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 the recipients from our most recent virtual ROSE Award ceremony and learn why they were nominated below!
Red ROSE Award recipients
Dalton Bliese, Patient Access Service Resource Specialist, Family Medicine
In January 2019, the mail order pharmacy was supposed to provide several of my medications, “authorization required.” Any delay would put my health in significant jeopardy. Dalton made a phone call and I received my meds from CHH pharmacy. This happened again in February 2019. Dalton took care of it with a phone call. In June 2019, we had to leave the country immediately for a family emergency and were referred to Walter Reed in Bethesda in mid July. I was out of most all medications. My husband returned to work in August and sought Dalton’s assistance – a third time! Dalton pursued all refills and sent my meds (three months’ worth of supplies) overnight (on dry ice). He did this again three months later, as I was unable to get any meds at Walton Reed. Dalton went above and beyond for me four times. I am so grateful for his customer service, compassion and capability. When we thanked him, he said, “I wish everyone at OHSU would treat patients like this; I’m just doing my job.” Dalton deserves the ROSE Award!
Bill Whitsell, GeriPal Volunteer, OHSU Visitors and Volunteers
The Inpatient Geriatrics Consult Service would like to nominate Bill Whitsell, one of our fantastic GeriPal volunteers. OHSU’s GeriPals are a small but mighty group of unique and specially trained volunteers who visit vulnerable older adults in the hospital. Bill has been a GeriPal volunteer since June 2018. From his first day, he was eager to learn how to best serve our older adult patients and their families. While Bill has, with what seems like natural ease, become very adept in this role, his commitment to improving the patient experience truly shone in a recent case. Bill met with an older woman with a chronic and incurable infection who had been described by her family as one who compartmentalized and did not often share her feelings. Our staff and medical teams had experienced this firsthand when her infection had worsened, leaving her with two very difficult decisions: amputation of her entire leg or focusing on comfort and end-of-life care. The next day, following a care plan meeting where these two options were presented to the patient, Bill paid her a visit. With his gentle inquisitiveness, genuine warmth and good humor – and without knowing it was needed – he helped the patient open up about her health issues and the feelings and decisions she was wrestling with. He met her where she was and shared some experiences from his own life that offered her an opportunity to feel seen and heard by someone who had experienced similar difficult choices. She later told her team that she no longer felt isolated in her illness. Bill’s authentic, warm and nonjudgmental interaction proved to be a turning point in her care; her ability to thoughtfully and openly engage and discuss options decidedly changed. Not only did her newfound openness lead to her taking charge of the situation, it also allowed her family to feel more at ease while trying to help the patient reach a decision. What makes this even more special is Bill’s humility. Upon returning from his visit with her, Bill remarked (as he has a number of times before) that in his work as a GeriPal, he is learning from the patients; he think he gets just as much out of it as they do.
Ashley Wilson, R.N., 13A Trauma
Recently, our Trauma Program put out a request to help replenish the clothing closet with warm winter clothes. Ashley took this request with an open heart and open mind. She used a social media neighborhood app to put out a request for winter clothes donations for our trauma patients, describing the need to help people who were unexpectedly put in a situation where their clothes were cut off in the process of saving their lives. Many of our patients don’t have resources to replace the clothing on discharge. In one week, Ashley received an abundance of donations and now our clothing closet is filled. She coordinated the pick-up and brought in the clothes on her own. Ashley is a worthy candidate to be recognized for the work she put forth.
Golden ROSE Award recipients
Tim Newby, R.N., 7A Medical ICU
My husband passed away in the ICU on October 25, 2019. He had spent several days there, under the care of Tim during the night shift. Throughout my husband’s illness, he had spent eight weeks in two hospitals. During these times, we had many nurses. Most were excellent, but Tim was exceptional. My husband required one-on-one care for most of the stay. Tim changed his bed dozens of times, never complaining and always with a smile. My husband was incoherent a lot but that never stopped Tim from always being patient, tender and compassionate with him. He treated him with immense respect, which is usually lost when you are in ICU. If some medication was not working, Tim would ask the doctors to reassess things. If the new process didn’t work, Tim would personally retrieve the doctors and bring them into the room. Immediately things were changed. He was such an advocate for my husband and treated him like he would his own father. Tim even took care of our family. He went so far as to brew us his own coffee that he had brought in for his shift because what was on the floor was old and he did not want us to have to go to the cafeteria. When it came time for my husband to pass, Tim did everything in his power to make him comfortable, even giving words of comfort to our family. I wanted to nominate Tim for this reward, because, like I stated before, we probably had 200 nurses in eight weeks, and of all of them, Tim stands out as one who treats his patients with special respect and compassion. OHSU is truly blessed to have him on staff. He is a credit to your hospital and lives up to the saying that nurses are really angels on earth.
