Congratulations to the November 2020 ROSE Award recipients

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

Lauren Dickens, R.N., Casey Eye Institute
Our 22-month old daughter had strabismus surgery at the OHSU Casey Eye Institute, and it was our first experience with any serious medical procedures in the family. This was simply the scariest and most difficult thing we have ever done, and it was made all the more difficult by COVID-19 and how the pandemic created the need for additional restrictions. We agonized over the decision to even have the procedure at all, but we hoped that our daughter would be in the best hands at OHSU. Happily, that’s exactly what we found! On the day of the surgery, my husband and I agreed that I would be the one parent to accompany our daughter beyond check-in, and it was heartbreaking for him to have to leave so early. That’s when we first met Lauren, and she immediately started to help us all feel comfortable and confident in the experience. Lauren generously did her best to comfort my nervous and anxious husband, patiently helping him relax and kindly retrieving the paperwork he forgot to hand off. Lauren was empathetic and patient throughout the experience, reassuring me and clearly communicating expectations. Most importantly, Lauren was amazing with our daughter. She invited her to explore the area, found a popsicle for after the surgery and quickly developed a personal connection to help our daughter feel comfortable in this strange environment. Lauren successfully distracted and entertained our daughter to ensure that I had the time to focus on conversations with the team and even send a message to update my husband. Initially, we had discussed offering our daughter medication to ensure she was relaxed enough to go into surgery, but as I was talking to the anesthesiologist we noticed that our daughter was happily and easily walking away from me. As an only child who hasn’t been cared for by any other adults (yet), that was a huge and surprising step. And that was owed to Lauren’s ability to make us all feel as comfortable as possible. Our daughter ended up walking herself (holding Lauren’s hand) into the operating room, and although we were terrified, we were so happy that our daughter would be waking up to Lauren. When I was called back into the building after the surgery I found our daughter happily, sleepily eating a popsicle in Lauren’s arms. Our daughter talked a lot about Lauren that day and throughout the rest of the week. Even three weeks later she still says “Lauren gave!” any time she sees her quilt or Casey the Elk. Our daughter seems to have only positive, pleasant memories of the day, and that is all thanks to Lauren. Lauren made us feel confident, comfortable and relaxed on the scariest and hardest day of our lives, and we can’t thank her enough! We hope she will be recognized for her compassion and thoughtful care, and we would love to see her again soon!

David Rozansky, M.D., Ph.D., Pediatric Nephrology 
I have worked with Dr. Rozansky now for seven years but more closely for the past three years since taking a role in the pediatric nephrology department. I have seen him go above and beyond for his patients, their families and his colleagues on multiple occasions but I want to outline two specific examples that I feel reflect who he is as a physician and a health professional. The first relates to his leadership in his role as an educator. I work specifically with his pediatric dialysis patient population and manage their overall care as part of a multidisciplinary team. This will include the physician, nurse dietician and social work input. Dr. Rozansky values the multidisciplinary approach more than any other physician I have ever worked with. He truly respects each member of the team and will actively seek out their opinions. He not only makes your opinion feel validated when discussing the patient privately he will make sure the patients know how much he values each member of the team. For example, he will say things like “I will let Karri (R.N.) explain the excellent changes she has made to PD” or “I will refer to my expert Dallas to explain changes made to the diet.” This may not seem like a big deal but the effect this kind of leadership has on the patient/nurse/team relationship is exponential. It also has such a positive effect on morale and the confidence we as a team have to advocate for our patients when we feel our opinions will be validated this way. The second example relates to the patient-physician relationship. In the same way Dr. Rozansky goes above and beyond to teach and validate his colleagues, he does so with his patients and their family. He takes the time to ensure that the patient and their family truly understand their medical issues and empowers them to be partners in all aspects of their care and the decision-making process. An example of this was a conversation a mother recently shared with me. Their child was born with multiple medical issues and had been hospitalized for the first five months of their life. Her husband by nature is confident and outgoing. He is very interested in the medical aspect of their daughter’s care and always speaks up during daily rounds with their daughter. As a result, she felt as though the doctors started speaking only to her husband. She said to me that Dr. Rozansky was the first doctor in almost five months who spoke directly to her. He took the time to explain things specifically to her. When her husband interrupted and said he understood, Dr. Rozansky stopped him and turned to the mother to say, “You are her mother and I want to make sure you understand also. You are just as important in your daughter’s care so I need to make sure you know, understand, and can advocate for her too.” The mother said it was so powerful to feel like her opinion mattered and that he truly cared about how much she understood. She couldn’t believe it and it had increased her confidence more than she could say. I really feel like I could write a book with all the examples of when Dr. Rozansky has gone above and beyond his role as a physician but I hope this helps to paint the picture of the kind of person and physician he is. My team and I are honored to be able to learn from him and I hope that we can recognize him for the hard work and dedication he brings to his job every day.

