All letters submitted for Salute to Nurses

All the Nurses, Mount Auburn Hospital Emergency Department All the Nurses, Mount Auburn Hospital Emergency Department
May 6, 2011

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The Color of Snow

The Nurses of 4C, Bone Marrow Transplant Unit

Brigham and Women's Hospital

My sister, Pat Clark, spent the last two months of her life in the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit. She went anticipating recovery, but developed complication after complication and ultimately died there. The skill, compassion, and dedication of the nursing staff allowed her last weeks to be hopeful and dignified. Even though four or five nurses were my sister's primary caretakers, all the nurses on the unit worked as a team-always there, always helping each other, complementing each other. Their skill and competency level was remarkable-working jointly with the doctors. They often pointed out really important things, always included the family in decision making, allowed us to help with her care, and cared for her with gentleness, patience, and compassion. They shared their New Year's Eve costumes with her, joked and laughed with us, even participated in a snowball fight in the room because she wanted to "feel" snow one more time. They do this work day after day. They bear the sorrow of loss time after time but continue with hope. My sister called them her angels and now she is theirs-watching over them-every one. Please honor them as they honored her.

-Nominated by Joan Obecny

Committed to Elder Care

Susan Kuriakose

Beth Israel Deaconess HealthCare and Sherrill House

A nurse practitioner at a long-term facility, Susan has the ability to sort through and respond to complex medical needs. She is with you for the long haul and gives more than lip service to the notion of teamwork. As the family member of a patient she serves, I have seen her in action over several years. She asks questions as well as answers them, is generous with her time, and, in a modest manner, demonstrates unwavering care and kindness. Without fanfare, she helps pull together a fragmented group of providers and develops a straightforward plan. She is willing to change course and readily acknowledges her limitations. She works with vulnerable patients and stressed families, but is always respectful. There have been many late Friday afternoons when I have paged Susan; she never refuses a call. You get the feeling she knows what it is like to walk in the shoes of a family member or patient who may be worried or confused. Her diagnostic and intervention skills, practicality, patience, and humility are evident in critical times. Trust is always important in health care providers, but it is essential in elder care, where the issues can become overwhelming and the choices, difficult. Everyone should be so lucky as to have a Susan Kuriakose with them on this journey. Please salute her.

-Nominated by Carol Masshardt

Help for Mother and Child

Andrea Warden

Boston Medical Center

Andrea has been working in labor and delivery for five years, most recently with women who are pregnant and dealing with addiction. Needless to say, her patients can be difficult, and some days are a struggle, but she truly has a passion for what she does. The way she counsels each patient about her options and helps her to get clean and stay that way for herself and her unborn child is amazing. She connects with each patient on a level that goes well beyond what is expected. Many patients come back to see her months or years later with their healthy children, and to her that is the most rewarding part of the job. Andrea helped one patient in particular for over a year, saw her at her worst, and helped her get back on her feet. She watched the woman almost lose her baby and her own life, only to recover and deliver a healthy girl. Her patient was overwhelmed with how kind and caring Andrea was, and they keep in touch to this day. Many of the women she helps have nothing left. Their families have given up on them. So to have someone like Andrea care about them helps them get clean and become great mothers to their children.

-Nominated by Megan Aucoin

Care for the Community

Public Health Nurses

Boston Public Health Commission Infectious Disease Bureau

These public health nurses work tirelessly to prevent the spread of disease in Boston. They deal with everything from the flu to bacterial meningitis. Regardless of the disease, they follow-up with a patient to ensure proper control and treatment and with all the people who may have had significant contact with that patient. This involves an intimate knowledge and understanding of our communities.

-Nominated by Marcus Rennick

A Gentle Messenger

Denise Landrigan

Cambridge Health Alliance

Denise is a nurse practitioner and our practice's point person. She is often the one to inform patients of initial findings and must handle the reaction to terrible news. She is also the one who explains treatments and who comforts patients through what, for many, is the most terrifying moment of their lives. Denise does this with love. I have never seen a person enjoy her work as much as she does.

-Nominated by Andrea Schwartz

A Big Heart

Jean Burbidge

Healthcare for the Homeless, Cambridge/Somerville, and Transition House

For more than a decade, Jean has been a weekly presence at the Emergency Shelter at Transition House, Cambridge and Somerville's domestic violence agency. She's brought compassionate care and deep respect to hundreds of women at a very challenging time in their lives. Jean's great skills and big heart make the world a better place.

-Nominated by Risa Mednick

A Friend to Our Mother

Rosemary Mangan

Care Group Home Care

We have appreciated and admired the service that Care Group Home Care provides and, in particular, the work of visiting nurse Rosemary Mangan. She is an angel among us. It is rare that one finds someone of Rosemary's integrity. She is proficient in her field, responsible, thorough, perceptive, caring, nurturing, and wise. We have felt so lucky to have her caring for our mother. She has been responsible for her well-being both mentally and physically. Rosemary has been accurate in her treatment, communicative with our mother, and with doctors when needed, and has been a stabilizer. If she feels she should check on my mother when there has been a setback, she returns even when not scheduled to make sure all is okay. She is everything anyone would hope to have in someone overseeing care and nursing. Thank you to Care Group Home Care for everything they do, and for partnering us with Rosemary. They are so fortunate to have her on their team. And we are so fortunate to have her on ours.