Caroline Ross, R.N., Pediatric ICU
I would like to recognize Caroline for her outstanding and compassionate care to a 4-year-old boy with chronic heart and lung disease. He was well known to the PICU and Caroline signed up to be his primary nurse. She helped coordinate his care, kept mom informed when she couldn’t be here and made him feel like a kid. She focused on his social development by giving him music and sang songs with him. She let him do artwork and danced with him. Despite having shortness of breath and while on his non-invasive positive ventilator, he was encouraged to sing with gusto, while involving all the staff in the unit. I can still hear the Jingle Bell song! She took him on wagon rides with all his complex equipment. This required much care coordination with RT, PT and OT to make sure it happened on a daily basis. This is no small feat in the PICU. She even made him his own (fake) OHSU badge so he could be a “doctor.” He was able to “clock in and out” and have some computer times with the nurses in the nurse station. She made sure he had a normal schedule and was awake and playing like a regular kid during the day. This young boy died recently. Indeed, his illness limited his life significantly when he was alive. However, I believe that Caroline made a difference in his life, giving him a chance to live a life like a regular child – filled with songs, games and love.
Janelle Rychlick, Manager, Inpatient Pharmacy
Janelle is an exceptional inpatient pharmacy manager. Her compassion for others, inclusiveness as a leader and positive attitude toward colleagues and staff members earns her great respect as a pharmacist among peers. Most recently, she went above and beyond to obtain treatment for a 13-year-old girl diagnosed with severe malaria. A diagnosis of severe malaria in the United States calls for consultation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to place an order for Artesunate, a life-saving medication that is not yet commercially available. However, there were challenges in obtaining the medication for timely delivery and administration. After being contacted by the healthcare team, Janelle stepped up and volunteered to become the point person between OHSU Health and the CDC. She drove to the airport on a Sunday night to pick up the medication. To her discovery, the CDC only shipped one vial as opposed to one course of treatment (nine vials). Janelle quickly reconnected with the CDC to retrieve the remaining vials necessary for the patient’s course of treatment. For a second time that night, she drove to the airport to ensure the patient would receive treatment on time the next morning. Extremely exhausted from a long night prioritizing patient care, Janelle worked the following day as if she had a full night’s rest. Once the patient improved and treatment was completed, Janelle further coordinated with the inpatient pharmacy purchasing team to ensure any unused medication was returned to the CDC. Janelle’s humility and non-verbal actions that exemplify OHSU’s clinical enterprise service principles make her an irreplaceable asset to the pharmacy enterprise. Her focus on ensuring excellent patient care was always prioritized and that included accurate, timely and quality medication management.
Team Award: Amanda Thomas, R.N., Joshua Montgomery, R.N., Jennifer Worth, R.N., Lynelle Hawkins, Patient Access Service Resource Specialist, Cardiac VAD/Device Department; Seid Rizvic, Business Data Analyst, Quality Management; Tonja Spencer, R.N., Ginger Hayley, Resource Nurse, Heather Miller Webb, R.N., Heart Transplant Program; Yvonne Clark, Patient Access Service Resource Specialist, Tiffany Jeffords, Administrative Coordinator, Athena Le, Patient Access Service Resource Specialist, Clinical Transplant Admin
2018 was a challenging year for OHSU’s heart failure team. With the sudden departure of all three of our advanced heart failure cardiologists, our capacity to provide care for our sickest cardiac patients was lost. In the wake of these departures came the need for us to deactivate our Cardiac Transplant and Ventricular Assist Device (VAD) programs. Without the expertise of these cardiologists, we were unable to support those patients who had either received or were being worked up to receive a long-term VAD or heart transplant. In order to provide safe care for these patients, we had no choice but to transfer their care to other hospitals who could provide the specialized care. Saying goodbye to any patient is an unimaginably difficult task, let alone 250+ patients. This heavy lift also required the support and expertise of our nurse coordinators, patient access service specialists, data analyst, pharmacist and administrators. The interdisciplinary team that got busy with checklists of tasks to accomplish in order to safely hand off care to other hospitals is the same team that had known each of these patients intimately. Many of them had been in their patient’s lives for the entirety of their long journeys from diagnosis to VAD implant, and through to heart transplant. In coordinating and providing that level of care, our team got to know their patients so well. They supported their patients, encouraged them, held their hands through the high and low points of their illness, laughed with them, celebrated life’s best moments with them and lived through the very real emotion of hope with them – hope that someday they might receive a heart transplant or become stable with their VAD and finally get a second chance at life. Because we had handed a few hundred patients off to another hospital, the team there became quickly overwhelmed. In response and in an effort to support each patient through the transition, our transplant and VAD nurse coordinators took temporary assignments at the hospital. This allowed the patient to have a familiar, trusted person by their side as they met their new care team. Subsequently, our patient access specialists, administrative support staff, data analyst, social worker and pharmacist worked either in person or behind the scenes to support the addition of patients to the hospital system. Once again, our team was there by the patient’s side, holding their hands as they ventured into unknown and, for many, frightening territory. After their temporary assignments had been completed, our team returned to OHSU to dig into the hard work of recruiting of new doctors and reactivating our VAD and Cardiac transplant programs. This core team of nurses, specialists, administrative support staff and administrators stuck with it. They, like me, believe in OHSU’s mission, vision, values and goals. We know that despite this bump in the road, we are the best center for compassionate, thorough, expert care for our cardiovascular patients. Together, this team has reactivated our program and is seeing patients again (many of whom were our previous patients and returned because of their own belief in our team and in OHSU).