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
Xylem Nilsen, Social Worker, Care Management Pediatric Nephrology
During a developmental evaluation, we discovered that in addition to developmental concerns, our family had significant stressors including houselessness, food insecurity and other challenges accessing basic needs for their children including no gas for their car (which is also currently their home). At the CDRC we did not have access to an on-site social worker, and our clinicians were scrambling to find supports and coordinate care. Xylem eagerly stepped up, spending over an hour with this family making sure that they had access to immediate funds for food and gas, helping them set up a permanent mailing address and helping them access additional funding to help provide ongoing supports. What I find particularly remarkable is their willingness to work across departments. We have heard in the past that “we can’t do that” or that something “isn’t their department.” Xylem saw an opportunity to assist a family in crisis and immediately did what needed to be done without regard for what they were “supposed” to be doing. It is actions like this that make me feel as if we are all part of a team at Doernbecher, and make me incredibly proud to work at OHSU.
Annie Chen, Pharmacist, Outpatient Pharmacy, MS Medication Coordinator
Annie Chen has been such a huge help for me in finding ways to afford my MS medications. Because I am pregnant/nursing, it limits what medications I can take. I tried the generic brand and had some pretty bad side effects. Annie was able to get a co-pay assistance card through the drug company to help me cover the $700 monthly co-pay of the brand name medication that works for me. This recently ran out and I was going to have to stop taking the medication but I asked the pharmacy to reach out to Annie to see if she had any other ideas on how to help with the co-pay. She was able to get my secondary insurance to pick up the cost so I can continue to take the medications. My neurologists say being on medications this early can get me an extra 10 years of good health. This is all thanks to Annie. Without her help, I would have no idea how to navigate the pharmaceutical world and find ways to afford the medications. She is so easy to get ahold of. She answers her phone right away and follows up with me on what methods she is working on to get my medications covered. Thank you, Annie, for helping me be my best self!
Cole Carlon Puffer, M.D., Family Medicine Klamath Falls
I would like to nominate Dr. Cole Puffer for a ROSE Award to recognize his excellence in compassionate, patient-centered care, outstanding professionalism, leadership and dedication to superb service. In April 2021, Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Consult-Liaison Service consulted on a 13-year-old patient who had some of the most profound, debilitating, emergent symptoms of catatonia we had seen in some time. The patient was admitted for IV benzodiazepines and stabilization, and the intern who took care of him during his admission was Family Medicine resident Dr. Puffer. This adolescent patient was extremely psychiatrically ill, agitated, combative, confused and he sometimes exhibited symptoms that were highly challenging for staff to manage. His medical work-up was intensive as this extreme presentation is unusual in an adolescent that young and requires further medical evaluation to rule out underlying etiologies such as auto-immune encephalitis. The type of behaviors a patient in an agitated catatonic episode exhibits are very difficult to treat outside of a psychiatric ward setting and can be immensely stressful for staff. Dr. Puffer was compassionate and thoughtful. He partnered with our Child Psychiatry service collaboratively, and treated this patient and his very worried family with the utmost respect and kindness. Dr. Puffer demonstrated an interest in learning about the treatment and pathology of catatonia and effectively managed the care of a patient who was not able to express gratitude for the wonderfully patient-centered care he received. There are times that even the most seasoned attendings can be dismissive of psychiatric symptoms as being “behavioral” or “intentional” – this can lead to possible underlying medical etiologies being overlooked and patients can develop grave disability as a consequence. However, Dr. Puffer maintained a professional approach, was committed and sensitive and upheld intellectual curiosity about the presenting illness and patient’s well-being. He showed a clear dedication to compassionate treatment, was generous with his time and warmth, and communicated masterfully with the patient and his family as well as with our team. For this, I would like to nominate Dr. Puffer for the ROSE Award as he demonstrates the values, dedication and leaderships skills as an intern early in his training that we all hope most highly experienced clinicians aim to hone throughout their careers.