-Nominated by Linda Burns

Every Picture Tells a Story

Noreen Pasquarello

Chelsea Jewish Nursing Home

I nominate Noreen Pasquarello because of the compassion and dedication she has demonstrated for my 95-year-old mother, Louise Sabella. When my mother was admitted, Noreen, who calls my mother Auntie, made sure she felt part of the home's family. Yes, this is a nursing home with a family atmosphere because of nurses like Noreen. Noreen understood how difficult it was for me to see my mother in a nursing home. She has sent me pictures from her cell phone of my mother doing many different activities and has often sent me a video of my mother saying hello to me. Noreen excels at the most important part of her job, being a nurse. She has even called me on her day off to keep me informed of my mother's treatment and condition. I am very thankful for the care and attention my mother gets from Noreen (and the CJNH). My mother always tells me, "Don't worry about me. They take good care of me here." Because of nurses like Noreen, I don't worry.

-Nominated by Louise Ferullo

A Member of the Wedding

Muriel McGrann

Children's Hospital Boston

Our daughter, Wendy, was born on February 14, 1965 and was admitted to Children's Hospital shortly after birth for a respiratory problem called Wilson/Mikity syndrome. Muriel (Witt) McGrann was my daughter's nurse and worked for 30 days without a day off because she didn't want to leave Wendy's side. Four-and-a-half months later, our precious daughter came home. She is now 46, and our family has kept in touch with Muriel all these years. You know, nurses can grow on parents just as nurses can grow on their patients. Muriel was thrilled to be invited to Wendy's wedding.

-Nominated by Neola Thorsen

Number One

Heather Bastardi

Children's Hospital Boston

Heather works in the Heart Transplant Unit. Our family has known Heather since one of our sons had a heart transplant at age 4. He is now 18 and a senior in high school. Heather is like a walking computer; she has incredible recall of specific patient-related medical information. Her warm and caring concern for her patients shows. My wife and I have been married for more than 50 years and have had 4 biological children, 3 adopted children, more than 40 foster children, 11 grandchildren, god children, and sons- and a daughter-in-law. Through all that time, we have spent much time in and around hospitals. We have a daughter who had a liver transplant at the age of 13, a foster son who had heart surgery, and another foster child who had multiple spine surgeries. We have met many doctors and more nurses, but without doubt, Heather Bastardi is at the front of the line.

-Nominated by Paul E. Whiting, Jr.

A Port in the Storm

Sybil Estes

Mount Alvernia High School

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest arc of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.-Leo Buscaglia

After reading this quote, I feel the one person who completely embodies it is Mount Alvernia High School nurse Mrs. Estes. Four months ago, I underwent a serious shoulder surgery. Two months ago, I fell and broke a bone and was diagnosed with a severe concussion, trauma to my jaw, face, ear, and head. Returning to school after these events was stressful and nerveracking. For a long period, I could not concentrate and was overcome with pain. During those times, I found shelter and comfort in Mrs. Estes' room. She was able to raise my spirits and self-esteem when they were detrimentally low. She provided a place for me to rest and ice my shoulder, face, and head. Before and after doctors' appointments, Mrs. Estes followed up with me to inquire about problems and recorded them in her logs. After listening to the physical ailments, she would focus on helping my overwhelmed state of mind. Mrs. Estes not only worked on improving my body physically, she also worked on improving my body mentally. The gifts she gave of hope, comfort, shelter, and perseverance allowed me to overcome very tumultuous times. Mrs. Estes is truly one of the best, most gracious and kind nurses I know.

-Nominated by Rori McCarthy

Caring for Laura

The Nursing Team

Children's Hospital Boston at Lexington

These women make an amazing team I have dubbed "The Angels with Sneakers." This is a story about providing care for a child with autism, a profound lifetime disability. Since our first clinic visit in 2001, the nurses have risen wholeheartedly to the challenge of caring for my daughter, who came with a different instruction book from the typical child. The nurses are positive and upbeat during every visit, even on the occasions when Laura is not having a good day. These qualities and values are not learned from a book, nor are they part of a nursing curriculum. Their compassion is who they are and what they strive for on a daily basis with their patients. No matter which nurse checks Laura in (Nurse Maureen, Nurse Marsha, Nurse Maria, or Nurse Lynne), she always has a cheerful greeting. At first, they explained to Laura how the BP machine worked, the scale, etc., engaging her in conversation and providing encouragement and praise when she was able to maintain her composure during check-in. They always seemed to have the right strategy for the best outcome. Very early on, I learned to take nothing for granted when caring for an autistic child. The nurses at Lexington demonstrate time and again their genuine desire and commitment to make all of Laura's visits routine and productive. These women understood that as Laura grew older, they would have to adapt their nursing strategies. With every visit they have stepped up to the plate and hit a grand slam out of the park.

