Hartford HealthCare's 2022 Nightingale Awards for Excellence in Nursing Recipients


Backus | Charlotte | Hartford Hospital | Hospital of Central CT | HHC at HomeHartford HealthCare Medical Group | MidState | Natchaug | RushfordSenior Services | St. Vincent's | System Support Office | Tallwood | Windham


Backus Hospital

Aleck Mikulka, RN

Aleck is one of the most patient and enthusiastic preceptors in the Emergency Department. He loves to teach other nurses and coach and mentor them from beginning to the end of their journey. When situations arise, he will make a point to have those he precepts be part of these situations (trauma, critical patients) to maximize their learning.

Amanda Santiago, RN

Amanda has been a Nurse for six years and she never stops evolving and growing. She recently took TNCC to be able to take care of trauma patients when needed. She covered night shift PCU/ICU during the pandemic. Amanda is bilingual and often steps up to help Spanish-speaking patients feel more informed/educated and comfortable.

Crystal Brown, RN

Crystal never hesitates to take charge when it’s needed. A patient was weeks away from being homeless and Crystal took it on to make calls both within the hospital and to outside agencies to ensure the patient remained housed.

Era Mae Martinez, RN

The pandemic has posed unprecedented challenges to all of healthcare, including the IV Therapy Department. One of the added responsibilities of the IV team is providing outpatient infusions to COVID patients with the Monoclonal Antibody. This is a labor-intensive treatment. This challenge did not deter Era Mae. She recognized the value and life-saving benefit this treatment brings to our patients and community. She took the lead and has helped develop this program from the grassroots to its current successful state today.

Melanie Nagode, RN

Melanie is very focused on supporting the patients in the behavioral health unit. Once there was a patient who had a habit of self-mutilation to her arms and hands. On the unit, we tried to cover her arms and hands with coban, band-aids, long sleeve shirts, even mitts. That was embarrassing for her. Melanie had a conversation with the patient and together they came up with a plan to try winter gloves. Melanie purchased the gloves. This allowed the patient to have some decisions in her care and offered a solution that was less restrictive and made her feel more comfortable with her peers.

Regina Rich, MSN, RN

Regina is not only a caring mentor, she models professional nursing behavior that is inspiring to everyone around her. Her dedication, commitment, reliability, and compassion are unparalleled. Gina takes each new nurse and guides them to be successful despite some of the most challenging times. She has served as a mentor to nurses returning to obtain a BSN and celebrates with them the completion of their nurse residency. It was clearly evident with the graduation several weeks ago - tears of happiness and hugs from her residents.

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Charlotte Hungerford Hospital

Kimberly Shreders, BSN, RN

Kim Shreders, RN, serves in Charlotte Hungerford Hospital’s fifth-floor patient unit but with her exceptional clinical skills and cross-training, she assists with a smile in many other areas where needed. She is an excellent mentor who is calm, pleasant, and professional in every interaction. Her colleagues feel supported by her long after they come off orientation. Kim is everything you would want in a nurse caring for you and your family or working alongside you and is an excellent patient advocate that goes above and beyond to ensure all her patients are well cared for.

Michelle Zarrella, RN

Michelle Zarrella has been a Registered Nurse at Charlotte Hungerford Hospital serving for over 30 years, the majority of time in the Emergency Department where she still has the motivation, enthusiasm, drive, and compassion of a new graduate nurse. During several COVID surge periods, Michelle helped cover many additional shifts to make sure the department never skipped a beat. Kim has mentored some of the most skilled nurses and continues to thrive by educating and fostering new nurses. She takes every new nurse under her wing to mentor and raises their confidence and it shows.

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The Hospital of Central Connecticut

Jacqueline Seales, MSN, RN

As the Diabetes Nurse Educator, Jackie has gone above and beyond what any of her predecessors have put together for the Central Region to make sure that patients with diabetes are cared for safely and educated appropriately. She created a Diabetes Champion Program, in which champions from each unit volunteer to be the experts on diabetes in their respective areas for educating staff and patients. She holds monthly meetings for the champions to assure they keep up their knowledge and skills. This program has been attempted unsuccessfully in the past, but Jackie has been able to maintain a champion group with 70+ participants for more than eight months!

