2018 Recipients

Fourth Quarter 

Heidi VanderVelden, Patty Principi, Deana Ward, Carol Nicholas and Laura Miller
Their Story of Excellence: We have had several acts of kindness lately and instead of writing individual stories, I am putting it all in one story. This is to protect patients’ identities and to show how the staff on the Behavioral Health unit often go above and beyond.

For Halloween, Deana Ward, RN charge, went out and bought pumpkins and carving tools for the patients. The patients and the staff all had a really fun pumpkin carving contest.

Just before Christmas, we had a patient who was bored and needed something to do. Heidi VanderVeldon, mental health worker, noticed the patient lit up when asked to help decorate the Christmas tree. The patient was so thrilled to be able to help decorate the tree but was disappointed that the lights were white and not colored.

Heidi went out and bought colored Christmas lights, pretty new ornaments and decorations. Not only did it make the patients day, the tree looks beautiful and brings a smile on all of our faces knowing how happy it made the patient.

We had another patient with high anxiety. Patty Principi, the occupational therapist, noticed that doing art helped decrease the anxiety of the patient, so when the patient asked if she could paint a mural on a wall on the patio, Patty asked the patient to come up with a drawing and get it approved. The patient worked hard to draw the design, and Patty approved. Patty got her the supplies she needed and guided her through the process of painting a beautiful mural on our patio wall. 

We had a patient displaced because of the Camp Fire. She lost everything. Laura Miller, LCSW, worked very hard to get the patient a safe discharge (which took tremendous time and effort for Laura). On the day of discharge, Laura brought in some clothes for the patient so she would have a few changes of clothes, and Carol Nichols, RN, paid for the patient’s medication. Because of the hard work that all Behavioral Health employees did for this patient and the extra TLC of Laura and Carol, the patient had a good, safe discharge plan, and the patient left happy.

I want to acknowledge these people and all of Behavioral Health for taking such good care of our patients. Thank you all.

Submitted by Debbie Strukan, nurse manager, Behavioral Health
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Sarah McFarland
Her Story of Excellence: When our floor heard that our friend and co-worker passed away unexpectedly, we were wrecked. Marla was not only a great nurse, but also a beloved daughter, wife, mother, sister, aunt and friend. We knew how much she loved her family, and we wanted to reach out to let them know just how special she was to us. But how?

This is when Sarah McFarland, RN, Med/Neuro, stepped in with a creative idea to make a book. The idea was to make a book of stories, moments and fond memories of our sweet Marla. However, it turned out to be so much more.

Sarah went above and beyond with this idea. She encouraged us to write our memories, no matter how small. She asked us to take photos of ourselves where the memory took place. For those of us who were not comfortable writing, she made sure our stories made it in the book by writing it herself or enlisting others to help write. She spent countless hours formatting and proofreading, and collecting money so that each member of the family could receive a book.

There were over 25 of us at Marla’s celebration of life. We stood with Sarah as she presented Marla’s family with our gift, our memories of a life well loved. It was so touching to see the gratitude of her parents, her husband, her children, her loved ones.

We want to thank Sarah, not only for the countless hours spent away from her family while she took on this project, but also for her gift to us. You see, it was not just a book, it was a gift. The gift was the togetherness it brought, the mourning, the laughter, the gratitude and, ultimately, the healing.

Submitted by Candace Bussjaeger, RN, Med/Neuro
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Brittany Hamilton
Her Story of Excellence: We had a patient admitted to CVU with STEMI (a heart attack) about two weeks ago. She was taken to the Cardiac Cath Lab, found to have multi vessel disease, and had to have a coronary artery bypass graph.

From the moment she was admitted, she was not very happy. It seemed no matter what staff did she was tearful and upset most of the time. You could tell she was just afraid and was alone with very little family support.

Post-operatively, she was one of those patients who needed a lot of encouragement to participate in the treatment plan. She was slow to progress, slow to walk and just always had a frown on her face.

Last weekend when I was working with Brittany Hamilton, RN-CVU, she was taking care of the patient. In the afternoon, a volunteer came into her room to deliver flowers. When the patient opened the card, she saw that the flowers were not meant for her, and you could just see the look of disappointment on her face.

Brittany, being the light that she is, went and got a bouquet of flowers for the patient and made a quick get-well card for her. She had all the staff sign the card and brought the flowers and card to the patient. An hour later, I went into the patient’s room to take her to the bathroom. Her whole demeanor had changed. She actually asked me to go for a walk before bed and was motivated and engaging in her care. When I took her for a walk, Brittany came walking down the hall. When the patient saw Brittany walking toward her, the patient smiled for the first time since she was admitted.

My mantra in life has always been that kindness can change the world. All you need is a little heart. That simple act of genuine kindness that Brittany showed to her patient that day made such a difference for her.

