CMH is pleased to announce the nominees of its annual Spirit of Caring Awards. Each year, CMH recognizes and celebrates caregivers who embrace the challenges and rewards of a career in healthcare by presenting these awards. The nominated caregivers go above and beyond to create a warm and welcoming environment for patients, their families and fellow caregivers. This year, a record number of staff and medical providers received nominations.
Ashley O’Bryant, Patient Access: Ashley goes out of her way to let you know she appreciates your work. This includes not only everyone in her department, but all over CMH. It’s always a rewarding experience when working with her.
Lacey Douglas, Women’s Center: Lacey is the ultrasound tech for the Women’s Center and also pulls call for Radiology. Lacey consistently goes above and beyond by seeing patients and adding them to her schedule when providers request it. She will stay late or come in early to accommodate patient needs. She sought out our hospital to work at because of our Planetree designation, and she shows person-centered care every day to her patients, fellow caregivers, providers and team. She is always willing to jump into any situation to offer a hand or help out.
Another nomination: Lacey is so kind and compassionate. She goes out of her way to take care of her patients when other people have failed. She is patient and thoughtful when needing to deliver upsetting news. She always goes above and beyond and smiles about it.
Eric Ventola, Food Services: Eric is the shining light in the kitchen. He greets everyone with a smile and has a distinct laugh that puts a smile on anyone’s face.
Another nomination: Eric is a joy to be around and work with. Being that Eric is a Food Services worker, the effect he has on patients is often unrecorded. Whether it be his constant smile or joyful singing, he always has a way to brighten the day. I have had so many patient family members approach me in the cafe to have me pass on their appreciation of Eric for his compassion, kindness and care of their family members and care partners. Even though his interactions with patients are limited compared to most, his care leaves a lasting impression with so many.
Denise Gagnon, Patient Access: Denise is constantly going above and beyond for her patients and other caregivers. She is always there to help me when I have questions.
Chris Laman, Pharmacy and Cancer Center: Chris is very sensitive to the needs of his fellow caregivers and patients and routinely goes out of his way to make sure their needs are met.
Joni Marcks, Patient Financial Services: Joni handles stressful situations and potentially upset patients or family members on a daily basis. Regardless of what is going on, she always manages to be calm, empathetic and professional. Joni is a true expert in her area and always my “go to” when I have questions or need help with patient concerns. Not only does she respond promptly, but she is always happy, pleasant and upbeat. If she doesn’t have an answer (which is rare!) she finds one for me! Joni truly looks to do what is best for our patients each day. She has a huge heart, and it shows not only with our patients, but also with the caregivers at CMH.
Another nomination: Joni is always willing to help. We get very busy in our area, assisting with OHP, financial assistance and answering many different questions. She goes above and beyond all the time. She is very knowledgeable with the complex areas of insurance, OHP and financial aid.
Brian Boclair and Frank Howard, Rehab: I have nominated both Brian and Frank due to their continued dedication to the inpatient clients. They are very compassionate therapists who will go above and beyond the job duties to be sure the clients get therapy and the goals met to be ready for discharge from hospital. They work well with the nurses and other caregivers. Both have taken on the wound care program, have completed the course and will be sitting for the exam. They will be leading that program on acute care and CCU of the hospital. Brian will work on weekends to make sure the clients that need daily services get them. Frank is available to work late if needed. Both Brian and Frank have wonderful personalities that put the clients at ease and will work with the clients at their level, encouraging them to go further and be as safe and independent as possible when they leave the hospital. Frank and Brian are a team, and they get the job done effectively and successfully.
Cory Hughes, Facilities: Cory Hughes stepped up in a major way after the Facilities Manager and Supervisor both resigned. Cory is dedicated to this organization. He voluntarily comes in on weekends to perform maintenance that cannot be performed during normal business hours. He comes in even if he’s not on-call that day. Cory always attends to urgent issues that affect patient care immediately, and he is a great role model for his colleagues in his department.
Grace Smith, Pharmacy: Grace split her duties and has been completing two jobs for the last few months. She has been saving the organization from lost reimbursements in the 340b program by doing audits and then she spends half the day helping out in the Outpatient Pharmacy. We would have been struggling without her help.
Shaun Haner, Emergency Department: Shaun shows compassion above what you would normally and respects every person she encounters. She really seems to know that her actions can impact and change a person’s day, so she shows that in an interactive way that others do not.
