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Our DAISY Nurses

Annabella Manahan BSN, RN 
Annabella Manahan BSN, RN
From 7W Walter Payton

November 2019

Annabella received her nomination from a patient from 7W. The patient stated, “I feel very lucky to have had Annabella as my nurse during my stay. I was in so much pain and the medication was not working to calm down my agony. I was in tears and Annabella held my hand and told me if I needed to cry and let it out to do so, she would be there for me, until the medicine took effect. She rubbed my chest and said everything will be okay soon, and looked at me in the eyes with compassion and understanding. She then saw I was reading a book on Batman and began to tell me about the Batman from the Philippines and took my mind off of the pain as the medication took effect. All the time she did not leave my side and still doing her job getting my other medications on the IV ready and talking to me, distracting me from the pain. It became something I focused on, the sound of her voice, the look she gave me that gave me the strength day by day to overcome the difficult pain I had. She was very attentive, knew every medicine by memory, was exactly punctual with giving me all my medication, very professional, when the shift change came she was clear and precise. I wish all nurses could have that great bedside manner, and high level professionalism like Annabella Manahan. She is my special person I will never forget and would love to keep in touch with. This is the way I would want my mother or family treated.”

From 7W Organ Transplant

August 2019

Sara received her nomination from the family member of her patient. The family member stated, “Sara could not have been more attentive. She has been there for us. She is funny, helpful, and efficient. She treated not only the patient but myself the spouse with dignity and respect. She has taken the time to genuinely care and attend to the patient’s special needs after the transplant.  She explained what she was doing, dispensing, and what it was for. When she came in the room during the night she was stealth. You barely knew she was there. She could not do enough to make the patient comfortable. She noticed that he was filling up with fluids and other issues. She is clean and as mentioned above efficient. She advised us about rounds and what will occur. She explained each medication being administered and came immediately when he hit the call button.
Sara was personable and comforting. She spoke highly and I observed her interacting well with her coworkers. Her handoff to the next shift was thorough and to the point. She knew he liked grape juice and continued to encourage him to hydrate.
She is a rock to cling to during this difficult time. I was comfortable leaving him in her hands when I had to leave the area.
She knocked it out of the park!!!!! Awesome Awesome Professional Caring Human.

Angela Banchoencharoensuk, RN

March 2019

Angela received her nomination from the family member of her patient. The family member stated, “ I believe she deserves this award for her love and care.  My mother is chronically sick and has been in and out of hospitals for many years and I’ve had good and bad experiences but more bad than good and I’ve never had the personal care she’s given my mother.  I know that my mother is in good hands when I see that Angela is her nurse.  I have never wanted more to thank someone for the love and care she’s shown my mother.  She treats her as if she was her mother.  She is very caring, very informative and takes her time to listen and talks to someone like we matter and are not just another patient.  She really makes us feel like family even by getting to know our name and address in a very professional and personal manner.

I can truly say I love this woman and I will always remember her name and I will forever request her for my mother when she is in this unit.  I still don’t know if she will pull through but I’m grateful she had a nurse like her in these moments.  She has made not only myself but our whole family have a little more faith that there are still nurses that love their job.  She always shows such gentle care any time she does anything from drawing blood to lifting her up in the bed.  I offered to help her and she tells me this is your time off I will take care of her. 

Angela truly deserves this Daisy award for going above and beyond for my mother.  We have seen her care for my mom multiple times over the last 4 years and is always consistent with the amazing care she gives my mom. 
Thank you for all your hard work and care.”

Maribeth Casabal, RN
6E Stepdown

March 2019

Maribeth received her nomination from one of her patients. Her patient said that they feel obligated to offer their opinion on nurse Maribeth Casabal. “As a recent patient on 6 West I had the good fortune to be under Maribeth’s care starting the day after my surgery.  She brightened my time there by her diligence in seeing that I was as comfortable as possible at all times.  She took extra effort in helping to fix a problem with my 2-piece ileostomy pouch not functioning properly due to leakage and staying past her shift.

She continually offered encouraging words when she noted I was feeling a bit discouraged.  Her sense of humor went a long way in uplifting my spirit that day.

I also noted that her attention to my care did not distract from quality of care to any other patient assigned to her.  If the other patients were questioned at the time about their care, I strongly believe they would agree about my comments toward nurse Maribeth.