She went above just the basic care of the patient and looked at the patient as a whole person. Brittany is such an asset to the unit in so many ways and due to her quiet nature is often overlooked for the ways she goes above and beyond for others. This was just one example of what a wonderful nurse she is and how she really practices patient-centered care every day.

Submitted by Julie Miner, RN-CVU
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Robin Dossie, Amber Schneider, Adrianna Snelling, Brandon Homan, John Teats, Jennie Grant and Kaleena Hans
Their Story of Excellence: On a Friday in October, Robin Dossie, RN-CVU, was caring for a patient on CVU who, due to her declining health, would not be able to make it out of the hospital. Robin came to me and told me about her patient's situation. She wanted to fulfill the patient's last wishes.

The first wish was very easy. The patient wanted a chorizo breakfast burrito from Nash's. Amber Schneider, RN, CVU, was in that morning helping with some discharge follow-up calls and when asked if she would be willing to go to Nash's to fulfill the patient's first wish, she didn't hesitate at all.

The second wish the patient had was to be able to go outside for some fresh air and to feel the sun. She had been in the hospital some time and knew she would not be leaving. This task was a bit more challenging due to some medical challenges, but that was not going to stop Robin from trying.

I asked Robin to give me some time and I would start the process to see what we could do. The patient was in isolation, and we wanted to make sure we limited the exposure to others, which meant taking the patient to the roof. I picked up the phone and talked with John Teats, the Team Lift supervisor, and he said, "If you can get the approval, I'll have a team there in no time."

Next, I had to get approval, so I called Jennie Grant, trauma registrar, FlightCare, who was covering for Bob Kiuttu. Jennie, with the same great attitude said, "Let me call Marty Marshall, FlightCare, to get the approval, and I'll get right back to you."

Minutes later, John Teats was calling me back stating he received the approval and was ready to send Team Lift to make it happen. Brandon Homan, lift technician, Team Lift, arrived to the floor and assisted the staff members, Robin and Adrianna Snelling, CNA-CVU, with transferring the patient to a Neuro chair for the journey. Kaleena Hans, respiratory care practitioner from Respiratory Therapy, came and set the patient up with oxygen to make sure the patient would make the journey without any issues. The patient made the journey to the roof with Robin, Kaleena, Adrianna, Brandon and the daughter.

The staff commented on how they absolutely love being a part of making someone's wishes come true. The patient's daughter shared her appreciation on how the staff went above and beyond to make sure her mom's wishes came to light. Once the patient returned to her room, she was exhausted and took a nap.

Later that day when Robin went back to check on her, she asked her how she enjoyed her little trip. The patient responded, "It was amazing! My angels took me up to see the sun."

The team did a wonderful job fulfilling this patient's last wishes and did not hesitate during each step. The patient care the team delivered truly went above and beyond, and encompassed what Planetree is truly about. It such an honor to work with these amazing co-workers, and I hope they can be recognized for a job well done!

 Submitted by Michelle August, manager, Cardiovascular Care Unit
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Dylan Boek, Navin Varma, Beth Lougee and Annie Thorup
Their Story of Excellence: One evening in June, I had the scare of my life. I thought I had lost my husband. I came home from work and found he had a stroke. I did not think; I just grabbed him and drove to Enloe Medical Center.

I have worked at Enloe for over 30 years. I know we are good, but I have not been “the scared wife” before. They are not just good; they are incredible.

I turned him over to the reception desk and said, “I think he has had a stroke,” and they immediately activated the Brain Attack process. The response was both overwhelming and amazing: how fast everyone worked and how smoothly they did their work. There was a doctor and multiple nurses in the emergency room waiting when he was wheeled in. They worked quickly to identify and assess his deficits and determine if TPA could be used.

His primary registered nurse in the Emergency Department was Dylan Boek. He kept me informed of what was happening each step of the way. Navin Varma, M.D., Neurology, arrived within minutes and performed a full assessment as well.

Everything moved very quickly as they worked to save his brain. I was very grateful when Beth Lougee, Emergency Department shift manager, stopped by to see if I needed anything. It helped knowing she was there for me if I needed her. When we arrived to the fifth floor, again we were greeted as we entered the room by registered nurses ready to assess and determine baselines.

I wish I remembered all the names. Annie Thorup, RN, Medical Neuro Unit, was incredible. She let me stay the night and never once said I was in the way. We were discharged after three days. My husband’s only deficit is expressive aphasia, and that is improving daily.

To say “Thank you,” does not even begin to cover how grateful I am to the doctors, technicians and nurses at Enloe Medical Center.

