Published on May 06, 2014

Celebration of Nurses: Words of Appreciation

Public recognizes nurses and nursing staffers who emplify tremendous commitment to the care of patients

The Florida Times-Union, Tue, May 6, 2014 @ 1:42 pm | updated Tue, May 6, 2014 @ 7:10 pm

Name of nurse: Dawn Smith, RN, MSN

Name of facility: Baptist Medical Center Beaches

Submitted by: Lamar Starling

I am a cancer patient. Last May I was diagnosed with invasive cancer of the colon. Since that time I have had five surgeries. The one constant positive factor during my courses of stay was my nurse, Dawn Smith. Dawn works in the pre-op area where my surgical course began. During the long surgeries, sometimes as long as six hours, Dawn updated my family on the surgeon’s progress. She comforted my wife when the surgeon told her that the tumor was too large to remove. In the post period, Dawn visited me and my family in the critical care unit ensuring we had all we needed and answering questions we forgot to ask the surgeons.

On many occasions, Dawn made special trips to the local Publix to buy Popsicles and ice cream that might encourage me to eat more. Her optimism and beautiful smile kept me going during these difficult times. My family and I looked forward to her daily visits. Dawn even visited on her days off. Dawn is an exceptional, compassionate nurse who deserves recognition. She went above and beyond for me and my family.

Name of nurse: Michael Woolard, RN

Name of facility: MICU, St. Vincent’s Southside

Submitted by: Terri Montville, Grants Administrator, St. Vincent’s HealthCare Foundation

Michael has provided exemplary care to St. Vincent’s patients for 4 years. He is kind and empathetic to both our patients and their families and is a positive spirit who constantly uplifts all who meet him. For example, one of his patients had been on a ventilator in the Intensive Care Unit for a long time. Upon being extubated, the patient wished she could go outside so the sun could touch her face. However, the patient was very much disabled and the unit was extremely busy, making it difficult if not impossible for Michael to take this patient outside. Still, he was determined to help this patient’s wish for sunshine come true, so he arranged to take her outside in a specialized chair. A co-worker who saw them outside together said, “The look of joy and happiness on the patient’s face said it all. While I know that Michael was feeling the stress of managing his busy day, he showed no signs of worry. He made sure the patient was able to enjoy the experience.”

Michael consistently provides this type of care to St. Vincent’s patients and is always generous and kind to fellow staff members as well. He truly exemplifies many of the core values that are coveted here at St. Vincent’s Medical Center: Integrity, Reverence, Wisdom, Creativity, Dedication and Service of the Poor.

Name of nurse: Kelly Canada, RN

Name of facility: Cardiology Unit, St. Vincent’s Southside

Submitted by: Terri Montville, Grants Administrator, St. Vincent’s HealthCare Foundation

Since Kelly joined St. Vincent’s Southside 18 months ago, she has built a reputation for being extremely compassionate, caring and a good listener. We recently received an email from a patient’s family member for recognition of her work with a patient who had been diagnosed with early onset dementia and was very confused and was suffering from significant memory loss. “My father was a recent patient at St. Vincent’s, and was in the care of several nurses and support healthcare professionals. Kelly was particularly caring, understanding, and exceeded the normal, and reasonable expectations of her duties. In the midst of what I considered to be extreme, difficult circumstances, she provided a calming demeanor and understanding to both her patient and his family, clear explanations of medical and cognitive challenges facing her patient, and professionalism that should serve as a model to her colleagues. Our family’s experiences with my father’s medical and mental challenges have been an emotional journey, to which Kelly has responded with genuine and reassuring compassion. As I’m sure you are already aware, St. Vincent’s is fortunate and blessed to have such a caring and competent professional, who goes beyond what is expected of her as a healthcare professional, and makes a difference in the lives of her patients and their families. She is a true inspiration!”

There is no greater compliment than to have a family go out of their way to recognize a nurse who went above and beyond, because they cared. Nursing is more than a job to Kelly and many of her patients sing the same praises. She is a true patient advocate with the gift of genuinely caring for others.

Name of nurse: Amanda Titherington, RN

Name of facility: Critical Care, St. Vincent’s Southside

Submitted by: Terri Montville, Grants Administrator, St. Vincent’s HealthCare Foundation

Amanda has worked for St. Vincent’s for three years as a CV and ICU nurse. In that short time, she has been recognized by both patients and staff for outstanding nursing and leadership qualities. Recently, a patient sang her praises: “She made sure that our needs were met in every possible situation and she cared about us in a way that only family would. She saved my life in the ICU. I actually felt safe with my life in her hands. Because of her decisions, I’m alive.” Amanda is also frequently recognized by her peers and recently received St. Vincent’s Nightingale Award for Excellence in Nursing Care and Leadership. Amanda is an exemplary nurse, highly competent in the management of critically ill patients and she conducts herself in an extremely professional manner, communicating effectively with patients, families, physicians, and the entire multidisciplinary team. She has assumed multiple leadership roles at St. Vincent’s Southside, playing an integral role in our hospital’s chest pain certification, contributing to our acute coronary syndrome learning module, and providing heart failure education to our sister nursing home, St. Catherine Laboure Manor. She is highly motivated, genuinely caring and compassionate person, and has developed into a highly proficient critical care nurse.