Mae Archacki, RN

Mae has been an integral part of the HOCC community for 33 years and has been a part of our perioperative area for 23 years. Mae assisted in the creation of an orientation plan for our new perioperative hires because she so strongly believes in the retention of our nurses. She wants to maintain a cohesive and excellent ASU team, in which new hires or transfers feel supported. She helped create a procedural training book for new hires, which is an invaluable tool.

Meghan Brennan, BSN, RN

Meg is an integral part of the Southington community as the lead nurse in the Bradley infusion center. She is the face of excellent nursing care at Bradley and patients recognize her in and around the community for patient advocacy, optimal cancer care, and support throughout the cancer care trajectory. She brings anxious oncology patients a supportive embrace as they face their journey with cancer. The patients at our infusion center identify her as “their resource” and can rely on her for a quick question by phone or as a bridge to the physician when they have concerns.

Wendy Napolitano, MSN, RN

As a nurse manager, Wendy has reduced nurse triple assignments significantly - from 45 percent to less than 2 percent. This has reduced burnout and supported nurses in safe appropriate assignments to care for critical care patients per national guidelines. She recruits nurses to critical care and continues to provide appropriate staffing coverage to keep patients safe and reduce staff burnout. Wendy has built collaborative partnerships with nursing affiliated schools during clinical rotations enhancing the new hire pipeline to ensure vacant positions are filled with a rapid turnaround time.

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Hartford HealthCare at Home

Christine Massiello, ASN

Christine carries a wealth of knowledge in nursing and thrives by sharing her experiences with others. She provides new clinicians with the confidence to perform at the highest level. She is a valuable asset to her team, especially when technology is involved. Christine impacts the lives of her patients and the new nursing talent that cross her path with positivity and empathy.

Gina Brown, RN

As a Clinical Supervisor at Hartford HealthCare at Home, Virginia “Gina” Brown is a go-to source of knowledge and support for the hospice team. She is known for her kind, trusted, and calm demeanor, even during the most difficult times. Her team shared, “a successful team is one that has a manager that listens, encourages, supports and teaches” and this allows them to be their best and provide the best care for their patients.

Jane Serra, RN

As a young girl, Jane always wanted to become a nurse and when she finally became one, the rest was history. Jane is a morale boost in any working environment. Hartford HealthCare at Home Community Network describes Jane as “a very special woman, “a dedicated nurse”, “a light in their day” and “a wonderful teacher. At the end of her life, Jane shares she would be fulfilled only if she knew that she was able to care for as many people as possible during her time on earth. She leaves behind 40 years of the unconditional love and commitment she has given throughout her nursing profession.

Shelly Levesque, LPN

Shelly has been an instrumental force in the growth of the Telemonitor Program at HHCAH. With 128 Telemonitor Units in the program when Shelly began, there are now well over 300. Throughout her role, Shelly’s noticeable expertise and thoughtfulness allow her to be committed to gaining the trust of patient families and excellence with staff. Regardless of what circumstances come her way, Shelly brings a source of wisdom and proficiency to the Telemonitor Program that is instrumental to their growth and success.

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Hartford HealthCare Medical Group

Jane Sweeney, RN

What makes Jane unique beyond her medical experience is the nonstop devotion she provides to those with obesity. She played a crucial role in the creation of an online virtual support group dedicated to leading a community of patients on their weight loss journey. Jane has led groups in the CT American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery state walk from obesity for two years, working tirelessly to be the state’s top national fundraiser. Her commitment to the bariatric community is unmatched.

Dawn Garcia, APRN

To Dawn, being a Bariatric APRN is more than just a profession – it is a calling, it is a part of her identity. Her passion and commitment to her patients are endless; her holistic view goes well beyond patient treatment, addressing the issues and systems that affect patient health and wellness. In addition to exceptional patient care, she has fully embodied what it means to be a mentor to her colleagues, deeply investing in the growth of her team members.