The following day she was the charge nurse but still she found time to come by and offer inspiration.
May she be commended for her service as I feel she takes and performs it as a humanitarian and not just a job.” 

Jeri Klecki, BSN, MBA
Emergency Services

November 2018

Jeri received her nomination from one of her peers. They stated that Jeri has been a nurse in our ED for over 25 years and has been an integral part of the care and education of countless nurses, physicians and patients.  I have had the honor of working alongside Jeri for the last 15 years and have watched her flourish within our shared governance structure. She tackles issues with a smile and volunteers to take on projects that others shy away from.  She also has strong relationships with our physicians and has an uncanny ability to make them smile during a rough shift. Jeri always remains flexible in the ED, happy to jump into a resuscitation, take on the charge nurse role or start an IV on a 2-week old depending upon where help is needed.  She is the first to think of the little things like getting the warm blanket or ordering a dinner tray for someone who has been waiting in the ED all day long, offering that extra little something to make their ED visit a bit more pleasant. 

The story that comes to mind that really portrays Jeri as a Daisy Nurse is when she provided care to a recent patient in the ED.  The patient had undergone surgery that led to some complications.  The patient presented to the ED and Jeri was her primary RN. It seemed as though the patient wasn’t coping well and wasn't healing. It also seemed as though she just needed someone to talk to. Jeri managed to make time to put the patient at ease.  The patient was discharged and came back to the ED again in about 48 hours.  Jeri was here again, not as her primary nurse, but in another assignment.  She checked in a few times and ultimately the patient was discharged shortly afterwards.  For Jeri, it didn't stop there.  Red flags went off.  She was concerned that this patient needed some additional resources.  The next day, Jeri called me at 6am and said she was up half the night thinking about this patient and wanted to know what else we could do to help this patient.  She reached out to our ED medical navigator/social work who was able to contact the patient and set her up with follow-up appointments and counseling. It is the littlest of details and interventions that can make such an impact on the outcomes of a patient.  I am honored to be able to share this story and nomination of Jeri for the Daisy award.  

Maria Christina Joson, RN

November 2018

Maria received her nomination from the family member of her patient. The family member stated that their mother-in-law was air lifted after suffering from an aneurism which led to a hemorrhagic stroke.  Christina came on duty at night and her bedside manner was phenomenal, so much interaction that we felt at ease to leave our precious loved one in her care.  She was very detailed in her explanation of the plan of care and in explaining the disease process.  She even printed out simple-to-read medical brochures.  She explained each medication and also answered questions.  The way she interacted with my loved one was the classic meaning of compassion.  Cristina is a modern day Florence Nightingale.  She’s a great example of the values of UIC Hospital.  She’s detailed, knowledgeable, compassionate and a host of other great attributes that every nurse should aspire to have.  My family and I are truly appreciative of the care she provided not only to my mother-in-law but the family as a whole.  She not only meets the standards of a Daisy Nurse but adds certain qualities you can’t learn, but which come from the heart.  Great nurse, great team player and great warm personality.

Comments from additional family members:
Christina is a very good and special nurse.  Upon arrival, she explained everything going on to me.  She made me and my family feel so at ease and assured us that my mother was in good hands.  She was very attentive to us and our mother.  She answered every question in a way I could understand.  Under her care, my mom showed great signs of improvement and what really impressed me was my mother went down the next morning after Christina left, but when Christina got there, she was concerned, worked on my mother and great improvements came about.  I am so happy to have her as my mother’s nurse and I think UIC should be equally happy to have her as an employee. 

Christina really put me at ease.  Her spirit, care and attentiveness is very convivial and compassionate.  She is a jewel of a nurse and I highly recommend her for this award.

Ciji Varghese Rajan, RN
8W Oncology

July 2018

Ciji received his nomination from one of his peers. They stated that Ciji is the best RN on our unit. He is very professional, never comes in late, not a single complaint in regards to his schedule and patient assignments.  He is always focused on whatever patient assignments he is getting.   He never has a negative attitude towards his patients and colleagues.

Ciji is a team player and complies with unit requirements all the time. His patients love him! When working, he is making sure that his patients are safe, receive the best care, and have a positive experience during their stay.

Ciji is a quiet worker, does his best during his shift, helps other staff if needed and most often he finishes on time. Whenever in doubt, he will not hesitate to ask a question. Like one time when his patient was having a profuse, active bleed, he came to me and said,  “Is it okay if you can check with me if there are other possible things we can do”? He did not leave the patient. He called an RRT and the patient was transferred to ICU. This important intervention was rendered before the patient’s condition really deteriorated because of Ciji’s great nursing skills.
We need to have more RN's like CIJI!