Name of nurse: Karen Kessler, RN/Clinical Coordinator

Name of facility: Surgical Recovery Room, St. Vincent’s Riverside

Submitted by: Terri Montville, Grants Administrator, St. Vincent’s HealthCare Foundation

Karen Kessler has been a nurse for over 30 years serving in multiple capacities. The past 25-plus years she has served in a specialty unit and over half of that as an Assistant Nurse Manager. She is in a leadership position, but she spends a great deal of time at the bedside. Her judgment and clinical expertise in the management of a post-open heart patient is impeccable. There is nothing too menial for her; whether she is cleaning, making beds, helping a patient, listening to families, or in a discussion with a physician, she gives 100% all the time. Karen constantly interacts with patients and their families as well, comforting and reassuring them and just giving the families an extra dose of attention and compassion. She is committed 24/7: being available to the staff on her time off, weekends and even holidays. We often encourage her to turn off her cell when she goes on vacation! Karen is a constant encouragement to the entire staff as she motivates them to earn their certifications, participate on committees, teach courses, serve as preceptors, participate in the Clinical Practice Development Program, etc. She expects excellence from every staff member and works diligently to provide learning opportunities to assist each staff member to grow and develop their practice. Karen takes a deep personal interest in every staff member and diligently works to accommodate all schedule requests. We have had the tragic loss of 2 staff members over the past 15 months and she arranged memorial services to give the staff an opportunity to gather/grieve/pray together. She has adapted to the ever changing health care environment over the years and has always remained positive and optimistic no matter the difficulty. Karen demonstrates excellence in nursing practice delivered with knowledge, compassion and professionalism in her role.

Name of nurse: Corazon Dumlao, RN,

Name of facility: 3 Center Surgical/Oncology, St. Vincent’s Riverside

Submitted by: Brandi Musselwhite, Certified Nursing Assistant, St. Vincent’s HealthCare

I was a patient in the chemo department recently and Corazon was my nurse each time I went in for my all-day, weekly chemotherapy session. She was my nurse during all my visits and she was warm, caring, compassionate, and went above and beyond what was expected of her during my treatment. She had a contagious smile and was always so positive about my chemotherapy. When I went for my first treatment, she made sure I knew about all the procedures that were going on and she explained anything I was not sure about. She was a joy to have as my nurse and she was a huge light in my dark world at the time. I always looked forward to seeing her because I knew I was not going to have to worry about anything when she was around. Thank you for employing such a wonderful nurse. This is a better hospital because of her care and compassion for the sick. I owe so much to her for her wonderful spirit lifting me up during such a rough time.

Name of nurse: Pam Edmonds, Nursing Supervisor

Name of facility: St. Catherine Laboure Manor

Submitted by: Terri Montville, Grants Administrator, St. Vincent’s HealthCare Foundation

Pam is one of the most respected Nursing Supervisors at St. Catherine Laboure Manor, St. Vincent’s long-term nursing care facility, where she has worked for 14 years. She is admired for her dedication to her job, her staff and her elderly patients, whom she always treats with compassion, dignity and respect. Three different coworkers recently nominated Pam for an internal nursing award at St. Vincent’s. Among the wonderful things they had to say about her: “Pam is always in a positive mood and it’s infectious for the rest of the staff. She is an amazing role model for her coworkers, and she goes above and beyond for the patients.” “Pam is a great nurse who treats the whole person not just the sickness. She always has a smile on her face for everyone.” “Pam is always patient and calm in any situation. You can rely on her in stressful situations to be level-headed.”

She lives our values each and every day at St. Catherine Laboure Manor, and our patients and staff are the lucky recipients.

Name of nurse: Arnold Feliciano, RN

Name of facility: Emergency Department, St. Vincent’s Medical Center Clay County

Submitted by: Terri Montville, Grants Administrator, St. Vincent’s HealthCare Foundation

The St. Vincent’s Clay Emergency Department is blessed to have Arnold Feliciano as one of our staff members. Arnold has been working for the St. Vincent’s Health System since 1998. His dedication to serving patients with emergent needs has been displayed many times over. Arnold has a calm demeanor when he interacts with his patients. This provides the patient and families with a sense of reassurance that Arnold will be providing exceptional care. He has strong clinical skills and is always willing to share his knowledge with patients, families, and his fellow coworkers.

Arnold requested to be part of the St. Vincent’s Clay County staff and has been an integral part of opening our new hospital. Arnold functions as a charge nurse as well as direct patient care provider. His extra efforts in creating flow sheets and providing additional help to cover the staffing needs of our patients were recognized by our Emergency Department (ED) staff. Many of the ED staff and the hospital supervisors have commented on Arnold’s ability to multi-task and maintain Emergency Department patient flow. He provides support and encouragement for the entire health care team. Arnold continues to expand his knowledge and is currently enrolled in the Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner (ARNP) Program. As either an Emergency Department RN or ARNP, we know that Arnold will continue to touch the lives of patients in his own compassionate way.