Submitted by Connie Rowe, VP, Patient Care Services, on behalf of the employee
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Handerson Pontel
His Story of Excellence: I had a patient who only spoke Spanish. His chief complaint was decreased mobility and use of his right arm. This was a chronic problem for this patient. It has been going on for at least two years.

He had been admitted to this hospital for this problem in the past. He has had numerous Emergency Department visits for this problem. In fact, about two weeks ago he was seen for the same issue. He has undergone a very comprehensive workup for this problem, including CTs, MRIs, blood tests, etc. He was frustrated because no one could tell him what was wrong, and he felt he was not getting any better.

Myself, and multiple staff members were having an extremely difficult time communicating with this patient due to the language barrier. While evaluating this patient, I happened to look outside the patient’s room and saw Handerson Pontel, Ortho Tech Services, walking by.

I excused myself from the patient’s bedside and asked Handerson if he could help me out by talking with this patient. This obviously was above and beyond the call of duty for Handerson. Although he was very busy with his own work, he agreed to help me out. After speaking with the patient for a brief period of time, Handerson got the sense that there were much bigger issues going on with this patient.

Handerson sat down next to the patient and began to speak to him further. Although I could not understand what they were talking about, I could tell by Handerson’s tone of voice and body language that he was deeply concerned. Handerson was very compassionate and empathetic and spent a long time speaking with the patient.

The patient really opened up to Handerson and told him that, due to his condition, he was extremely depressed and was seriously considering ending his life. He planned to overdose on pills. Handerson was able to learn more about this patient. This patient was a very proud man, did not want to be a burden to his family, nor want to admit weakness or failure. Up until the conversation with Handerson, the patient did not want to tell anyone about how he felt. Due to Handerson’s compassion and empathy, this patient opened up to him.

We then shifted gears and had this patient evaluated by Behavioral Health. He was then transferred to the psychiatric facility, where he could get the help he needed. Handerson saved this man’s life.

Handerson was able to find out the real reason why he came here. Nobody was able to find this out on any of his previous visits. Because of Handerson, this patient got the help he needed for his major depression. It was Handerson’s caring approach, which made him comfortable enough to open up.

 Submitted by Judy Cline, director, ED, Prompt Care & Trauma Services, as told by Dr. Keith Kinoshita, Emergency Medicine
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Third Quarter

Michele Brockett, Neelufar Khosraviani, Molly Sathongnoth and Julie Vugrenes
Their Story of Excellence: A patient, who was admitted previously to Enloe Inpatient Rehab, returned recently after suffering another stroke. When she was at our facility previously, her husband was a patient as well. After both the patient and her husband left our facility previously, they transitioned to a skilled nursing facility to receive further rehabilitation.

Her husband of 22 years had a terminal illness and unfortunately passed away during that time. With her daughter’s assistance, the patient was able to return home from the skilled nursing facility. She was there for one week before she suffered another stroke.

When she returned to Inpatient Rehab after her second stroke, the Therapy team was informed that her husband, our previous patient, had passed. The patient showed signs of grieving immediately during therapy sessions, and the team quickly rallied to help her in any way they could.

Neelufar Khosraviani, physical therapist, Rehab Therapies, noticed that the patient had pictures all over her room of her late husband. Since the patient would speak often about how her husband was watching over her in those pictures, Neelufar initiated bringing his pictures with the patient during therapy sessions to the Rehab gym. She encouraged the rest of the Therapy team to bring his pictures to all of her therapy sessions as well. Everyone began incorporating her husband’s pictures in their therapy sessions to encourage her to participate in her rehabilitation.

Michele Brockett, speech therapist, Rehab Therapies, in addition to spending time assisting the patient improve her swallowing abilities, spent significant time during her therapy sessions creating ways to move away from traditional cognitive interventions. Since the patient would spend most sessions in her office crying, Michele spent time comforting the patient, providing a safe place for the patient to express her feelings and helping her find outlets for her grief.

Julie Vugrenes, recreational therapist, Rehab Therapies, remembered that the patient liked our therapy dog, Ellie, when she was a patient previously and began bringing Ellie in to visit with the patient during non-treatment times. Julie and Ellie spent time meeting with the patient in her room and outside in our courtyard to help bring comfort to her during this difficult grieving process.

During a treatment session early in the patient’s stay, Molly Sathongnoth, rehab aide, Rehab Therapies, was speaking to the patient. The patient asked about her previous physical therapist, Franklin Howard.

Molly noticed that the patient appeared sad that she was no longer working with Franklin. One evening after her shift was over and the patient was done with therapies, Molly called Franklin via FaceTime and brought the phone to the patient so she could receive some encouragement from her favorite therapist. The patient was happy to speak with Franklin and to hear his words of encouragement.