Lori Christopher, RN
Neuroscience Center

July 2018

Lori received her nomination from one of her patients. Her patient stated that she was writing this letter in regards to a Neuroscience nurse Ms. Lori Christopher presently working with Dr. Demetrious Skias. I have been a patient of Dr. Skias's for approximately fourteen years and during this time she has gone far beyond any expectations of not only professionalism in nursing, but also with the utmost compassion in assisting me in the physical and emotional aspects of my multiple sclerosis.

Whether it be taking the time to answer one of the many questions I had pertaining to medical situations that arose, and how to deal with them, or always and I stress always, immediately attending to one of the other types of problems that occur when dealing with coordinating all medical information being shared with other doctors of mine including outside pharmacy and insurance company needs on a moment’s notice.

To showcase just a few of the many instances, Lori was able to coordinate many three- way phone conversations with her, myself and pharmaceutical companies eliminating the loss of my medication via an assistance program.

When surgery was required after a fall, the surgeon required all information pertaining to my treatments elsewhere, medications, scans, etc. This immediate attention was key to my rapid scheduling of surgery. I am a firm believer of complete sharing of treatment history with all doctors. Thank God there are devoted nurses like Lori that go the extra mile to assist patients in their time of need and that the University of Illinois Hospital can claim her as one of theirs.

Cynthia Riemer, RN
Emergency Department

March 2018

Cynthia received her award though the nomination from one of her peers. They stated “Last night was a very busy night in the ED. I believe we had more than 75 patients registered at one time; a full unit, with 40 or more in the waiting room and EMS still bringing more in. There were multiple difficult patients. Yet with all the movement happening, working non-stop with bed control, communicating with other unit charge nurses, calming our patients and their family members, our Charge Nurse Cynthia still kept it together and displayed what this institution is known for: putting patients first and teamwork!

Cynthia somehow managed to take the time to help move beds, escort patients to different areas, coordinate with physicians and helped relieve RNs when they became overwhelmed. She, in fact, did take a few patients on during all of this, because they were very ill, and she didn’t want them waiting for care. This kind of selfless dedication to the quality of care is something we should all strive to be more like. The fact that she did so with a smile and great attitude only added to make things better.  If it weren't for Cynthia working so tirelessly, putting patients first and being aware of the staffs’ situations, things could have gone very differently.

Lizzy Hatch, RN
Neurosurgical Intensive Care Unit

March 2018

Lizzy received her nomination from the wife of one of her patients. She stated, my husband was admitted to NSICU with a hemorrhagic stroke and Ms. Hatch was on the receiving team of nurses and doctors. On the days she was assigned to care him it was evident that Lizzy is very knowledgeable in this area. She pursued each and every change in my husband's critical care with her trained and experienced eye while consulting the physicians before administering medication.

Lizzy observed the changes in his health and knew when a more advanced medication was needed. She showed compassion in her care for my husband as well as compassion for me and our family. The entire time she worked to save his life, she explained every change, concern, and medication that was being considered. Lizzy is dedicated and it shows through her work. I have seen the diligence, dedication, and delight in her work ethics. When your efforts, time, and sincere care are administered and a patient shows improvement in their health, you rejoice and I could see that in Ms. Hatch when he began to show signs of his health improving. She was not only rejoicing for him but for the family.

Ameer Macaludos, BSN, RN

November 2017

Ameer received his nomination from one of his patients. His patient stated that Ameer gives his best and is so caring!  As a patient, I always feel his care and the service he renders.  I love when he takes care of me because I can feel his patience and care.  He is kind and gentle.  He is detail-oriented and pays close attention to his patients.  He is a team player who readily assists his colleagues.  He is willing to go above and beyond to provide excellent patient care.  He smiles and greets me with courtesy and offers me great respect.  One day when I was having a hard time and crying, he noticed it and offered to wipe my tears.  His presence comforted me at this difficult moment.  The first time I met him, he was so quiet, you could see in his eyes his passion for what he does.  I feel so much love when he takes care of me.  He is so intense and passionate, he is focused and he is very attentive to details.  I remember telling him, “you will go far in what you do”.  He returned to me one day and said, “you see, I am in charge tonight, you said I could go far, you are right!  I am surprised he even remembered what I told him.  He also said, “I’m at work, but it is not a job, it is not only a career, it is my passion!”

