- Employee Recognition Program
- CARE Awards
- Excellence in Nurse Leadership Awards
- Award for Extraordinary Nurses
The CARE Award is for employees who demonstrate the core values of UI Health, display a job performance that goes above and beyond expected performance, exhibit a patient-first mentality, are motivated and strive for excellence, contribute to the positive culture in the department and organization, and have made a difference in the life of a patient, visitor, or peer. Click here to submit a CARE Award nomination.
Department: Patient Access / OCC Cancer Center
“Lisa Tibbs is another unsung hero at UI Health. Her work is behind-the-scenes, but critical in getting our most vulnerable patients access to timely care. Lisa is so good at what she does, she often gets pulled in 1,000 different directions. She is currently one person doing the work of three+ due to staffing shortages. She holds herself to the same high standards, despite there only being 24 hours in a day. Lisa deserves a CARE award because she goes above and beyond in all that she does. She is a lifeline for clinic nurses scrambling to get procedures scheduled ASAP in potentially life or death situations. Lisa never says no, even when it's not her job. We sincerely appreciate her and all her hard work on behalf of our patients.”
Department: Care Coordination
“Mr. Lechuga deserves a special shout out for his dedication and devotion to one of our neurosurgery patient. This patient has severe neurological deficits, is verbally impaired and speaks no English. Discharge planning for the last 6 months has been very challenging due to lack of funding and no family in the US. For month now Mr. Lechuga has been promoting communication with the family in China between family/staff and family/patient. He frequently sees this patient and provides stimulation, interaction and companionship. Today I observed a lengthy and involved interaction where Mr. Lechuga had interpreter and son and wife via internet. He demonstrated to the family how much the patient has improved clinically. He engaged the patient in different activities and noted the varies positive responses. There are many communication barriers with this patient and his family yet Mr. Lechuga is undeterred and makes a special ongoing effort to break those barriers. I strongly believe that the patient has improved because of this and the family benefits from his updates. Thank you!”
Dr. H. Steven Sims
“I have been very fortunate to have been under the care of Dr. Sims since August 2020. I had been experiencing hoarseness and vocal fatigue for nearly 5 months before I met him and feel so blessed to have found this wonderful doctor. I first visited UI Health in August 2020 and made an appointment with a general ENT because I was unsure where to begin. This ENT read over my case and went to get Dr. Sims because she knew he was better suited for my case. He came to see me this day, even though it was his telehealth visit day and not seeing patients on campus. He was able to diagnose my issue right away and helped me make a plan for care. I ended up coming back a month later to see Dr. Sims and was able to come again on his only telehealth day, but he made it work knowing that I lived nearly an hour away and was going to be in Chicago for another appointment that day. He went above and beyond multiple times to make sure I could get appointments to see him that worked with my schedule. He was also always very responsive any time I contacted him outside of my appointments. He made sure I had answers to my questions and helped me feel at ease with my medical needs. I have seen Dr. Sims several times since my first visit with him and recently had surgery with him to fix a vocal cord issue. He was always so caring, patient, kind, and took all the time I needed to answer all my questions and concerns. He knew how anxious I was about my surgery since it was my first surgery and he came to see me beforehand to make sure I was feeling okay and to see if I had any questions. He genuinely cares about the well-being of his patients, medically and personally. I also am now following up with voice therapy and Dr. Sims made sure that connection was made and that I was continuing on my recovery. Dr. Sims is compassionate, respectful, friendly, and very down to earth. I am so grateful for him and all he did to take care of me and address all my needs.”
Department: Emergency Services
“I would like to commend Armando for being a fabulous nurse and a great team player. This past evening was very rough, with 40 patients in the waiting room, many sick patients that needed rooms, and many COVID patients boarding. Armando was very helpful with getting patients TT'd, helping Laura or me see people in the hallway, getting patients roomed, drawing labs, giving meds, advocating for sick patients to get roomed, etc. It was not until about 10:30 pm that I realized that Armando was assigned to be a greeter. He really went above and beyond to help us take care of patients on this particular evening, and we are so grateful!”
