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Salute to Nurses: Tufts Medical Center & Tufts Children’s Hospital

Ann Branton, Tufts Medical Center

I have had the pleasure of working alongside Ann for over 25 years. She has always approached her work with a sense of calmness and compassion. Her quiet competency puts her patients and their families totally at ease. Ann faces each day with a positive attitude, which bolsters everyone around her. She handles medical crises with efficiency and constantly puts her patients at ease. Ann would never want attention called to her endeavors, which, in my opinion, makes her the perfect candidate for this recognition.—Nominated by Laura Brodbeck

Olivia Collette, Tufts Medical Center

Olivia cares deeply for those she cares for. She is committed to her work, always taking extra shifts and working overtime whenever she is needed. She shows compassion and respect for all the patients and families she meets, regardless of the situation. She demonstrates calmness in crises where she is able to make those patients and families feel safe and secure. She is always positive, loving, and professional. She is the beacon of light in a patient’s storm.—Nominated by Gail Collette

Critical Care Unit Nurses, Tufts Medical Center

Asking me to choose one nurse among the wonderful CCU nursing staff is like being asked to choose your favorite child. They are all exceptional. On Feb. 24, my sons and I were swept into an unimaginable drama as my husband, Chris, went into cardiogenic shock. On top of that were the cruel but necessary visitor restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic. These wonderful nurses provided exceptional medical care, consummate professionalism, kindness and compassion, and unwavering patience. Their experience allowed them to anticipate our needs. We knew Chris was in good and caring hands, even when we were not able to be there. These professionals care for not only the sickest of the sick, but also the family members who are suffering as well. Matt, James, and I are forever grateful for the help that we received during our difficult journey. —Nominated by Suzanne Ghiloni

Leigha Cutone, Tufts Medical Center

My daughter lost her dad to multiple myeloma while she was working as a nurse at Tufts on North 7. After her dad passed away, Leigha gave all she could to become a transplant nurse. She moved to the floor her dad had passed away on. I give all my heart and admiration to my daughter for all the love and compassion she has for all her patients. She is a trouper—it took so much courage to do what she did. God has led her in the right direction and continues to direct her steps. She has a heart of gold. Ask her patients how much they love her. She has a lot to give to someone who’s going through cancer. I find it in my heart she is so special. She is a champ. Maybe this is not her mom’s place to do, but I wanted to share her courage with you. God bless, always.—Nominated by Patricia Castaneda

Kate Dauphinais, Tufts Hospital, Tufts Medical Center

Kate Dauphinais, Tufts Hospital, Tufts Medical Center

I entered the hospital with pains while pregnant with my twins. After a long day, I was apparently in pre-term labor at 22 weeks and there was no way to stop it. From the moment I entered Labor & Delivery, Kate was the friendly face I could count on. I didn’t know what was about to change my world, and I was alone. Kate was there with comfort and care. She helped me understand what was happening when I forgot everything the doctor had said. When my husband came and they told us the tragic news, she talked with my mom while I caught my breath from crying, encouraging her to come so that I could have the love of my mother by our side. 

Kate was working with Meghan, a nursing student at the time, and when I say they were a team sent from heaven, I mean it. I fight tragedy with humor, and they made me feel like I am actually funny. They were strong when I needed them, helpful as I went through labor, cried when I needed them, and loving beyond words.

As a person of faith, Kate knew to offer my babies to be baptized. Both Kate and Meghan stayed way beyond their shift to stay throughout the delivery. Kate gave me her phone number so I could check in when I needed someone to talk to. Both Kate and Meghan came in on their day off the next morning to see how my husband and I were doing. 