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Hartford Hospital

Trystan Allen, BSN, RN

Trystan’s nursing care has affected her patients, families, and peers in a unique way, bringing joy to all by utilizing her artistic talent. The glass wall that sits behind the CB2 front entrance desk has been filled with colorful messages and images. She paints seasonal murals but also on events going on in the world, sharing messages of hope and kindness. Every year during the holiday season there are patients on our unit that are missing time with their families. Trystan collects money from staff to purchase materials to make handmade gifts for our patients hospitalized over the Christmas holiday. The gift includes handmade blankets, mugs, tea, and hot chocolate and is personalized for each patient.

Colleen Salvador, BSN, RN

Colleen has proven to be an exceptional leader in a short period of time in her new role as a clinical leader. In a time of great change in the Pre-op and PACU area, she has provided consistent stability and calmness to the unit. The person and professional that she is, Colleen feels that she is “just doing her job” as she goes through her day improving outcomes for patients and their families and mentoring future resource nurses and clinical leaders. Colleen leads with respect, integrity, a strong moral compass, compassion and a true caring for everyone she comes into contact with every day.

Lisa Bisaillon, BSN, RN

Lisa Bisaillon has been a nurse in the Hartford Hospital Emergency Department since November 2011. She is a vastly skilled, adaptable, and esteemed member of the ED team. She is an expert and knowledgeable trauma nurse, adept triage nurse, accomplished preceptor, and is well-versed in managing the department. Lisa has also worked in roles that benefit members of the community in ways beyond the ED. Through the pandemic, Lisa became involved in Covid-19 testing, vaccination, and infusion therapy to further serve the community. She not only provided an important service that promoted healing to the community served by the clinic but also became a unique resource and base of knowledge for ED staff to learn from.

Shenika Carroll, MSN, RN

When asked to describe Shenika, colleagues use words like “superhero, knowledgeable, calm under pressure.” Shenika works as one of our educators on nights responding to rapid responses and the many needs of our nursing staff. She advocates for both the nurses and the patient, often helping to coordinate care with providers. She helped all through a very intense time.

Ashley Costa, MSN, RN

In her role as a Clinical Nurse Leader on C8I Ashley serves as an excellent Resource “charge” nurse and new nurse preceptor. She is one of the “Go-To” nurses for her fellow nurses, providers, and employees to assist in various clinical, logistical, and social situations in a professional, calm, and non-judgmental manner. Ashley does a phenomenal job of tackling tough situations and having courageous conversations with her peers, addressing situations such as safety concerns.

Nina Damiata, BSN, RN

Nina has continued to serve in the role of Clinical Nurse Leader for the Telemetry Center on the night shift. Her incredible clinical expertise and leadership qualities have been invaluable to the team. During the COVID pandemic, Nina increased her hours to 7 nights a week, working every holiday and weekend throughout the course of 2020 and into 2021. Her demonstrated leadership and approachable style have been the perfect combination in support of patient safety. Her coaching and mentoring have been invaluable to the improved processes of enhancing patient safety at the bedside.

Rhonda Dean, BS, RN

Rhonda is able to defuse any situation that arises in the unit. She has a calming way about her approach when de-escalating a patient in crisis. Rhonda is focused on understanding the patient’s feelings, and she gives the patient their space. She is very relaxed when she interacts with the patients in crisis. Rhonda has trained every new nurse that has worked on Donnelly 3 South. She has given the new nurses the tools to become a knowledgeable nurse in the field of Psychiatry.

Nathan Dorian, BSN, RN

Nate was promoted to Clinical Leader for N9/N9SD in 2021. He is an ideal leader for our staff due to his passion for patient care and his pursuit of excellence. For example, Nate assisted one of his colleagues with a challenging patient that was withdrawing. Nathan helped settle the patient and had a heart-to-heart with him. The patient expressed to Nate how he became hospitalized and what his recovery plans were. Nate is also an exemplary preceptor and enjoys growing and developing the new staff. He doesn’t just tell them how to do things, he also shares his insights into time management, building relationships, and wellness.