Everyone worked together to do their best to bring comfort to this patient during a very difficult time in her life, while still encouraging her to participate in her own therapy in order to improve her functional mobility, so she could return home with her daughter. I see so many examples such as these daily from the Inpatient Therapy team that I sometimes forget that these are actually examples of people going above and beyond what is expected of them to help our patients in their need.

As caregivers, I believe that we all have a natural tendency to do whatever we can to help our patients succeed, help our patients through challenging times in their lives and do what we can to facilitate positive outcomes to return home. I am honored to work with such a compassionate and engaged team. They inspire me every day to be a better version of myself to provide better care to our patients.

Submitted by Makiko Peterson, supervisor, Rehab Therapies
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Richard Cornett and JC Cummings
Their Story of Excellence:Hi, Manny, I’m writing this to commend two of your employees, JC Cummins, patient monitor II, Nursing Admin, and Richard Cornett, Environmental Services, for an act of valor that occurred one afternoon in July.

An Enloe nurse was leaving the hospital for her lunch break. As she crossed Sixth Avenue, she saw a suspicious man, who appeared to be intoxicated and was leaving the Enloe Parking Structure pushing a nice-looking bicycle. The man apparently saw that the nurse looked at him and immediately began swearing at her and calling her names. He then started to quickly pursue her.

The nurse continued to walk swiftly away from the man, thinking she would be able to run away from him in the parking structure. When she entered the parking structure, the man came quickly toward her as she tried to get away from him.

JC and Richard had just arrived at the parking structure on their way to work and were walking down the ramp as the man quickly approached the nurse. She summoned JC and Richard for help, telling them that this aggressive man was charging at her for unknown reasons. The nurse kind of ducked behind your two employees. The aggressive man on the bike actually tried to go around your two employees to get to her.

Your employees set down their personal belongings and stepped up in front of the man to block him from getting at the nurse. According to her, your employees used strong verbal commands to direct the man away from her. A review of the security camera footage made it clear that JC’s and Richard’s presence caused the man to back down and leave the facility.

JC then called Security, and Richard and JC followed the man out of the structure and through the Enloe campus, keeping a safe distance behind him, as they monitored his location and communicated this information to Security. JC and Richard followed the man until they made visual contact with Security, and gestured to the Security officers to let them know where the man was. Security was able to intercept the man in parking lot 3, where they detained him briefly, prior to his fleeing.

Because of JC’s and Richard’s excellent communication and teamwork with Security, Security was later able to obtain good photo images of the man from the lot 3 video surveillance cameras. When I later talked to JC about this incident, he was very humble about it, saying he would have helped anyone in the same situation.

JC’s and Richard’s act of service to this nurse likely prevented her from becoming assaulted and injured, and helped to keep Enloe a safer place to work. I consider this act of valor another “moment of excellence” from your staff. It reflects the greatness of these two employees, and reflects well on the organization.

Please thank them again for me!

Submitted by Patrick Maloney, manager, Security
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Ines Corriea and Kay Kohen
Their Story of Excellence: I want to have Kay Kohen, Volunteer Services, nominated for a Story of Excellence award for an extraordinary case she had yesterday. [It’s a] long story, but she worked with charge nurse Ines Corriea, Taylor Graham, CNA, and Michelle August, nurse manager, all from the Cardiovascular Care Unit, to bring a very badly hurt older trauma patient — who spent weeks in the ICU on my third floor until he was moved to 2284 — the only thing he wanted, and that was to see his dog.

He had been in a horrible motorcycle accident and was an angry bird when he was in ICU. Every week, I would spend time with his family, who talked about how unhappy he was, [how] he didn’t want to see many people, etc.

Yesterday a crazy thing happened when he got a visit from Kay. Kay worked the entire shift to get him that visit from his dog. She got the necessary approvals, got ahold of his daughter, made sure the dog had appropriate shots and vaccinations to limit any concerns of infection control, etc.

She told David De La Rosa, guest services representative, Volunteer Services, that all was approved for the patient’s dog to visit. Kay waited in the lobby for the patient’s daughter and dog to arrive, so she could walk them up to his room. When the dog was brought up and came to the patient’s door, it was the sweetest thing.

The dog started whining and the patient began to cry. [It was] truly a great moment for the patient, family, and staff to witness such a touching reunion between a dog and her owner. [There was] not a dry eye in the room. This man will definitely be on the mend, at least emotionally! This one is for the record books.

Submitted by Julie Threet, member, Volunteer Board
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Valerie Dugan and Mary S. Smith
Their Story of Excellence: We had a really great story in Radiology over the weekend where two of our employees, Mary Smith and Valerie Dugan, helped a patient recover her wallet that she had left on the ground in Chico. I will share with you Mary’s story in her own words:

“Last Saturday night, Aug. 8, I had to X-ray an ER patient. While in the room, she was giving her personal information to the admitting clerk and realized she did not have her wallet with her. The patient became panicked and upset, so I asked her [when the last time was that she remembered having it]. She responded that it was when she had dinner at a restaurant. I had the clerk call the restaurant, but it was closed for the night.

