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CARE Individual Awards 2015

4W Mother/Baby team4W Mother/Baby team
Team Award Mother/Baby

Patient Submission

Thank you for your help, care and kindness during our stay in September after the birth of our son. He was unexpectedly admitted to the NICU for respiratory problems and the RNs in your unit were so supportive during a stressful time for us. Glenda was our first nurse after admission to the M/B unit, and was positive, reassuring and provided great education. We also want to thank Amalia and May for all their help and care. Sorry to any other RNs whose names we may have forgotten. Also, special thanks to my friend (and former classmate) Tricia Green, Patrice and Diane for all of your help and support with our wish to exclusively breastfeed our son while he was in the NICU. We couldn't have done it without your help in securing the NICU parents room. While this postpartum time didn't go as we expected, it turned out well. Our baby boy is healthy and thriving at home. Thanks to all; you really made a difference.

7E Team7E Team
7E Medicine

I just want to share a great deeds that Sonia Ramos CSR, Myeka Barry NT and Lisa Ross RN exhibited last Sunday 8/30/2015 when a patient in RM 736A Perrea tried to signed out himself against medical advice to take care of his kids who happened to be with him when he drove himself to the emergency room. As soon as Myeka NT knew the reason why the patient wanted to go AMA she informed Lisa Ross RN. Patient concerns/ issues was addressed properly. Sonia Ramos CSR was called to the patient's room to translate. Patient triplets were in the hospital lobby since the patient was admitted. Did not eat a regular meal, kids were alternating going to the car to charge the phone and get some rest. Everybody has to look for foods for the kids. Sonia  looked around for foods and Lisa gave her money to pay for the #3 food trays for the kids. No one was asked but they all stepped up, helped out  and open their hearts. I'm so proud working with these 3 great persons.

Keep up the great work LADIES!

8E Team8E Team
Hospitality Services

Patient Submission

On Monday, August 17th I was waiting for my mother's surgery to be completed and I witnessed Ms. Alde Pagan go way above and beyond in her duties (in my opinion). A woman entered the lobby of the hospital in the advanced stages of labor. Her husband and two small children were with her. They thought they had gone to the ER entrance. The woman sat down on a chair and was having major contractions. Ms. Pagan got right up next to her and let the woman squeeze her hand, arm and even her head at one point! All the while she was talking her through the contractions while directing the other concierge on getting assistance from ER. Ms. Pagan was calm, cool and beyond professional. You would've been very proud had you witnessed it. Assistance came and the woman was wheeled away to the proper department. Way to go Alde Pagan!

Aide PaganAide Pagan
Hospitality Services

Patient Submission

On Monday, August 17th I was waiting for my mother's surgery to be completed and I witnessed Ms. Alde Pagan go way above and beyond in her duties (in my opinion). A woman entered the lobby of the hospital in the advanced stages of labor. Her husband and two small children were with her. They thought they had gone to the ER entrance. The woman sat down on a chair and was having major contractions. Ms. Pagan got right up next to her and let the woman squeeze her hand, arm and even her head at one point! All the while she was talking her through the contractions while directing the other concierge on getting assistance from ER. Ms. Pagan was calm, cool and beyond professional. You would've been very proud had you witnessed it. Assistance came and the woman was wheeled away to the proper department. Way to go Alde Pagan!

Alexia JohnsonAlexia Johnson
Nursing Services

Staff Submission by: Lisa Walla

I have had the pleasure of working with Alexia for many years and she has always been an incredible resource and mentor for me on many levels. As an ED nurse and educator, Alexia has helped me out in countless situations where I felt stuck or needed direction. Of most recent, on a crazy busy overwhelming day in the ED, I was attempting to obtain a hospital bed for a paraplegic with pressure ulcers that was going to be boarding in the ED for an extended period of time due to high census. I had exhausted my resources between hospital transport, wound nurses, bed control and outside vendors and was unable to obtain a proper bed for the patient. I reached out to Alexia to see if she knew of anything else I could. Alexia stepped up and took time out her busy day to help the patient be more comfortable. She was able to reach out to others to get a bed fixed quickly for me and actually brought it up to the ED for the patient to use. This act of kindness provided an answer to my problem but ultimately helped the patient with comfort and relief during her stay in the ED. It's wonderful to have colleagues in other departments who are so willing to help during times of need. She has been and continues to be one of my strongest go to people when I need help...and she always manages to come through!

Ali AlarajDr. Ali Alaraj

Patient Submission

Thank you for the well-being call on Monday and adjusting my meds. I have not gotten bruised this week. Thanks for your interest and concern. I will continue to travel from Mississippi to Chicago to receive your services. The follow up and travel in the car was worth it to seek your expertise. I will be travelling again in a few months to see you for my follow-up. Thanks for your knowledge and concern regarding my cerebral aneurysm condition. High five! I am very thankful for your encouraging words and wonderful bedside manner. I was very afraid after the first procedure but your confidence made me feel that the second procedure was a piece of cake! My God’s will continue to guide your skilled hands. You are a blessing to the Neurosurgery department!