-Nominated by Sandra Tomasetti

Confident Care

Heidi Lombard

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

My husband is a patient at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and has been the recipient of the beautiful care given by Heidi. On our first chemotherapy treatment, Heidi sat down with my husband, my daughter, and me, gave us fact sheets for each drug he was to receive, and read them out loud so we could have a better understanding of the drug and its purpose/side effects. At the end of the treatment, we felt a bit more in control of the frightful road before us. My husband's protocol was chemo every other week. It was truly amazing to witness this nurse in action. She was able to calm every one of her patients and somehow let them feel that they were her ONLY patients; you could tell by the look of trust on the patients' faces when they saw "their Heidi." Her incredible professionalism, knowledge, and kindness reflect her many beautiful qualities. Everything Heidi does is to the best of her ability and superlative. She truly represents the highest standard of nursing care.

-Nominated by Carol Tomase

A Grateful Patient

Kelly Handy

Emerson Hospital

Kelly is the nurse manager of patient care services on North 6. I had a very traumatic illness/surgery and was fortunate to have Kelly as one of my nurses. I strongly believe it would've taken me longer to recover if it weren't for her. She is the ultimate patient advocate, highly skilled, compassionate, and sympathetic. She cheered me up on many days when I was very scared. I can't say thank you enough.

-Nominated by Dianne Landers

She Never Gave Up on Me

Danielle Slepian

Fenway Health, South End

Danielle Slepian saved my life. After receiving news of my HIV infection in 1993, I thought my life was over, and acted accordingly-slipping into alcohol and drug abuse and non-compliance with my medication schedule. I soon learned this nurse was not going to allow me to destroy myself. "Nurse Dani," with her caring, professional, firm, yet always smiling demeanor, showed me I had much to live for. Her extensive knowledge of HIV infection taught me how to keep myself healthy. Thanks to her, I'm STILL HERE.

-Nominated by Michael Fowler

Good Teachers

The Nurses of Unit 3

Franciscan Hospital for Children

I've been a certified nursing assistant/student at Franciscan Hospital for four months, and every nurse on Unit 3 has been friendly and welcoming. They have gone out of their way to educate me about medicine and they have let me try/learn certain procedures. They've allowed me to observe and ask them hundreds of questions. The nurses have accepted me as coworker and friend, and I hope someday to be half as good a nurse as they all are right now.

-Nominated by Dana Riker

Eager to Learn and to Teach

Kate Greene

Hallmark Health

Kate is always willing to pick up time and help out and she's always open to new ideas. She has received her Orthopaedic Nurses Certification and willingly joins committees and seeks new experiences. She helps the unit by doing the schedule. Kate also is a preceptor to new nurses and has taken on an intern. Kate smiles and laughs easily and has a great attitude, which makes working with her a pleasure for her co-workers and the hospital experience better for her patients.

-Nominated by Dina Borda

Help for Those in Uniform

Florence Cruz

Hanscom Air Force Base

Though usually very, very, busy, Florence manages her time well, carefully allowing for my questions in order to answer my concerns, both important and not so important. Her knowledge and skills in her profession are superb. Florence just knows, having acquired much experience over a long period of time. She reminds me when vaccines are due, when procedures may be needed, and even schedules doctor's appointments for me at her clinic. That she helps patients, wounded or ill, who have been deployed is proof of her patriotism. She even found time to introduce me to a patient who has become a close friend. For these reasons, I submit my nomination.

-Nominated by James Day, USN (Ret)

HED] HIV, Hugs, and Healing

Henry S. Weinberger

Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates

For more than 16 years, Henry has delivered the highest level of care with unparalleled compassion and warmth. The breadth and depth of his knowledge in the field of treatment and research for HIV is so great, he was nominated for and attended the World AIDS Conference in Geneva, Switzerland. There have been countless occasions when Henry has risen far above and beyond the normal call of duty. Every visit begins and ends with a hug, which, when one is battling a disease fraught with death, terrible side effects, isolation, and fear, is the most calming and healing gesture. How many nurses today make house calls on their own time? Henry does. His stature in the HIV and healing community is widely known, but it is his empathy and gentle spirit, combined with his knowledge and skills, that make him a superstar to all of his patients. Henry is also a conservatory-trained concert pianist of supreme skill, who brings the same passion to his music as his medicine. From the bottom of this 30-year AIDS survivor's heart, I thank you, Henry.

-Nominated by M. R. Hetherington

A Fresh Breath

Patty Glidden

Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates

My children, ages 7 and 12, have asthma, and Patty Glidden has been caring for them for many years. When I call, she responds right away, asking many questions to get to the bottom of their issues. She is kid friendly; my children love Nurse Patty and speak highly of her. As a mother, it is very scary to see your child unable to breathe. Patty always makes sure that when we have an emergency, proper treatment is given. I have seen her cry over my children's' illness, and she has hugged me many times, helping me get through it all. Patty is an amazing nurse with a huge heart.