I then asked her to retrace her steps. She said she felt dizzy and ill, so she called 911. It was then she found a grassy area under a tree and the wallet may have fallen out while waiting for the ambulance. I asked where that was and — after getting directions — I had an idea to ask my staff member Valerie Dugan, diagnostic technologist, Radiology, to look for it when she punched out from her shift. Valerie agreed to look for it and after 15 minutes, she called with not much hope of finding it. I asked if she would look one more time, and her efforts payed off. There was the patient’s wallet!

It was a great feeling to know that we could return such a valuable item to someone who already was in distress. I commend Valerie for agreeing to take the time to do something kind for someone else with no questions asked. She just did it open hearted. The patient was very appreciative and said no one had ever done anything so nice for her, and that really made it more special. A little act of kindness goes a long way. That is my Story of Excellence.”

Submitted by Joshua Dowdell, supervisor, Radiology
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Jason McKay
His Story of Excellence: Jason McKay, RN, Surgical Care Unit, was caring for an elderly patient, who had just moved to the area and had no family nearby. The patient fell and sustained a pelvic fracture and ended up on our unit for several days.

During her stay, Jason learned that the batteries for her hearing aids had died. The patient was very frustrated because she could not hear very well without them. Jason spoke with our case management team, and, unfortunately, we did not have hearing aid batteries that fit her hearing aids. Jason’s heart went out to this wonderful woman.

After work one day, he decided to go buy her new batteries, so she could hear what people needed to tell her and end her frustration. Jason brought in the new batteries and placed them in her hearing aids. The patient was very touched and near tears. He gave the rest of the package to our assistant nurse manager, Pat Paddock, just in case another patient may need them in the future.

Jason went above and beyond the call of duty. His random act of kindness truly shows just what amazing caregivers we have here at Enloe. I am so proud to have Jason caring for our patients on the Surgical Care Unit.

Submitted by Joanne Joksch, nurse manager, Surgical Care Unit
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Handerson Pontel
His Story of Excellence: My name is Breanna, I am an employee at Enloe, and I know the kind of exemplary care that is provided here. However, Handerson Pontel, ortho tech II, Ortho Tech Services, has gone above and beyond, in my opinion.

My daughter, who is 8 years old and has severe high-functioning autism, recently broke her arm. The emergency room staff were all wonderful. Kyle Abraham, her Ortho-Trauma physician assistant in the ER, was very thorough and fantastic. However, [my daughter] Brooke would not really interact with any of them. When Handerson came in, he was able to engage my baby. He gave her some of the cast material to hold and feel, and he talked with her in a way that made her at ease.

We left the ER and returned to the Ortho-Trauma Clinic a week later for a checkup. Brooke saw a different physician assistant this time named Josh Calderon. He was wonderful as well, but as soon as he learned that Handerson had placed her splint in the ER, he called him and asked him to come place her hard cast. Handerson walked through the door with a smile on his face, and Brooke just lit up. Familiarity is a really big thing for her. He was so accommodating, and he promised her that he would come take her cast off when it was time.

The entire Ortho team has been amazing, and — in my opinion — they all deserve recognition for how well they take care of their patients. Brooke just broke her shoulder last night when she fell and tried to compensate for her cast. Josh, from the ER, called the Ortho Clinic office late last night and left a message about getting her in soon. I am so impressed with how they have taken care of us. I know that this is not because I am an employee but because they treat all of their patients this way.

Submitted by Breanna Dikes, physician coder, Patient Financial Services
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First & Second Quarters

Jennifer Boon, Roger Cutler, David De La Rosa, Aisha Kamala, Jessica Leeman, Nancy McGhie, Danny Munguia, David Pierce, Nerissa Prieto, Jorge Ramirez, Loretta Steinke and Larry Wainschel
Their Story of Excellence: I am writing this with tears in my eye. Yesterday, a young father and husband was transported here in critical condition and taken immediately to the operating room for stabilization prior to air transfer to a larger medical center. His wife, who is non-English speaking, was alone in the North Entrance lobby waiting for the arrival of additional family.

Many of our staff and volunteers made it a priority to provide for her as best we could, but it was clear that she should not be alone during what must have been one of the most difficult days of her life.

