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2024 Salute to Nurses Letters S-T

Saint Vincent Hospital

Aisling O’Sullivan, Saint Vincent Hospital

Aisling is such a lovely person. She’s a single mother of four who has been a nurse for more than 20 years in the Worcester area. She has the perfect mix of experience, expertise, and empathy. I know I’m in the best hands when I’m with her, and she makes me feel like I’m the only person who matters. Plus, in her spare time, she volunteers regularly at the Mustard Seed food kitchen in Worcester and operates her own cookie business. She was even selected last year to be one of 24 contestants out of 60,000 applicants to be on The Food Network’s Halloween Cookie Challenge. She’s a rockstar.

Nominated by Dougan Sherwood

Salem Hospital 

Susan Hicaro, Salem Hospital

Susan is an excellent labor and delivery nurse. She cares for mothers-to-be, makes them comfortable, and is warm and welcoming. As a coworker, she is always looking out for everyone and offers help to anyone who needs it. When I first started working in labor and delivery, she welcomed me with open arms, guided me when I needed help, and answered any of my questions. In addition to being smart and articulate, she is one funny person. I love you, Susan.

Nominated by Heather Cunha

Mercy Kioko, Salem Hospital

Mercy strives each day to ensure that every patient under her care feels as if they are her only patient. She makes sure that they understand that their care is the most important thing to her. In addition to the exceptional care she gives to her patients, she also helps guide our newer nurses in their learning. Our unit is all the better because of Mercy.

Nominated by Sherry Michalowski

Emily Lewis, Salem Hospital
Emily is a wonderful nurse. She’s always kind and caring to the patients she has or doesn’t have. She always helps out other nurses on the floor and us techs. I love when she’s on and I’m working on her floor. She always has a smile on her face and puts the patients at ease.

Nominated by Valerie Davis

Trevor Martin, Salem Hospital

Trevor is an outstanding nurse; he goes above and beyond for all of his patients. He is always so happy and treats everyone on the unit with kindness.

Nominated by Vana Webber

South County Hospital

Caroline Peguero, South County Hospital

I have to start by saying I am a nurse, and I was blown away by Caroline, a registered nurse in the emergency department at South County Hospital. At the end of September, my father was in and out of the hospital, and he was found to need a pacemaker. After receiving the pacemaker, he was doing okay. But, around the end of October, we found him having difficulty walking and holding items. 

My mom had a planned surgery for October 23, and while we were there my dad developed a headache. After some convincing, he agreed to be seen in the ER, and we came across Caroline. My nurse-gut told me something was wrong, and she listened to me and helped in every way she could to get him the assessment he needed. We found out that he had a bilateral brain bleed, and we were shipped off to a bigger hospital. As we were waiting, she came back to check on us, and she held my hand as I took a second to cry. Then, she gave me the confidence to push on and get my dad the help he needed. I will be forever grateful for her.

Nominated by Samantha Machado

South Shore Health 

Elizabeth Brooks, South Shore Hospital

Beth Brooks is the manager of our pediatric areas. Beth understands the importance of collaborating with colleagues to provide clinical training for current nursing students. She goes above and beyond to help me find clinical placements for them. Beth ensures she meets with them and welcomes them to her unit, which allows students to feel comfortable from the start and allows the learning process to begin without the anxiety of trying to fit in. I thank Beth for her support and collaboration in working with these students.

Nominated by Sharon Perkins

Casey Cosgrove, South Shore Hospital

My mother is currently at South Shore Hospital for a rapid decline with her Lewy body dementia and high blood pressure. With her dementia, we have spent time with lots of nurses and nurse aids. Casey is the first one I met who truly “gets it.” She treats my mother with compassion and joy, is well-versed on all of her needs, and communicates with us [family members] without ever rushing, which is incredibly amazing given the fact that any open hospitals right now are completely full due to the ones that just closed and she is almost certainly inundated with work. I feel like my mother is in wonderful care in Casey’s hands, and I am just massively impressed with how gracefully she treats her — and never treats her like a child. It’s beautiful. She could teach a lot to so many who work with elders.