-Nominated by Maria Pires

A Role Model for Nurses

Celine Flinn

Hebrew Senior Life

Celine retired in October 2010, after 30 years of nursing. Before her departure from HSL, she organized a reunion of more than 100 nurses who had also left HSL over the past several years, at which she honored them for their years of clinical excellence. Celine was responsible for passing the torch to the next generation of nurses at HSL, as she shared her many years of expert clinical knowledge with the new clinical coordinators. Just last month, a family member called the nursing office (on the anniversary of her mother's death) to express how Celine Flinn's kindness and emotional support got them through several days of grief as they watched their loved one die. She recalled that Celine was responsible for the peaceful and dignified death that her parent experienced, and she remains ever grateful for her caring kindness. Celine is a nurse whom many of us at HSL hope to emulate.

-Nominated by Nancy Matthews

Nurturing Patient and Family

Mary Goldschmidt

Hebrew Senior Life

Mary Goldschmidt has well over 40 years of clinical excellence to her credit. This past November, I witnessed her offer her thoughtful and kind support to the family of a dying resident at our facility. Not only did she ensure that the patient's needs were being met, she also provided emotional support to the entire family, answering their many questions, even supplying nutritional support as they sat vigil at their mother's bedside. Realizing that religious support was needed, Mary was successful in having a priest come to the residence and provide last rites for the dying woman. Because of Mary's leadership and kindness, the family was able to spend their last days with their mother without ever having to worry. She serves as an inspiration to all nurses at Hebrew Rehab, and she is testament to the caring abilities of nurses.

-Nominated by Nancy Matthews

An Ounce of Prevention

Monica Dube

Lahey Clinic

I have been a patient of Monica Dube's for more than 10 years. Previously, I was the prime example of a man who went to see a doctor only when I had a problem. Because of Monica, I now realize the importance of wellness/preventive medicine. She deserves a salute based on her skills in three critical areas: her people skills, her medical knowledge, and her work to train young nurse practitioners. Monica convinced me that she was able to listen in a non-judgmental fashion, creating an atmosphere in which it has always been easy to discuss potential problems before they develop into real ones. She has also been willing to spend the time it takes to really listen to my concerns. She has taken a pro-active attitude to encourage me to take care of health issues while they are still treatable. This rare combination of non-judgmental listening and pro-active recommendations has helped me to make healthy choices and made a real difference to my quality of life. Monica clearly keeps up with new developments in better health care for her patients and their families. She has been alert to warning signs and possible problems, making effective decisions about when to treat and when to refer me to a specialist. Finally, she is devoting her time and skills to train aspiring nurse practitioners, who are filling a vital need in our health care system by increasing face-to-face care for patients

-Nominated by Phil Henshaw

Holding the Smallest Hands

Carol Lahiff Landry

Lowell General Hospital

Carol is a neo-natal nurse at Lowell General Hospital and has seen her share of joy and sorrow during her 25 years of practice. She cares for premature babies-some weighing less than a McDonald's sandwich-every day of the week. Parents of these children are always full of worry due to their baby's fragile health. Carol's kindness and medical knowledge are always there to comfort and heal. She is truly an unsung hero.

-Nominated by Anonymous

Blood Sisters

Nurses in the Community Blood Donor Program

MetroWest Medical Center

Whether in the Donor Room at the hospital or out on blood drives, the nurses in the Community Blood Donor Program make every donor feel like his or her contribution is important. They are funny, gentle, caring, knowledgeable, and warm, and make everyone feel appreciated. They are the reason behind the success of the program. Lorna, Mary, MaryAnn, Amy, Begona, Teri, Michelle, Ginny, Barbara, and Christine, you are the best nurses anyone could have.

-Nominated by Deidre Thomson

Holistic Patient Care

Hemodialysis Nurses

Massachusetts General Hospital

Our son, 17 years old, spends three days a week in the Hemodialysis Unit at MGH. The dialysis nurses in this unit are highly skilled and work in a fast-paced, continuously busy atmosphere. Still, there is never a time that we walk in and are not warmly greeted and made to feel comfortable. The nurses embrace a holistic approach that emphasizes taking the time to really understand and appreciate the person behind the patient. They have a bond with our son that goes beyond clinical expertise. His life outside of the hospital is important to them; how he's doing in school, what he's doing for fun, and what his dreams are for the future. Recently, our son shared his desire to study nursing. The team was thrilled and immediately went into mentor-mode. We have no doubt that they will be his biggest supporters. Compassion and respect go a long way in a dialysis unit. We are grateful that the hemodialysis nurses at MGH feel the same way.

-Nominated by Dana Simone

Patient Listener

Sharon McLaughlin

Massachusetts General Hospital Charlestown HealthCare Center

Sharon was kindness and understanding personified when my mother, who had dementia, was no longer able to leave the house. Sharon came regularly to see her and always did much, much more than check on her physical health. She patiently listened to oft-repeated stories and soothed irrational fears with gentle firmness. I don't know what we would have done without her. She is a stellar example of the very best in nursing.

-Nominated by Joanne Harrison

A Skilled Team

All the Nurses

Mount Auburn Hospital Emergency Department

These nurses deserve to be recognized for their compassion and dedication to great patient care. They always treat patients like they are treating their own family members. They show exceptional quality with their skills and knowledge. Thank you.