Golden ROSE Award recipients
Jennifer McVey, R.N., Cardiac and Vascular Intermediate Care Unit (CVIMC)
Jennifer McVey is an absolutely amazing nurse that has been going well above and beyond her daily nursing duties for the past several years in the Wound and Hyperbaric Medicine Clinic, especially when we have been understaffed and lacking in resources. She has picked up extra shifts and makes sure all pertinent work is completed. This clinic demands a lot of physical and emotional energy, yet Jennifer always handles tough situations with a calm and pleasant demeanor and an astute level of professionalism. She is an amazing patient advocate, always reporting any potential concerning findings and suggesting alternative solutions when we run into problems. My absolute favorite thing about Jennifer is that she improves morale by putting up a joke of the day on our white board to be shared with patients and staff. She purchases and brings in decorations, and spends her own time after hours decorating the entire clinic each season to bring smiles to everyone’s faces. She purchases and distributes encouraging and celebratory buttons, bracelets and cards for patients when they heal and are being discharged. She makes sure that our entire team feels supported by having the team sign cards and coordinating gifts for birthdays, losses, babies, weddings, teammate transitions or any other big life events. Jennifer is a major contributing factor to why I am still working here and decided to stay when offered another position elsewhere. She even recognized when I was struggling and brought me a book to read because she hoped it would be helpful! Jennifer is a brilliant nurse and an amazing advocate for both our patients and our team, and her kindness makes the world a better place overall!
Kama Carranza, PAS Specialist, OHSU Family Medicine at Richmond Clinic
I would like to nominate Kama for a rose award. I spoke to a patient who spoke with Kama twice last week. The patient states they were having a very hard time. They had recently attempted suicide and were having problems navigating the healthcare system and referrals. The patient spoke to Kama for 20 minutes and said they felt like a human being and not just a number in a bed. Her interaction with Kama made the rest of her week better and she even spoke to her therapist about how amazing it had made her feel. She stated that speaking to Kama made her feel like a normal person again and will forever be grateful. She mentioned that their conversation really made a positive impact on them and they will also be sending an email to PCP to let them know. The patient said that speaking to Kama was like getting a hug over the phone and wants to make sure that FMR knows what an amazing asset Kama is to the organization. The patient also wants to let Kama know that she is doing better now thanks to her.
Team Award: Alissa Kehr, R.N., and Melanie Hinton, R.N., OHSU Doernbecher Pediatric Intensive Care Unit
Alissa and Melanie were the primary nurses for a recent patient that we cared for in the Doernbecher PICU. This patient was an almost 2-year-old girl with a severe case of meningococcemia – a diagnosis that many of us currently in healthcare have never seen in our careers. When patients are admitted to the PICU with severe meningococcemia, it can be fatal and she was admitted with a significant concern that she may not survive her first few days with us. Alissa and Melanie signed up to be primary nurses for her and her family. Primary nurses provide continuity and consistency for our patients and families, attend care conferences and are strong advocates for our patients and their families. This patient required continual renal replacement therapy (dialysis) and extensive twice-a-day dressing changes to her body that took hours at a time to complete in order to preserve as much of her skin as possible in preparation for future amputations of all four extremities. With all of the complications this patient was experiencing from her infection, her cognition was intact and that of a normal 2-year old child. Alissa and Melanie worked diligently to advocate and search for wound care supplies (as these are not supplies and dressings we normally stock in our unit) to care for her fragile skin and work with our providers to provide a plan for comfort during these painful dressing changes. They also created daily schedules of protected time for her to be a normal toddler. This was time that was specifically for the patient and the family, where she would participate in activities like sitting in her mom’s arms watching Moana or taking wagon rides in the hallways. Alissa and Melanie continued to be diligent advocates to get her the right care and treatment she would need going forward. We’re happy to report that this patient successfully transferred down to a specialty hospital in California in June for additional treatments, surgical amputation and rehabilitation. This would not have been possible without the entire care team with highlights to Alissa and Melanie who brought empathy, compassion and phenomenal nursing care to this patient and her family. We are so proud to work with them in the PICU and we believe they are very deserving of a ROSE Award!