Ryan Gannon, BSN, RN

When a nurse on IRU who recently lost her husband stated she was nervous about driving to work the next day in a snowstorm, Ryan volunteered to pick her up from home to bring her to work safely. Ryan told her that would be one less thing she would have to worry about and he didn’t mind making the drive. When the COVID vaccine clinics opened at the start of the pandemic, Ryan volunteered to be a vaccinator. He then shared how this role made him feel, especially when the patients expressed gratitude for the vaccine. From there Ryan encouraged the staff on IRU to get their COVID vaccines and boosters.

Marlene Graham-Folkes, BSN, RN

Marlene Graham Folks started her career at Hartford Hospital 25 years ago as a patient care associate (PCA). She went on to earn an associate degree in nursing and then a BSN. For the past fourteen years as a nurse, Marlene has been an asset on Bliss 8, an amazing nurse, and clinical leader. In addition, Marlene is also a resource nurse, a preceptor, mentor, and charge nurse. The nurses always come to Marlene whenever they need help or have a feeling of overwhelm. She always has a listening ear and encouraging words.

Lisa Marie Laporte, RN

Lisa has been an RN at Hartford Hospital for 36 years. She has spent her entire career in labor and delivery. During that time, she has been a resource to new nurses by precepting and mentoring them. She is also part of a multidisciplinary team that evaluates the performance of residents. She gives them constructive criticism that helps shape them into better providers. She is helping shape the future practice of these physicians. Lisa is also one of the instructors of our Neonatal Resuscitation Program and helps prepare new nurses to confidently resuscitate newborn babies. This is a skill that is so important in our department.

Angela Luba, BSN, RN

Angela joined our Complex Case Management Team (CCMT), where she’s worked on the most challenging cases that often need extraordinary and dedicated attention. She helped pilot a Trauma Nurse Navigator role, where she worked closely with the Trauma Service to ensure that this fragile population had one consistent representative who would advocate for them, regardless of where the patient was located in the hospital. As the Trauma Nurse Navigator, Angela rounds with the Trauma Service daily and follows these very complex patients throughout their entire stay.

Lynn O'Bara, APRN

Lynn champions Support Groups to make sure patients are supported long after transplants. Many of her patients have sung her praise and noted that they would have never made it through the long ordeal of a transplant without Lynn. She also participates in the after-hours meetings for Quarterly Patient Advisory Board meetings, to help improve all our programs with our patients' input. She is fearless to address physicians to obtain information to understand a patient’s status or a means to care for a patient.

Taulant Proko, RN

Landi was recognized for going beyond the call by Bliss 7 East leadership one evening as he was assigned a male patient who had been frustrated with his prolonged hospital stay and who had been verbally inappropriate with female staff. Landi was able to connect with the patient by listening to the patient’s concerns and practicing being “curious vs. judgmental.” Landi took care of the patient with great professionalism and empathy. He spent time listening to the patient's concerns and responded in a therapeutic manner.

Wendy Savarese, MSN, RN

Wendy has worked at Hartford Hospital in her position as Nurse Educator supporting the Pre-Op and PACU units for just over a year, serving as a per diem RN prior to that. Wendy identified a lack of opportunity for nursing students within perianesthesia nursing and put forward a proposal to run a summer PACU fellowship. The fellowship would create a student pipeline for future new graduates to be hired into PACU. Through the socialization of this fellowship proposal among the PACU managers, Wendy was able to generate interest in hosting student experiences beyond the fellowship as well. This allowed for senior capstone student placements in PACU in addition to the summer fellows.

Cheryl Tafas, MS, RN

The HH Radiation department is an urban environment, large in scale, with many complex patients. Over the last year, the department experienced a significant turnover of experienced nursing staff, including leadership positions. This caused not only a nursing staffing shortage but also a dearth of the leadership in the nursing group. Without having an official leadership role, Cheryl was the steady hand on the tiller. She was a leader in every sense of the word, both righting the ship clinically, and also helping to direct the recruitment efforts that have successfully rebuilt our nursing staff into an excellent cohesive group.