-Nominated by S. G. Belmont

Treating the Whole Patient

Susan Judge-Burns

New England Baptist Hospital

Susan is a combination of Dr. Marcus Welby and Agatha Christie. Her exceptional clinical skills coupled with her diagnostic sleuthing have allowed me to battle serious diseases, including complications from cancer and Stephens-Johnson syndrome. Her compassion and empathy are in a league of their own. Susan has called me on her days off, during vacations, and late evenings to provide reassurance and updates on the slow-to-come test results that can elevate a patient's anxiety level. Susan truly has the pulse of the human condition. I have witnessed countless patients in the waiting room praising her devotion to medicine. Susan never gives up or abandons her patients. She thinks outside the box to maximize the health of each patient served. Her dedication to medicine is evident in all that she does. She never compromises her integrity to follow rigid appointment schedules. Susan treats the patient and not the disease and therefore restores and replenishes confidence-especially for patients battling life-threatening diseases. Susan is a rare gem in these dismal and controversial health care times.

-Nominated by Cindy Watson

A Cheerful Presence

Mary O'Rorke

North Shore Medical Center

I arrived by ambulance at the North Shore Medical Center on March 7 in a very weakened condition. My daytime nurse was Mary O'Rorke, who was so patient and took care of all of my needs. The first day she had on bright red pants and she was just as cheery as her pants. She came into my room many times to help me sit up and to wrap some blankets around me. The next day she wore purple pants, a happy sight in such a serious place. She seemed pleased with my rapid progress. She just made me feel good. You could tell that she loved her work. I shall always be grateful that Mary O'Rorke was on duty that particular day in March.

-Nominated by Dorothy Hitchens

Committed Caretaker

Kelli Dyer, Visiting Nurse

Partners HealthCare

Kelli was so compassionate while caring for my mother, dressing her wounds, and taking blood samples. She was so friendly that my mother looked forward to her biweekly visits. Kelli kept me totally in the loop, explaining what was going on through written notes and instructions that she left behind, or through phone calls. More often than not, there had to be changes with the Coumadin dosage, which Kelli often facilitated by removing pills from my mother's prefilled pill box when the family couldn't get there to do it. Over the several months that Kelli helped my mom, they developed a nice friendship. When she sent Mom via ambulance to the hospital because she didn't like the way her vitals looked, we knew it was serious. Mom died a week later, but because of Kelli, there was time for all the family members to gather. Had she not reacted so quickly and professionally, we might not have had the chance to say our goodbyes and Mom might have died alone and in pain.

-Nominated by Trudie Lavigne

A Positive Influence

Janine Fitzgerald

Partners HealthCare

Janine has been my home nurse since I returned from the hospital after a double mastectomy last February, and she continues to be a caretaker for me. The first few weeks after my surgery were very difficult for me, both physically and mentally. After being diagnosed with breast cancer, I felt a dark hopelessness. Janine not only made sure I was healing well physically, she also took extra care to put me in a more positive light mentally. Her bedside manner and positive attitude made me realize just how lucky I was. If I were having a depressing day when she came over, she would talk me through it, but only allow me a short time to feel bad. Then she would snap me out of it, open my curtains, and make me see that every day is a blessing and a joy. Janine has been a genuine factor in the healing process, both physically and mentally. I truly believe that she is an asset to her occupation, to her community, and to my life.

-Nominated by Donna Sorensen

Devoted to the Children

Janice Kendricken, Retired

Massachusetts Hospital School and Boston Public Schools

My sister devoted her life to the care of seriously ill children, first at the Massachusetts Hospital School and then in the Boston public schools. Her love and devotion to sick kids brightened and healed the lives of thousands, and several times placed her in harm's way at the hands of emotionally disturbed children. She always extended herself professionally so Boston's children would have a chance at success in life. She helped those kids through many physical and emotional hurdles. She retired this year.

-Nominated by Pat Larkin

A Nonpareil Team

Nursing Faculty

Simmons College

I am thrilled to nominate the 32 full-time and the 100-plus clinical faculty at the Simmons College School of Nursing and Health Sciences. I have never known such a group of dedicated professionals, expert educators, exceptional clinicians, leaders, and scholars who give 100 percent every day to help our 800-plus students be successful in our very rigorous program. An NCLEX (National Council of Licensure Examination) pass rate of 97-100 percent and NP (nurse practictioner) certification pass rate of 100 percent say it all. It is a true pleasure to come to work every day.

-Nominated by Judy A. Beal

A Gentle Teacher

Jan White

South Shore Hospital

I am a 73-year-old former teacher who had colon surgery and had to be fitted with an ostomy apparatus. Jan is the specialist who teaches patients like me how to correctly use and care for the device. She taught me so well, and with such patience and clarity, that I have NEVER had any trouble with it, which truly helps me in my recovery. God bless Jan White.

-Nominated by Charlie McNamee

There for the Children

Lynn Perella, Donna Twohig

St. Theresa of Avila School

Lynn and Donna are two of the best school nurses anywhere. They go above and beyond the call of duty each day they step into the school building. The two nurses usually start the day with a line at their door, dealing with problems ranging from a splinter to some difficult issue that occurred at a child's home the night before. They treat each child with love, care, and compassion, never passing judgment. They are the hardest working people in the school. They love their jobs and love the children they serve.