Dixie Christman, Patient Access: Dixie is constantly looking for ways to streamline the registration process. She pays special attention to detail and makes sure that the patient has everything they need prior to sending them our way. Dixie has a lovely attitude and is always there with a smile. We are blessed to have her as part of our team.
Ronni Tarabochia, Laboratory: Ronni has been at the hospital for almost seven years. Everyone loves her, especially our patients! She has made many friends over the years, patients and employees, and she is so well-respected. Stats show we see from 40 to 100ish patients daily in our outpatient Lab in the West Lobby. She is one of the best phlebotomists on our team, and patients will come in and ask for her personally. She is amazing. She will run to the gift shop and purchase a little gift for someone’s birthday (patient), or Christmas etc., to lift their spirits. She runs to the Cancer Center to see a special patient who asks for her. She daily gets compliments and is a pleasure to work with.
Megan Barrett, Respiratory Therapy: Megan is always willing to jump in and help other caregivers at all times. She is a great team player and always puts the care of all patients first. She is the first to come running and goes beyond by being encouraging and supportive in all situations.
Another nomination: Megan always has a wonderful attitude. She consistently goes above and beyond to help out her coworkers. She even helps bathe, turn and toilet patients. She is a wonderful respiratory therapist and is not only extremely knowledgeable, she keeps a very close watch on her patients and even patients who have a potential to have respiratory compromise. She makes her patients and coworkers feel at ease. She is rarely in her office, because she is always going through the different departments checking on her patients and seeing if anyone needs any help.
Connie Prince, Radiation Oncology: Connie is extremely thoughtful and intuitive when interacting and bonding with patients. She sees patients as true individuals and has a way of helping to calm them and let them be heard. From being ready and waiting with a warm blanket when a notoriously chilly patient comes in, to crafting unique gifts for them, she makes sure everyone feels comforted, respected and understood.
Nichelle Wickstrom, Imaging: Nicki is such a caring person. She lives the Planetree lifestyle, always doing excellent work to obtain quality outcomes for her patients. Nicki goes above and beyond in helping others excel at their jobs by assisting them with their skillset in CT, x-ray and mammography, so they can excel for themselves and their patients.
Alicia Sutton, Astoria Primary Care: Alicia genuinely cares about her job as well as her patients. She thrives off of the one-on-one relationships she has with them. She helps other coworkers whenever she can and always has a positive attitude.
Jennifer Wills, Patient Financial Services: Jennifer is available to help patients all the time. She has a gift for working with elderly people. OHP can be a challenge. She makes phone calls and is sometimes on hold with them for a very long time. I am grateful for her.
Tara Hano, Med/Surg: Tara always provides patient care that is above and beyond, no matter how difficult the shift or patient load. I have seen her be just as pleasant and confident with the rudest patient as she is with the sweetest, most compliant patient. She is extremely supportive and fosters an environment of learning. She is definitely a person who leads by good example.
Donna Bzdil, Rehab: Donna gives unrelenting attention to the demands of the Rehab Department, physically making things better for the providers and patients.
Deb Kingsbury, Patient Financial Services: Deb always has a positive attitude and can see the best in every situation. I do not know anyone who can multitask the way she does. She can pay a bill, answer the phone, chew gum and do the limbo all at the same time. Deb is kind to everyone. She has the patience of a saint and the ability to do many jobs. She always has a smile on her face and a kind word for everybody. I appreciate her willingness to help in any situation.
Another nomination: Deb consistently answers the phone with professionalism, respect and patience, even when several lines are ringing at the same time and people are waiting at the desk for assistance. Deb is the public’s connection to every area of CMH, and I assume the public’s initial contact. It is said that first impressions are the most important; if this is the case, her value to the organization cannot be understated.
WINNER: Mari Montesano, Cancer Center: Mari is the social worker for the Cancer Center, and she is integral to the patient care. In Oncology, we see the face of tragedy in human illness every day. In this community, it is magnified by the socioeconomic disadvantages that are prevalent. There is not one single story that I can use to illustrate the enormity of what Mari does, because she is assisting every single patient, day in and day out, no matter the barriers. In my years of working with her, she has never said ‘no’ when I come to her for assistance for a patient, no matter what else she has going on. I know sometimes she is pulled from the Cancer Center to cover the ER, pediatrics or the hospital, but I never hear her complain, and she never lets anything fall through. I don’t think I have ever worked with someone of Mari’s caliber in social work in terms of personal integrity, skill and knowledge base. She is a calming presence in often turbulent waters for patients and sometimes turmoil in the clinic. Our center would not be what it is without her.
