patients, whom she impacts daily.

Nominated by Keegan Cunningham

Jacquelyn Jones, Boston IVF

Jackie always answered any questions I had to the best of her ability, and if she did not have the answer, she made sure to find the answer and call me. The way she speaks with compassion and understanding makes you feel at ease. She was always straightforward with me, which I appreciated, and she never hesitated to give me her opinion when asked for it based on her medical knowledge and experience. It was easy to communicate with Jackie and understand everything while going through the IVF process.

Nominated by Tayla Warmsley

Arnela Jonuz, Boston IVF

I worked with Arnela from late 2023 to early 2024 amid my IVF journey. The kind of care I received from her was not learned in school. This is something that came from her. The way she guided me throughout my journey to a successful pregnancy has shown me that not all medical personnel have lost touch with the true meaning of caring for a patient. Thank you so much, Arnela, for caring for me, a stranger, a woman, a patient.

Nominated by Kathryn Wehrheim

Carol Lesser, Boston IVF

My husband and I came to Boston IVF after suffering with infertility, and we were immediately greeted by Carol. She helped me understand what our fertility issues were and what solutions we could be looking at trying. Throughout our entire journey, she always had a positive outlook and genuinely felt like a friend. She was the first person I wanted to tell when I was pregnant, even though they were the ones doing the testing and already knew. I constantly send her updates and photos of our sweet baby and direct any of my friends with fertility issues her way. She was such a blessing during such a hard time. We owe a lot to her.

Nominated by Devon Cassidy

Jenna Logan, Boston IVF

Jenna is so kind, compassionate, and consistent. When she calls to provide an update or next steps, she does not rush me off the phone. She always asks if I have questions. She cares. She listens. She always follows through and follows up when she says she will. IVF is a long journey; it’s stressful, it’s scary, and feeling like there is a nurse in your corner makes the journey just a little bit easier.

Nominated by Jennifer Ketzak

Jillian MacEachern, Boston IVF

Every time Jill was the nurse to call with monitoring results, she was so informative and thorough. When I would call with a question, she would return my call within just a few hours and always happily answer any questions I had. Her tone was so comforting, and I never felt rushed when talking to her.

Nominated by Ariana Proulx

Rebecca Mahoney, Boston IVF

I want to acknowledge how helpful Rebecca was as I had to undergo treatment at Boston IVF. I was having such a hard time obtaining the medications I needed to start my treatment. Of course, these medications are quite costly, but I really did not want to delay the process at the time. 

Rebecca made calls to the pharmacy and found out I didn’t have to pay everything out of pocket and that most of the medications required a copayment from insurance. That made such a huge difference in lifting the burden of cost. With that, I was able to start treatment without delay. She was always there to answer my questions and always remained compassionate.

I am currently expecting my first child, thanks to Boston IVF. Thank you, Rebecca!

Nominated by Fredline Louis Marin

Lisa Masciovecchio, Boston IVF

Lisa has gone above and beyond during my IVF journey. Through the good, bad, and ugly, she has been a positive force of energy, cheering me on and always answering my questions. I believe my journey to having my two babies would not have happened without Lisa (and Dr. Alan Penzias). She is one of a kind.

Nominated by Amanda Esar

Kendra McCormick, Boston IVF

Kendra is simply an amazing person and professional. She is caring, straightforward, honest, and delightfully competent. Her voice and her words have been literally “carrying me” in this whole IVF process, with its ups and downs. I cannot thank her enough for what she does.

Nominated by Valeria D’Agostino

Kendra McCormick, Boston IVF

Kendra is a beacon of compassion and excellence in patient care. Her approach is nothing short of exceptional, embodying the very essence of empathy and professionalism. Kendra’s dedication to her patients goes beyond routine care; she cultivates an environment where each individual feels valued, heard, and genuinely cared for.