-Nominated by Jane Gibbons

Legacy of Skill and Caring

Ruthie Kelleher

Tufts Medical Center

The best nurse I know has just retired after nearly 40 years of clinical medicine. Ruthie was the charge nurse for the surgical ICU at Tufts Medical Center for many years and then mentored the next generation of critical care nurses. She had it all: an unbelievable clinical and didactic knowledge base tempered with everything that is good and right with nursing. She made a difference in so many lives, but her legacy of clinical excellence combined with the healing touch lives on through the doctors and nurses she trained.

-Nominated by Dr. Mort Rosenberg


Through Good Days and Bad

Nicole Sica

Brigham and Women's Hospital

I am writing to nominate my sister, who is always willing to walk an extra mile for her patients. Nicole is a charge nurse at Brigham and Women's Hospital's Shapiro Cardiovascular Center. She specializes in taking care of patients who are waiting patiently for heart transplants. Some of them need the assistance of a ventricular assist device that is implanted directly into the heart to help the weakened ventricle do its job. My sister is always willing to help her patients through both their good days and bad days and has never shown to anyone just how difficult her job can be. She is there for her patients as their caretaker and friend, always offering a helping hand or a few words to get them through some of their most difficult days. When Nicole told me she was going to be a nurse, I realized she was doing it was because of me. At a young age, I was diagnosed with Crohn's disease and colitis and my sister was always there as my advocate, showing the strong qualities that every nurse should have. When both of our grandfathers were very ill and came to their last days, my sister was nurse and granddaughter, holding their hands when they took their last breaths. She is a nurse who also has feelings. I realize this when she calls me in tears, saying she lost a patient. These are the reasons I feel Nicole should be recognized for her knowledge, compassion, and empathy for both her patients and her loved ones.

-Nominated by Janelle Quintero

[HED]A Teacher and Mentor

Mary Connor

Brigham and Women's Hospital

I am a senior nursing student on practicum at BWH. I am lucky to be paired with Mary. She has been at BWH for 30 years and she's the definition of what a nurse should be. There is not a patient we have who doesn't say, "You are so lucky to be working with Mary." She encourages me everyday. I go extra hours to clinical just to soak up her techniques. I catch myself stopping to think, "What would Mary do?" If I had to be a patient, I know I would want Mary to be my nurse.

-Nominated by Catherine Petrone

She's an Inspiration

Jane Bell


Jane is the director of health care for Bridgewell. She oversees and coordinates nursing services for hundreds of individuals with developmental disabilities together with a staff of 17 nurses. Every day, Jane goes above and beyond, advocating for the needs of each individual, working with local hospitals, rehabs, state offices, and our staff to ensure that each person receives the highest quality care and has the best quality of life. She is a true inspiration to all of us.

-Nominated by Bonnie Smarsh

Labor, Delivery, and Love

Wendy Pelser

Beverly Hospital

My wife has been employed at Beverly Hospital for more than 20 years. She is the charge nurse in labor and delivery and has a loyal and heroic staff that joins her nightly. Some days, Wendy comes home with wonderful, loving stories; some days I cry with her. The other day there was a woman in the hospital who was having her first baby at 45. It was a fetal demise. Wendy came home and cried, and I cried. Wendy is a good mother of her own excellent children and is a wonderful candidate for the Globe's "Salute."

-Nominated by Eric Pelser

Simply Human

Heidi Sikina

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

My friend Heidi, who is an operating room nurse, tells me weekly stories about how a severed thumb is reattached, how organs are transplanted, how car accident victims are saved, and about how people are allowed or not allowed to die by their families. She gives up her own holidays so that younger nurses can spend that time with their families. She has tolerance for her fellow humans and even colleagues who may be late to work. When others complain, she states simply, "Come on, haven't you ever been late?" We are all human.

-Nominated by Bettina D. Abe

A Mentor's Touch

Ellen Largenton

Bear Hill Rehabilitation and Nursing Center

It's a pleasure everyday to work with someone of Ellen's executive caliber. I strongly believe there isn't a mean bone in her body. With such a big workload, Ellen goes out of her way to educate Certified Nurse Practitioners (CNAs) about the medical field and explain what this does and how this works. Being a CNA/student, I learn a lot from her. She's someone I look up to as a mentor in my medical career. Ellen is willing to help out other CNAs with little things for their patients, like getting a pillow, bringing a blanket for someone who is cold, or just helping grandma to the bathroom. As a registered nurse, Ellen doesn't think she's high above us. She's a good person with a big heart. Medicine is more than just IVs and medications and intubation. It's about being a decent human being and treating people with kindness and compassion. She's there to treat their medical problems with a smile. Any facility is lucky to have Ellen as a nurse.

-Nominated by Sam Fernandes

Cool in a Crisis

Ruth Kane

Armenian Nursing and Rehabilitation Center

As director of nursing for the Armenian Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Ruth is a model for us all. Several years ago, during a family meeting in the social work office, a patient's wife suddenly fainted and fell to the floor. Ruth yelled, "Call a code!" and instantly dropped to her knees to check the woman's vital signs and begin CPR. Ruth took complete control of a tense situation. When the woman came to, Ruth stayed with her until staff brought her husband downstairs to see her.