Desperate for someone who could assist the patient’s wife and be present with her, we asked David Pierce, guest services representative, Volunteer Services, if there was a Spanish-speaking volunteer available to come sit with this terrified family member until additional family arrived. He had the brilliant idea to call David De La Rosa, guest services representative, Volunteer Services, who agreed to come in almost 2 hours earlier than scheduled to be of service. Jorge Ramirez, GI technician, Gastro Intestinal Lab, helped us explain to the woman that we would have someone who spoke her native language here soon to sit with her and keep her company. She immediately began to weep at this news.

Jennifer Boon, liaison nurse, Physician Clinic Administration, carried information from the OR to the patient’s wife and eventually to the assembled family, assisted by Nancy McGhie, RN, PeriAnesthesia.

In very short order, the patient coded and was resuscitated in the OR, air transport canceled, and the patient transferred to the NTSICU. We assembled the family in the Meditation Room. Aisha Kamala, case manager social worker, Case Management, dropped everything to come and walk the family through the difficult conversation about to happen. Jennifer arranged for the surgeon, Larry Wainschel, M.D., and anesthesiologist, Nerissa Prieto, M.D., to come speak with the family in this more private space.

David P. continued to check in to see if anything was needed, Loretta Steinke and Roger Cutler, Spiritual Support Volunteers, offered support, Jessica Leeman, RN, NTSICU, accompanied them to meet with family, and neurotrauma made it possible for her to leave the floor. David D. stayed with the family throughout. Both Jennifer and David D. accompanied the family upstairs to the NTSICU lobby, providing some continuity in this quickly evolving situation.

In addition, at the intensivist’s request, Danny Munguia, case manager social worker, Case Management, was a constant presence that first evening in NTICU, providing assistance and communication in the family’s preferred language.   

All of these people reached beyond the official requirements of their jobs to provide for a family on the day their story changed forever. I am always proud to work at Enloe, but on this day, I was honored to work among the very best our hospital, and humanity, have to offer.

Submitted by Flora MacNeil, liaison nurse, Physician Clinic Administration

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Ashley Borba, Kristina Diaz, Aisha Kamala, Stevie Shanoff and Lori Silva
Their Story of Excellence: I heard a baby crying. A woman had been in the NTSICU lobby with her 2-month-old, waiting for her husband, who had suffered a traumatic brain injury, to recover or pass away. I was worried about her and the baby, so I walked out to see if they needed anything.

I was met with a mother fighting tears as she explained she could not feed her baby because she needed a specific helpful item. I asked her if she minded if I tried to locate that item for her, and I dialed the extension for the Post-Partum unit, where Ashley Borba, perinatal tech, Mother & Baby Care, answered the phone. I explained the situation, and she said of course they had that item and she would find it.

Because it could not fit in the tube system, I walked upstairs to the Mother & Baby Care unit, where I saw Lori Silva, RN, clinical educator, Enloe Education Center, and explained where I needed to go, what I was getting, and why. Lori helped me find the desk and suggested that perhaps the mother could use support from a lactation consultant. Stevie Shanoff, LVN, lactation specialist, Mother & Baby Care, walked out and immediately agreed to help the woman, and came down with me to offer her assistance and ear.

Kristina Diaz, department assistant, ICU/CCU, who had also checked on the mom and talked to her the entire time I was upstairs, graciously offered her office as a private space for the baby to nurse. Stevie then spent more than an hour with the mama, checking on how things were going with feeding, encouraging her, and, most importantly, listening [to] the new mother who was going through so much and had a newborn.

In the meantime, Aisha Kamala, case manager social worker, Case Management, helped the patient’s mother work out her affairs and even located a place the family could obtain diapers and other supplies if they needed them while their loved one was in the hospital. I am so grateful and reaffirmed by the willingness to help — and the compassion for a family in crisis  — shown by Mother & Baby Care and NTSICU. This was a true moment of caring by caregivers.

Submitted by Sara Voigtritter, RN, NTSICU

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Caroline Constantine
Her Story of Excellence: Dear Enloe Medical Center, We just wanted to comment on a special employee who made a difference in our lives. My little grandson, Ethan, was turning 3 on Jan. 29, and instead of having a party, he was sick in the hospital with RSV. He loves Spider-Man! He wears his Spider-Man costume all the time and watches Spider-Man videos.

One of his respiratory therapists, Caroline Constantine, Respiratory Therapy, was giving him breathing treatments and noticed how much he liked Spider-Man. On Jan. 29, her day off, Caroline got her son to dress up as Spider-Man, and they came to visit my grandson on his birthday. They brought presents and a balloon as well.

Ethan didn’t know what to think. He was so amazed. The visit cheered him up and really touched his parents, Pete and Katie. The pictures we have — and the memories — will always be in our hearts. Caroline is a special person. Her personal care and professional expertise were excellent. We will always remember her kindness and generosity.