Alicia Emerson-KavchakAlicia Emerson-Kavchak
Physical Therapy

Patient Submission

Dr. Emerson Kavchak is an outstanding practitioner of whom UIH can be proud! Her theoretical and scientific knowledge of the restoration, maintenance, and promotion of optimal physical function is excellent; her clinical application of that knowledge was outstanding. As a health care professional, her diagnosis and treatment of my limitations to move, perform my functional daily activities, and participate in my normal exercise routine was phenomenal. Dr. Emerson Kavchak developed an individualized plan for my recovery that perfectly met my physical and emotional needs. In addition to her exceptional knowledge and clinical skills, she also has extraordinary interpersonal skills. She was always sensitive to my needs as a person as well as a patient, respectful, and encouraging. She also has a great sense of humor! Overall, Dr. Emerson Kavchak is an outstanding practitioner to whom I will recommend all of my colleagues and friends who are in need of excellent physical theory.

Ana CostinaAna Costina

Nominated by: Staff Member Kim Zimmerman

This morning I received a telephone call from a patient, who experienced a seizure and was brought to the UIH ER.  She underwent an EEG, performed by Ana. Ms. Jett stated Ana went above and beyond to make her comfortable, answer all of her questions and perform the test in a timely, respectful and professional manner. She stated Ana looked, spoke and conducted herself with the utmost professionalism. Ms. Jett reported Ana was an essential team member during her visit, advocating for the patient and communicating essential information to the Medical Staff. She wanted to let us know how lucky we are to have an employee like Ana who represents the Hospital so well. Ms. Jett was assured that Ana is valued employee.

This behavior is a regular occurrence for Ana, who always strives to go above and beyond for her patients

Beth WijangcoBeth Wijangco

I am a radiation oncology patient at UIC. I was in need of rescheduling an appointment with Dr. Koshy that I had made for September 28th. I live in Valparaiso, IN, and called in on September 16th and told Ms. Wijangco that I was going to be in Chicago the following day and hoped that somehow I could get in to see Dr. Koshy then so I would not have to make two trips to Chicago. She worked very hard and was able to schedule me for the very next day and even spoke to the doctor since it was not his normal day to see follow-up patients. She certainly did not have to do this, especially with such short notice but she certainly went out of her way and I am very grateful. It's not often that a doctors' office would be this accommodating.

Brenda OwensBrenda Owens

Nominated by: Staff Member Dr. Sandy Goldberg

Brenda is the best! As a mammography specialist and now an author – what makes her stand above others, her compassion and clarity. Many uninsured and underinsured women are sent to UI Hospital through A Silver Lining Foundation’s Buy A Mom A Mammogram® program. We hear stories of “our” women who walk in feeling scared and alone and quickly are enveloped in a sense of community and concern.

Half A Woman hit home on multiple levels – both as a survivor and hearing the stories we have heard of women being diagnosed through ASLF and those we come in contact with. A club no one wants to join, I call it. Brenda’s book brings these issues into sharp clarity.

I heard those words “You have breast cancer” over 14 years ago and my world changed. Brenda does my testing. Although that twitch of concern is still there, being enveloped in the love and warmth that is Brenda makes me take a deep breath, knowing everything will be OK.

Cindy DuongCindy Duong

Staff Nominated by staff member: Lissy Samuel

Cindy Duong ,RN is an excellent nurse who has great team work spirit. She puts the  patient first always. On 6/2/15 when I had  a code like situation " with my unstable patient , Cindy stood with me maximum & helped to provide safe effective care to patient until patient transferred to ICU.

Cindy had her own patient & another staff nurse as an orientee at that time & she  had to go back to  her patient in-between but still was very concerned for my patient who was unstable  & did called for extra help from other nurses for me while caring for her own patient.

Cindy has great skills to start IV. We can interrupt Cindy & call her back even from her lunch break to start an IV & She would gladly help the  patient & other nurses for the same.

Cindy is an great nurse to be recognized

Cinthya ZamarronCinthya Zamarron
UI Health Plus

Staff Submission by: Rani Morrison

Our entire department is a newly established department charged with providing Care Coordination to those enrolled in UI Health Plus.  These first 8 months have been filled with constant change as we establish ourselves both within UI Health and the world of Medicaid Managed Care, and my entire staff has weathered this fabulously.  However, I received an email from a patient on Friday that specifically lauded Cinthya for her outstanding customer service. When you are working with so many patients and there is so much ongoing confusion about Medicaid Managed Care and how to access care, you do this every day--but this patient truly appreciated the lengths Cinthya went to. I've copied and pasted below:

"Dear Ms. Morrison, Before the week is out I want to express my appreciation for the excellent customer service experience that  your team member, Cynthia, provided for me on Monday, July 6.