Nominated by Kerry Railey

Melissa Dinunno, South Shore Hospital

Melissa Dinunno is a certified nurse midwife at South Shore Hospital. Prior to midwifery school, she worked as a labor and delivery nurse at the hospital. She has spent the last year working diligently to bring back the “golden hour” practice for babies and their birthing parents to spend the most important first hour of their life outside the womb skin-to-skin. It has so many benefits for both parent and baby. Melissa has helped to change the practice for birthing unit staff and impacted families during this most amazing time after a baby’s birth.

Nominated by Danielle Woods

Kristin Doyle, South Shore Hospital

Kristin Doyle is my niece. I watched her strong dedication to nursing studies while she was in school. That dedication and determination have continued in so many ways. While raising a family of four children, she has dedicated nearly 30 years to nursing. Most of her time and experience has been in the emergency department of South Shore Hospital. The volume of patients and dealing with severe illnesses, injuries, and deaths from all walks of life surely bring with them much stress, sadness, and physical wear and tear. Yet, she still dedicates herself to the organization, now serving as a nursing supervisor and providing periodic emergency department coverage. 

Kristin also gave her heart and time to caring for her mother, father, and her sole sibling during serious illnesses, all of which ended with death. Others in the family can always depend on her when in need of advice and support. She is truly a blessing in so many ways and deserving of this honor.

Nominated by Susan Broderick

Kelli Farmer, South Shore Hospital

Kelli Farmer is the air traffic controller of the third busiest emergency department in the state. South Shore Health is in a region where a 200-bed hospital was closed due to a fire, a private practice group unexpectedly closed, and other hospitals are struggling. Kelli is an island of sanity in what is often a sea of chaos. She is calm, intelligent, hardworking, and has a great sense of humor. We are grateful for her leadership as we navigate through this tumultuous time.

Nominated by Tim Quigley

Andrea Gaine, South Shore Hospital

Andrea was one of my labor and delivery nurses when I first arrived to the birthing unit. I was having an extremely difficult time, and she immediately made me feel better with her calming presence and sense of humor. She stayed by my side, listened to me, and advocated for me throughout my labor. We were able to connect on many levels, and I felt like she was part of our inner circle by the time her shift ended. Having such a wonderful, caring, and knowledgeable nurse during such an important moment in my life was so special, and I don’t know how I would have gotten through it without her. She was an angel in my time of need, and I couldn’t be more thankful.

Nominated by Molly McGarry

Natalie Gaskins

Natalie Gaskins, South Shore Hospital

Natalie was one of my nurses during my first labor and delivery of my daughter in June. We received excellent care all around, but Natalie especially stood out. She took over my case at a critical time, right as active labor got rolling, but there were no open beds. I’m still not sure how, but she was such an excellent advocate for me that a few hours later, she came running into the room and said, “I got us a bed, let’s go right now!” 

She negotiated switching her other patients to transfer onto the unit with me and adjusted her schedule to stay as late as she could into the process. She even had her son’s birthday party after a long night shift, which ended up being the same day my daughter was born! She made sure I was set up with all the comfort measures I needed and was the calm and strong presence I needed during those hectic overnight hours. There is no vulnerability and uncertainty quite like your first labor and delivery, and Natalie made all the difference in mine. I’ll forever remember her and be grateful for her nursing care at a critical moment in my life. Thank you, Natalie!

Nominated by Grace Kelso Damond

Monique Hankinson, South Shore Hospital

Monique led an initiative to improve the care of patients who undergo cesarean deliveries at South Shore Hospital. The Enhanced Recovery After Cesarean (ERAC) pathway is a set of evidence-based interventions designed to optimize recovery after cesarean section surgery. Monique brought together a group of nurses, obstetricians, anesthesia providers, and IT specialists to develop the ERAC pathway at South Shore Hospital. Since this initiative went live in April, patients are getting up and moving sooner after delivery, able to eat sooner, and requiring less narcotics.

