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
Oresta Rule, M.D., House Officer, Pediatrics, Graduate Medical Services
Our 14-month-old son developed a fever last week. We reached out to the pediatrics office and received some guidance to get seen and we got scheduled with Dr. Rule. Dr. Rule reviewed our chart ahead of time and saw that our main need was to get a COVID test. Of her own initiative, Dr. Rule called us to see how she could best support us. On the call, she found out that we were in a three hour line for a COVID testing at the Oregon Convention Center. Dr. Rule went out of her way to reschedule the appointment to be at OHUS Doernbecher. During her appointment, we met Dr. Rule at the Doernbecher roundabout where she was in full PPE gear to conduct an evaluation on our son. She collected the specimen needed for him to get COVID testing. This saved us what would have likely been a rather unpleasant three-hour wait in a parking garage with our sick 14-month-old, and also expedited the time for the test to come back, enabling my wife and me, who are both frontline healthcare workers, to return to work sooner. Dr. Rule’s proactive review of her schedule and creative problem solving for our son to get an evaluation and testing made a big difference for our family.
Oliver Nguyen, Radiologic Technologist, Diagnostic Radiology
Oliver Nguyen’s dedication and compassion amplify the importance of having a diverse workforce in healthcare. Oliver moved to the U.S. just four years before starting his career as a radiologic technologist here at OHSU. His fearless dedication to learning the English language, connecting with American culture and developing close relationships with mentors was remarkable and inspiringly successful. Yet, Oliver remains deeply connected to his Vietnamese roots and is valiant in his efforts to support our Vietnamese patients and their families. Recently, Oliver showed exemplary dedication and compassion and I believe his actions that day were honorable and deserving of special recognition. We had a critically ill geriatric patient. She only spoke Vietnamese but she was also aphasic so she could not speak. She was noticeably suffering from pain and disorientation but had come to us for a much-needed lumbar puncture to collect spinal fluid for testing to find out the source of her disorientation. The translation service had effectively communicated the procedure and consented, but could not be there in person. Radiology can be overwhelming to patients in her state. It’s dark, cold and the table is hard and uncomfortable. Due to the nature of her condition and procedure, it was imperative that she relax, but she could not. We all could sense her fear and confusion, but felt limited in how to comfort her. We were starting to seriously consider canceling the much-needed procedure. Thankfully, upon learning of her distress and our concern, Oliver ended his break early, got coverage for his next exam and joined our procedure. He held her hand and comforted her in Vietnamese. The change in her demeanor was moving, she was able to focus on him and his words, and we were able to successfully finish the lumbar puncture that just minutes earlier seemed like it would be impossible. Seeing a patient go from frightened to trusting, because Oliver compassionately invested himself that day, was inspiring to our whole team. We are thankful to have Oliver and all the special talent he brings to our department.
Tiffany Caudillo, R.N., Transplant/Urology/Plastics
Last year, my life was forever changed by the doctors and staff at OHSU. I received gender-affirming vaginoplasty – something I had been waiting for for literally years of my life. The recovery time for such surgery is long and normally requires five days of hospitalization. During that stay, I was extremely fortunate to be cared for by Tiffany Caudillo. Tiffany was the night nurse on at least three of the nights I was at the hospital. While every one of my nurses was caring, competent and professional, I will always remember Tiffany because of her kindness and understanding. Staying in bed for five days after a major surgery isn’t exactly a plethora of entertainment, and the number of injections, blood pressure checks, temperature checks and other monitoring that must be done makes for some sleepless nights. Tiffany always seemed to be there at the right time with good humor to talk with about the “old days” in Portland or how the world outside was on fire (literally). Tiffany was crucial to my recovery by remembering that, while medical technology has made great advances and the research OHSU performs is critical to our understanding of the health of the human body, patients are people, too – and their spirits are just as important at their substance. I also say this as a member of the LGBTQ+ community who has had to be fearful of the medical community and their sometimes lack of acceptance and understanding of the journey that we trans women make to become our whole selves. It was heartening to me to see Tiffany, and the other nurses on the floor, wearing buttons and other paraphernalia in support of the transgender journey. I never once wondered if she was going to accept me for who I was and felt cared for wholeheartedly. Surgery aftermath is a trying time for trans women, and it’s nurses like Tiffany that get our recoveries started in the right direction. I will forever be grateful to OHSU for the wonderful give they have given me. It makes me supremely proud to have such a wonderful medical institution in our state. Tiffany is a shining example of what makes OHSU such a special place.