She provided caring, professional, and timely assistance. I could tell that she was interested me helping; this came across in her voice, diction, and vocabulary. She has a welcoming telephone presence. (Full disclosure: I taught English for Academic Purposes in Singapore and Japan for most of my career so I note effective communicators. Cynthia has it.)

After calling and recalling the appointment line of the Dental Clinic of U of I on Monday, July 6, starting at just before the 9:30 AM opening time and going straight through to around 10:20 AM, I remembered that I had received a very professional courtesy call from a U of I Health Care Coordinator (a well-spoken young man) shortly after I joined the U of I Health Plus plan. 

At the time of that initial call I had only great things to tell the Health Care Coordinator about my experience with at U of I; the scheduling, the facilities, and the healthcare professionals at the various clinics (Glaucoma, Eye Care General, Podiatry, and Internal Medicine) were outstanding.

Having had such a positive experience with a Health Care Coordinator, I decided to call for help with the Dental clinic. Cynthia had the ingenious idea of setting up a three-way call so that I could get through and she stayed on the line to assist (and perhaps to monitor for quality control) for the duration of the call. I was able to make an appointment for the following week. I am thrilled.

Craniofacial TeamCraniofacial Team

Patient Submission

Dear UI Health, I would like to tell you of my wonderful experience with the craniofacial team at the University of Illinois Chicago. I came to the clinic due to a complication from a root canal surgery. I am 54 years old and was born with a cleft lip and palate. Every time I have gone to see Dr. Cohen and Dr. Reisberg, the whole team of nurses and staff have been so very kind and nice. All so professional and accommodating. I have never experience such wonderful medical care in all of my life. I know I am at the best hospital possible with the best doctors and nurses overseeing my care. Every time I come to the clinic they greet me by name and take a genuine interest in how things are going with my health. Each and every team member should be congratulated and praised for doing such a wonderful job. The receptionists all the way to Terri, Alma, Dr. Reisberg and Dr. Cohen. They are my angels and I know that. Thank God for the University of Illinois at Chicago and for the Craniofacial team. They work wonders and are truly a blessing from above.

Please take the time to acknowledge their hard work and dedication to providing the best patient care experience possible. They are all heroes and deserve recognition.

Cynthia MorrowCynthia Morrow

Nominated by: Staff Member Dr. Sarah Anderson

Since her recent hire, Cynthia has gone above and beyond in her duties and has made a huge difference in patient care. She is very friendly, extremely organized, and has high productivity every day. She is a valued member of the healthcare team. For example, when scheduling ECT for some of our most ill patients, she is very diligent in making sure all patients get scheduled and get scheduled correctly. She has saved the team from making scheduling errors on multiple occasions including one day where a patient had erroneously not been scheduled at all. Cynthia caught this in the middle of the night before the ECT was supposed to happen, scheduled this patient emergently, and the patient was able to receive her necessary treatment. Instead of saying, "It's too late," or, "I can't help you," Cynthia consistently goes above and beyond in the interest of patient care. When this writer went to thank Cynthia for catching the error and taking the extra effort to schedule this patient, Cynthia replied, "Of course, doctor. We're a team." Her attitude and her work ethic are indispensable, and she is very much appreciated by all the residents on 8E.

Dan SchwarzDan Schwarz
Rehabilitation Services

Staff Nomination

I would like to recognize a stellar employee – Dan Schwarz. He is a prime example of providing excellence in patient care. I had the opportunity to work with a patient who was struggling with her condition and her debilitated state. She had requested gospel music as something that would inspire her while we worked. Dan was trying to get the station but was unable to get a clear channel so he gladly sang her a beautiful gospel song in which she became emotional. She requested one more song before her therapy started in which Dan willingly obliged. This became a turning moment for her as she now had a more positive outlook in her therapy sessions, was motivated, and actually became a motivator for most patients on the unit. She always remembered Dan and would go out of her way to greet him.

The patients continually acknowledge Dan and his above and beyond contributions. A current patient on the rehab floor always asks where he is prior to her session. She is delighted every session Dan is involved. One therapist commented that the patient’s face lights up when he arrives. She is so motivated by his presence that she starts moving and wants to work before the therapists ask her to. Dan should also be recognized for his willingness to help the team. Dan is a team player and is readily available to assist. When there is downtime, he searches every floor for our equipment and searches every therapist to see if there is anything that he can assist with. It is always a pleasure to see his smiling face and to work with someone who is always eager to assist. We are so happy to have such a great employee!