Nominated by Kathleen Bruce

Katie McGarry, South Shore Hospital

I delivered my daughter at South Shore Hospital this past May, and Katie was one of the nurses with me throughout my delivery. While on the labor and delivery unit, she was right by my side encouraging me and making me feel at ease. I ended up needing an emergency C-section, and I was beyond grateful for having her there as it was my first time in labor, and it did not go as expected. As scared as I was, I was confident that my baby would be taken care of because Katie was in the operating room with me. She was so calming and supportive. My birthing experience was not perfect, but I will be forever thankful that Katie was there to welcome my baby girl into the world with open arms when I was not able to physically do so.

Nominated by Molly Manning

Michele O’Hara, South Shore Hospital

Michele is the nurse manager of the Mother Infant Unit at South Shore Hospital. In an effort to increase the exclusive breastfeeding rates at South Shore Hospital and increase the number of nurses certified in lactation at the hospital, Michele advocated for the hospital to cover the cost of a lactation counselor training course for nurses in the parent-child division who were interested in taking it. The hospital agreed and piloted the initiative for a cohort group of nurses to take the course. As a result, nine nurses became certified, and the exclusive breastfeeding rates began to improve. Because the pilot was so successful, it was renewed in the fall of 2023 with another group of nurses taking the course.

Nominated by Kathleen Bruce

Ginny Philippeaux

Ginny Philippeaux, South Shore Health

Ginny Philippeaux accepted the role as chair of the Evidence-Based Practice Committee last year. Several key members moved on, leaving Ginny to develop her own structure for the committee. Ginny did not hesitate to continue moving the council forward. She provided new members with information to get them acclimated and pushed through a new protocol involving several departments within a few short months. Her communication skills keep everyone abreast of what is needed and when. Not only did Ginny take on this committee, but she also started a Doctor of Nursing Practice program. She is an excellent role model to those who have the pleasure of working with her.

Nominated by Sharon Perkins

South Shore Stars

Marilyn Ahern, South Shore Stars

Marilyn Ahern has been a part-time employee at South Shore Stars for many years. Marilyn has supported countless families, children, and staff during her tenure at Stars. She kindly supports our programs to make sure each child has needed immunizations, annual check-ups, and as-needed support. She also supported our schools in Quincy, Randolph, and Weymouth throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and still does to this day. She exudes kindness and support while also being firm about the importance of following all health and safety protocols. She is a calming voice during unnerving medical situations. She is also an ally for families and staff navigating complex health-related matters. Stars is a better place because of wonderful people like our nurse, Marilyn Ahern!

Nominated by Jennifer Curtis

South Shore Visiting Nurse Association (VNA)

Rose Pallotta, South Shore VNA

Rose is a dedicated home care nurse who consistently goes the extra mile for those she cares for. She brings care into the home with respect and compassion, providing for her patients’ clinical care needs but also assisting them with scheduling doctor appointments, arranging rides, and ensuring they have the right supplies and prescriptions available. She listens with a kind ear and advocates for her patients to have all the services and care they need to be successful at home. She invests time in training nursing students and sharing her knowledge with students and colleagues. Rose cares deeply about those in her care and her community. She is the nurse we all hope to have caring for those we love!

Nominated by Lisa Royer

PattiJean Yule, South Shore VNA

PattiJean works in the community as a night nurse. She is a bright ray of sunshine when patients’ needs are in the middle of the night. PattiJean is out on the road seeing patients when most of the world is fast asleep. She responds to their needs with a smile and plenty of knowledge to help troubleshoot their problem or calm their fear.

Nominated by Lisa Royer

Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital

Elizabeth Adams

Elizabeth Adams, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital

I would like to recognize Elizabeth Adams, a staff nurse, as she is a nurse who continues to take that extra time and effort to improve patient care. She is a strong advocate for unit staff and an active member of our Nurse Practice Council. In addition to her involvement and voice in our council, she is a mentor, preceptor, and charge nurse on the unit. She is always willing to step up and assist in the unit and patient care. The innovation, empathy, and leadership skills she brings to nursing are phenomenal. 

Not only is she excellent at performing tasks and critical thinking, but what truly makes her stand out is her compassion. Her bedside manner shows that she takes that extra step with each patient. She always takes extra time to listen to her patients, understanding their difficulties and challenges. Understanding patients’ beliefs, hobbies, and interests is just one example of Elizabeth’s dedication to her patients.