When you speak with Kendra, her warm demeanor and attentive nature instantly put you at ease. She listens — truly listens — to every concern, question, and story her patients share. In an era in which health care can often feel rushed and impersonal, Kendra stands out for her willingness to provide her undivided attention, ensuring that no patient feels like just another name on a chart. It’s this level of personal engagement that sets her apart.

Kendra embodies the very best of health care — a professional who combines expertise with a heart that sees and treats every patient as a unique individual. Her exceptional care is a tapestry woven from threads of medical excellence, heartfelt empathy, and a celebratory spirit that uplifts everyone around her. In a world where health care can often feel daunting, Kendra is a reminder of the profound impact that dedicated nurses can have on patients’ lives.

Nominated by Kailyn Graham

Nicole Ouellette

Nicole Ouellette, Boston IVF

Nicole was my rock at Boston IVF through our IVF journey. She was always available to answer my questions and concerns and help talk me through each step of the process. She never got annoyed at my multiple emails (sometimes daily, sorry Nicole!). IVF was our only option to have a chance at having a child, and Nicole was reassuring and compassionate when my worries would get the best of me. 

She took time to get to know me and my husband, and we really felt like she was there to support us. When we finally got to meet face to face on the day of my egg retrieval, she really put me at ease. Nicole is a wonderful person and is such an asset to Boston IVF. 

We were lucky enough to have our sweet daughter, Tessa, as a result of that cycle. When I let Nicole know Tessa had arrived, she immediately emailed me back with so much excitement and happiness that it felt like I had let a family member know!

Nominated by Megan Carty

Nicole Ouellette, Boston IVF

IVF is an emotional, stressful time. There are always millions of questions and emotions. Nicole was always there to encourage me, and she gave me support that the physician couldn’t. She always responded and followed up. She was my rock and my comfort. I am a nurse manager, and anyone with Nicole on their team is very lucky, as are all the patients she interacts with.

Nominated by Kristen Lippincott-Battey

Nicole Ouellette, Boston IVF

This nurse was with me through my entire journey to motherhood. She was the initial nurse who greeted me at the IVF program and walked me through the process. She was the nurse who I could call when I was spinning out and thinking I was going crazy from all the medications. She was the nurse that answered every single question, minor or major. She is the nurse who helped me through a miscarriage and also helped when we got pregnant again this past year when I had some concerns by getting me in right away to check me out.

Nominated by Kelly McNutt

Nicole Ouellette, Boston IVF

Nicole is the perfect person for the role of helping people achieve pregnancy. She is knowledgeable and explains things in a way we understand. She is understanding and treats you like a person, not just another patient. She is compassionate in listening to you and how you’re feeling. She makes your needs a priority and addresses your concerns in a very timely manner. The world is a better place because of people like Nicole.

Nominated by Jessie Perry

Nicole Oullette, Boston IVF

Nicole was always available to answer any questions, especially with my IVF process in the summer of 2023. It was my first time going through IVF. I was nervous and asked a lot of questions throughout the process. Nicole was always professional and didn’t make my questions seem dumb or useless. She helped me in every way she could. 

Even once I became pregnant at the end of September 2023, I had complications because I had a subchorionic hematoma and was terrified. She helped me through that entire scary process, and I will forever be grateful. I am 21 weeks pregnant currently and still keep in contact with Nicole despite graduating to an OBGYN closer to home. She is a phenomenal nurse, and anyone who gets the chance to work with her should feel blessed. Thank you, Nicole!

Nominated by Stacie Ryan 

Amy Powers, Boston IVF

Amy has been an amazing nurse while I was in recovery from egg retrieval. She checked on me many times and ensured I had everything I needed. She went above and beyond to make sure I was all set. She is excellent at what she does and knows how to make a patient feel cared for.

Nominated by Ashley Felder

Sophia Rago, Boston IVF

Sophia is always patient, kind, and compassionate with all my questions and takes time to explain thoroughly. She always encourages me to reach out with any needs and takes the extra step of offering emotional support by demonstrating empathy. I always feel more reassured and less anxious after every conversation with her. She demonstrates a deep clinical knowledge by always being able to provide “the why” behind whatever my instructions and next steps are. She always responds promptly, which is very reassuring when needs or questions come up. I feel fortunate to be working so closely with her during this journey.