He is like a son to me.  He is working hard to see that I am happy and comfortable.  He usually stops in my room and would say, “let me know if you need anything, I am just at the nursing station” or will say “is there anything else I can do for you Ms. B?”  He is so attentive to all my needs and remembers everything the way I like it, from my pills to how I like my covers. That means something to me, that I am treated in a very special way.

When I found out that I had cancer I did not know I was sick at all.  I said to myself, “what is wrong with me?”  I never knew it was this serious, but to have somebody to treat me so well, completely made a difference. Whenever I go back to Rehab Center, I usually tell the nurses there “go to UIC, there are good nurses there”.  It is because of the kind of care I received from Ameer as my nurse.  Ameer is the kind of nurse that patients, families, and staff see as a great role model.

Kristen Greif, BSN, RN
Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

January 2018

Kristen received her nomination from one of her peers. Her peer stated that Kristen cared for M for 5 months, serving as the only primary RN for a vulnerable NICU family.  She worked hard to make sure that this growing baby had the right tools for optimal development.  She sought out help from our developmental care team, asked the medical team to obtain consults for services to ensure M had the right kind of bottle as she learned how to coordinate suck/swallow/breathe.  I can honestly say that if not for Kristen's efforts or coordination with PT/OT, this baby may have received a G-Tube.

Baby M's mom visited the NICU daily.  Then she had to go back to work.  And her visits became shorter.  I distinctively remember one day when Kristen made sure the medical team presented rounds early enough so that mom didn't have to miss it.  Kristen too made sure she was present at rounds and updated the team on her status.  Every day, Kristen took time to sit with Mom to teach her something or to just listen. Kristen was a sounding board and a tremendous support for this family.  Kristen didn't only focus on the baby.  She often asked, "Mom, how are YOU doing?".

After caring for this baby for 5 months, Kristen ended up not being scheduled to work on the day of discharge.  But fear not, Kristen changed her schedule and found a way to work so that she could discharge the baby home. Kristen had prepared the family so well, that there was no teaching to be done on the day of discharge.  It was a momentous occasion, a fun day, a proud day. Kristen nearly had tears in her eyes as she wheeled back the empty crib from the lobby.

Even on Baby M's crabbiest days, Kristen found ways to help other staff.  She is always willing to lend a hand and she doesn't complain when the going gets tough.

Thank you, Kristen, for so carefully and joyously taking care of Baby M.  She is lucky to have had you as a primary RN!

Sonya Pagano, RN
Adult Stepdown Unit

July 2017

Sonya received her nomination from one of her patients. Her patient stated that she was a patient at the University of Illinois for an emergency surgery and prolonged stay. During that time I received excellent care from many of the staff, nurses, physicians, etc. But one person has stood out the most for me is Sonya from the 6th floor. I appreciated Sonya because from day one after my surgery she was a kind, supportive face, and presence within the hospital. Sonya was my nurse for a majority of my hospital stay. Her presence, smile, calm demeanor, and caring, loving attitude and personality made my stay bearable and sometimes even enjoyable. Sonya went above and beyond the care, a typical nurse is supposed to give treating me like I was her only patient even though the hallway was full of people needing her and her attention, at times. Sonya was always giving frequent check-ins, cleaning up my room and helping me feel normal in a hospital setting. Sonya helped and encouraged me to begin walking and moving out of my bed as soon as I could and celebrated even the littlest of successes with me throughout my stay. She was there to handle the gross and embarrassing situations as well as there as someone to lean on during my long, often lonely stay. Sonya was always was there to listen, encourage, and to care. She truly listened to me and my husband and guests and treated everyone with respect and as welcomed guests of the hospital. She always encouraged me to continue to try to strengthen myself and stay positive even in the midst of the most discouraging times of my stay. Sonya is a wonderful nurse and a loving and compassionate human being. I was so very honored and lucky to have had her as my nurse. I honor Sonya for her tireless efforts, wonderful personality and caring demeanor. She is a wonderful nurse, an amazing caregiver, and should be held up as an example for everyone to see of a truly gifted individual following her calling and passion in life.  She is a true DAISY Nurse!