Kathleen Vees, MSN, RN

Katie is the Hartford Hospital Endocarditis Nurse Navigator. Her primary focus is always on providing the best, most timely, and individualized care for her patients and their families/loved ones. An 80-year-old patient was admitted for evaluation for valve surgery. The patient had infective endocarditis, multiple prior cardiac surgeries, and a very high operative risk. Katie collaborated with nursing, cardiac surgery, and social work to prepare the patient and family for possible surgery. Katie served as the primary communicator with multiple family members after hours and over a weekend.

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MidState Medical Center

Mikael Espanol, BSN, RN

Mikael demonstrated discretionary and a humanistic effort when he went above and beyond for a patient who was in the hospital and wasn’t eating. The patient mentioned that they had a craving for Filipino cuisine. Mikael, who was not the patient’s nurse, but heard about the situation, went out of his way to make the patient the type of food they were craving and it proved beneficial – the patient started eating again, which helped with their recovery. Mikael’s actions were well received by his colleagues and speak to his passion and dedication to patient care. Additionally, Mikael has been recognized by capstone and nursing students for his welcoming and approachable demeanor – creating a positive learning environment.

Brenda Berrey, RN, CMSRN

There is such a thing as ‘everyday excellence’ and this is what Brenda brings – all of herself every day, knowing her patients beyond the medical history and nursing tasks, but on a personal level thinking outside the box to meet the patient’s needs. Brenda is part of the ‘glue’ of Pavilion E, keeping a steady focus on her patients and fellow nurses. She works ‘under the radar’ – quietly, competently, compassionately, and humbly caring for others.

Christine Bonvisuto-Lynch, RN

Early in the pandemic, there were COVID patients desatting simultaneously. Christine managed both patients quickly, providing them with high-flow oxygen that they desperately needed. Between communicating with the RT, and the MD and being at the bedside with her patients, she was able to stabilize them. In a case like this where multiple patients were decompensating at the same time, most nurses would panic, and rightfully so. Christine worked quickly and without panic, even if she was panicking on the inside you wouldn’t know it.

Karen Ellison, BSN, RN

Karen volunteered to start teaching clinical for a new CNA program at MidState in alliance with a local community college, with the goal of onboarding these students into becoming potential hires and employees for HHC. She’s also spearheading the PEAs program, which trains student nurses to intern learning about the hospital and patient experience early in their education before they start their nursing clinicals.

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Natchaug Hospital

Michelle Bousquet, RN

Michelle Bousquet has been a nurse for four years. With her bachelor’s degree in psychology, she has focused the majority of her career as a registered nurse on mental health and substance abuse. She enjoys the teamwork of the field, working together with mental health workers, other registered nurses, therapists, and other staff to ensure a therapeutic and safe milieu for patients. From admissions, through daily observations, group therapy, and medication reconciliation, there is constant communication and collaborative work. Her co-workers turn to her for advice and she often offers a neutral standpoint, giving direct, unbiased support. She makes sure her peers and patients feel heard. She previously worked part-time as a nurse consultant for a small childcare facility, updating health records, completing staff training and certifications, and helping to develop specialized wellness plans for children as needed. She fosters dogs through Next Stop Forever and East Coast Canine Rescue and participates in local community clean-up days. She also donates blood to the American Red Cross when she is eligible.

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Rushford

Kimberly Whipple, MSN, RN, CARN

Kimberly Whipple has been a nurse for nine years, the past seven have been at Rushford. During this time, she has had the opportunity to work in almost every nursing position. Currently, she is the RN Team Lead and also oversees the Behavioral Health Home program. She is a BLS instructor and the administrator of the RQI program. Additionally, she developed and oversaw the COVID testing program for the Meriden facility. She has been the chair of the client safety committee for the past three years.

Kimberly has been regularly recognized for her discretionary effort by several Rushford programs and by leadership this year. Her consistency and willingness to help have allowed her to assist many clients, staff, and programs beyond her Behavioral Health Home program.

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Senior Services

Audra Armour, RN

Continues to display Hartford HealthCare’s core values, while always providing her services and volunteering her time to ensure Southington Care Center is well equipped. She is responsible for the clinical care and services provided to the residents of a 130-bed skilled nursing center. Is the nursing supervisor on the 11-7 am team and her team relies on her for her independence and capability of decision making which results in excellent outcomes.