"“Ms. Mallard is always so helpful. She goes above and beyond for my daughter and I am sure for many other patients. She has been an anchor to us when we are struggling and always goes above and beyond her job description! It has truly been a pleasure to meet her and get the opportunity to have her as my daughter’s nurse practitioner. Recently when my daughter was suffering from depression in the hospital, she met me outside and I had no words. We walked and she knew exactly what to say at that moment that was so hard for my daughter and our family. The words of wisdom that she gives provide the essence of caring with compassion that we all need when we have a family member suffering with such a chronic illness. She not only works with patients but she also makes sure the family is okay. She has been such an inspirational human being in our lives. UI Health is definitely very lucky to have individuals like her working at their hospital and clinics.”
Tawanna Daniels & Maricarmen Herrera
"Maricarmen Herrera is a super user in Epic for the Adult clinic and Tawanna Daniels is the super user for our Child clinic. Both of these women did an amazing job of sharing information as they were receiving it from their training. They brought back the information to the various teams within the department of Psychiatry the frontline and Intake. They kept everyone informed, engaged, and motivated to learn Epic. They worked long hours after their shift as well as on the weekends. They sent out e-mails daily with valuable information on how to do things in Epic. They constantly reiterated to the staff that we were all learning this together, and that we would all eventually get very good with knowing how to do Epic. Even after Epic went live, they both offered extra WebEx training classes, which were a tremendous help to everyone.
I would like to thank them both for their patience and understanding as we continue to learn the full scope of Epic. In addition, their willingness to continue to help with the many still unanswered questions regarding Epic."
Department: Women and Children
"I think Kathy deserves recognition because she went over and beyond to provide and assist me with lactation materials that I did not have access to. I am a staff member that left all nursing materials (breast pump, bottles, bags etc.) at home. I was in pain from engorgement and I did not know that the delivery unit would assist me with my problem. I explained my situation to Kathy and she immediately gave me all the materials I needed to pump my breast milk. She explained how to use the equipment thoroughly and she walked me to different places on the unit that required access. She made me feel comfortable, calm and relieved that I was able to pump milk for my baby. Being in pain and wondering how I would complete my job duties while being engorged was a huge stress taken off me thanks to Kathy's professional and compassionate spirit. I never met her until the day she assisted me with this issue. I appreciate her support and efforts that allowed me to pump breast milk for my baby!"
Department: 4W NICU
"I'd like to share how well the staff worked together yesterday as we admitted 5 NICU babies. Four of these babies were admitted in a span of 1 hour. Needless to say, our staffing was stretched, but the job was done with professionalism, efficiency and great care for the wellbeing of our patients. The staff helped each other out and the unit ran like a well-oiled machine. Special thanks to Hazel, Carol, Liene, Karyna and Leah who were the admission nurses.
Thanks to Tristine, Vivian, Christina, Dina, Jeff, Rosie, Jibi, Alex, Jeanette and Susama for all the help. Thank you to the Fellows; Dana, Amy and Tony for keeping the nursing staff updated and for the smooth resuscitation and admission to NICU. I'm sure you are proud of your staff, and I am honored to work alongside all of these caring professionals."
Department: Laboratory/Pathology Services
"Claudia consistently goes above and beyond to provide excellent patient care. She will not give up until a problem is solved. Claudia performs thorough work. Recently when rooming a patient she noted he had a temperature of 99.7, higher than his normal. She rechecked his temperature and it was still slightly elevated. During conversation with the patient she asked if he'd been feeling ill lately or if anything had changed since his last visit. The patient responded "no". While continuing to the room the patient Claudia noted a large, abnormally appearing abscess on the patient's hand. Claudia notified the clinic RN.
Prior to going on her lunch break Claudia asked the MD if she saw the patient's abscess. The MD was unaware and re-evaluated the patient and determined the patient needed to be seen in the ED and was sent from clinic. Later that day Claudia followed up on the patient to ensure he went to the ED and noticed he did not. She called the MD who indeed wanted the patient to go to the ED. She phoned the patient and informed him the importance of going to the ED. This patient is immunocompromised and it's important an infection doesn't spread. The patient did not convince Claudia so she called his daughter, his emergency contact, and expressed the importance of the ED visit. In the end, the patient went to the ED and was appropriately cared for.
