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Nurses Week Award Recipients

Nurses Week Award Recipients

On Tuesday, May 9, D-H nurses, colleagues, family members and nurses from affiliate organizations gathered in the Main Dining Room at DHMC to celebrate Nurses Week and recognize the recipients of the Nurses Week Awards. Chief Nursing Officer Karen Clements, RN, FACHE, served as master of ceremonies.

The Carmen Courage Award

Jessica Harrington, BSN, RN, a clinical nurse from Pediatrics, received the Carmen Courage Award. In her nomination letter, Jessica’s manager Lisa Mitchell, BSN, RN-BC, wrote:

“Since beginning her nursing career on the Inpatient Pediatric Unit almost two years ago, Jess has demonstrated many strengths, one of which is her ability to make meaningful connections with patients and their families. She prioritizes individualizing her plan of care for each customer. Jess’s nursing peers often comment on the personalized focus she provides to her patients and families. She is also appreciated by her multidisciplinary team members in her attention to the whole patient. We are thankful to have Jess as a member of the Pediatric Nursing staff.”

The Barbara Agnew Magnet Award for Mentorship

Leslie Thorsen, RN, MMOR, a clinical nurse from Perioperative Services, received the Barbara Agnew Magnet Award for Mentorship. Her colleague, Annemarie Nadler, BSN, MED, RN, wrote in her nomination letter:

I first met Leslie last year when she came to my OR [Operating Room] room one afternoon to offer me a 15 minute break. I had just arrived in the same room, having been assigned to a complex liver operation at the last minute. I was heavily pregnant at the time and had just arrived to a room where the patient was already present and intubated. The several pieces of complicated equipment were not fully set up, and the room was mostly waiting on me to catch up.

I refused my break, and Leslie could and should have left at that point. But she stayed for almost an hour to help me, climbing under the OR table to move foot pedals and cords. Then, she stayed longer in order to learn a particular piece of equipment she was unfamiliar with. Apart from assisting me, her actions benefitted the patient, who was not kept under anesthesia for an extended period of time, as well as the OR by keeping the case moving in a timely manner.

Bakitas Award for New Knowledge, Innovations and Improvements

Paul Hodgdon, RN, VA-BC, from Vascular Access received the Bakitas Award. Paul was nominated by his manager, Mary Coutermarsh, MSN, RN, VA-BC. In her nomination letter, Mary shared::

Paul has trained multiple nurses from vascular access and the ICN [Intensive Care Nursery] on the use of ultrasound for vascular access. He is, without a doubt, the nurse we go to when we need training and up-to-date best practice information regarding this technology.

Paul has never "settled" with doing things "just because."  He is always bringing to my attention the latest information in the field of vascular access. Paul has been instrumental in our bedside PICC placement using the new Bard 3CG technology, he has been involved in the creation of the vascular access decision tree algorithm in conjunction with CLABSI and PIVIE work, and he most recently advocated for a new, smaller-gauge double lumen Power PICC that would reduce the potential for DVTs. 

Didi Sheets & Bridget Mudge Patient-and-Family Centered Care Nursing Award

Susie Whitcomb, BSN, RN, a clinical nurse from Pediatrics, received the Didi Sheets & Bridget Mudge Patient-and-Family Centered Care Nursing Award. Bridget Mudge, MSN, RN, CNS-BC, presented Susie with the award and shared remarks from her nomination letter from her colleague, Alyssa Johnson.

Susie is always looking out for families and patients and strives to provide the best medical home possible. Susie participates in as much as she can to help improve quality care such as: Safety Committee, Nursing Meetings and Medical Home. Recently she received certification in lactation to provide direct care within our clinic and  attends a number of training and lessons on medical care that is advancing. This nurse is purely patient-and-family oriented and has no problem being flexible with her job to ensure safety and satisfaction. She is engaging with families and understands the complexity of social and physical stresses on a whole family.

Rachael McDonald, BSN, RN, clinical nurse from the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit also received the Didi Sheets & Bridget Mudge Patient-and-Family Centered Care Nursing Award. Matthew Braga, MD, nominated Rachael, writing:

We frequently hear that our patients and their families appreciate the palpable empathy, compassion and caring attitude Racheal brings to the bedside. I remember one family of a critically ill adolescent who was intubated and sedated after a trauma - Rachael knew the name of each member of the family, knew where the teen worked part-time and other things that were important to the patient. Rachael talked with the patient during medical care in letting her know what she was doing and later sat with the mother to further explain the equipment and tubes. The mother said, “We love Rachael, she really knows our daughter.” Rachael truly takes the time to get to know her patients, their preferences, and the parts about the patients she is caring for that make them who they are.