Geri Jaracz, RN
Medical Intensive Care Unit

July 2017

Geri received her nomination from the daughter of one of her patients. She stated that her mother was a patient in your hospital receiving a bone marrow transplant from the end of August 2016 until she passed away in September of 2016. It has taken so long to write this letter because it just seems so final, please do not let that reflect on the fantastic care she received. Geri was her nurse 3 days in a row which was wonderful for us, the continuity of care meant such a great deal to all of us including my mom. She was most at ease with her. Geri managed to comfort my mom and put her at ease while explaining everything that was happening. My mom had been anxious from Bibap and Geri helped to ease her fears. When we were unable to be present, Geri kept us in the loop with how our Mom was progressing and how our plan of care was changing and why it was happening. She shared information that was vital to our moms care while being practical and human.

Not only is Geri an extremely competent RN, she is compassionate to her patients and their families. As an RN working in an ICU, it is easy to be critical of each other, when Geri was my Mom's nurse I felt that it was okay to go home for a while and that my mom was in good hands while I was away.

Geri, thank you! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your kind words, for your experience, for your compassion, for all that you do and finally for being you. You truly made a difference in all our lives during the most difficult event we have ever been through.

We wish you well Geri. We are so grateful for your care and think of you often.

Joyce Hudnall, RN, BSN

March 2017

Joyce received her nomination from one of her peers. Her peer stated that Joyce has been an Administrative Nurse on our Pediatric Unit at UI Health for over 30 years.  Her leadership style, teamwork skills, and compassion for others make her an outstanding candidate for the prestigious DAISY award.

Regarding her leadership style, Joyce consistently demonstrates a positive attitude particularly when she is under stress. Her calm and collected demeanor guides her team during stressful situations.  She mentors others to maintain a positive attitude and provide safe patient care.

In addition, Joyce is a strong patient advocate who is willing to go above and beyond to help patients in challenging situations. She is often observed taking the time to listen to her patients/family members’ concerns and offering non-judgmental advice.  For example, one of our patients was admitted to the pediatric unit because he got sick when he was visiting from Michigan. Unfortunately, the child’s family had very little financial resources. When the medical team decided to discharge the baby on a day that she did not plan to be discharged, the mother admitted that she did not have anywhere to go. They could not leave to go back to Michigan because their ride was not able to come until the next day. Therefore, the mother was planning on staying in a homeless shelter for the night.  Joyce could not imagine the mother having to stay in a homeless shelter with her child who was just recovering from the hospitalization. Without hesitation, Joyce graciously paid money out of her own pocket to help the mother and child buy a train ticket so they could get back to their home in Michigan.

Thank you, Joyce, for your kind and compassionate care of our patients and their families!

Michelle Pusatera, RN

September 2016

Michelle received her nomination from one of her peers. Her peer stated that Michelle Pusatera has been a staff nurse on the inpatient general pediatric unit at UI Health since 2001. I believe that Michelle’s patient advocacy, teamwork skills, and community outreach make her an exemplary candidate for the DAISY Award.

Michelle was my preceptor in my student nurse extern program. As a preceptor, Michelle was inspiring, patient and enthusiastic about educating nursing students. She took the time to fully explain all aspects of care and answer my questions. She worked hard to ensure that I had a rich experience.

Michelle was inspired to join the National Association for Down’s Syndrome (NADS) shortly after her son was born with Down’s Syndrome in 2010.  Her professional and personal experiences led her to believe that an educational gap existed in the nursing and medical curriculum about how to compassionately inform families that their child will be born with a congenital disease. As a member of NADs, Michelle serves as a healthcare mentor, parent support/educator, and member of the Board of Directors. Each summer, she lectures medical and nursing professionals on how to compassionately and accurately discuss the Down’s Syndrome diagnosis with expecting parents.

In addition, Michelle currently serves as a parent educator and parent support in the NADS organization for eight families. She meets with the expecting parents to gain an understanding of the family’s social situation and their expected newborn’s other comorbidities. Michelle then matches the family up with another family who have a child with similar comorbidities.  Michelle hosts both families at her home so that they can discuss expectations and establish a mutual supportive relationship.

As a nurse on 5W pediatrics, Michelle leads by example and serves as a champion for using respectful and compassionate language when speaking with families who have children with chronic and congenital illnesses.  Her professionalism and calm demeanor puts family members at ease and helps them recognize that they truly have a professional support system on 5W pediatrics.