This is a direct example of how Claudia advocates for the patient and will not quit until they are fully cared for. She is a role model to her peers and excels at her job daily. Claudia is a strong asset to the Hem/Onc team."
Department: Physical Therapy
"Sharrone Davis brings energy and life-giving autonomy into her practice. I came to her feeling defeated after a decade of inadequate physical therapy and chiropractor care. I was young and relatively healthy, yet pelvic instability had me struggling with sharp pain and recurrent knee injuries after running short distances.
Sharrone focused on making a plan that met my physical activity goals. Despite the barriers of COVID-19, she tailored a plan that achieved effective diagnosis, treatment, and monitoring through the telehealth platform.
She was the first physical therapist that sought to understand my goals, strengths, and desired outcomes. I came to her wanting to run a marathon, but was battling the pain of recurrent knee injuries. In May 2020, we created a plan that started with glut strengthening and slowly progressed to short walk/run increments.
On October 17, 2020, I ran my first marathon, and I ran it without pain. I am so thankful for the beauty, endurance, and mental willpower of 26.2 miles. More than that, I am ever so grateful for healthcare workers that come along side you as a peer, that support and encourage you. Let me end with something she said to me, something I have now repeated to countless others struggling with their challenges. "The body is so amazing, when one muscle is weak, other muscles can compensate for it." Sharrone Davis empowered me to run towards my potential and to not let fear slow me down."
Department: Neurosurgery/ICU Stepdown
"Melissa has been our unit manager for almost 2 years. She has gone above and beyond for her staff by enabling us to perform the highest quality of care to our patients. She is quick to respond to her nurses' needs and concerns and advocated for improved staffing for the unit to alleviate the unit burnout. If there are any issues within our unit or other departments, she takes responsibility to resolve the problem immediately. She assures that we have the right equipment and tools at hand to provide the care to our patients deserved.
In addition, Melissa doesn't shy away from stepping up and helping out on the unit. For example, she has participated in a codes, or helped calming down a confused, combative patient, or picked up the trash if necessary to keep the unit clean. She does not shy away from helping "hands on" when she sees a nurse or patient struggling.
Furthermore, Melissa wants her staff to be safe and happy as well as to grow professionally. She always recognizes staff for their achievements, points our educational opportunities, encourages staff to become certified RNs, and supports nurses to pursue higher educational attainment.
She truly shows great leadership by being transparent, a great role model, and involving her staff into shared decision making to improve workflow on the unit. On behalf of 6ESD, we want to express how grateful we are to have such a great leader who we can trust and know that she cares and has the best interest at heart for her patients and staff."
Department: Care Coordination
"Dennis has been an absolute rock star both during the COVID pandemic and the latest challenges we have experienced. He has managed the patient COVID housing and served as our liaison with the city of Chicago, responding to inquiries day and night. In a matter of weeks, he transitioned out several very long term patients through arrangements with air ambulances, foreign governments, and families who are at a great distance. And most recently, he has co-facilitated the Medicine Multi-disciplinary Rounds while continuing to fill in on various units for absent social workers.
There was recently a patient who had a large and very challenging family who requested a transfer. Dennis worked diligently with the family to provide them information and keep them abreast, as well as contacted every hospital in the region to attempt a transfer, long into the night. He even was the primary responder to several Code BERTS involving this family, including on days he should have been on his way out of the door--like 6:30pm on a Friday! In addition; Dennis has stepped in to pinch-hit in a variety of ways due to his deep institutional knowledge--everything from covering the desk, to completing birth certificates, to being a Super User, to just offering his general wisdom.
He has adapted to the unpredictable nature of this year with aplomb, all the while adjusting and elevating his new role. His contributions are immeasurable."
Department: Nursing Rehabilitation
"I just want to tell you how deeply appreciative I am of Emma as my Nursing Tech. I am here a lot and openly known as a "pain in the butt" kind of patient, but I have attempted to redeem any behavior as I would have been dead without each and every nurse & tech who has taken care of me within the last year especially Emma Liwanag.