Terra Flores, Respiratory Care Practitioner, Respiratory Therapy
There was an older patient in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) who had an aggressive form of cancer and subsequently died of complications of his cancer. That particular day was very busy, as most days are in the PICU. Terra was called by the nurse to come to take the BiPAP machine out of the room so that the family had a chance to have more room to grieve. Upon entry, Terra found herself unable to find a clear path out of the room, as patient family members were all sitting around the bed. One of the family members attempted to dress the patient up in normal clothes. Terra saw the patient’s brother struggling to put a shirt on his brother, and she helped him by holding the body against herself to allow the brother to put on his shirt and pants. The family of this patient was beyond grateful that his last moments with them now can look more familiar, and they could truly mourn the loss of a brother and a son. Later on, as Terra told me this story, she was crying and sad. She commented that she will never forget that moment and what I think she did for that family is above and beyond what anyone of us would have the courage to do. She is an amazing RT with a heart of gold who truly cares about her patients, even when she no longer can help them as a RT. If anyone is deserving of recognition, it is her.
Rhonda MacAllister, Assistant Veterinarian, Clinical Medicine
Rhonda is one of the clinical veterinarians working with non-human primates at the OHSU West Campus. We appreciate all of our veterinarians for their excellent animal care, compassion during treatment and patience when working around the animals, who can’t tell us if they feel sick. However, we feel that Rhonda went above and beyond this past year, and as such, is highly deserving of this prestigious award. Rhonda excels at her job here at the ONPRC. She has excellent clinical skills but, perhaps more importantly, she also has an unending dedication to both the non-human and human primates here. She treats each of her cases as if it is her only one, communicating effectively with animal care and laboratory staff to explain the treatments that she is prescribing. She actively organizes meetings with various groups, to not only increase communication between these disparate groups of people but also to create solidarity in the care of the monkeys. One can often see her brainstorming with staff about the best care of clinical cases, and she seeks out new and innovative treatments. For example, she actively promotes opportunities to use positive reinforcement techniques to train monkeys to cooperate during laboratory procedures or clinical treatments. Rhonda is typically one of the first to arrive at the ONPRC and often stays well into the evening. As we all know, 2020 has been a rollercoaster, and we all have been affected by having to adapt very rapidly to the many changes. Even while caring for her young kids at home, Rhonda made sure to attend to the needs of the people at the ONPRC. She created and oversees a committee that promotes resiliency for the care staff. In addition, she devised and promoted fun (and socially distant) activities in an effort to improve morale, such as a “guess whose pet it is” competition, a “thank you, animal heroes” video and coloring competitions. These activities have been well received by staff (and have been highlighted twice in the OHSU “Spreading Good” series). Rhonda’s passion for animal welfare and empathy toward the people with whom she works is laudable. She has a great sense of humor and brings out the best in everybody. She is one of a kind, and we feel lucky to know and work with her. We are so grateful for all she does for the human and non-human primates at our center and feel she is highly deserving of this recognition.