Nominated by Mollie Freedman

Kjirsten Ree, Boston IVF

Kjirsten has been my nurse for a few months through my IVF cycle. In December 2023, I had an egg retrieval and fresh embryo transfer. Throughout all my monitoring appointments, Kjirsten has called, checked in, and updated me on the plan and next steps. I always felt very supported. I unfortunately had a miscarriage in January 2024. I was heartbroken and had lots of questions, which Kjrsten had so much patience for and was quick to answer. I am grateful to have felt so supported through a difficult time.

Nominated by Amanda Eaton

Donna Zimmerman, Boston IVF

Dealing with IVF treatment can be overwhelming, exhausting, and stressful. Donna takes that all away. She shows reassurance and empathy both over the phone and via email. She goes out of her way to make you feel heard and makes sure you understand every step of the way. I truly wouldn’t be able to go through this process without her. Thank you, Donna, for all you do for the IVF community!

Nominated by Katelyn Poitras

Boston Medical Center

Rolanda Barros, Boston Medical Center

Rolanda works the night shift and has emerged as a leader on that shift. She takes our new nurses under her wing and helps ensure they have everything they need and feel welcome to the floor. She also works very hard to create a clean and organized work environment. She provides empathetic care to all her patients and is a role model for our new staff.

Nominated by Ann Carey

Deborah Carey, Boston Medical Center

Debbie has been a NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) nurse for over 40 years at Boston Medical Center. She has dedicated her career to serving low-resource populations. Over the years, she has provided love and education to her patients’ families. She has cared for fragile patients and mentored hundreds of nurses. Debbie has been an amazing resource and caregiver in our NICU.

Nominated by Cheryl Slater

Kaleen Donovan

Kaleen Donovan, Boston Medical Center

In all honesty, Kaleen has become family. I am a cancer patient and have infusions every three weeks, and Kaleen is my nurse every time. Although cancer and its treatments are a burden, I look forward to seeing Kaleen and catching up with her at each appointment. Sometimes, I hear her interacting with other patients in the bays next to mine, and she remembers little things about each patient. 

It is obvious how much Kaleen cares about all of her patients and her job. On the day patients finish chemotherapy, it is tradition to ring a bell and celebrate with nurses cheering them on. Kaleen could not be there in person, but instead, she FaceTimed in and took time from her vacation just to see. She is one in a million.

Nominated by Natalie Wood

Michelle Griffin, Boston Medical Center

Michelle Griffin, our dedicated pediatric neurology nurse, consistently goes above and beyond in her role, demonstrating an unwavering commitment to the well-being of our patients, their families, and our staff. Her meticulous reviews of the weekly clinic roster and patient charts ensure that every need for care coordination is highlighted and any unmet physical or social needs are promptly addressed by our healthcare team. Regardless of their background, patients and families alike feel a profound connection to Michelle, instilled by her evident desire to secure the best possible outcomes for them. Her relentless pursuit of resources, refusing to leave any stone unturned if it benefits a child or their family, truly sets her apart. Michelle Griffin embodies the very essence of compassionate and comprehensive patient care, and for that, we are immensely grateful.

Nominated by Laurie Douglass

Rebecca Hayes, Boston Medical Center

Rebecca Hayes deserves this recognition not just for her exemplary bedside manner but for her invisible yet critical role in keeping the region’s busiest trauma center running smoothly. While many only see nurses interacting directly with patients, she goes beyond, ensuring the very infrastructure of care functions optimally. 

Hayes embodies professionalism — her communication with patients and advocacy for their needs are second to none. But her true impact lies in her quiet leadership behind the scenes. With her doctorate in nursing practice and a passion for academic rigor, she’s a beacon of safety and efficiency.