Emma is amazing. I have mobility issues right now and Emma has helped me to deal with them in a very positive way as the doctors tell me I'm sick and need to stay here to get better. Emma has helped me to remain "unhostile" to blood draws and remaining in bed. She has been polite, non-judgmental, and very very helpful in everything she has done for me. She has been kind to me each step of the way and even brought me reheated dinner when I fell asleep while eating my dinner and coffee.
I wish I could clone her positive energy for my trip home when I am discharged. She has never been mean or unpleasant to me or made me feel less than. She is a testament to what nurses should be like at UI Health. Thank you very much!"
Department: Children and Adolescent Center
"We had a patient who's visit got prolonged, the patient's mother parked in valet parking, when the mother left our clinic, the valet parking was closed already. The mother came back to the clinic and asked for help and WaConda took it upon herself to help this family. Initially she went to the security guard, later she made multiple calls and finally she was informed that keys will be available at the cashier office at the Wood Parking lot. WaConda even escorted the family to the cashier office to make sure they are able to get their keys and go home. Thank You WaConda for going above and beyond to help this family!"
Department: Pharmacy Practice
"Maya continues to be instrumental in our quest to keep our patients and staff knowledgeable, competent, and safe while caring for our transplant patients by creating guidelines, protocols, and order sets education revision, and skills development for our team. Maya consistently puts the needs of others above her own. Her humility in doing so sets the example of what servant leadership truly means. Every action that Maya takes is out of her intrinsic motivation to serve others. She has a positive influence on her peers and the professional growth of our nurses.
We fortunate to have an exceptional leader such as Maya Campara representing us and the organization. Maya is extremely knowledgeable and experienced in her field. She is a go-to person for any transplant medication-related question. She has excellent interpersonal skills with colleagues and patients. She is an excellent teacher - knows how to make patients and staff understand complicated medication regimens. She is very organized and efficient. Maya has helped me so many times in my role as a discharge planner and is always available to assist with any problem that arises. One example of MANY was a kidney transplant patient that transferred back to New York and ran out of his blood thinner medication. I quickly called the clinic, reached Maya and without hesitation she called the Walgreens in Brooklyn, NY and called in a life-time prescription and SAVED the day!! She is always available and never questions or hesitates to help when needed.
Maya truly deserves this high honor award!!!"
Department: Patient Accounts
"My staff have mentioned that you are without a doubt one of the staff members that is consistently always available to help, at the drop of a hat. You truly helped me solve a clinic/patient issue yesterday and you followed up until the issue was resolved. I truly appreciate your dedication and support.
This morning I spoke with the patient and she was so relieved that the billing situation had been resolved. She expressed that she truly could not afford to pay the bill that she knew was an error; but, would have paid otherwise, to assure that she wouldn't be sent to a collection agency. She was so incredibly happy and I wanted to make sure to share how wonderful it felt to make our patients feel content.
A heart filled thanks from the Surgery Clinic, 3F."
Department: Laboratory/Pathology Services
"I want to thank Javier Sedillo on behalf of Pathology, and on behalf of all specimen submitting units across UI Health.
There have been specimen collection and labeling issues during the transition to Epic; however, Javier's Epic support has been outstanding and truly above and beyond the call of duty. As our Quality Specialist in Pathology, we expect his support; but, he personally visited (and continues to assist) multiple units across the hospital who were experiencing specimen collection and submission issues to address the root cause. Throughout the last 3 weeks of Epic go-live and the many months leading to September 12, he has deeply cared about our unit's success and the success of others, which is evident by his actions.
He is truly dedicated to UI Health and our transition to Epic would have been much harder without him!"
Dr. Kevin Lee
Department: Internal Medicine
"I wanted to take a quick moment to share with you a note-worthy individual, among the sea of support we have been getting from everyone, who have been AMAZING. I wanted to let you know that Dr. Kevin Lee, Internal Medicine Resident PGY2, and his family along with their army of supporters; have donated (by my conservative estimate) 5000+ surgical masks and 400-500 N95 masks.
Nearly every week, either Dr. Lee or a member of his family have dropped off mask donations at the College of Dentistry. Jacqueline Berger and her staff have even met Dr. Lee on campus to pick up donations. I know his family intend to continue to gather donations to benefit the UIH family. Not only is Dr. Lee supporting the COVID response from a clinical perspective but from a humanitarian perspective as well. He is one of many residents who have stepped up and gone above and beyond amongst all of our UIH Heroes."
