OHSU’s ROSE (Recognizing Outstanding Service Excellence) Award program celebrates employees, students and volunteers who provide outstanding service beyond the normal scope of their jobs.
Meet this month’s recipients and learn why they were nominated below!
Red ROSE Award recipients
Hilary Curtis, R.N., Cardiovascular Intermediate Care
Hilary demonstrated immense compassion when dealing with a very challenging patient who exhibited both complex medical and emotional issues. This patient suffered from a mental illness that caused her to have severe mistrust with the staff. Because of this mistrust, she was refusing a lot of care including medications and procedures. Hilary was very kind and gentle with this patient and was able to earn her trust over the course of the day. She felt this patient’s care was not being progressed in a timely manner and advocated intensely for this patient to get a PICC line placed under sedation regardless of team pushback. When Hilary returned to work the next morning, she saw that her assignment had been switched and she no longer had that patient. At this point, a lot of nurses may be relieved to have a break from an emotionally and medically complex busy patient – but Hilary advocated to have continuity of care because she had worked to gain the patient’s trust and believed consistency with this patient was incredibly important. By the end of the second day, the patient had her PICC and NG tube placed and was allowing more care than she had in the days before. I have worked with Hilary for two years and have watched her work tirelessly and compassionately day in and day out. We are so fortunate to have her as one of our staff nurses. She is one of the people who are quietly making the world a better place, one patient at a time!
Ronda Miller, R.N., Surgical Medical Oncology
Ronda Miller demonstrated exceptional nursing care for a cancer patient recently. The patient was admitted to 13K with a new diagnosis of cancer that was advanced, but treatable. In the intensity of his hospital admission, he began arguing with his girlfriend and it escalated into a serious situation. She threatened to leave, and in response, the patient stated to staff that he was leaving against medical advice. Ronda immediately stepped in to diffuse the situation. She spent the next hour in the patient’s room as the couple dealt with long-standing relationship issues intensified by their hospital experience. As charge R.N. that night, I witnessed Ronda’s exceptional skill at therapeutic communication. She created a safe space in the room for both of them to have an open and productive conversation. She remained neutral, yet provided support to both sides. Ronda proactively offered multiple options to create space and reduce anxiety, while keeping the dialogue from shutting down. The on-call social worker came from the ED to assist, but shared with me that Ronda was handling everything and “had a really nice presence” in the room with the couple. The patient ended up staying that night in the hospital and continued receiving treatment. My bet is that he will not forget this R.N. as a pivotal part of his cancer journey, since she expertly stepped into the tense situation and helped the couple come to a better understanding. The most remarkable part about the situation is that none of this was out of ordinary in the nursing care Ronda provides. She deserves to be recognized and honored for her impressive work.
David Stevens, R.N., Family Medicine
David Stevens came to us from the ER a year ago. A couple of weeks after he arrived, we had a patient code in our lobby. His ER mentality immediately kicked in and he took control of the situation and helped us to facilitate the emergent situation without even thinking twice. What we only see occasionally he has obviously seen regularly, and it was evident on that day. I noticed it and acknowledged him in our clinic, but neglected to submit a ROSE nomination. One year later, we had a patient who came for an office visit and began to have a stroke. Dave, who just happened to be walking by, jumped in to assist the physician as well as the assigned nurse. Once again, his ER instincts kicked in. Dave grabbed suction cups and assisted the paramedics to the point where the paramedic asked, “Hey where did you come from?” and Dave modestly replied, “Oh, I’m from the ER.” The paramedic noted how much it pays to have an ER nurse on your team and I couldn’t agree more! Dave is probably the most selfless nurse I’ve ever met; in both of the above instances, the people he helped weren’t his patients – he just happened to be walking by. We are so fortunate to have him on our team, and our patients are very fortunate as well. He is an amazing nurse and a true asset to our team.
John Heintzman, M.D., Family Medicine
I have been a patient at OHSU since 2005 and Dr. John Heintzman has been my primary care physician since 2010. During that time, he has overseen my pain management program. When I first met Dr. Heintzman I was taking approximately 80 mg of methadone a day due to several back surgeries and fusion and was consistently a 6-8 out of 10 on the pain scale. He worked with me to develop a plan to slowly reduce my intake of methadone while at the same time increasing my physical activity. He closely monitored this with me and always had words of encouragement. Dr. Heintzman’s work with me has been truly amazing. Four years ago, I ran my first half-marathon. The following year, I ran a full marathon. He was a big supporter of me doing both events – something I’d never dreamed of when I first met him. Now I continue to run and I also hike, backpack, lift weights and garden with little to no pain. I’m now transitioning to an even lower dose of methadone, and hope to be completely off of it by this summer. My relationship with Dr. Heintzman and his involvement in my pain management program is one of the primary reasons I continue to come to OHSU. He is compassionate, down to earth, and listens to what I have to say. He takes an active role in my physical and mental health, which have seen a vast improvement from when we first met. He is by far the best primary care physician I have ever had and I’m grateful for all his help in getting me to where I am today.