Sandy Dickau Patient-and Family Centered Care Nursing Award

Terry Malec, BSN, RN, chair of the Acute Care Council and a clinical nurse for the Adult Staffing Resource Team, was presented with the Sandy Dickau Patient-and-Family Centered Care Nursing Award by Darlene Saler, BSN, MBA, RN. Terry was nominated by her colleague Cheryl Abbott, MSN, RN, who wrote:

It's been my great pleasure to get to know Terry during her tenure as chair of the Acute Care Council. I see that in that endeavor, just as in her achievement of her BSN degree last year, she is driven by her respect for patients and families to do everything she can to make their care safer and more evidence based, and their experience empowering and reflective of who they really are. She projects the caring for people and gentle presence that fosters a therapeutic relationship with patients and families, and the leadership by example and commitment that guides and uplifts her colleagues. Wherever our future paths may lead, Terry will always be an exemplar to me of gentle but persistent advocacy, tireless work, and caring put into practice in the service of patients, families and community.

Mauna Rafus, RN, a clinical nurse from the Rheumatology Clinic, also received Sandy Dickau Patient- and Family Centered Care Nursing Award. Mauna’s colleague, Nicole Orzechowski, MD, wrote:

One recent example demonstrates Mauna's commitment to patient-and family- centered care. A patient needed a joint injection and was terrified. She hated needles and had such anxiety over the planned procedure that we thought she might not come in for the appointment. Mauna talked with her several times over the phone, explained that she would be there with her through the whole encounter and tried to reassure her that everything would be OK. When the patient arrived, Mauna met her in the waiting room and stayed with her through the procedure. When it was over the patient said to me, "Do you know how amazing your nurse is?" I do know how amazing she is, and that is why I am nominating her for this award. I have listened to her counsel patients and provide advice. She always seeks the patient's opinions in decision-making. She understands the importance of family support especially among our patients with chronic illness. I am proud to call Mauna my colleague. She strives to make the lives of our patients better.

The Darlene Saler Patient-and-Family-Centered Care Nursing Leadership Award

The Patient-and Family-Centered Care Steering Committee developed this new award in recognition of Darlene Saler’s 39 years of service to D-H. Didi Sheets announced the creation of the award and recognized Saler for her contributions. Lynn Feenan, RN, AE-C, a clinical nurse specialist from Pediatric Pulmonology, was announced as the first recipient. Sheets read the following excerpts from Lynn’s multiple nominations:

 “She is the epitome of a nurse who puts her patients’ care needs first…”

“When it comes to Patient- and Family Centered Care, Lynn makes this principle the center of her work, and I hope someday to be the type of nurse she is to these patients living with Cystic Fibrosis [CF].”

“She is beloved by her patients and spends hours making school and home visits to provide improved care for technology dependent children, children with CF and asthma.  There are few nurses in the world her equal.”

Marianne Markwell Commitment Award for Neuroscience Nursing

Becky Sebeth, RN, a clinical nurse from Neuroscience received the Marianne Markwell Award presented by Wanda Handel, MSN, RN, ACCNS-AG, CNRN. Sebeth was nominated by Cheryl Abbott who wrote:

Becky Sebeth is always quickly able to relate and communicate with our Neurology patients in a way that meets their needs and keeps everyone safe. Over many years, Becky has been a constant advocate for safety for patients and her colleagues. She makes the time to learn every safety resource, and independently goes several extra miles to share that knowledge with others. She is a steady force, somehow always, reliably, knitting together the fabric of what needs to happen for the patients and what needs to happen for the staff. It has been my great good luck to follow Becky’s shift on many a weekend morning and appreciate her wisdom, resourcefulness, and absolute dedication to our patients and colleagues.