Imagine a bustling trauma center. Hayes meticulously navigates workforce deployment, maximizing resources while remaining cost-conscious. This isn’t just number crunching — it’s ensuring other nurses have the support they need to deliver top-notch care. She creates an environment where clinicians can flourish, ultimately benefiting every patient who walks through the doors.

Hayes is more than a nurse; she’s the unseen architect of quality care. Recognizing her wouldn’t just celebrate her, it would send a powerful message: society values the multifaceted contributions of nurses, both at the patient’s bedside and within the complex healthcare system that makes it all possible. As a physician and former patient myself, I’ve witnessed firsthand the impact Hayes makes. Her dedication to excellence ripples outwards, touching every aspect of patient care.

Nominated by Rafael Ortega

Mary Lynn Kolowsky, Boston Medical Center

Mary Lynn is the permanent charge nurse on my floor. She is a leader in that role and works hard to ensure the nurses have the tools required to provide excellent care to the patients. She is helpful with offering guidance to our staff and is an advocate for staff and patients. She visits every patient during her shift and knows the stories they bring to us. She maintains her calmness, even during the most chaotic shifts. She is a role model.

Nominated by Ann Carey

Allison Lundquist, Boston Medical Center

Allison Lundquist, an RN in the surgical intensive care unit (SICU) at Boston Medical Center, is the epitome of what a nurse should be, and in my opinion, she is the best of the best. My son, Christopher, was in a horrific car accident on July 29, 2023, and after several long surgeries, Christopher was transferred to the SICU. Allison was his nurse for the next four days and again during his four-month stay. 

Allison’s kind heart, compassion, attention to detail, integrity, and hard work were second to none. She took excellent care of my son and also had great care, concern, and compassion for me and my other son, TJ. Allison’s communication skills were impeccable, and she took the time to explain what was going on and what the plan was for the day. The first few weeks were touch and go, and she never wavered, doing her best to keep Christopher comfortable and safe.

No one ever wants to get the phone call I got that dreadful Saturday morning, but Allison’s thoughtfulness, kindness, wealth of knowledge, and calming demeanor made all the difference in the world. We will be forever grateful for everything Allison did for all of us. She is a huge asset to Boston Medical Center and should be recognized for her hard work and dedication.

Nominated by Kathleen Parker 

Suzy Messer, Boston Medical Center

Suzy is the most compassionate, understanding nurse I have ever met. She is a role model for new nurses and a shoulder to cry on when things do not go exactly as we hope. She gives her all to each and every patient she comes in contact with and goes above and beyond for coworkers. Suzy has the most amazing energy and ability to calm you with her words or her warm touch, no matter how tough of a shift you are having. I am lucky to call her a colleague and a friend, and our patients are lucky to have her as a nurse.

Nominated by LeeAnn Banks

Benedicta Okhihan, Boston Medical Center

Benedicta is always ready to help when a colleague is in need. She is a great patient advocate and a welcoming person. One day, Benny saw me having trouble with a patient in critical condition. Benny helped me by giving me directions for who to contact and what to do when responses were not received. Thank you, Benedicta, for your help.

Nominated by Ardelin De Jesus

Sheicia Paul, Boston Medical Center

Sheicia joined the diabetes team in the Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Nutrition clinic at Boston Medical Center in 2021. Since then, she has worked tirelessly to grow a cohesive and inclusive diabetes self-management program. She can easily identify areas where patients are feeling unsupported and can provide them with diabetes education to build their skills and strengthen their health. She is flexible with her schedule to accommodate patients’ needs on the fly or be more convenient for them.

When Sheicia recognizes inconsistencies in care between clinics or past experiences in the system, she communicates with the team, includes the patient in clinic decision-making, and ensures the patient leaves with the most accurate and helpful information.

Sheicia advocates for patients out of a place of respect and personal and clinical experience. She knows the realities of the American healthcare system and recognizes how easily less fortunate and underserved populations can get lost in clinical inertia. She is confident and smart, personable and experienced. I am honored to work with her and find her clinical presence inspiring.