-Nominated by Sarah Wright

Warm and Upbeat

Stacy Harrington

Addison Gilbert Hospital

As an oncology nurse, Stacy is always upbeat, warm, attentive, and helpful. She also organized and runs a Reiki clinic that helps many people. Definitely a great person and wonderful to be around.

-Nominated by Sid Falthzik

Thank You, Linda

Linda Osborn

Winchester Home Care

Linda Osborn is my best and my favorite home care nurse. When I was on the wound-vac and it was damaging my good tissue, she called the doctor and told him what to do and what bandages to use. Linda always has a smile on her face. She makes an old guy like me smile and laugh more. She would sometimes bring me a Dunkin.' My favorite time is when she stays and talks for a while. She is a very special nurse.

-Nominated by Robert Burke, Jr.

Friend to KD Kids

Annette Baker

Children's Hospital Boston

The Williams family from Keller, TX, nominates Annette, who is a nurse practitioner in the office of Dr. Jane Newburger. Annette takes extraordinary care of my seven-year-old son, Christian, by providing cardiac expertise, kindness, and compassion when he is in the Kawasaki disease clinic and sometimes by long distance phone calls. Thank you, Annette, for your dedication to helping KD kids and their families live quality lives.

-Nominated by the Christian Williams Family

Always on Duty

Sean Brennan

It was President's Day and the gym was crowded. My brother, Allan, just finished playing basketball and felt chest pain. He fell to the ground in cardiac arrest. Sean Brennan, a nurse doing his workout, came to his rescue, using CPR and the defibulator. He saved my brother's life. Later, Sean came to the hospital with a beautiful card and gift. What a special nurse. He not only saved my brother, he also saved my brother's wife, kids, and grandchildren. He saved a family. He is our hero.

-Nominated by Shirley Kennedy

She Gives Energy, Hope

Brenda Thompson

Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital

On February 2, I suffered a massive stroke. On February 9, I was admitted to Spaulding Rehab in pretty tough shape. I couldn't walk and could barely talk or stay awake. Enter Brenda Thompson. Her voice every morning makes my day and has given me the energy to fight back. Besides being on top of every detail, giving the best showers ever, and training new nursing students, she's an amazing mix of help when needed and letting us do it on our own.

-Nominated by Bob Clancy

Grace, Compassion, and Humor

3rd Shift Nurses

Norwood Hospital

I'm one of the pharmacists who works the third shift at Steward Norwood Hospital. I love my job. One major reason is that, without exception, the nurses I work with are smart, kind, caring, and truly a pleasure to work with. Nurses are the all-time best multitaskers in the world. Their jobs are complex, requiring that they manage several things for several patients at the same time. I've found that all the third shift nurses at Norwood perform their jobs with grace, compassion, and humor. It would be too difficult for me to identify just one of these tremendous women and men to salute. So, I nominate all of them.

-Nominated by Laura Morgan

Major Kudos

Alyn Theriault

Southern New Hampshire Medical Center

Alyn is one of the hardest working and most committed Emergency Room nurses I have ever met. Not only does she run the night shift at the hospital, but she is also a major in the Air Force Reserves, responsible for flight nurses in her unit. She works tirelessly to better herself at work, and most of her fellow nurses come to her for advice. She is always smiling. Alyn has deployed several times with her unit to Baghdad and Kuwait and she's been a flight nurse to and from Germany. She deserves "Major" kudos for who she is and what she is all about.

-Nominated by Robert Daigle

Keeping Patients in Their Homes

Sheila Davis

South Shore Mental Health

As an internist, I work with Sheila, who is a psychiatric nurse, to help patients stay healthy. She comes to appointments with patients and sees them in their homes; she is both the health advocate and liaison who helps keep complex mental health patients living in the community. Just yesterday, a patient told me that Sheila bought his diabetic socks for him. Her acts of kindness, combined with professional knowledge, make her a nurse among nurses.

-Nominated by Mary Louise C. Ashur, MD

Special Patients

Ann Joyce, Director of Heath Care Services

South Shore Family Health Collaborative

Ann takes care of disabled adults who are physically and mentally challenged. One visit to this wonderful facility and you quickly realize how fortunate these individuals are to have a place like this to go to during the day. The entire building is filled with wonderful, caring individuals. Ann Joyce gets my nomination for the outstanding job she does taking care of these special people.

-Nominated by Paul Joyce

Amy's Friends

Oncology Nurses

Wentworth-Douglass Hospital Seacoast Cancer Center, NH

My daughter and I first met the nurses at Seacoast when my partner, Amy, was diagnosed with cervical cancer in April 2005. Following surgery and then two months of aggressive treatment, supported at every turn by these amazing caregivers, Amy went into remission and we all were euphoric. When her cancer returned six months later, we were back in the care of these nurses. Each and every one became a hero to us. Their clinical skills helped carry us along during Amy's journey through cancer, but it was their compassion and humor that kept us afloat. Through our most difficult moments, culminating with the loss of Amy in September 2007, her nurses were more like family members, emotionally invested and decidedly human. It takes a special soul to continue to shine in the midst of so much heartbreak, and these caregivers were absolute beacons in our darkest hours. It was in part because of our experience at the Seacoast Cancer Center that after Amy's death, we created a nonprofit called Amy's Treat to benefit those who are still battling their disease. With the help of these compassionate nurses, Amy's Treat has done just that for more than 1,400 cancer patients since its inception in March 2008. None of this would be possible without them.