Jocelyn Tobias, RN
Medical Intensive Care Unit

September 2016

Jocelyn was nominated by one of her peers. Her peer stated that as a staff nurse in the MICU, Jocelyn is exemplary.  She is a team player who is always willing to help no matter how busy she may be.  She is the coworker that you can always count on. Jocelyn inspires others to always go the extra mile for patient care.  She is truly committed to her patients and always makes sure they are comfortable in every way.  Over the years, she has had numerous letters of recognition and thanks from family members regarding her excellent patient care.

Some comments from families include:

  • “Jocelyn took the time to listen with her heart. She is so gentle and caring and we are so grateful that she was my father’s nurse.”
  • “I appreciated the honesty in Jocelyn’s eyes when speaking about my son’s condition.  Because of her I was able to make sure his father was here to say good-bye before he passed.”
  • “I really appreciated how Jocelyn supported my decision and made my husband’s last breaths comfortable.”

Jocelyn is an amazing source of support for patients and families when there seems to be no hope for a peaceful outcome. Her skill and compassion shine brightest when assisting families with end-of-life decisions. Recently, her patient was suffering with terminal cirrhosis in end of life. Jocelyn carefully supported the wife’s decision to stop life-sustaining measures. She suggested the wife let the children speak to the father by phone. One by one the children told him they loved him. His heart beat slowed, and he died with his wife and parents at his bedside.

I cannot stress enough the positive impact that Jocelyn has had on me as a nurse. Her commitment to caring is exemplary and she inspires us every day to go the extra mile for patients and their families.

Catherine Albecker, RN
Family Medicine Clinic

April 2016

Catherine received her nomination from one of her patients. Her patient stated that she was having corrective knee surgery and there were some challenges with me returning home without anyone to help me.  When I got home I was set up with physical therapy to come to the home for 2 days a week for three weeks. Within the 1st day I was having problems with the pain meds that were prescribed which had me very disoriented. I tried calling the orthopedic office and my primary office to get a change of medication. I kept getting call backs that were not being answered by me for unknown reasons. The message always stated to call the general number so, in essence we were playing phone tag. I received a call and I actually was able to answer it myself and it was Cathy she said "I will be your nurse care coordinator". I smiled because I had given up on getting someone to help me. From that first conversation I knew help was on the way.

I live far from the clinic and it was a chore within itself navigating through what insurance coverage I had for my area. Cathy put her cape on and began tending to my needs. During the course of my rehab I developed an infection around my wound. Cathy was able to make appointments for me to be seen and was able to move future appointments up so I could make one trip into Chicago instead of several within one week. Cathy found a supplier in my area for my cpap machine. I've even received a call from one of the nurses from the clinic in regards to Cathy and her concerns for my knee infection. That nurse was so impressed by Cathy’s concerns that I been seen as soon as possible for this infection. The nurse stated to me that Cathy had called her and was informing her of the infection I had developed around the area of the surgery site and I needed to be seen as soon as possible. I said “Wow even her peers are singing her praises!” As a result of the phone call that Cathy made I was admitted a second time for treatment and 24-hour observation.

Cathy and I still talk as I head back to work and she is still concerned if my blood pressure is okay and if I am healing properly. She has helped me expedite referrals for PT to helping me with my stress levels when I return to work. Cathy and I have found time to talk about the fall colors and places to visit during the fall season that are in my area. I truly believe she is an angel as she was sent truly in a time of need. I could always look forward to Cathy's morning phone call to find out how I am feeling.  I really don't know how my recovery would have gone had it not been for my caring nurse, Cathy Albecker.

Fabienne Fify, RN
Adult Oncology

April 2016

Fabienne received her nomination from one of her patients. Her patient stated that throughout their hard leukemia journey, Fabienne has been taking care of me while I’m staying at the hospital.  She is the nurse who makes sure I get everything I need, listens to my complaints, does her best to uplift my spirit and encourages me to fight.  No matter how busy she is, Fabienne will always find a minute to come to my room to check on me even if she is not in charge of me on that day.

Fabienne is very intelligent and has a good knowledge of so many things like medications, equipment and others and she is always ready to explain things and give a piece of advice.  When I’m having a bad day, she can make it much better with a hug and a beautiful smile which comes from her warm heart.  She always finds time to talk to my mom who supports me through this difficult time and my husband who asked Fabienne many questions about my condition.  With her heart of gold, Fabienne makes my hospital stay easier and makes me forget the reason I’m here.  She encourages me to fight and gives me strength with her inspirational stories.