Nominated by Mara Garwood

Lisa Rebello, Boston Medical Center

Lisa is a clinically competent nurse at Boston Medical Center, where she has proudly worked for more than 30 years. She is like a book of knowledge about so many medications and conditions. She properly advocates for her patients because of this wisdom and is regarded by staff, young and old, as an asset during their shift if they have questions. Her kindness and caring toward her patients is evident. One of her patients told me she is “the best nurse with the best friendly attitude in this whole hospital.”

Nominated by Marlene Earl

Jean Simas, Boston Medical Center

If you seated all of the patients my mother, Jean T. Simas, has cared for during her tenure as a registered nurse at Boston Medical, you would fill the entirety of Fenway Park three times over.

Tens of thousands of Bostonians, including me and my sisters, have witnessed her gentle care, exacting eye, fierce dedication, and boundless generosity. Through late-night shifts, on-call nights, and grueling hours in the operating room, she never missed a family dinner, school play, softball game, field trip, prom photo shoot, or late-night homework session.

For 46 years, she has walked through the doors of the hospital and, with unparalleled compassion, she has saved the city time and time again, including standing on the frontlines of the triage center in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing. She is, and always will be, a superhero. We love you, Mom.

Nominated by Regina, Jackie, and Patrick Simas 

Kelley Toli, Boston Medical Center

Kelley has been a nurse in the Adolescent Center in the pediatric department at Boston Medical Center for over 20 years. Kelley works directly with the teen patients as our lead clinic nurse; however, Kelley’s influence on our teen patients far exceeds that role. At any point of the workday, you will find Kelley caring for a teen, whether face-to-face or on the phone, guiding them through the challenges of their physical care and social needs. Kelley is a nurse, counselor, teacher, and advocate to our patients, forever going above and beyond to ensure our adolescent patients receive equitable, respectful, professional, and compassionate care.

Kelley has patients who have long outgrown the adolescent setting return to see her just to check in, grab some encouragement, and thank her for her care and support as they navigated their adolescent years. Her knowledge of what it takes to care medically and socially for our teens is unmatched, and Kelley is revered and respected by her colleagues and community members, who seek her clinical, problem-solving, and compassionate skills regularly.

I join our adolescent team in our pride to work by Kelley’s side. We know, above all else, that the teens will be cared for — she will make sure of that. The truest description of Kelley and her work is that she is the heart of our adolescent clinic.

Nominated by Mary Beth Muetz

Anthony Toney, Boston Medical Center

Mr. Toney showed great compassion and understanding of rheumatology. He was gentle and patient and asked meaningful questions. He showed expertise and a warm and inviting bedside manner. He deserves all the accolades. He is one of Boston’s finest nurses.

Nominated by Karli Rizzo

Paulovna Vernet

Paulovna Vernet, Boston Medical Center

When my 9-year-old velcro-child needed surgery, he was very concerned about being separated from me. He had a lot of anxiety leading up to the surgery day, and I had no idea what kind of behavior to expect from him that day. I had to promise him that I would be there with him when he went under anesthesia (if they would allow it). That morning, we met his surgical nurse, Paulovna (Polo), and she had an immediate rapport with him and put him right at ease. I still laugh when I think of him calmly waving to me as his new bestie wheeled him to the operating room. She is clearly well-trained, talented, and takes her work seriously. I cannot express enough thanks to Polo and the rest of the surgical team for making this such a great experience for both my child and me!

Nominated by Carolyn Damato-MacPherson

Colleen Webb, Boston Medical Center

It can be easy to focus on the medical aspect and forget about connecting emotionally with individuals. However, I have observed Colleen physically and emotionally interacting with patients and family members to provide the support they need. For example, a patient just discovered that he had cancer, and Colleen sat beside him to show empathy. No matter how tired she is, she smiles to show that someone cares about them. Colleen will also sing and dance with a patient who had a rough day to lift her spirits. She helped educate a patient who was newly diagnosed with a heart condition. I can’t list all the positive actions that she shows toward patients. If I were a patient, I would always want Colleen to take care of me as a nurse.