Nancy Sawyer, Housekeeping: Nancy is always so cheerful and helpful. She is always there to help make the patient more comfortable in any way that she can. She always makes sure to smile and ensures our floors are mopped to perfection. She never complains and helps out wherever she can. On one occasion, I saw Nancy on her lunch break taking with a forlorn-looking woman. Later, I asked her who her friend was, and she told me it was the wife of a sick patient who just needed a kind ear to listen. That is a pretty good representation of who Nancy is. Even on her lunch breaks when she is hungry and tired, she puts the needs of others over herself.
Jenipher Heath, Pavilion Urgent Care: Jenipher shows person-centered care every time I interact with her on the job. She has great bedside manner and is a team player.
Bret Ralston, Cardiac Rehab: Bret takes extra time to explain the rehab he’s prescribed for his patients and answers any questions they have, ultimately reassuring them of their care and making them comfortable in the Cardiac Rehab environment. Despite having a desk full of tedious paperwork to complete, Bret has never turned away from a patient to answer a question they have regarding their care, symptoms, medication and recommendations for follow-up. Bret is always willing to help others in an effort to make sure the care of the patient is correct, even if it means shortening his time to complete his own work.
Regina Whitaker, Hospice: Regina is an extremely detailed caregiver who constantly looks for best practices and evidence to back up her work. This is a really great quality, but can have some downfalls if not balanced by interpersonal skills, teamwork and person-centered care. I think Regina has this balance mastered. I see her wrestle with it at times, when the situation is particularly challenging, but she never gives up on delivering care that is both evidence-based and person-centered. Regina is a team player and compassionate coworker. She reaches out to you after a hard day. She wears her heart on her sleeve and is exceedingly humble.
Desiree Newberry, Emergency Department: Desiree always has a positive attitude and a smile for everyone. I have experienced working with her in two high-stress environments (Family Birthing Center and ED), and not only does she bring the calm to a situation, she brings humor and exceptionally friendly service. Her “can-do” attitude makes a hectic day go just a bit easier.
Ryan Taggart, CCU: Ryan has received multiple appreciation/thank-yous directly from patients through the surveys and more. He has been recognized through the Friendship Fund. He always puts the patient first emotionally and clinically. In the past, I was a patient, and he treated me with the utmost respect and support, even after my discharge. He is professional, caring and knowledgeable. He takes the time to train and support new staff and is always willing to step up for the challenge.
Kelsey Betts, Family Birthing Center: Kelsey is committed to the care of patients, her fellow staff and other departments. She has consistently stepped up to take on extra duties and take the lead on clinical improvement efforts. She is professional and works collaboratively with her fellow staff and leadership.
Dr. Carin Pluedeman, Warrenton Primary Care: Dr. Pluedeman is always available to handle patient situations in the absence of their provider. She gives valuable input at our clinic meetings of ways to improve our patient relationships, as well as the clinic function. In addition, she is a very caring and knowledgeable provider and is well-respected in our office.
Dr. Kevin Baxter, Astoria Primary Care: Dr. Baxter is a caring doctor who makes everyone feel important. I have seen him come in on his days off to take care of patient needs/prescriptions. He is a leader amongst his peers and doesn’t make support staff feel insignificant or unimportant. He is a team player.
Dr. Aaron Brown, Astoria Primary Care: Dr. Brown really cares about learning new things to be able to provide the best care for his patients. He treats each patient and coworker like a friend and makes them feel comfortable.
WINNER: Jay Reynolds, AGACNP-BC: Having had the privilege of working with Mr. Reynolds, I get to see firsthand how he goes above and beyond for his patients. He is kind, compassionate, dedicated and his patients have nothing but wonderful things to say about him and how he makes them feel, which is cared for. Jay works day and night for his patients and treats each person with concern and care. He spends hours outside of clinic pre-charting and oftentimes directly calling his patients by phone or messaging them through the Patient Portal. He develops relationships with his patients. If a patient calls the clinic with a concerning symptom, no matter what it is, he brings them in the same day to address their concerns, and they always leave feeling reassured, with peace of mind. Not only is Jay phenomenal with his patients, he is truly incredible to work with. He is always willing to teach, which has shown to be very valuable. There is really no way to explain the selflessness of Jay. His compassion is inspiring to us all.
Dr. Amber Hull, Pediatrics: Dr. Hull always makes time for her patients. She has a huge heart, and you can see that she truly cares about her patients. Sometimes she will call them over the weekend to check in and see how they are doing.
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