The Pediatric department staff was also thoughtful and caring. They helped make Ethan’s day special by making some room decorations and bringing him a birthday cupcake and ice cream. Thank you again for employing such wonderful people who are dedicated to patients’ emotional, mental and physical needs.


Patty (grandmother) and Pete, Katie and Ethan

Submitted by Sherry Blansfield, manager, Respiratory Therapy

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Kara Davis
Her Story of Excellence: A woman wearing a bathrobe and pajama bottoms sat down in the lobby near the Guest Services station. She had just been discharged from the Emergency Department (ED). I noticed she was wearing socks and no shoes. After a bit, she left the waiting area and went outside. About a half-hour later, she came back in. This time she was crying.

I approached her and asked if there was anything I could do to help. She said she was stranded here. She had been brought in, from Orland, by ambulance the night before without shoes and had been discharged in the morning.

She did not have a ride until a friend got off work later that evening. She had tried to board the bus to Orland, but the driver refused to allow her to board because she was not wearing “non-skid” soles. This indignity is what hurt her the most.

I told her I would see what I could do about rounding up some transport-compliant footwear for her. I left a voicemail on the ED case manager’s line. Then I ran into long-time friend and co-worker, Kara Davis, RN, clinical educator, Enloe Education Center. I told her what was going on, and Kara asked me what size shoes the woman wore. It turned out to be the same size as Kara. Kara always keeps a pair of running shoes in her desk drawer, in case she needs to jump into caregiver role. She buys a new pair every three months.

Kara handed me a bag containing the shoes. I took them to the woman in the lobby and suggested she try them on. They fit perfectly and looked great, too. The recipient was delighted and very grateful for the shoes and the kindness. Off she went to catch the next bus to Orland.

Submitted by David Pierce, guest services representative, Volunteer Services

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Toni Franco
Her Story of Excellence: A young woman was admitted to the Surgical Care Unit with a condition related to the issue of drug abuse. Toni Franco, CNA, Surgical Care Unit, had not interacted much with the patient because she had been sleeping most of the morning. Later that morning, Toni went into the patient’s room and the patient began sharing that she wanted to stop using drugs and clean up her life.

Toni courageously decided to share her own personal experience with substance abuse. She told the patient that it was possible to change. She shared details of her own struggle and the fact that she was now 9 years free of substance abuse. She told the patient about resources that were available in our community and told her about an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting that was happening later in the week.

Toni spoke at that AA meeting. While doing so, Toni looked up and saw this young woman among the attendees. Toni could not believe her eyes. Later at the meeting, the young woman approached Toni and said, “I think God sent you to me.”

Submitted by Patricia Paddock, assistant nurse manager, Surgical Care Unit

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Rachael Golie
Her Story of Excellence: They say it takes a special kind of person to work in the Emergency Department, that people who face high-pressure situations together often form a tight-knit community, much like a family. I have been working in the Emergency Department for six years or so, and I would not argue at all with these statements. Our ED staff works hard together, plays hard together, and when a need arises, they “give hard” together.

Just after Christmas, I was diagnosed with cancer and began chemotherapy. From the first day they learned what I was facing, the staff stepped right up and started asking how they could help. When I felt good enough to work, they greeted me with smiles and encouragement. When I felt too yucky to make it to work, they called, texted and stopped by to check on me, never letting me forget they were right there to support me in anything I needed.

After several rounds of chemotherapy, my treatment plan was to involve surgery in San Francisco. I had been getting a little cabin fever already, sitting inside my house on those days the chemotherapy made me feel yucky, and as my surgery date approached, I realized I would be even more cooped up at home once surgery was done.

On one of her visits, I mentioned to Rachael Golie, unit secretary, ED, that I planned my surgery recovery to involve more time in my backyard, enjoying the weather as it got nicer. My backyard was a jumble of weeds, but I thought spending some time outside and in the sun would help my spirits anyway.

Time passed, and eventually I had my surgery. It was bigger than expected, and I ended up admitted for six days instead of overnight. When we finally came home, it was late and my husband and I were both exhausted and we turned into the wrong driveway, or so we thought at first. We soon discovered that it was the right house. It just looked totally different.

You see, Rachael took my wish for a relaxing and uplifting sunny space in which to recover, and shared that wish with the ED staff, and they started organizing. I may never know exactly who was involved in the magic, or who did what to make it all happen.

I think the best answer to that question is “everyone.” Whether they contributed money, came up with ideas or did the work, the entire Emergency Department was in on the plan. They pruned trees, tore out weeds, made dump runs, reworked the irrigation, built raised planters, set up a gazebo, brought in outdoor recliners, laid sod in the backyard, re-seeded the lawn in the front and more. My view is no longer weeds, reminding me of all the work I need to do when I feel better. It is a manicured lawn, a hummingbird feeder and beautiful flowers everywhere, reminding me that I am missed, that I am loved and that I am honored to be a part of the ED family.