As a colleague, if I have questions or need help, no matter how busy she is, Colleen always helps. I am so lucky to work with such a wonderful person. Her kindness and empathy reach out to individuals on a deeper level.

Nominated by Soo Ko

Bridges at EPOCH

Rosemary Ombewa, Bridges at EPOCH at Andover
Rosemary is very kind and exceptionally proficient at listening to my family’s concerns. She is ready to accept suggestions and offer her medical opinion when necessary as she helps my husband in a memory care unit. She is soft-spoken, which provides calm even in difficult situations. She is my go-to person whenever I need help or need something explained about my husband’s care.

Nominated by Elaine Hurst

Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital 

Cody Hedglin, Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital

I had multiple hospitalizations towards the end of 2023, and I ended up with a wound on my backside. Cody was my wound nurse. He spent a good amount of time going over how the wound likely developed and how to start healing it. He was very professional in his demeanor and was very gentle with the dressings, which were quite painful. I believe Cody is one of the main reasons my wound healed completely. Thank you, Cody!

Nominated by Sam Tyrwhitt

Brigham and Women’s Hospital 

Kelly Bates

Kelly Bates, Brigham and Women’s Hospital

I have always been proud to say I am a Brigham nurse. I received my 25-year service pin last year. The same year, my husband became critically ill and was admitted to the Shapiro 6 West ICU [Intensive Care Unit] at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. That pin carries more meaning than I ever could have imagined now. Nurses make a difference. 

I am honored to nominate Kelly Bates, an RN in the Shapiro 6 West ICU for Salute to Nurses 2024. Kelly was truly a guardian angel to our family as we navigated this unexpected journey. Kelly skillfully balanced the critical tasks of an ICU nurse while providing emotional support to our family. It was apparent from the moment I met her that she was very knowledgeable, and I felt so reassured that my husband was going to receive expert care. 

Kelly was intuitive about every subtle change in his status and was able to advocate for him. Even on the days when things became very dire, Kelly was even-tempered and professional. She embodied family-centered care. It was apparent this was not just a patient but someone’s husband, father, son, brother, uncle, brother-in-law, and friend to her. Our family is forever grateful to Kelly and the amazing Shapiro 6 West ICU staff for the stellar care provided to my husband and our family. We are forever grateful that we can continue to create memories as a family. There are no words really that can express how thankful we are.

Nominated by Christina Meehan

Cheryl Gardner, Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Cheryl Gardner was one of our two incredible primary nurses during an unexpected NICU [neonatal intensive care unit] stay last fall with our preterm newborn son. During two months filled with anxiety and ambiguity as we navigated acute medical issues and a rare genetic diagnosis, Cheryl’s consistent support and advocacy carried us through the most difficult stretch of our lives.

Cheryl has worked in the NICU for nearly 40 years and leaned on her wealth of knowledge and passion for her work to give our family the highest quality care. She helped ease our minds in the early days of our stay by explaining daily lab results, ensuring we had the most comfortable setup possible, and enthusiastically answering all of our questions. 

Over the course of our NICU journey, Cheryl continued to show up for us in both big and small ways: She reminded us to take advantage of the parking discount and lunches provided for families; she made us laugh (which was exactly what we needed on the hardest days); she sat with our baby during an after-hours brain MRI and let us know when all had gone well; she advocated for our son to stay in the NICU as long as he needed, until we were comfortable and confident to take him home; and perhaps most importantly, she told us that everything would be ok. We believed her then, and we still do today.

Thankfully, we are now home and look forward to staying in touch with Cheryl. To know she is in our corner, even beyond the walls of the NICU, is truly remarkable, and we are forever grateful.