Nominated by Meaghan Fahey

Kara Arnold, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital

Kara is an exceptional nurse who not only contributes to floor nursing but also serves as co-chair of the Enrichment Council and contributes to the support and education of new nurses. Kara is an amazing healthcare professional who pays great attention to detail and always goes the extra mile for her patients. 

With her strong clinical skills and critical thinking abilities, Kara conducts thorough assessments and promptly identifies even the slightest changes from the baseline, helping prevent the clinical deterioration of a patient’s condition. She is never hesitant to take on medically complex cases, demonstrating her dedication to ensuring the best possible outcomes for her patients. She is very compassionate about her patients and makes them feel valued and heard.

Nominated by Ella Minasyan

Kattie Barrios-Deleon

Katie Barrios-Deleon, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital

Katie’s nursing practice exemplifies compassion, clinical competency, and exceptional communication skills. Her unwavering dedication to patient care is evident in her proactive approach to assisting both patients and colleagues in the Stroke Program at Spaulding. With a gentle and reassuring presence, she effortlessly establishes rapport with patients, easing their anxieties amid the challenges of rehabilitation. Her fluency in Spanish further enhances her ability to connect with and support Spanish-speaking patients, ensuring they receive care in their preferred language.

Beyond mere tasks, Katie invests her time and energy into ensuring patients and their families fully understand their care plans. She prioritizes patient education, patiently explaining medications and discharge instructions and never rushing through vital information. This commitment fosters trust and empowers patients to actively participate in their recovery journey. Moreover, her collaborative spirit shines through her seamless coordination with other healthcare professionals, facilitating efficient interdisciplinary teamwork. By promptly communicating crucial updates and insights to the team, she ensures holistic and patient-centered care delivery.

Nominated by Nick Herring

Samantha North, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital
Sam goes above and beyond for her patients. I have seen compassion and advocacy daily when Sam works. We had a patient who suffered from a brain injury, causing them to be a challenging patient to work with. Therapy could not get much done with the patient due to their mood, so they took them off the program. Sam came in every day and figured out ways to get this patient to participate in medication management, care, and even therapy. The patient is now going home!

Nominated by Melissa McQueen

St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center 

Jeffrey Meus, St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center 

Jeffrey is one of the hardest working nurses there is. He treats his patients with kindness and compassion day after day. He goes above and beyond to help his Intensive Care Unit (ICU) patients feel comfortable and, most importantly, safe. He never makes you feel like a bother and makes you feel included in your treatment plan. He is truly one of the unsung heroes of this hospital.

Nominated by Tanisha M.

Emily Neville, St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center 

Emily is a dedicated and caring nurse in the ICU, one of the most challenging areas of a hospital. She is always a smiling face, even when things are stressful and difficult. I have grown up with doctors and nurses my entire life, and Emily stands out.

Nominated by Charles Gleason

Tewksbury Hospital

Maggie Queenan, Tewksbury Hospital

Maggie is an extremely dedicated nurse and has been in this role for over 25 years. She is a single mom who has worked the third shift — which covers the late night to early morning hours — at Tewksbury Hospital for the last 15 years to support her two sons. They are now grown, but she constantly took extra shifts (and still does) to provide a comfortable life for her boys and help her coworkers when shorthanded. I constantly say, “I don’t know how you do it, Maggie!”

She rarely takes a vacation, and I’ve listened to so many stories about her patients and the compassion and kindness she shows them. Her optimistic attitude never ceases to amaze me. Maggie never complains about her work and gives her all to her profession with such humility, compassion, and grace. Maggie is truly selfless and deserves to be recognized for her tireless work as a nurse as she nears retirement. If I were ever hospitalized, I’d want Maggie to be my nurse.