Dr. Kristin Miller
Department: Neurology and Rehabilitation Medicine
"Dr. Miller is an exceptional physician who always puts her patients first. She can always be counted on to be a team player and provide assistance when asked. Recently Dr. Miller came into clinic early to see a patient who was not established with her. Her patients all adore her and some prefer to wait to see her if she had a clinic cancelled.
We are very happy to have such a wonderful physician working with us!"
Department: Emergency Services
"On Sunday, August 23rd, there were 2 sexual assault cases in the ED. The department was experiencing some challenges in staffing, and the need to complete the SA kits compounded these issues. Rodessa was called in from home to complete the kits, and she willingly and graciously agreed to do so.
Thank you, Rodessa for going above and beyond and sacrificing your time off to care for these patients."
Dr. Enrico Benedetti
Department: Hospital Transplant
"From the very first meeting, Dr. Benedetti guided us and educated us about the ins and outs of kidney transplantation. His confident yet compassionate manner gave us the courage to forge ahead, knowing that with his expertise and professionalism we were in good hands.
The surgery was accomplished with the utmost professionalism, even changing protocol midway as the situation demanded it. Our father's post-surgery care was complicated and Dr. Benedetti's dedication throughout was unbelievable. He never gave up on our father, and constantly re-examined the caliber of his treatment and care. He even went so far as to visit him every single day to ensure that his situation was constantly monitored.
Dr. Benedetti has always been at the cutting edge of the latest advances in the field of transplantation. We always felt confident that we were getting the most advanced treatment available today. May he be blessed with health and many more years of success and the ability to change even more lives for the better!"
July - August
Department: Emergency Services
Stefanie cared for a patient in the ED that had been abused by her boyfriend. She was afraid to return home after her visit here, but her baby was at home with her boyfriend. Stefanie called Social Work, but they weren't available onsite. Stefanie then Googled a domestic violence shelter and called the intake person at WINGS to try to secure placement for the patient and her baby.
She then spent time with the patient working on creating a safety plan. She programmed the number for WINGS into the patient's phone under another name, and together they worked out how the patient could take the bus home, then call the police for an escort, pick up her baby, and call the hotline to be picked up for shelter placement. They worked through the scenario multiple times until the patient felt confident and secure. The patient was provided with a bus pass, and Stefanie escorted her out of the ED to the bus stop. Please recognize her for the excellent care and compassion that she showed this patient.”
Department: Adolescent Psychiatry
“For the period of a month, while working light duty in C100, Ayo would use her lunch time to retrospectively collect, compare and contrast the admission and discharge BMI data of all CATU patients in 2018. What she found was shocking. CATU patients were on average, gaining 10lbs during their hospitalization. In the most extreme cases patients gained upwards of 40lbs!
Ayo presented this information to dietary, and with the help of dietician Ruth Kross, the director of dietary, Mary Niewinski and the CATU kids on the unit, a new CATU healthy menu was created. The CATU healthy menu incorporates healthy food options on the patients’ menus and a high frequency of healthy snacks (e.g. apples and peanut butter, hummus and chips, grapes and cheese, etc.) The results of the CATU Healthy menu, coupled with increased physical activity among CATU patients, has resulted in our overweight CATU kids (who have utilized the CATU healthy menu) losing an average of 6-8lbs. This is a very big deal! She is a huge asset to the CATU team, and I am grateful for her impact on the unit.”
Lee Anne Valero
“I know we all know how wonderful Lee Ann is, but I just wanted to reiterate how hard she is working to make Epic successful in the oncology space. Every provider and pharmacist goes through her… it is a lot of communication and following up, work that she definitely did not sign up for but does it anyway. Lee Ann is herding cats and doing it exceptionally well. I manage my other CTs that have been doing this for years. With Lee Ann, she is independent and I trust her to do what is right. Every. Single. Time.