Nominated by Molly Mazzaferro

Kate Higgins

Kate Higgins, Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Kate Higgins was one of our two incredible primary nurses during an unexpected NICU stay last fall with our preterm newborn son. We met Kate on day three of our 54-day NICU journey and formed an immediate connection. While our hospital stay was wrought with challenges as we navigated acute medical issues and a rare genetic diagnosis, Kate’s kindness and compassion brightened our most difficult days.

Kate’s passion for newborn care comes from a deeply personal place, which translates to the warm and empathetic care she provides to her patients. She greeted us each day with a smile, and we quickly bonded over shared experiences. Kate’s genuine interest and excitement around each little milestone our son reached helped us to also appreciate and celebrate those moments. While it was never easy to say goodbye to our baby at day’s end, it was unbelievably comforting to know we left him with someone who would treat and love him like one of her own.

Kate also provided incredible emotional support to us as parents as we processed difficult news and tried to make sense of a senseless situation. She helped us research local specialists and ensured connections were made where possible. In these moments, she went above and beyond her role as a nurse and became an empathetic listener, trusted confidant, and patient advocate.

Our NICU stay was infinitely better because Kate was a core part of it, and we are forever grateful for her care.

Nominated by Molly Mazzaferro

Julie McGillicuddy

Julie McGillicuddy, Brigham and Women’s Hospital

My husband and I first met Julie in the Brigham and Women’s NICU. Our son, Owen, was born six weeks early by emergency C-section due to placenta complications. We also lost our first daughter, Lyla, due to a genetic disorder at 2 weeks old, so we were very anxious after he was born.

Julie met us with the warmest greeting and made us feel so comfortable and safe with her immediately. We were in the NICU with our son for two weeks, and Julie was our lead nurse. She quickly got to know us and showed real compassion for our son. She would call us each morning with an update and make a plan for that day.

Every day we were with her, she taught us something new that was so helpful in caring for our son. She taught us everything from tips for changing diapers and pumping and breastfeeding to swaddling and bathing him and so much more. When we were ready to leave, we truly felt prepared to take care of our son and bring him home — all because of Julie’s care and ensuring we were involved in everything throughout the day.

Sadly, Julie wasn’t with us on the day we went home. Julie reached out and called us after we had left to make sure we were still doing okay and let us know what a great pleasure it was caring for our son.

Julie was such a light during our stay and made it easier to leave our son each night. We truly felt so taken care of by her and will forever be grateful to her. “Thank you” would never be enough. Julie, you are an angel on earth!

Nominated by Heather Toland

Kathy McPherson

Kathy McPherson, Brigham and Women’s Hospital

I was in for a dilation and evacuation (D&E) at about 14 weeks after finding out my son had no heartbeat. It was one of the saddest, loneliest experiences I have ever had. Kathy was so kind and supportive. Her hug was the last thing I remember before they did the procedure, and it was exactly what I needed since my husband wasn’t in the room. I’ll never forget it.
Nominated by Jillian Russo

Stephanie Pretty, Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Stephanie Pretty went above and beyond to care for me during my time at Brigham and Women’s. She brings the term nurse to a whole new level. Her consistency in my care, compassion for advocacy, and commitment to her patients are unmatched. Even when I was at my very worst, she made my stay the very best, and that’s something to honor!

Nominated by Lauren Landry

Kristin Raymond

Kristin Raymond, Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Kristin Raymond is, without a doubt, one of the most outstanding nurses I have ever worked with. She is the nurse director for the preoperative clinic at the Brigham, where many patients are facing complex procedures. She always makes sure to do everything she can to make things easier for them and their families, to decrease anxiety, to ensure they get the appropriate information to make things successful, and to help streamline their way through the surgical process. I have seen her go above and beyond for surgical patients and families over and over again. 