Crystal Lim, R.N., Pediatric ICU
The first time that I met Crystal, she was hired as a traveler in our department and I was receiving a handoff report from her. I knew that she was special from our first meeting. The compassion and care that she shows for her patients are beyond apparent. Crystal was hired as a staff nurse after extending her contract as a traveler and we are SO fortunate to have her! I am nominating her for the ROSE award because I feel that she provides excellent care to her patients on a regular basis, and she tends to go above and beyond for a patient. Recently, a patient who was admitted for post-surgical care ended up staying in our pediatric intensive care unit for a diagnosis of heart failure and end-of-life care. At times, the patient exhibits some challenging behaviors which would be emotionally taxing for most, but Crystal signed up to become this patient’s primary nurse! Crystal works five to six night shifts in a row and takes care of this patient for all of the shifts. Each night, she finds the time to go above and beyond for this patient. She braids her hair every single night in a different way and is dedicated to making sure that the patient voids in the commode as she doesn’t have to use a bedpan (this patient is a young adult). Time management can be challenging in the ICU due to the acuity of patients, but Crystal spends as much time as she needs with the patient making sure that she provides the best, most loving and supportive care. Recently, Crystal stayed after her shift to watch the sunrise with the patient and spend extra time with her. She has established a rapport with the family and patient that has left a mark. The patient’s face lights up when she sees Crystal and they have verbalized how thankful that they are to have her as a friend and caregiver. The family and patient love her so much and we all think that she is most deserving of this award!
Golden ROSE Award recipients
Jennifer Smith, Social Worker, Patient and Family Services/Oncology
I am a heme/BMT pharmacist who primarily works on 14K. This is not an easy floor to work on because our patients have such grim prognoses. It takes a lot of grit, compassion and resiliency to help make every day more positive for our patients. Jen Smith, our social worker, embodies all these qualities and is one of the most compassionate people I have ever worked with. I’ve witnessed Jen advocate for our patients harder than anyone else I’ve known. I’ve seen her sit on hourlong telephone calls helping patients and their families understand the implication of their diagnosis. She can identify and decipher their concerns and bridge the gaps for our providers and care team. She spends countless hours helping patients and their families identify treatment goals and come to terms with their prognosis. One of Jen’s most stand-out moments as our social worker occurred recently. I discharged a patient on a Sunday who was going to have hospice come to take over care the following day. When he left the hospital on Sunday, he was able to tolerate oral medications and was still able to eat solid foods. We all thought that the patient would have a couple more weeks to live. The next day, when I came back to work, Jen received a call from the patient’s wife, who was in complete distress because her husband was dying before her eyes. She stated that her husband was in agony all night because his graft versus host disease symptoms were attacking his entire body and he couldn’t swallow his pain medication. Because hospice care wouldn’t arrive until the late afternoon, his wife and family didn’t know how to manage his suffering and process what dying looked like. Jen and I were completely heartbroken hearing his wife in panic and overwhelmed with sadness because she didn’t know how to help him die peacefully. I coached his wife on how to crush his pain medications and how to prepare them so that it was more tolerable for the patient since it would be another hour before he would get morphine and Ativan in liquid formulations (which were being sent as we were on the phone with her). Not only did Jen call the wife back every 15 minutes to check on her, Jen went above and beyond by going to their home (at the family and her supervisor’s approval) to help coach the family through the dying process until hospice was able to take over. She stayed with the family for nearly four hours helping them understand when the patient would need more pain medication and keeping them calm by explaining what to expect in the dying process. Jen, being present with the family, definitely allowed the patient to die with dignity at home (per his wish), without it being a traumatizing and painful experience for his wife and family. Having Jen as our social worker on 14K elevates our level of care for our patients. Not only is Jen a steadfast patient advocate, but she is a caring and empathetic team member. Jen knew that my experience with talking to the patient’s wife and hearing her anguish and her husband’s suffering made me very upset. Jen checked on me that evening and again the next day to see how I was coping. She also escalated the event and asked for debriefing so that we can improve our transition of care to hospice. I am proud to call Jen my colleague and I truly believe she exemplifies all the qualities we value at OHSU: Excel, engage, imagine, inspire.