Name of nurse: Teresa Ashby, RN

Name of facility: St. Vincent’s Medical Center Clay County

Submitted by: Terri Montville, Grants Administrator, St. Vincent’s HealthCare Foundation

Teresa Ashby has been a part of the St. Vincent’s HealthCare System for only six short months, but in that small time frame she has made a big difference in the lives of her patients and coworkers. Teresa has received numerous letters from patients, thanking her for her compassionate care and humbling spirit, along with comments such as “Teresa is a breath of fresh air, she genuinely cares for me,” and “Teresa prayed for me and gave me hope when I didn’t have any left.” Teresa’s nurse manager tells this story: “Teresa had provided care to a young woman who spoke very little English and needed an interpreter to translate for her. During the few days that Teresa cared for this patient, it was apparent that she and the patient had formed a bond over their strong faith. At discharge, knowing that the young lady was new to the area, Teresa invited her to attend her church and provided the address. A few months later, Teresa was part of a group of church members visiting the sick at home and ended up at the patient’s house. Teresa and the young woman were able to talk to each other again with the help of a translator. She told Teresa, ‘Thank you for being there for me. My husband was abusive and things were very bad for me; however, while I was in the hospital you helped me to get closer to God and I was able to remove myself from that situation.’”

This is indicative of the compassionate person that Teresa is in both her personal and professional lives. She has a light in her heart, that shines so bright that all whom come in contact with her are blessed with her wonderful personality and caring spirit.

Name of nurse: Staff of Cardiac Rehabilitation Unit

Name of facility: St. Vincent’s HealthCare

Submitted by: Howard Cash

After my second open heart surgery, for five more bypasses, my daughter, Susan McCauley, who was an RN at St. Vincent’s Cardiac Rehab, invited me to attend for the course of 36 visits where I would learn all about the heart and how to keep it beating more efficiently with proper diet and exercises.

Here it is almost 15 years later and I am still going twice weekly for my exercises and, thanks to Coleen Welsh, for my bi-monthly meetings with other patients from rehab. We are still learning more about the heart and enjoying social contacts with other patients. All the RN’s at rehab are knowledgeable and always willing to help. I recommend it for all heart patients who have had stents or open heart surgery.

These RN’s not only changed my way of life, but probably helped to save it and let me enjoy more of my life. They did change my world.

Name of nurse: Tammy Raulerson, RN

Name of facility: Heartland Hospice

Submitted by: Patricia O’Neal-Williams

I was given the opportunity to have my mother placed under Heartland Hospice in late July 2013. Mama is 91 years old and I am her primary caregiver. Little did I know that during the past two years, Mama’s Alzheimer’s would advance so rapidly. She became bedbound and some days are so agitated that I wanted to get in my car and drive away and not come back. But God is always watching over me and sent us both an angel.

Our angel is Tammy Raulerson, RN. Tammy came in to my home and saw that I was at my breaking point. She sat me down and told me that I needed to accept help because I was at burnout stage. She took off her nursing hat and became the caring, concerned and compassionate voice that I needed in my life. She assured me that she was going to help me get through this, and get the right medicines to control Mama’s anxiety so she would be comfortable and could rest. Within 24 hours, I saw a different Mama. I have not had any more desires to get in my car to drive off and not come back. I have accepted all of the services the agency provides for her; my home is now peaceful and calm.

Every Thursday when Tammy arrives, Mama looks forward to joking with her, trying to convince her that she is in our family or trying to tell her something that I did to her. These past six months with Tammy in our lives has given me my life back. I am no longer a ticking time bomb. I now understand the disease of Alzheimer’s.

Words will never be enough thanks to God for placing Tammy in our lives. I truly understand the meaning of “trust and obey.” Every Alzheimer’s patient should have the experience of having a nurse like ours. Thanks you Tammy Raulerson, RN for being the loving, caring person that you are.

Name of nurse: 3rd floor Hematology/Oncology Unit

Name of facility: Mayo Clinic

Submitted by: Nancy Ferdman

Beginning in December 2011, my husband, Shelly Ferdman, was a patient at the hematology/oncology unit of Mayo Clinic. He was receiving chemotherapy for acute myeloid leukemia. His first hospitalization was 30 days. Even though Shelly was the patient, I was there with him, even spending most every night at the hospital. We got to know the 3N staff really well. Shelly and I were so appreciative of everything that was done for him and I think it was easy to connect with us. Over an 18-month period, Shelly was hospitalized nine different times, totaling approximately 140 days. When he had to check back in for treatment, the staff would come visit us, even if they weren’t his nurse for the day. The nurses and staff were there for his good days and very bad days.

Shelly lost his battle with leukemia on April 9, 2013. At his memorial service, the minister asked friends and family to share remembrances of Shelly’s life. Of course, because I was seated on the front row, I had no idea who was at the service. Four very special nurses from 3N, Amanda, Paul, Amy H. and Sheila W. came forward and each spoke about getting to know Shelly and me, about the tough times we faced together and the love we showed to each other. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the church. Their willingness to share their thoughts made such an impression on everyone. Amanda, Paul, Amy and Sheila treated us like family and they became our family.

Thank you to all the wonderful nurses and staff at Mayo.

Read the full article on