Crislin Leen Mathew, RN

Is not one to wait for a task to be delegated to her, she takes the initiative. Crislin is a key resource to her peers and especially to the new nursing professionals. She carries two years of experience under her belt and has already made a significant impact on all. Crislin is kind, reassuring and flexible in every working environment. The team at Jefferson House wishes they could clone her.

Pamela Pinto, RN

Thrives off the advancements opportunities within her career. During her tenure, she wore many hats that support a successful community and working environment. Today she serves as an Infection Preventionist at Jerome Home, where she is responsible for the community’s activities aimed at preventing infections. Pamela’s sunny disposition is contagious and has a positive impact on her colleagues as well as her patients. She is not afraid to ask questions and to have courageous conversations.

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St. Vincent's Medical Center

Elizabeth Attar, ADN, RN

Emmy was hired as a float RN at the start of the pandemic. Her orientation was modified and focused strictly on achieving proficiency for our Covid medical units, with the promise of completing orientation post-pandemic. Emmy accepted the challenge. After 8 weeks Emmy began working at 9 North, a medical-respiratory unit, whose bed count was increased from 22 to 32 patients to accommodate the increased volume of Covid patients. She was dedicated to supporting the 9 North staff, was a positive force when every shift provided overwhelming staffing and care challenges, and always provided compassionate care to the very ill patient population. There were shifts Emmy left in tears; feeling that having given everything she had, it was still not enough for her patients. She always returned for her next shift with a renewed resolve to work harder and do more for her patients.

Patricia Dennis, MSN, RN

Pat lives and breathes nursing not just as a profession but as a calling. She has a very strong work ethic. Her “can do” attitude separates her from most. She is unselfish and will stop to share an experience or coach in real-time without hesitation. Using a supportive approach she has been known to jump into clinical situations or clinical care as needed for the better good of the team and patient care. Her dedication and loyalty are demonstrated daily through her work ethic; she willingly works long hours connecting with staff and patients enhancing the human experience at all levels and displays consistent efforts to drive quality improvements, reliability, and perseverance. She is a great nurse and is committed to providing compassionate care to patients and staff alike that exceed expectations. Pat is a servant leader at work, who places discretionary efforts and understands the mission at the local level and in the community. She is an influential proven leader that has been the catalyst for positive change at St. Vincent’s Medical Center, Behavioral Health Services. She operates with a great deal of integrity, consistency, and the utmost respect for diversity and humanity.

Jessica Giordano, BSN, RN

Jessica’s commitment to nursing and her patients is on display every day. She recently advocated for a patient who had a change in mental status based on a report she received from the ED. Jessica spoke with the provider until a CT and MRI were ordered. The patient was having a stroke and thanks to Jessica’s persistence, the patient was treated and is on the road to recovery. Jessica cares for her colleagues just as much as she cares for her patients. She helped to initiate well-being coloring sheets on the unit that was repurposed on other units and throughout the system. She is also a preceptor and mentor to new nurses and follows up with new staff long after orientation is over.

Kristyn Koripsky, MSN, RN

Kristyn, or Krissy, has served as a preceptor for new ED nurses for seven years. She takes each new hire under her wing and teaches them everything there is to know about being an ED nurse. She debriefs with the new hires after each shift, oftentimes via text, and always makes herself available even when orientation is over. One orientee was having a difficult time acclimating to the ED but Krissy spent countless hours figuring out different approaches to teach the new hire to be successful in the ED. Krissy goes above and beyond in the care she provides to staff and her patients, constantly arising to the need of serving as a preceptor in the ED. She has also assisted the new graduate nurses in the nurse residency program.