When we had our son Seamus in November, they came to meet our sweet boy. I left the hospital broken after the twins, but I’ll always feel blessed for the family I gained with Kate and Meghan. The worst day of our lives was held together by two beautiful souls who I think represented our guardian angel twins, Benjamin and Cora.—Nominated by Megan Fournier

Riley Devlin, Tufts Children’s Hospital

She’s a hard worker who takes her job seriously. Her passion for each patient doesn’t go unnoticed.—Nominated by Jamie Glidden

Margaret Faison, Tufts Medical Center

I was the pastor at Grace Episcopal Church in Everett for seven years. Margaret “Peggy” Faison was one of my parishioners, and although she had retired from nursing by the time I met her, she remained, as the saying goes, “Once a nurse, always a nurse.” She was the informal nurse to the whole parish, always a part of the Healing Prayer Team, always a pastoral presence, always a support for anyone who needed to be heard. Never was there a more compassionate person. Her clinical competency was legendary, because she had been the first African American chief surgical nurse at Tufts, and she endured the usual slings and arrows from White people who assumed she was an orderly or something. She has been a stalwart of the “Women of Grace,” who are in mourning today, because Peggy died this morning. The whole parish wishes to honor her.—Nominated by Rev. Barbara Smith-Moran

Colleen Fallon, Tufts Medical Center

Colleen Fallon, Tufts Medical Center

I am a very active 74-year-old man who has gotten a great deal of physical exercise throughout my life. I thought that I was in excellent health until the afternoon of Dec. 21, when a very high blood pressure reading on a home monitor prompted me to walk to the Emergency Department at Tufts Medical Center for a blood pressure check. My blood pressure was so high that I was admitted immediately and diagnosed with coronary artery blockages requiring bypass surgery as soon as possible.

Because it was Christmas week, and because other patients were already on the schedule for cardiac surgery, I could not be scheduled for surgery until Dec. 28, but I couldn’t be discharged home because of my dangerous blockages. Thus, I spent Christmas week in a room on Proger 7 rather than at home with family, and could have no visitors because of COVID-19 restrictions.

That week could have been a grim, frightening one, but the staff at Proger 7 could not have been kinder, and the exceptional kindness of relatively new RN. Colleen Fallon deserves special mention. I was emotionally very tender during the days and nights before my surgery, but had the good fortune to be one of Colleen’s charges during many of those hours. Through her invariable kindness and sensitivity, she transformed a frightening, lonely experience into an inspiring one; for that holiday week, Proger 7 felt like a warm, sustaining home. I left Proger 7 resolved to be a better person thanks to Colleen’s example, which always will be an important part of my life.—Nominated by James Re

Deb Fleck, Tufts Medical Center

Deb has always been there for me. She is employed in Cardiology. Getting on the transplant list was a very scary process involving so much testing. Deb was so knowledgeable, but more importantly, always there to answer any question or concern I had. She is a wonderful caregiver.—Nominated by Cynthia Gillespie

Deborah Fleck, Tufts Medical Center

Deb epitomizes the best a nurse can be. Always compassionate, knowledgeable, and empathetic to her patients’ needs. She is just professional in all aspects of nursing, and when she doesn’t have an answer, she lets you know why, and when she will find out. She explains what test results and blood draws mean, and proposes solutions that the team wants to follow. She takes the time to know a patient’s fears and is sensitive to them, and tries to make you feel like things will get better, and why they should. I have been dealing with Deb for more than eight years and know that she deserves an honor from all her fellow clinicians and patients.—Nominated by Patrick Sullivan

Victoria Ford, Tufts Medical Center

Tory was so supportive and sweet to our family. She was there for our little girl every step of the way. Tory kept us updated about our child’s care and made sure we felt understood during such a difficult time. She made sure our little girl was always comfortable. It’s amazing how much she touched our lives and continues to care for our little girl. She sends a birthday card to our girl every year and always reaches out to make sure she is doing well.—Nominated by Aurora Murphy

Margaret McDonagh Gallagher, Tufts Medical Center 

It was not my best day when I first met Margaret. I am not aging gracefully, and my physical infirmities made me feel gloomy and anxious. Margaret’s response to all my questions was so reassuring. She listened to what I was saying and her positive attitude boosted my spirits. She has a wonderful disposition and a great sense of humor. She understood what needed to be addressed and took the time to connect me to the right doctors. Every time I need assistance, I call Margaret. She is always quick to respond and has found solutions for many of my medical issues Margaret makes me feel like I am the only person she has to care for. Thank you, Margaret, for all you do with such patience and gentleness.—Nominated by Sister Eileen Mary Linden