Savanna Cage, R.N., 13K Adult Oncology 
On 13K, we support one another not only as colleagues and friends but as nurses, ensuring that every patient gets the care they deserve even if their particular nurse is busy. On one night, in particular, many of us were struggling, including myself as charge nurse. Savanna is always excellent at checking in with others and seeing if there is anything she can do to help if she has the opportunity. That night, Savanna went above and beyond in supporting the unit, and each of her peers, myself included. In her downtime, before her third patient arrived and after completing her own patient care, she made herself present and available to everyone and it helped kept the shift together – and it was a frantic one. Savanna made lab draw kits for the nurses, anticipating a busy midnight lab draw for all nurses given the acuity of the floor. She rounded frequently and persistently, advocating for other nurses to let her take on tasks if they were falling behind in their work. She also answered alarms without prompting, helped a float nurse troubleshoot a tricky PICC line and TPN infusion, and also relieved me from helping insert a NG tube so that I was freed up for other tasks. Many of us were unable to find someone to co-sign our chemotherapies, and Savanna was rounding to help minimize delays for all the patients. These traits are remarkable because not only did she anticipate the unit’s needs, she kept morale elevated and really made us feel like a cohesive team. Savanna has not trained as a charge nurse either, but her ability to assess, round and follow up demonstrates that she is ready to take on greater leadership on the unit. I and the back-up charge for that shift remain both impressed and grateful for the hard work everyone put in that night, but Savanna stepped in without hesitation and she deserves to be recognized for this. She acted as our third-string charge, if you will, all without being prompted or asked. Moments like these and people like Savanna help to fight off burn-out, especially in these confusing and unprecedented times.

Mercelita Taylor, CNA, Center for Health & Healing 
Merci is our HUC/CNA in the SSU. She’s exceptional. In addition to her duties she takes time to think and create jobs for herself to make everyone’s work easier. She obtained a label printer and labeled which supplies are in each cupboard. She overheard me interviewing a patient for his procedure. The patient had fallen through the cracks in the healthcare system and would be returning for an operation. When I was done interviewing the patient she tells me “Marlene, I have contacted the social worker for your patient and someone will be in touch with him.” Recently she took a family member who couldn’t walk well to Parking Lot C from Multnomah Pavilion in a wheelchair. She always made sure that our supplies are ordered – one of the things I’m grateful for is that our isolation cart is always stocked. She always checks expiration dates on lab tubes, supplies,and on food items. A few days before our DNV visit she was in the patients’ refreshment kitchen scrubbing the floor and the baseboards! DNV even commented on how clean the room was! Another time, she saw that an extra cart was not being used and organized the supplies needed to clean up hazardous drugs. Merci also lives on the coast with her husband and two young kids and makes the commute to and from OHSU every day! This doesn’t even seem true but all of it is!


