DAISY Award Celebrates Clinical Skill and Human Compassion

Erin Tivnan, RN, center, celebrates her award with her colleagues, Nancy Simon, RN, nurse manager, left, and Lisa Colombo, DNP, RN, chief nursing officer, right.

Congratulations to Erin Tivnan, RN, clinical nurse in the intensive care unit and recipient of the inaugural DAISY Award at our Medical Center. The DAISY Award celebrates nurses who demonstrate remarkable clinical skill and human compassion. Erin joined our Medical Center in 2014 in the new graduate nurse program and is recognized for her kindness and compassion by patients, families and peers alike. She was nominated for the DAISY Award by the family of a patient for whom she cared at the end of life. The family said, “Erin was so caring and compassionate toward us. She reminded us how strong we are. We will never forget her kindness and support during this difficult time. She has made a big difference in our lives.”

Nurse Shares Story: Witnesses Outstanding Sportsmanship

Photo courtesy of CBS Channel 6.

Susan Papalia, RN, BSN, cardiovascular research nurse manager, has been volunteering as a medic for road races for 10 years but it was the Beach to Beacon 10K in Cape Elizabeth, Maine that had her in awe. Learn more about Susan. Jesse Orach thought he was at the home stretch when he fell to the ground twice, both times picking himself back up. Rob Gomez grasped his arm before he could fall a third time and pushed him across the finish line, allowing Jesse to finish first. “It was an incredible demonstration of sportsmanship and human kindness that I, along with thousands of others, witnessed at the finish line,” said Susan, who was the first medic to arrive at the scene. Read the story.
Share Stories: Email News & Views! Submit information about how your colleagues or you are involved with after-hour community endeavors (not second jobs!) and unique work stories helping/supporting patients or each other!

Our RNs: Register Now for Periop 101 Course; Discount Offered

Instructor Thereza Ayad, RN, MSN, CNOR, demonstrates sterile techniques to student Michela Russo in the simulation lab.

UMass Memorial Health Care nurses interested in enrolling in the Perioperative Nursing Training Course are eligible for a $250 discount if they register by Tuesday, August 8. The 16-week Periop 101 class is offered by the Medical School’s Graduate School of Nursing and begins September 5. Designed to train current RNs to become OR nurses, the course includes online modules created by the Association of Perioperative Registered Nurses, simulation skills at the new state-of-the-art simulation center, live weekly classes and clinical preceptor experience. Student Michela Russo said, ““I love going to clinical. I feel like I have learned quite a bit and I am beginning to think more critically being in the role of a circulator.” Learn more.

Nurse’s Son’s Discovery Brings Treasure to Young Visitors

Aiden poses with the treasure chest.

Our care extends beyond our patients and no one seems to understand that more than Aiden Sunayama Collings, 7, son of Silmara Aquino, RN. Aiden was heartbroken when he found out that patients of 7 East, University Campus don’t always get visits from children. He learned that this is because some kids may be scared or uncomfortable to be in a hospital and see their parents sick. Upon discovering there were no toys in 7 East, Aiden took the initiative to put together a treasure chest. The chest, full of stickers, notebooks, crayons and coloring pages, provides children relaxing activity time while visiting family members.

The Story Behind the Success of Palliative Care Scholar Program


Alicia Wierenga, NP, and Jessica Roy, RN, are part of our Palliative Care Scholar Program.

The Jewell Palliative Care Scholar Program, which helps fortify end-of-life care at our Medical Center, has graduated its second class. Read the Telegram & Gazette’s Sunday’s front page story and learn about how a family’s painful experience losing a loved one led to developing the program. A total of 22 caregivers were a part of the latest cohort including nurses from 8 West where the unit’s nurse manager, Alicia Wierenga, MSN, NP,  has been a catalyst in establishing the program. “What struck me was how, we as nurses, have so many tasks to accomplish, we sometimes forget to be present with the patient. By not improving that, we’ll lose that art of nursing,” Wierenga said.