She is compassionate, generous with her time, and well aware of how social issues and disparities can impact access to care; she does her utmost to make sure all patients get the highest possible level of care. She is a role model and inspiration for the nurses who work in our unit and takes on extra responsibilities to ensure that her coworkers have the best possible work environment. In these days of decreased resources, this is a formidable task, but she does her best and always has a kind word for everyone. She is a treasure for our staff and our patients.
Nominated by Angela Bader

Kristin Raymond, Brigham and Women’s Hospital

When I first started working with Kristin, she was a perioperative nurse. She was going to school and received her Master’s in Nursing while becoming assistant nurse director. She has since taken on the role of interim nurse director. She is dedicated to her staff and her patients. She works endless hours and is always available for any needs. Our department would be lost without her.
Nominated by Maria Piekos

Kristin Raymond, Brigham and Women’s Hospital

The Center for Preoperative Evaluation at Brigham and Women’s Hospital relies on a teamwork approach. There are two attending anesthesiologists, a nurse manager, four nurse practitioners, two registered nurses, two resident anesthesiologists, and two administrative assistants.

Our task is to ensure the safety of patients undergoing surgery by collecting and triaging available records and scheduling needed consultants and tests. While the medical decision leader is an anesthesiologist, the operational leader — the person who really makes the center flow — is the nurse manager, Kristin! In her cheerful, focused, and enthusiastically encouraging way, she enables the best of each participant, artfully pairs nurses and anesthesiologists in a character-aware way, and cajoles necessary consultants, test schedulers, and medical records personnel.

Kristin is reliable, honest, and smart. She leads with her heart, with patients’ welfare as her compass. On a rare sick day when she works remotely, she still engages us in the morning, discharges the tasks, and ensures follow-up. Yes, we all know individuals who make a difference, even in this same role. However, Kristin is truly exemplary. I often reflect on how Kristin makes things happen so much easier, as if a rusted toy got its connection points oiled for the first time. She is a catalyst.

Kristin is the embodiment of a patient advocate and a most pleasing and generous companion on our quotidian journey towards health. Bravo!

Nominated by Lawrence Tsen

Martha Anne Smith

Martha Anne Smith, Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Martha Anne Smith is the nurse practitioner responsible for my care at Brigham and Women’s Primary Care in Norwood. Martha is very responsive to my health concerns, responding within hours with thoughtful and experienced medical advice and treatments as the situation requires. 

I had a health concern while on vacation in Utah and required follow-up care. Martha assured me that I would be directed to the cardiologist and had testing that would be needed for that appointment in a timely manner. Decisions related to my care are discussed, and plans made with Martha are always a shared decision, taking my input, lifestyle, and concerns into account. Primary care providers require an encyclopedic knowledge for the variety of patients they serve. In addition to treating patients with care and compassion, Martha is one of those providers.
Nominated by Debra Furlong

Brockton Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) and Hospice

Kathleen Holt, Brockton VNA and Hospice

Kathy Holt was my husband’s primary home-based hospice nurse for the last 10 months of his life. She was exceptional, demonstrating a blend of skill, compassion, broad knowledge, humor, empathy, flexibility, and common sense. She led a hardworking hospice team that gave Jack and me what we sorely needed: great medical and practical advice that was thoughtful, responsive, and tailored to our needs.

Kathy and the Brockton Visiting Nurse Association Hospice team really listened to us and went above and beyond to relieve our stress. Kathy communicated beautifully and made sure nothing fell through the cracks. She even helped with some mundane tasks that became hard for me to handle. As just one example, when the wrong-size protective floor mat was delivered from Amazon, Kathy helped me with all the online work necessary to return it. She then repacked the (very large) mat in the box and even took it to a neighboring town to send it back. It was a huge relief at a crazy busy time.

We knew she truly cared about us. Kathy would rush over at a moment’s notice if needed. She helped us make many tough decisions that crop up at the end of life: Should we keep or drop certain medications? How and when should I administer morphine? Did we need to move his hospital bed into the living room? What meals should I make for him? Rock solid and reliable, Kathy guided this difficult transition to his calm and peaceful death last November. She became a trusted friend when we needed one, an experienced advisor on all medical questions, and an advocate for Jack, me, and our daughter. In short, she was the perfect caregiving professional. We feel blessed that she was in charge of Team Jack.

Nominated by Mary Ann Hubbard

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