Fabienne is very diligent and hard-working.  She many times stays late, never rushes home, making sure everything is done and all my and other patients’ needs are satisfied. Fabienne really deserves this award because she is a natural born nurse.

Connie Saucedo, RN
Oncology, BMT Unit

December 2015

Connie received her nomination from one of her patients. Her patient stated that in 2012 they were
diagnosed with cancer. To say it was the hardest day of my life is an understatement. I live in Champaign, Illinois and after being diagnosed I was transferred to UI Hospital for treatment where I first met Connie. The very first thing Connie said was "you are in the right hands and everything is going to be alright." Those words ended up ringing so very true through my entire treatment! Connie has been here for me and my family not only medically but more important - emotionally. She has been there at my absolute sickest and when I was healing into remission. Connie has held my hand and cried with me and has stayed and rubbed my head to reassure me when I thought I was dying that with strength I could overcome the negative thoughts and truly heal! Many times Connie would take time out of her day and explain exactly how the medication I was taking would work and how it would interact with my disease. I have always felt completely informed medically and when you are confused, as most are considering the level of medical knowledge you have, it was so reassuring and appreciated. It makes you feel like you are part of your treatment, not just someone going along with the motions. Anytime I asked anything of Connie she was on it immediately, whether it be getting me a juice to finding out when my next round of platelets will be. She is just totally spot on at all times! When I see that she is my nurse for the day, a sense of relief washes over me because I know I will not have to second guess anything and I can trust all of my needs will be met without having to ask. To say that Connie has become "my home away from home" is putting it mildly! She has become a huge part of my family. Connie is one of the most loving people I have ever met. The love in her heart for what she does is evident. It shines from her into the faces of her patients and their families. I've never heard a bad word uttered when speaking of Connie. She has also shown that to her fellow co-workers. Anytime a co-worker has asked something of her, she drops what she is doing to help make sure they get what they need to better serve their patients!

Tarla Boyce, RN
Hospital Admissions

August 2015

Tarla received the following letter from one of her patients’ family members. ….I took my 80 year old brother to the Geriatrics Center at UI Hospital for an appointment. My brother is mentally and physically challenged. We arrived early and he wanted to eat so I took him to the dining facility and ordered lunch for him. By this time the dining area was packed with people. I was trying to navigate the wheelchair and hold on to his lunch and make it through the crowds. Just getting my brother to the hospital that afternoon had been a challenge and I was feeling more than exhausted.

Suddenly a very nice lady appeared and told me to "Be still. I'll get you a tray." She gently rolled the wheelchair to a corner and soon came back with a tray for me to put the food on. She walked with us to the payment station and said something to the cashier. She then rolled my brother to a table and told me to go and get something for myself to eat while she watched him. I couldn't eat anything at this point. She got up from the table and went over to the cashier and took out her wallet to pay for his lunch even though I insisted that she let me pay, she wouldn't. She said "let me be your blessing today."

I asked her name and what she did at the hospital and she said she was a nurse. Her name was Tarla. But by this time I was crying like a baby as I was so overwhelmed by her act of kindness. I am sure she had not had the time to get a lunch for herself.

Before leaving us Tarla took the time to sit and talk and offer me the encouragement that I really needed at that moment.

Katie Rhame, RN

August 2015

Katie was nominated by one of her peers. Her peer stated that a recent example of why Katie should be honored with the DAISY Award is her admitting and primary care of a 26 3/7 week 780 grams, tiny little boy. He was born very unexpectedly. He was so early that the parents did not have a name for him when he was born.

The family was very nervous and anxious since the delivery was sudden. Many times parents have some warning that their infant will be delivered early. Unfortunately, this family was not prepared and did not even plan on delivery at UIC. Katie welcomed first the father to meet his 1st born son. She was very kind and patient in explaining all the working of the NICU to a very nervous father, who was also coping with a very ill mother. She made sure he was able to take a picture of the little guy so that the mother could see that he was doing well.

Katie signed up to as a primary nurse for this neonate so that she could provide continuity of care for him and be a familiar face for the family to help ease their nerves during their long NICU journey. Over the next few days the mother was feeling better and was able to meet her son in person. Katie encouraged the parents to participate in care of their fragile little guy. She supported the mother's goal of breastfeeding him by encouraging her to pump milk for him until he is able to breastfeed himself.