Nurse’s Innovation Helps Teen Survive Frost Bite Unscathed

Amy O’Connor, RN, pictured with Audrey Johnson, who’s back on the soccer field, said “I love her so much. I’m so thankful for her. She’s like a miracle and a half …” (Image courtesy of WBZ)

Last February, 17-year-old Audrey Johnson was at risk of losing her fingers and toes to severe frost bite after a dangerous accident that landed her car upside down in Philips Brook in Fitchburg. The teen was able to escape from the car, but was covered in snow, ice and water for an hour before being rescued and brought to our Children’s Medical Center for care. Pediatric Intensive Care Unit nurse, Amy O’Connor, RN, knew she had to keep Audrey’s hands and feet warm and moist to save them. That’s when she came up with the innovative idea of repurposing diapers by dipping them in warm water and wrapping them on the girl’s hands. Watch WBZ Channel 4 segment.

Core Idea of the Week: Making Prep for Joint Commission Fun!

Julianne Ryll, RN

Knowing some of her staff is new to a Joint Commission visit, Julianne Ryll, RN, ambulatory nurse manager, Cardiovascular Clinic, earned the Core Idea of the Week. She infused fun into preparing for the survey by creating the Joint Commission Readiness Question of the Day contest for one month. Those who answered correctly were entered into a weekly drawing; winners were selected at the team’s Idea Board huddle. Not only did staff become familiar with what a Joint Commission surveyor may look for or ask, they also had a good time in the process! Learn from Julianne and create your own team contest using resources on the SafeCare page on OurNet.

Hero Nurse Amy O’Connor Gets Full-court Press with Celtics

Amy O’Connor, RN, is flanked by Marcus Smart of the Celtics and Rajon Rondo of the Bulls.

Pediatric nurse Amy O’Connor, RN, who gained hero status last month (see related story), was recognized last week with the “Heroes Among Us” award from the Boston Celtics prior to the playoff game against the Chicago Bulls. See Worcester Magazine coverage. Amy was presented with the award on court and had a photo opportunity with Celtics’ Marcus Smart and Rajon Rondo of the Bulls. Last month, Amy came to the aid of Joe Flak who was unconscious and unresponsive at a gymnastics meet. Amy’s daughter, Riley Olander, alerted her mom to Joe’s condition. Amy and Riley were also honored recently as the Hero of the Match by the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium.

Opioid Withdrawal Program for Moms/Newborns Earns Praise

Lawrence Rhein, MD, director of the NICU, and Mary Cook, RN, talk about the program (Telegram and Gazette photo).

The Medical Center has one of the more comprehensive programs in the state to help mothers and their newborns combat drug dependency. Through a grant-funded program, Moms Do Care, and in partnership with our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and UMass Memorial Green Clinic, the opioid withdrawal program is making positive changes for both babies and moms. About 10 to 20 percent of patients in our 49-bed NICU are being treated for neonatal abstinence syndrome. In a recent Telegram & Gazette article, Mary Cook, RN, stressed the importance of education. She said, “We need to teach them how to help their babies get through withdrawal as comfortably as possible.”

Right Place, Right Time: Amy O’Connor, RN, Saves Man’s Life

From left, Riley Olander, her mom Amy O’Conner, RN, and Joe Flak, during the press conference.

While attending a local gymnastics meet, with her daughter over the weekend, Amy O’Connor, a pediatric nurse at the Children’s Medical Center, found herself in a situation she didn’t expect, but was prepared for nonetheless. When Amy’s daughter, Riley, took a trip to the concession stand, she saw that the father of one of the gymnasts, Joe Flak, suffered a medical emergency and needed immediate help. Riley ran to find her mother who, luckily, was just where she needed to be and knew just what to do to save the man’s life. Local media outlets reported on Amy’s amazing story: Telegram & GazetteCBS, NBC, MassLive, WCVB, WHDH, Worcester Magazine and Worcester News Tonight. This is the third reported incident in the past year where our nurses offered lifesaving assistance (Read Jane Palmero’s and “Three Angels” stories).