Nominated by Robin Connell

The Miriam Hospital

Elizabeth (Libby) White-Kerwin, The Miriam Hospital

We met Libby at 2 a.m., after waiting seven hours to be seen; my daughter was suffering from a high fever and was frustrated because two previous doctors had misdiagnosed what ultimately turned out to be pneumonia. On top of that, she had never been inside a hospital and was nervous. Libby immediately put my daughter at ease with her relatable, genuine, and confident approach. The emergency room was clearly over capacity, yet Libby was calm and warm and demonstrated a singular focus on us. She explained and delivered my daughter’s treatment plan in a way that removed all her worries. Many others contributed to my daughter’s return to health that night, but Libby left a lasting impression of compassion with care that built long-term trust. 

This is how my daughter summed up her experience: “My problems were Libby’s problems. That’s how she made me feel. I was her top priority, and that helped me believe I would get better.” Thank you, Libby! 

Nominated by Kerry Sweeney

Tufts Medical Center 

Rachael Cummings, Tufts Medical Center

Rachael, or “Rach” as she goes by on the floor, is the Webster Dictionary definition of a nurse. As a new grad, I was lucky enough to call her my preceptor when I started in the cardiac surgery intensive care unit (CSICU). Rach stuck with me for four months, going above and beyond during my orientation experience. She never judged me for any question, no matter how silly it was.

During our time together, Rach got very close with one of our long-term patients. He did not have much family support while in the hospital, so she took it upon herself to take his clothes and do his laundry for him — twice. They even ended up staying in contact. She showed me how much impact we nurses can have on patients. To this day, I am so grateful to have had such a great nurse to teach me everything that she knows.

Nominated by Shane Grant

Jenn Dagesse, Tufts Medical Center

I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in March 2022. Over two years, Jenn has gone out of her way to learn about me, my body, and how chemotherapy affects me to make treatments and the days that follow as workable as possible. This is on top of making actual treatment days as pleasant as possible.

Nominated by David Sibley

Seamus Keaveny, Tufts Medical Center

Seamus is the type of nurse you strive to be like and that you hope your loved one is cared for by if they are ever in need. I’ve worked with him at Tufts for six years, and he continues to amaze me with his knowledge, compassion, and exemplary nursing care. 

Working on a neuroscience, trauma, and ear, nose, and throat (ENT) floor, a lot of our patients are unable to express their needs, and Seamus acts as an advocate for them. He takes the time to connect with each patient and their families, lending a hand to hold or ear to listen, all while ensuring their medical needs are tended to. He puts the patient first each shift and is such a wonderful presence on the unit. He is supportive of his coworkers and is the heart of our unit.

Nominated by Molly Manning

Hailee Lacasse

Hailee Lacasse, Tufts Medical Center

Hailee is my Florence Nightingale. I was hospitalized for weeks before giving birth due to some complications. During one particularly harrowing day, I was alone and far from home. My poor husband was stuck in Boston traffic trying to get to me. Hailee not only kept my baby and me safe with her clinical skills but anticipated my needs before I knew I had them. She was my nurse and support person all in one. Once I was stable, she never stopped making sure I was comfortable and happy. She cheered me on to complete a difficult treatment and never stopped advocating for my needs, both big and small. Hailee is an expert at compassion, clinical skills, and nursing. I am so lucky to have been her patient.

Nominated by Ashley Patrie

Alison Massed, Tufts Medical Center

Alison Massed is a nurse practitioner who has dedicated her career to providing outstanding care to patients living with structural heart disease and helping them to navigate some of the complex treatment options that go along with it. It can be daunting for many patients in the communities outside of Boston to come into the city to receive their care, but Alison has worked tirelessly to ensure patients are supported from the very first phone call with the team through the weeks and months after they leave Tufts Medical Center. 

She goes above and beyond to ensure patients and their families have every piece of information needed, including parking logistics, directions within the hospital, and exact details of appointments, tests, and procedures. She is kind and patient, and no questions or concerns go unanswered. She not only takes part in the medical care of these patients while they are at the hospital but also spends hours communicating with patients before and after procedures, ensuring they are taken care of holistically and have supportive follow-up care in place. She has done incredible work helping decrease wait times for patients to be seen by helping to optimize evaluation processes and coordinating same-day appointments for patients needing multiple tests. 