Golden ROSE Award recipients

Joseph Nguyen, Construction Project Manager, Design and Construction Reimbursable Project
On March 12, 2020, converting an unused lab in CDRC into a BSL-2 lab to process COVID-19 tests became a top priority for OHSU. Joseph Nguyen, a project manager for Design and Construction, stepped up to the challenge of doing whatever was necessary to get the lab operational as quickly as possible – and delivered what would normally take months in two weeks. He demonstrated an ability to work autonomously, solve problems creatively and bring all the right people together to get the job done. Joseph, being who he is, did not take credit himself for getting this project completed in record time. He was sure to recognize everyone who worked at all hours and days to make it happen including General Construction, Logistics, EHS, Custodial Services, ITG, Public Safety and many more.

Sarah Wonn, M.D.,  House Officer, Surgery, Graduate Medical Services
I am a family medicine resident. I was taking care of a patient on our inpatient service. This patient had Trisomy 21 and required a serious procedure/surgery and Sarah was consulted as part of the thoracic surgery team. There were serious morbidity and mortality associated with the surgery and it was determined that the patient could not decide on the surgery for themselves. Sarah went above and beyond in contacting many different people involved in the patient’s life to find the best decision-maker for the patient – often contacting and having long, complicated discussions with several different people in one day. She coordinated an ethics meeting with several different consultants. I believe the meeting involved 25 people or so. Sarah was the one who led the meeting, clearly knew the most about the patient and her life, and really advocated for the vulnerable patient. She was in daily contact with me as the primary contact, the ethics committee, the patient, and several of the patient’s family members and friends. I have never seen someone go so above and beyond their role. During a particularly stressful time in our country, it was amazing to see such a great person take so much extra time to make sure we were all doing the right thing for the patient. The patient was so lucky to have Sarah on her surgery team. It was honestly extraordinary and I could not think of someone who deserves this award more.

Team Award: Rebecca Velasquez, R.N., 7A Medical ICU, Linh Nguyen, R.N., 7A Medical ICU, Derrick Sturgill, HUC, 7A Medical ICU, and Stephanie Nonas, M.D., Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine
OHSU’s Medical ICU (MICU) had a patient who had been on the unit for several weeks. This patient happened to be pregnant and was critically ill on ECMO. During this hospital stay, the unimaginable happened and the patient lost the baby. As you can imagine, this was devastating for both the patient and our team that had be so involved in helping keep the patient and baby safe. Becca and Linh were the primary nurses for this patient and they went above and beyond to make sure the mother felt supported. In the adult MICU, this is not a type of grief and loss we typically see. Losing the life of a baby, and getting a critically ill patient though this grief is not something we have any training or past experience to lean on. Nevertheless, Becca and Linh both showed up for the patient. They made sure the patient felt supported and gave her the space she needed to grieve, and at the same time became the support group for her until her family could arrive. Becca and Linh put their own emotions aside and focused on the patient to make sure that she was healing both physically and emotionally during this difficult time. This loss happened when visitors were only permitted in the hospital only by exception. Becca and Linh advocated for an exception to be made for the husband to be by the patient’s side after the baby was delivered. When the husband arrived in the hospital he somehow became lost and could not find his way to the MICU. It was at this moment that our MICU HUC Derrick searched for him in the hospital for almost an hour in order to bring him to the patient. Derrick knew the importance of getting this husband to the patient to be a support system during this time. While Derrick was searching the hospital for the patient’s husband, Becca and Linh made sure to call upon the resources of the Labor and Delivery team to help facilitate a bereavement box in remembrance of the lost baby. This included locks of hair, foot prints and photos of the baby. As we all gathered around mom holding her baby, Dr. Nonas offered up a final blessing through tears and we bowed our heads during these final moments the mom would have with her child. We don’t expect to experience this type of loss in an adult ICU, yet Stephanie modeled what it meant to be an empathetic provider in the most painful of situations; whose clinical expertise was evident from the beginning by everyone involved, and especially by the mom who knew our team did everything we could. That night we were asked to go above our various proficiencies as health care providers and attend to a very human emotion: grief. This is beautiful, yet tragic example, of the interdisciplinary team working together with remarkable compassion and empathy to make sure that our patient felt supported during one of the most difficult moments in her life.


Know someone at OHSU who deserves recognition? Nominate them for a ROSE Award!

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