Tracy Ann McCabe, RN

As a senior nurse in the ICU with over 35 years of experience at St. Vincent’s, Tracy is well qualified to care for the highest acuity patients and has translated her knowledge base into being an outstanding mentor and preceptor. She is also frequently a charge nurse and responds to in-house medical emergencies. In both these capacities, she offers teaching and support to staff nurses throughout the hospital and is a role model to her fellow ICU nurses. In addition to providing consummate nursing care, Tracy has an amazing gift of establishing a strong rapport with every patient and family member, regardless of their background, reducing their anxiety, and putting them at ease. Tracy will visit her patients when they have transferred to other parts of the hospital, no longer needing critical care. Tracy was the first nurse from the ICU to volunteer for the COVID vaccination clinics, responding immediately when the call for nurses was made.

Candice Wright, BSN, RN

Within a year of taking on a new role as a stroke nurse navigator, Candice has elevated the nursing care of the stroke patient population. She guides stroke patients and their families through care transitions, rounds independently on stroke patients, and offers support and expertise. Candice not only follows stroke patients through different care environments within the hospital, such as the emergency department and the ICU but will also follow up with them in rehab and call them once they are discharged. She has established herself as a reliable resource for nurses, guiding them through the NIHSS exam, demonstrating swallow evaluations, and offering advice on a patient’s deficits. Candice is also a member of the stroke task force and is committed to educating first responders in the community on stroke prevention, symptom recognition, and action plans.

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System Support Office

Elizabeth Begley, MS, RN

Liz is the system director of Customer and Patient Relations. Over the past year, Liz and her team of eight answered more than 12,000 calls (more than double over last year), responding to each with empathy and focus to ensure each patient and family member received the best and most appropriate responses. Liz has built a team that is skilled at de-escalation. Last year, Liz was asked and agreed to conduct de-escalation training across SSO. Liz is now leading HHC’s Mutual Care and Mutual Respect (MCMR) initiative, collaborating across the system to address incivility between caregivers and patients and among colleagues.

Rachael McClelland, MSN, RN

As an infection control nurse, Rachael shared her knowledge, skills and more importantly provided continuous support to not only the nursing staff but to the entire clinical team. She is the nurse that we all turned to as our resource to teach, guide, coach, and impart her wisdom during such a challenging time. Although her role as infection prevention nurse required countless hours, Rachael adjusted her schedule to lead the region’s vaccination efforts. She rotated as nurse lead and administered hundreds of vaccines in our clinic.

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Tallwood Urology & Kidney Institute

Courtney Kelley, LPN

When she joined the Urology team at Tallwood Urology & Kidney Institute over five years ago, Courtney Kelley was responsible for urodynamic testing and brought a dedication and work ethic to her job rarely seen among nurses, let alone any colleague. She has since transitioned to our Men’s Health team with myself and Elizabeth Reynolds, APRN. We care for men through very private and troubling times in their lives as they struggle with infertility, sexual dysfunction, urinary troubles, and genitourinary cancers. Throughout it all, I have had only the highest compliments about Courtney from patients about her compassion, patience, and reliability.

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Windham Hospital

Hannah Phelps, RN

Hannah always puts her patients first however; there is one patient situation that stands out. We had a challenging patient who had a complex family dynamic. He had a BMI of 65 and his condition continued to slowly deteriorate. The patient was transferred to our medical-surgical floor as a comfort patient where Hannah took over. The pain and symptom management really became challenging but with collaboration between Hannah and the physician, it was determined that a Ketamine drip may be the solution. Ketamine for comfort had never been done here at Windham Hospital. The plan included Pharmacy, Nursing Education, and Leadership. The patient passed peacefully several hours later.

Kimberly Kearns, RN

Kim has offered to orient, mentor, and support new staff members in the Windham ED. She always is teaching others and provides detailed care to the patients. She recently became a charge nurse in the department and is seen as a leader and a resource. Kim never sits still and is seen running through the department to ensure the patients are all cared for in a safe and timely manner.

Amy Kollbeck, RN

Amy has been a nurse at Windham for a long time. She is well known and well-loved. She has a legacy of being an approached, well-rounded nurse. Recently, it was a very busy day in the department. Amy was the triage nurse and whenever she had a few minutes to spare between triages she was out on the floor helping. She started numerous IVs, medicated and discharged patients, and checked in with the nurses as frequently as she could to see if there was any other task she could assist with.

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