Next to her desk, there is an entire bulletin board of thank-you notes from patients and families that have been cared for by Alison and the structural heart team. When reading through them, they specifically thank her for her “exceptional communication” and “personal kindness.” One that beautifully summarizes the impact she has on patients reads, “Alison, your kindness and compassion during this most difficult time in my life have meant more to me than you could ever know. Thank you.”

Nominated by Samantha Asber

Deirdre Morton, Tufts Medical Center

When my son was born two and a half months early, Deirdre was the first nurse to make me feel like everything would be okay. She assured me that she would take care of my son while he was in the NICU. She answered every question I had, whether it was silly or not, with compassion. She communicated everything to me on the days I couldn’t be there. If it wasn’t for her, I’m not sure I would have handled my son being in the NICU as well as I did.

Nominated by Stephanie Brodsky

Kelli O’Neill, Tufts Medical Center

It is very challenging to put into words what an amazing nurse Kelli is. Kelli is an inspiration to every nurse in the medical intensive care unit (MICU). Kelli always empowers the unit to get to know and understand our patients as people. She implements positivity in rounds where we can share a fun fact about our patient each day. 

Kelli consistently goes above and beyond when it comes to basic patient care. She always has “spa days” for her patients, during which she brushes their hair and styles it. She will even thoughtfully select a color to paint their nails! Kelli is also a leader when it comes to promoting patient mobility. She always gets her patients out of bed and working with physical therapy. In addition, she always has our facility dog come up to visit both staff and patients to help with morale.

She is a gift to not only patients but to nursing staff as well. We consider her our greatest advocate and support. Kelli is always ready to listen and lend a helping hand. She is also a leader when it comes to nursing education. She ensures that each nurse is challenged and growing in her nursing practice. Kelli is the epitome of a compassionate nurse, and we all look to her as a role model.

Nominated by Allison Amodeo, Elisabeth Olson, Sarah Bagley, and Geneveive Connelly

Tedi Rosenstein

Tedi Rosenstein, Tufts Medical Center

My wife was brought into Tufts Medical Center with spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD), which led to her going into cardiac arrest. My wife ended up in the cardiothoracic ICU [Intensive Care Unit] for several months. When I was finally allowed to see her, she was intubated and on so many machines I couldn’t speak. Tedi took the time to explain to me every single thing that was going on with my wife — what all the medicines she was on were and what all the machines were doing and why. She would ask me questions about my wife, even though she was intubated, because Tedi wanted to get to know her. When my daughters came in, Tedi took the time to get to know them as well and answered all their questions. She even went so far as to arrange for Bob the dog to come to see us, which meant the world to my daughters given we have a golden too.

Watching the crisis care that Tedi gave my wife was nothing short of amazing. My wife ended up needing a heart transplant eventually, and again, Tedi spent so much time with us explaining everything so we would understand what was going to happen every step of the way. Tufts obviously provides world-class care, but the personal touch that Tedi provided was something that my family and I will never forget. I’ve said many times that I honestly don’t know how I would have gotten through all this without her; she listened, cared, and was compassionate and understanding, all while providing my wife with world-class care as she fought for her life each day. I will never be able to find the words to tell her what she means to our family.

Nominated by Rob Cunningham

Jennifer Sabo, Tufts Medical Center

My wife recently had major surgery due to a critical abdominal condition, and we were both under tremendous stress. Nurse practitioner Jennifer Sabo was constantly with us through the operation and follow up. We are elderly, and she gave us great support dealing with medical intricacies, as well as coordinating with another hospital to complete my wife’s recovery. She is a very special person and works well beyond the call of duty!

Nominated by David Kontoff

Shannon Young, Tufts Medical Center

I have been a patient of Shannon’s for years. She has always been responsive, kind, and helpful. She has gone out of her way to ensure requests are completed correctly and expeditiously. She also has done extra helpful tasks. For example, I recently had a PET scan and called her from the scan area. She tracked down a certain type of filter I required and brought it to the PET scan area so I would not have to reschedule. She always answers my questions or gets the answer and gets back to me quickly. She is a delight to interact with, and she understands my issues.

Nominated by Elissa Katler

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