-Nominated by Lenore Rogers and Rachel O'Neill

Keeper of Records

Eileen Hollien

Shriners Hospital for Children

Eileen is a skilled nurse who is a staunch advocate for patients and their families. She has also worked tirelessly to help the nursing staff navigate through their transition to electronic medical records. She has given her time in the development of documentation for this transition and she has served as a trainer and resource for the nursing staff. Eileen's understanding of her patients' needs coupled with her knowledge of electronic medical record keeping has made her an invaluable member of the nursing staff.

-Nominated by Barbara McCone

Incredible Courage

Anne Yolles

The news was devastating. In November, 2009 my sister was diagnosed with ALS. Imagine learning that you will one day lose the ability to walk, control your muscles, speak, swallow, and eventually breathe. Imaging trying to process the knowledge that your busy, involved, and purpose-filled life will change each day by an illness that has no cure or treatment. Annie, the patient, is also a nurse who had a clear vision of her imminent future. Forty-three years ago, her decision to become a nurse was a natural progression of her early years helping people and making their lives better. She worked in the hospital OR for forty-one years, because the manager of the operating room, and won a prestigious award for the "On Time Start" for her skill in organization and personal matters. Her life-long care of her patients equals her love and concern for family, friends, and colleagues who rally with her now. Amazingly, she can't stop nursing all of us. Annie is taking care of us in her wheelchair and hospital bed. She quickly turns a tearful thought into a productive conversation, asking about our families, our own health, and future plans. She keeps her counter and refrigerator filled with treats. When someone is ill, she feels our heads, searches for the best doctor, and gives medical advice. She emails daily, keeps a tight schedule of visitors, and, most important, continues her calm demeanor and incredible humor with laughter every day. She tells us that she is not dying of ALS, but that she is living every day. So, now is the time to salute our Annie for being the devoted, accomplished, and cherished nurse she is and always will be.

-Nominated by Rosemary Shea

The Epitome of Professional

Catherine Franklin

Massachusetts General Hospital Institute of Health Professions

Catherine is a nurse practitioner and faculty member at the School of Nursing. She embodies grace and professionalism. She was a nurse manager and now teaches in the Adult Nurse Practitioner Program at both the pre-licensure and advanced practice levels. She brings professional and admnistrative skills to the classroom. She volunteers with No Mas Muertes at the Arizona/Mexican border, providing health care to immigrants. She also shares those experiences with students, enriching the learning in cultural care.

-Nominated by Dorothy Bornak

Quick Responders

Sandra Weagle

Waldo County General Hospital, Maine

My sister, Sandra, and her husband, who is an inhalation therapist at the same hospital, saved my husband, George's, life just as our weekend visit was coming to a close. George was stung in the head by a hornet. We didn't think too much about it but after a while, he broke out into quarter size welts over his body, became incoherent, and fell to the ground. My sister and brother-in-law quickly went into work mode with a call for ambulance back up. Fortunately, an EMT was at the house next door and heard the call for help over his scanner. By the time he arrived, Sandra had already administered Benedryl. I feel she saved his life. Had we been driving home, George would have died.

-Nominated by Anonymous

Full-time Caregiver

Pennie Marves

My mother is a nurse who dedicates her life on a daily basis to my sister Nichole, who is severely disabled and has been for 30 years. She has fought tooth and nail to advocate for Nichole and keep her healthy and home with our family against all odds. Mom also works as a hospice nurse between her full time job, being a caregiver to Nichole, and is able to bring light to all of her patients. She is truly an inspiration to everyone.

-Nominated by Ally Marves

A Tender Hand

Sonya Barahana, VNA Hospice Care

Woburn Rehabilitation and Nursing Center

The care, comfort, and love Sonya exhibits daily while taking care of my 91-year-old mum is something to behold. Her mood is always positive and her beautiful smile radiates even on a rainy day. Sonya's manner is soft and gentle-no short cuts, never too much of a hurry. She is always respectful, offering a towel, making sure a sheet is draped just so, so mum is never denied her privacy. Sonya talks to mum while she gently washes her body, with water and soap that is just the right temperature. She tells her, "I'm going to wash your face now; let me take off your glasses." Mum is so accustomed to her manner, her voice, that she relaxes, cooperates, and enjoys the warmth and comfort that comes from Sonya's gentle hands and soft touch. As a daughter who can't be there all the time, I am so grateful, so appreciative of this woman. I don't know Sonya's last name, don't know if she is a nurse, aide, or assistant. What I do know is that she is good at what she does. Thank you, Sonya.

-Nominated by Veronica Andrews