Kathleen Horigan, Pratt Diagnostic Clinic, Tufts Medical Center

Nurse Horigan has been assisting our family for many years with our parents’ declining health.  My mother recently passed away, and each and every day Kathleen answered our questions with compassion and respect. Her utmost professionalism and warmth were a godsend during these difficult times. Nurses like her are like having an angel sent to the grieving family. We thank her in our prayers daily for the comfort she extends to us even today.—Nominated by Denyce Mahoney

Michael Hughes, Tufts Medical Center

Mike entered the nursing profession right before COVID-19 shut everything down. Regardless of the unknowns that we were all facing, Mike persevered and continued with orientation and his nursing career. Mike has and continues to embrace the calling of nursing, and I am proud to serve the patients at Tufts with him.—Nominated by Blaze Hirsch

April Tak Ko, Tufts Medical Center

April was gentle and kind.—Nominated by Ada Nguyen

Rene Leonforte, Tufts Medical Center

Rene is a compassionate nurse who’s willing to take any task that she’s given. Rene can willingly work in cardiac catheter lab, interventional radiology, echocardiogram lab, or cardiovascular center. She manages her family and her profession very well.—Nominated by Alice Iyer

Katie Liuzzo, Tufts Medical Center

Katie is an outstanding nurse and person who always provides the best care to her patients. Katie is intelligent, courteous, and kind, and she pays attention to detail. If something needs to be done, Katie does it. If a colleague needs assistance, Katie is the first one to stand up, without reservation. And to boot…Katie was pregnant during the pandemic! She served as a role model to us all by displaying perseverance, bravery, and strength. A stoic face and a can-do attitude are who Katie is, regardless of difficulty or fear. I nominate this amazing nurse, colleague, and friend.—Nominated by Kimberly Schneider

Kaitlyn Madeiros, Tufts Medical Center

Kaitlyn was a bright light during a scary time in our lives. She took care of my husband during his stay in the Neuro Critical Care Unit after suffering a massive stroke at just 36 years old. Kaitlyn was articulate, attentive, and very compassionate overall. Her explanations were easy to understand and she supported not only her patient, but me (his wife) as well. She truly made the days a bit easier and I felt relieved when she was taking care of him. Kaitlyn deserves all the recognition in the world. She is an absolute gem.—Nominated by Ashley Spatola

Justine Murphy, Tufts Medical Center

Having an extensive surgical resection and reconstruction for oral cancer is never a surgery for the faint at heart. To do so during a pandemic is nothing short of terrifying for patients and families. My sister, who is a nonsmoker, non-drinker, faced such a nightmare in August 2020.  The skill and compassion of the entire team at Tufts Medical Center was superb. Justin stands out for an extraordinarily ordinary act of care, competence and compassion. On post-op day, picture a patient with a tracheostomy sutured to her neck, IV lines, bandages, oxygen (no ventilator), and her shoulder-length hair was caked with blood from her 13-hour surgery. My sister was awake, but doesn’t remember this “shampoo event,” performed with exquisite care, patience, and tenderness by Justine. She worked to get every bit of caked blood and tangles out of my sister’s hair. We called it her “spa day” in the SICU. It erased some of the horror of the swelling and distortion that marked her early post-surgical days, and her hair looked fabulous for the remainder of her hospital stay. Justine epitomized the incredible skilled competence of every SICU nurse, but perhaps more importantly, the humanity of “seeing” the person in the bed. We spoke with my sister, nonverbal due to trach, and even made her laugh once or twice. As an older seasoned nurse, I was humbled by this young nurse’s expertise. Justine, you make me so proud to be a nurse and you are such an inspiring role model for all nurses.—Nominated by Marybeth Singer

Nursing Staff, Tufts Children’s Hospital, Tufts Medical Center

To the entire nursing community: When times were dark, you were the light. Instead of fear you innovated. Instead of running away, you opened doors for all in need. Instead of staying home, you worked more. Instead of leaving your peers, you learned something new. Instead of being angry, you brought joy. Instead of giving up, you brought hope. This pandemic met its match in each of you. I’m honored to be on your team.—Nominated by Therese Hudson-Jinks