Bryn McCarthy, R.N., Pediatric Research
Our daughter has been a patient at OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital since she was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy at 6 months old. Our family has known Bryn McCarthy since my daughter was enrolled in a clinical trial for which Bryn has been the study coordinator. My daughter, who is now 6 years old, has come to know and love Bryn because Bryn has gone above and beyond to accommodate, support, show care, concern, and love for our daughter and family. Just a few examples are listed below:
• Delivers birthday gifts and cards to our house on our daughter’s birthday
• Visited our daughter at Shriners Hospital for Children every day for nearly three months to have a “tea party” with her when she was in halo traction before a major growth rod surgery
• Comes to our annual SMA Family Camp at Camp Arrah Wanna, volunteering to make crafts, join in on fancy camp dinners and our special talent show featuring the many talents of kids with SMA
• Attends SMA Fundraisers with her husband in support of our daughter and other kids with SMA
• Checks in every single time she has an emergency or visit to the doctor, she will call me, checking in to see how our daughter is doing
• When my daughter has been hospitalized in the PICU with pneumonia, Bryn has come to visit.
In addition to the care and love she shows to our daughter, Bryn also goes out of her way to accommodate our family, our schedule and to magically orchestrate a seamless patient experience so that while we are at the hospital, it is as pleasant and as easy of an experience as possible. She does this with ease, grace, a smile, a sense of humor and without expectation of anything in return. We are so grateful for Bryn and all of those who provide care to our kiddo at Doernbecher and can’t say enough about the many amazing gifts Bryn brings to the families with whom she works. Bryn is a bright light for kids and their families at times when you need to see a familiar face and to know that someone is there to help make things a little bit happier and a little bit easier!
Mae Johnston, Business Data Analyst, Nursing Administrative Support
When one thinks of the position of Data Analyst, the first words that come to mind are likely numbers, graphs, technology, etc. “Live saver” probably wouldn’t make the list of descriptors. Yet over time, our opportunity to work alongside Mae Johnston has led us to think of her this way. In her innovative work on the COVID-19 Nursing Redeployment project, Mae has led the charge to connect trained staff with care areas in need, which has undoubtedly saved lives in our community. During the last eight months, OHSU Nursing developed a system in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to redeploy nurses to care areas in need. This was a complex and dynamic process, involving training, orienting and staffing, ensuring that nurses were properly prepared to care for patients outside of their home units. Mae was included in the development team initially as a data analyst, helping us think about a dashboard for this re-deployment project. She could have quickly and easily have done the data analysis that was asked of her – and limit the impact of this priority on her own workload. Instead, she went above and beyond her job responsibilities as an analyst by listening for possibilities to address broader organizational needs. She challenged the group to think about the long-term possibilities of enhancing the database to facilitate a consistent process for capturing and communicating the competencies of all OHSU nurses as the new normal. Making this information readily accessible at all times would set up OHSU for being more agile and less stressed. In other words, she saw that not only could we create a short-term solution to support our current patients, but we could also simultaneously build a lasting catalog of nurses’ training so that we can respond quickly to any future public health crises or other community needs. Because Mae showed up with this exciting vision, she evolved from being the data analyst support to being the leader of the database project. She also assumed the responsibility of orienting nurse leaders to the project and regularly shares her expertise and knowledge to support the effectiveness and engagement of other impacted team members. And we think that perhaps she might even be becoming a little proud of her leadership and ownership of this work – though not as proud and as excited as we are to have benefitted from her commitment and contributions. This nomination is a celebration of Mae’s influence that took us from doing a reactive response to the COVID-19 pandemic to developing an electronic infrastructure that will now serve as the critical foundation of ongoing nursing workforce planning and responding. With Mae’s contribution of vision for possibilities, systems capabilities and technical expertise, nursing services now has platform from which to we can more nimbly respond not just to the needs of our COVID-19 patient now, but also to future community risks. Thank you, Mae, for your contribution to saving the lives of our patients today, and preparing us to better care for our whole community in the future.
Know someone at OHSU who deserves recognition? Nominate them for a ROSE Award!