Award for Excellence in LPN Practice

Jamie Villers, LPN, a supervisor LPN, nominated by Roxana Scarpino, BSN, RN, is the first D-H LPN to receive the award, which was created to recognize an LPN for their outstanding accomplishments, achievements, work ethic, and community service in nursing and health care. In her nomination letter Scarpino wrote:

Jamie works hard, leads by example and cheerfully encourages her staff to put their best effort forward. Her motto is: “We can get through this.” Jamie leads providers and staff through efficient daily huddles. Her passion for clinical care is obvious to everyone. Jamie values team work and education and embraces improvement work. She’s not afraid of change. She has conducted “staff days” to promote team building and clinical education. The most recent session included instruction on phototherapy and occurrence reporting. Last year, Jamie helped the staff complete a 5s makeover. She has become “the glue” that holds this department together.

The Rolf Olsen Nursing Partnership Award

Martha Maurer, MBA, PMP, director of Clinical Support Operations, received the Rolf Olsen Nursing Partnership Award in recognition of her unwavering commitment, advocacy, guidance, support and promotion of nursing at Dartmouth-Hitchcock.

Martha’s colleague Colleen Whatley, MSN, RN, CNS-BC, RNC-OB, wrote:  

Martha consistently demonstrates unwavering commitment, advocacy, guidance, support and promotion of nursing at D-H. I see Martha as a quiet and steady presence always poised to connect opportunities with potential or active problems. Over the years, Martha has facilitated many projects ensuring that stakeholders are included as we explore new programs and services to meet the needs of our patients. Her support allows nursing leaders to remain focused on the clinical aspects while she works out the logistics.

 “It takes a village” is a familiar phrase and rings true here as we come together to provide our patients w ith the best care in the right place, at the right time, every time. For us, the phrase could be altered to “It takes a Martha!”

The Deborah Miller Award for Advanced Practice in Nursing

Sue D’Anna, APRN from Cardiovascular Medicine, received the Deborah Miller Award for Advanced Practice in Nursing. Nominations for Sue were collected by Dr. Alan Kono, medical director for the Advanced Heart Failure and Cardiomyopathy Program, who wrote:

Sue has distinguished herself as an expert in heart failure diagnosis and management, electrophysiology and device management, and pulmonary hypertension. She is the “go to” person for other colleagues, peers, as well as physicians and physician trainees.

Bruce Andrus, MD, wrote: Sue is one of our most valuable assets in cardiovascular medicine. She is the consummate professional; always thoughtful, very intelligent, able to make expert clinical assessment and formulate very reasonable, well defended treatment suggestions, very caring and sensitive to the psychosocial issues of our patients, able to think in terms of systems, and always constructive.

Shannon Bulger, senior clinical secretary, wrote: What continuously amazes me is her constant passion and dedication to provide quality patient care at the highest level she can,- and she does it with a smile every time. Sue exuberates excellence with every interaction with patients, families, students, colleagues. She makes it look easy.

The Donna Crowley Excellence in Nursing Leadership Award

Maureen Gardella, BSN, MPA, RN-BC, a unit nurse manager from Psychiatry, received the Donna Crowley Excellence in Nursing Leadership Award.

The purpose of this award is to recognize a Nursing leader who exemplifies the qualities that support the fulfillment of our organizational mission and goals and who creates an environment that supports the professional nurses’ growth and development. In nominating her, William Keller, MD, the medical director of Inpatient Psychiatry wrote:

I can state with confidence that I could not have found a better nurse manager with which to partner as a leadership team. Maureen sets an example for staff in character, competence, purpose and integrity. She cares about her staff and mentors them to achieve their goals. She also cares deeply about providing good quality care for some of the most vulnerable patients of society. She ensures the staff on Psychiatry provide that care to the best of our abilities. Maureen has a vision for inpatient psychiatric care and implements that vision throughout our units. She holds herself and us to standards of excellence.

D-H Affiliate Nursing Excellence Awards

D-H Affiliates were invited to participate and the chief nursing officers from each organization presented awards to members of their nursing teams.

Deanna Orfanidis, MSN, RN, chief nursing officer from Mt. Ascutney Hospital presented awards to Wendy Tetrault, BSN, RN, and Rita Bennett, BSN, RN.

Cindi Coughlin, BSN, MS, RN, chief nursing officer from Cheshire Medical Center/D-H Keene presented awards to Kurt Hanniger, RN, Sarah Kingsley, RN and Susan Szydlo, RN.

Beverley Rankin, BSN, MSA, RN, BC-NE, chief nursing officer from Alice Peck Day Memorial Hospital presented awards to Michael Francis, RN and Erin Merriam, RN.


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