Submitted by MaryAlice Kolko, department assistant, Emergency Department

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Dawn Larabee, Melissa Smith and Kelsey Wirt
Their Story of Excellence: It was the night shift in NTSICU on Feb. 13. Kelsey Wirt, RN, had assumed care of a 40-year-old man, who had been in a motorcycle accident and was now a quadriplegic.

While providing care to the patient, Kelsey asked if he typically does something special for his wife on Valentine’s Day. He expressed that he usually does and was clearly sad he would not be able to do so, as Valentine’s Day was the following day.

Kelsey rounded the troops, and with the support of the charge nurse, Melissa Smith, they asked Dawn Larabee, the monitor tech, to go to the store. Dawn brought back flowers and a card. Kelsey then sat at the bedside and wrote down what the man wanted to say to his wife.  

The patient’s wife, teary eyed, could not say enough about the wonderful care her husband received from Kelsey and the team.

Submitted by Cindy Llewellyn, nurse manager, NTSICU

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Tally Lockwood
Her Story of Excellence: A 56-year-old gentleman, who came in to the hospital with dizziness, lethargy and critically low blood pressure, was admitted to the Neuro Trauma ICU. Soon after, he was told he had metastasis of his previous cancer to all of his organs, which was so far advanced that he only had days to live. This, of course, came as a life-altering shock to both the patient and his newly wed wife, the “love of his life,” as he so sweetly described her.

As they were reeling from the horrible news, they both decided he could not pass away in the hospital. They expressed that his only wish was to be home with his bride, his siblings — who were flying to the States from Canada to see their brother one last time — and his two dogs, who he missed desperately.

It was clear they understood the gravity of the situation when the primary doctor explained to them that the patient was on two separate IV medications that were keeping his blood pressure elevated and were keeping him alive. Unfortunately, these medications were preventing him from going home on Hospice to spend his final moments with his loved ones.

His wife had such fear and despair in her eyes, and the patient presented anxious and depressed, giving him a defeated look. Aldebra Schroll, M.D., and Alex Albarran, social worker, both from Supportive and Palliative Care Services, came in to see this patient. He and his wife discussed with them how they were ready to enroll in Hospice but how desperately they both wanted to go home. That’s when his primary nurse, Tally Lockwood, RN, NTSICU, had a nonconventional idea: Why not send a critical care nurse to go with him, manage the drips in the ambulance and shut the drips off upon arrival at his home, ensuring that the patient’s dying wish to spend his final moments at home with his bride and loved ones was honored?

Tally suggested this idea to Dr. Schroll, who supported it, and got her in touch with Hospice nurse Mendy Harding, RN, who also supported the idea. Tally then called Brenda Boggs, manager, Risk & Compliance, who approved the idea, and her manager, Cindy Llewellyn, nurse manager, NTSICU, who enthusiastically supported the process.

As Tally contacted the social worker, Aisha Kamala, Case Management, to reach out to Enloe Hospice and Dispatch/Transport, Cindy contacted Donna Larson, director, Critical Care Services, and Connie Rowe, vice president, Patient Care Services, who also gave approval without hesitation. With management’s full support, all of the details fell into place.

Tally had the following day off and was able to come in to support with transport and manage the drips. Jeffrey Thomas, M.D., wrote supporting orders the day of transport to manage drips, shut medications off upon arrival at the patient’s home and take out his central line in preparation for his admission to Hospice care. The transport went as planned, both Adrian Barnes, paramedic, and Zak Morgan, EMT, were professional, supportive, and caring, accommodating the rig to allow the patient’s wife to ride with him.

The patient remained calm and relaxed throughout the transport and was safely delivered to his couch. Children, grandchildren, animals and love surrounded him. A Hospice nurse and social worker met him in his driveway to support him and his family in the process. His eyes twinkled with appreciation that he was finally home, where he truly wanted and needed to be. His wife shed tears of gratitude, hugging staff, realizing that their final wishes for her husband to be home had finally come true.

Tally and the transport team left that day, appreciative and honored to bring such humanity to health care. All of the disciplines involved worked so seamlessly and efficiently together to coordinate such an unorthodox, yet crucial transport that would honor a man’s dying wish.

Submitted by Cindy Llewellyn, nurse manager, NTSICU

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  • video-img

    Drs. Voelker and Lobosky honored with 2014 Physician Legacy Award

  • video-img

    Drs. Voelker and Lobosky honored with 2014 Physician Legacy Award

  • video-img

    Drs. Voelker and Lobosky honored with 2014 Physician Legacy Award

  • video-img

    Drs. Voelker and Lobosky honored with 2014 Physician Legacy Award

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