Katie makes beautifully decorated name tags for the infants in the NICU so that the babies are more than just baby Doe. These name tags are asked for and cherished by the families in the NICU families.

Jaymi Pendelton, RN
Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

March 2015

Jaymi was nominated by one of her peers. Her peer stated that “Jaymi is a staff nurse in the NICU who has demonstrated keen assessment skills and remarkable communication skills while caring for very fragile infants. Her ability to execute complex care to infants and comfort the families during significant emotional changes is what makes Jaymi an excellent nurse!

Recently, while caring for a very small and extremely preterm infant, Jaymi provided extraordinary care. She became the infant's primary nurse and by request of the family, continues to be in contact with the family and positively impacts the child's health.”

Marian Cachero, RN
Pre-Surgery Clinic

March 2015

Marian received her nomination from one of her peers. Her peer stated that Marian Cachero is a nurse in the anesthesia clinic here at UI Health. Marian goes above and beyond and is dedicated to patients that come to be cleared for surgery. Marian takes the time to walk patients through the entire process of preparing for surgery and ensuring proper follow-up. Her dedication to patients eases their anxieties and ensures proper information is collected, which has helped significantly in the decrease of surgery cancellations.

Marian acts as a coach to the doctors that rotate through to ensure that they are also able to meet the specific needs of each patient. Due to Marian's organization and commitment to caring for her patients, she has contributed greatly to the efficiency of the clinic.

Janet Golick, RN,MSN,OCN
Hematology/Oncology Clinic

December 2014

Janet received her nomination from one of her peers. Her peer stated that Janet Golick is calm, compassionate, thorough, gentle, professional, and persistent. She exemplifies the best qualities of a health care provider at all times. Janet has a remarkable ability to pick up on patient's nonverbal cues and provide appropriate care. She is a great advocate for her patients and always takes the extra time to ensure proper follow up. Janet is an amazing clinic nurse and peer leader among other nurses. She truly exemplifies the qualities of a DAISY nurse.

Allison Zitrick, RN, BSN, MSN
Telemetry Stepdown Unit

December 2014

Allison Zitrick received a nomination from a patient who experienced her exceptional level of care while undergoing multiple surgeries. Allison was described as a nurse that goes above and beyond for patients. She is committed to the comfort of her patients and their families during difficult times. Her friendly and warm demeanor puts a smile on your face, makes you laugh, and has the ability to put you and your family at ease. She truly cares about people

5W Peds Team

Maria Luisa Pabellano, RN, PCCN
from 6W Step-Down

Maria Luisa Pabellano, staff nurse from 6W Step-Down, is a nurse truly deserving of the Daisy Award nomination. She never hesitates to take the most difficult of patients, and then gives it her all for patient care. Luisa works tirelessly to provide not only excellent nursing care to her patients, but also gives them the moral support and comfort. Luisa has a calm manner, and demonstrates the same caring, concern, and compassion for all of her patients. She has top-notch skills, demonstrates a high level of critical thinking at all times, and is always a team player. Her first concern is patient care and safety collaborating with all members of the health care team.


Aurora Bella Miske, RN
from 5E Surgery 

Aurora Bella received her nomination from a patient in 5E Surgery.  Aurora goes far and beyond regular nursing care by showing deep, genuine care, and understanding the patients' physical and emotional needs. She also has the ability to lift patients' spirits, or to simply to be with them and hold their hand when they are in pain.  Aurora is concerned about the concerns of her patients.  She has is more than a nurse; she is an angel to many patients.


Bonnie Tamillo, R.N.
from MSICU

Bonnie Tamillo from the medical surgery ICU team received the nomination from two UI Health employees. Bonnie goes above and beyond in her passion and dedication for patients who need palliative care. She strives for every patient to have a dignified death, providing all medical comforts in a home environment. Bonnie is not only the nurse you want to take care of you and your loved one; she is also the nurse you want as your advocate.

Emergency Department 2nd

Joan Martellotto R.N. Ph.D.
from Islet Cell transplant

Joan Martellotto from Islet Cell Transplant received the nomination from a patient who had Type I Diabetes paired with an inability to recognize low-blood sugar, which left the patient in a vulnerable state. Joan was described as having a presence that projects peace and tranquility when she enters a room, and she made a life-changing medical procedure less frightening. Joan is the very essence of what the Daisy Award stands for in her profession.