Team Award: Emily Schloff, M.D., and Alyson Guillet, M.D., Obstetrics and Gynecology
I recently spent almost three weeks in the hospital for complications surrounding my pregnancy. The care I received from the CNAs, nurses and doctors was exceptional. They were kind, compassionate and excelled at their job. Heather (a nurse on 12C) took care of me the night that I was initially admitted and was given an upsetting diagnosis. She spent quite a bit of time in my room calmly reassuring me and making sure that my husband and I were as comfortable as we could be. She was gentle in her care and explanation of interventions. Most of all, she gave us much-needed hope. A multitude of doctors had explained my diagnosis and given us statistics about our expected course, but Heather was the first person to give us the confidence that we could actually survive a five-week hospitalization. Heather, despite not knowing me, provided exactly what I needed in that moment. I don’t doubt that my emotional well-being would have been dramatically different without her encouraging interventions that night. Amy Berger (a nurse on 13C) was such a positive member of my care team. Her rapid response and demeanor during an acute deceleration of my baby is admirable. She calmly talked me through what was happening to him, the interventions she was making and why she was doing it. Her prompt response mitigated the level of concern my husband and I had during the event. In addition to her management skills, Amy always had a smiling, happy face and she was genuine in her inquiry to both my physical and emotional state. She truly made my stay on 13C better. Carrie (another nurse on 13C) was amazing – always upbeat and positive. She knew we were there for the long haul and gave us great insight into navigating a long hospital stay. She was incredible with our daughter, even letting her “help” with vitals – a moment that stuck with our 3-year-old so much that she will regularly check our vitals at home with her new doctor kit. Carrie also worked closely with Amy during the acute monitoring event and quickly got me transferred back to 12C. Dr. Alyson Guillet was there the night that the decision had to be made to deliver earlier than desired. Dr. Guillet sat on the side of my bed and held my hand as she kindly explained why I should proceed with delivery. That simple gesture of grasping my hand made this devastating news somehow okay. She helped me feel at ease during the surgery and went out of her way to check on me afterward. Dr. Guillet is an amazing clinician who truly cares about her patients. She delivered our first child, so she will always have a special place in our heart for safely delivering the two most important people in our lives. Dr. Emily Schloff was also my rock during both of my hospitalizations. I struggle to find to words that adequately describe what she did for my family and me. She was timely in her evaluation for me, compassionate in her care, genuine in her concern and trustworthy in her diagnosis. Her extraordinary effort to be present at the birth of our son means more to us than we can ever begin to describe. Dr. Schloff came back to the hospital after her shift of was over, despite having already worked long hours that day. I clearly remember the moment she walked into our room that night and suddenly a very grim situation became better. Her presence in that moment was something that my husband and I both highly desired. Her selfless act is something that will remain with us for the rest of our lives. We will forever remain grateful.
Golden ROSE Award recipients
Alyssa Colwill, M.D., Obstetrics and Gynecology
Dr. Alyssa Colwill, a second year Family Planning Fellow in Ob/Gyn, demonstrated outstanding service excellence in caring for a patient experiencing anxiety about their visit to the OHSU Center for Women’s Health. To lessen this patient’s anxiety, Dr. Colwill (with whom the patient had developed a rapport) ensured she was available for the visit even though this was not her normally scheduled clinic time. Following the procedure, Dr. Colwill stayed much later into the evening than anyone would expect, regularly checking on patient to make sure she was doing okay, and bringing her something to settle her stomach. Dr. Colwill also took it upon herself to find the patient a wheelchair and even pushed it out to the car. When thanked and told she was really going above and beyond, Dr. Colwill simply stated with a smile, “I’m happy to. This is just what we do for each other.” Her attitude and dedication to patient care is an example of the generosity and compassion those who encounter Dr. Colwill quickly realize are genuinely part of who she is. OHSU is extremely lucky to have her.
Heather Digby, R.N., Labor and Delivery
Heather came on shift right as a fairly hectic emergency C-section was taking place. She jumped right in and did anything and everything that was needed: gathering supplies, running for meds and drawing labs – all with a cool head and clear communication. The more amazing thing was that, amid all the chaos, she managed to build an instant rapport with the patient and maintain an incredibly supportive and calming presence. Once things had stabilized with the surgery itself, Heather brought the baby in to be with mom. The mom very much wanted to nurse this new baby, but was feeling nervous, as her previous son had been in the NICU after birth and she had never had the chance to nurse him. Heather was so gentle and reassuring as she helped the mom put her new baby to breast, where she latched right away. The look of joy and pride on the mom’s face was amazing and I could tell how much it meant to her to be able to immediately bond with her baby in this way. Heather sat at the head of the bed for the next 20 or 30 minutes as the surgeons finished, holding the baby and allowing her to nurse the entire time, as mom was shaky and not in the best position to hold baby herself. I don’t think Heather realized she was doing anything out of the ordinary, but I could tell it meant the world to this mom and was one of the sweetest, most caring gestures I have seen in the OR for a long time!
Olivia Boots, R.N., Cardiovascular ICU
We had a very sick patient come down from 12K to have a CT scan done. The patient was able to lie still at first, but after multiple attempts to manipulate the patient’s IV had been made, she started to get scared and agitated. She started panicking and yelling and wanted off of the table immediately. We still had one more scan to go, and it was a very important one. Olivia stepped up to calm the patient and get her through the final scan. She put on a lead apron and held her hand and sang (“Let it Be” by The Beatles) to the patient while we did the final scan. I don’t know many other nurses who would go above and beyond like that. She was so wonderful to the patient and because of her, we were able to get a perfect scan.
Team Award: Laura Fischer, R.N., Misbah Akhtar, R.N., Shinpei Shibata, M.D., respiratory care practitioner Ryan Gardner and Oliver Pelayo, R.N., Pediatric ICU
On the morning of April 30, a family decided to withdraw care from their critically ill 6-month old daughter. It was very important for them that she be able to die outside as the sun rose. With only a few hours’ notice, with the weather cold and drizzling, Laura Fischer, Misbah Akhtar, Shinpei Shibata, Ryan Gardner and Oliver Pelayo were able to help her parents take her outside to the PICU garden. There she was held by her parents and extubated. Warm blankets and umbrellas, as well as tissues and portable suction, were all provided to help this family begin to say goodbye to their little girl.