Teaching her peers this past Saturday was no easy feat. I have been in those shoes – to teach your manager, preceptors, lunch buddies, nurses you may or may not like – it is a difficult task and from what I understand, the feedback was amazing. The analysts and I all agree – the success of this project for oncology – how her testing has saved us from so many IS tickets at go live, how coaching the physician trainers and guiding the physician sessions has helped your providers be prepared so that the nurses have less downstream ramifications – the countless other tasks we have asked her to do – your department is doing amazingly well because of this one infusion nurse. I am excited to see her in conversion and abstraction. “
Ambulatory Services COVID Testing Team
Department: Ambulatory Services
“The COVID Team consists of 4 Nurses and 2 MAs consistently at the test site. Since March 25th, they have been providing COVID testing to patients of UI Health, as well as employees at one point. They have been a consistent team that is reliable and truly dedicated in providing testing for patients during this pandemic. They are outside whether it is raining/storming, snowing, 90+ degree weather for full days 5 days a week.
As COVID has been changing, they have adapted to the change in workflows and volumes to ensure they are able to service the organization in this mass testing. They have been a group that has taken pride in their work and have supported each other as a team during this difficult transition of roles.”
Dr. Jonathan Radosta
"Dr. Radosta has always been an exceptional doctor and leader. The words "class act" specifically come to my mind these past few months. He has led us all through these changes (Epic, Covid, Telemedicine, etc…) with professionalism, calmness, and leadership. We could not have expected any of these things to occur in a lifetime as physicians and they have all happened in a matter of a few months.
Personally, Dr. Radosta has answered every email, phone call, and correspondence from me promptly no matter how busy he is. He has taken the time out of his day (and weekend) to help me and I am just one physician. He takes time to explain things and has really gone above and beyond. I truly can't express all that he has done. I have coworkers that feel the same way so I can imagine that he has done more than we all realize."
Dr. Gian Diaz Rodriguez
"Dr. Diaz Rodriguez has gone above and beyond to support the midwifery model of care this month! I am so grateful to be on a collaborative team with him, especially for the past few cases the last two weekends. I have needed to call upon him for CNM-MD collaboration, with uncertain need for transfer or what, in both cases, was just him being nearby for support. He was a patient and supportive collaborator in both instances, and when both babies were born vaginally, he was a vocal cheerleader for the family. Thank you, Dr. Diaz Rodriguez, for your advocacy and support this month!"
"When JaJuan comes to work he comes in every day ready to hit the ground running! He is always a team player and never hesitates to jump in to help anyone. I have rarely seen JaJuan sit still since he started working in the emergency department, he is always stocking something or cleaning during down times. It is always nice to find out JaJuan is working because I know I can rely on him."
Other recognitions include:
- "He is a dedicated employee, who goes out of his way to help."
- "It is a pleasure to work aside Jajuan, his skills set and knowledge is very extensive and valuable to the emergency room."
- "Never needs to be asked to do anything because he has already done it. VERY tidy!"
Emergency Services/Social Work
"Megan is an amazing asset on night shift. She is always ready to lend a helping hand, from coordinating 311/housing help, obtaining clothing or just answering questions about various resources. One amazing thing that she does is help with our psych transfers! The process can be long and arduous at times and requires quite a bit of oversight. Not only does she put in countless hours arranging a safe transfer, she ensures that no detail gets lost in the process. Once she has an accepting facility, she helps coordinate the nurse to nurse report and then turns over an organized folder with every piece of paper that is needed, including labeled copies for us, the ambulance and the receiving hospital. It is so helpful! I feel spoiled every time I have the opportunity to work with Megan. She has helped so many in their time of need and always goes the extra mile to help out the nursing staff."
"Robin has been a team player, caring advocate, and always accountable, highly productive member of the UI Health family as long as I've known her. She is consistently thanked by her colleagues every single month during leader rounds for being a consistently helpful, never-say-can't, and exceedingly industrious patient advocate in every interaction. During the recent crises, she has exceeded expectations at every juncture.
It's difficult to distill the above praise into discrete examples, only because Robin has examples to cite day after day. I could review her workload for yesterday, and find an example of where she went above and beyond, ensured patient concerns and needs were acknowledged and communicated to critical stakeholders in a respectful, caring way, and our most at-risk patients ultimately benefitted tremendously."