Kelli O’Neill, Tufts Medical Center

Kelli is an outstanding nurse, clinical leader, and educator in the Medical ICU. As our unit transitioned into becoming the first COVID-19 ICU back in March 2020, and then again in the second surge in December, when we doubled our bed capacity to 20, Kelli ensured that our staff had all the appropriate training and drills to provide quality, safe patient care. She had so much compassion for the patients, families, and staff as we all endured tremendous stress and sadness, caring for the most critical of those stricken with COVID. She often stayed late and came in early to be sure everyone was well-prepared and cared for! She was always finding ways to get constantly changing communication and information out in a timely manner. 

Kelli is a champion in our safety-quality initiatives, dramatically reducing urinary tract and central line infection rates with constant vigilance and teaching. Of note, the MICU also had two different new nurse managers at the beginning of each COCID surge, and Kelli was the stable foundation who never skipped a beat acclimating them to the MICU and staff, all while efficiently and effectively leading, organizing, and managing daily MICU operations to provide outstanding care! Tufts is incredibly lucky to have such a caring, compassionate, dedicated clinical leader in the MICU!—Nominated by Kathy Jones

Kimberly Schneider, Tufts Medical Center

Very professional nurse with an excellent bedside manner.—Nominated by Ellen McCann

Megan Shea, Tufts Medical Center

Megan reached out via social media to find a resource that could create a mural outside a pediatric care unit. It was not part of her responsibilities, but she knew it would enhance the patient and family experience. Megan clearly gives 100 percent every day.—Nominated by Kathleen Moschella

Paige Sirois, Tufts Medical Center

They did a thoracentesis on me. The doctors told me that it’s not painful, but “uncomfortable.” I am so glad Paige was there. She distracted me with everything she had because she knew I was in so much pain. I cried after the procedure. I wouldn’t know what to do without her help.—Nominated by Blesilda Villanueva

My Tran, Tufts Medical Center

My works in the Medical ICU at Tufts, starting as a tech for several years, then going to nursing school, and finally being hired as a novice nurse right into the ICU. I will never forget her first day as a tech. When I asked her to help me move a very sick patient hooked up to lots of lines and devices, she turned pale and I thought she was going to faint. She did not. After she completed four months of ICU training, My was a “new RN” on her own, which is scary on a good day in an ever-changing ICU.

Soon after her orientation, our MICU learned that we would move to a new space to cohort a larger number of patients. We became the first COVID-19 ICU at Tufts on March 16, 2020. As an experienced critical care nurse for over 35 years, I can honestly say there was never a more terrifying, more stressful, more emotionally and physically challenging time in my career than when the pandemic hit. The patients were some of the sickest we have ever seen. My faced this overwhelming challenge as a brand-new nurse with a level of organization, confidence, care, and compassion that was not only outstanding, but inspired many others who faced this storm with various levels of expertise. Make no mistake—she was as petrified as the rest of us in those early days, but she carried herself in a very mature and professional manner every day and night. 

My is one of the most conscientious, meticulous, caring nurses I have ever had the pleasure of working with. She very quietly and humbly goes about her work, dotting every “i” and crossing every “t” while providing safe, quality care for all of her patients. She knows when to seek help and advice. She routinely looks up the drugs she administers, illnesses her patients have, and policies and procedures to ensure nothing but the best in caring for her patients. I admire My for the nurse she is and will become, and know her patients feel lucky to have her. My will continue to shine as her career advances.—Nominated by Kathy Jones

Chris Veary, Tufts Medical Center

Chris has been one of my coworkers in the Critical Care Unit at Tufts Medical Center for over six years. A kind, compassionate, driven, and well-respected mentor, she leads by example in one of the most complex and fast-paced units. I strive to be more like her. Thank you for taking me under your wing all those years ago.—Nominated by Gillian Taglieri

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This content was produced by Boston Globe Media's Studio/B in collaboration with the advertiser. The news and editorial departments of The Boston Globe had no role in its production or display.