Dan TorresDaniel Torres
Rehabilitation Services

Staff Nomination

I would like to recognize Danny as an exemplary employee. He is patient centered and goes above and beyond to assist patients. He willingly transports patients to their appointments. With the chaos of the front desk, he is so patient and will step out when a patient is unable to transport themselves to the clinic. He goes out of his way to schedule patients and assure that all their needs are met. Recently, there was a patient and their family that was looking for further physical therapy as an outpatient. Upon further investigation, he discovered that the patient needed home therapy versus outpatient. He called the clinic for them to change the order to home therapy and willingly spent the extra time to make sure that the patient was set-up for home therapy by calling around different home therapy services. He confirmed with the patient and family member who was confused regarding the whole process and alleviated their concerns. Danny always has patients’ needs in the forefront. He is so concerned of our waitlist and has been doing the best that he can do to make sure patients are seen despite our staffing which is out of his control!

He has great communication skills and has received many compliments from nurses, physicians, and nurse practitioners on his excellence. Despite the numerous phone calls (often times angry phone calls!) and people approaching the desk, Danny remains professional and calm. He is able to handle any situation that come to him! Danny exudes a no stress environment. He knows when the department’s busy and most stressful days (usually Fridays and Mondays) and will sometimes bring in goodies to keep us happy and lessen the stress. We are so appreciative of all that he does. He deserves recognition!

David Jasicki David Jasicki & Rene Jackson
Information Services

Nominated by: James MacDonald

On behalf of UIH and the Physicians, Pathology Directors, Microbiology Technicians and the entire Lab IT team, I want to convey to you how much we most sincerely and greatly appreciate the endless hours of service you dedicated to getting the Micro Discrete project completed on time. This project was of pronounced imperative to UIHHS to meet the Federal Meaningful Use, Accountable Care Act and HITEC timelines. We all genuinely admired your resourcefulness in creating that outstanding professional commitment toward the Micro Discrete medical coding package as well as the personal directions that you unselfishly and willing provided. For this action was not in your immediate department and clearly was “Above the Call of Duty.” I was personally and significantly impressed with the way you kept your professional qualities and serenity with the major stake holders, IS, Pathology directors, as well all intradepartmental staff motivated and focused, even in the face of several obstacles. Thank you for giving and providing UIH and Pathology your superlative professionalism. May you enjoy this type of success in all your endeavors.

Denise Weitzel Denise Weitzel
Care Coordination

Staff Nominated

Denise has worked tirelessly for over 6 months locating permanent supportive housing for one of the hospital's chronically homeless individuals.   The patient has  a traumatic brain injury with seizure disorder who has moderate to severely memory impairment, so he often misses his medical appointment.  Denise patiently helps him remember his appointments, has coordinated with Financial Case Management to help him to obtain identification, reminds him to take his medication and helped him apply for housing.   He moved into his 1 bedroom apartment this week! 

Drew TaylorDrew Taylor

Staff Submission by: Eiman Nasseri

This employee deserves the recognition for his work at the clinic because he embodies all of the UI Care Values: 

  • He speaks with care and respect to both patients and other staff members, and demonstrates patience when answering others questions.
  • He is good at managing up; by working to make sure clinics run smoothly for his colleagues and superiors; he works punctually and demonstrates great organizational skills. 
  • He rewards and recognizes the efforts of all the staff members that work with him to make clinic run smoothly
  • He is always smiling at staff and patients, and helps them feel welcome and at east in clinic despite their medical concerns.
  • He always puts patients first (seeing patients into lunch hour, helping when he can be taking a break)
  • He exudes professionalism through his uniform and his interaction with patients and staff, speaking and acting with respect and with courtesy. He also takes care of clinic material and avoids waste. 
  • He is a leader among his peers by organizing social and professional activities for other residents.
  • He is well liked by all staff members and makes the department proud.

Dorothy CrenshawDorothy Crenshaw
Environmental Services

Staff Nomination

It is with great pleasure that I would like to recognize Ms. Dorothy Crenshaw, house keeper for 8w oncology as an exceptional employee. She has proven to be an excellent worker and a wonderful asset to our unit. Dorothy has worked in our unit for the past three years, and I am impressed by the exceptional quality of service she provides to the unit and everyone who contacts this unit. She cares for patients and family members with respect and dignity. She is well known throughout the unit for her work ethics and energy. She goes extra mile to help the unit whether it is cleaning nurse’s station or the hall way. She is always courteous and helpful to others. She is seen as a very positive person of the team and exhibits boundless energy. She is very efficient and thorough in her work and finishes the job in a timely manner.

Elizabeth BaileyElizabeth Bailey
Care Coordination

Staff Nomination: Cheryl Pinotti & Katie Pyne

Elizabeth Bailey for a UI Health CARE Award. Elizabeth Bailey, Medical Social Worker for the 7th floor goes above and beyond in assisting her patients. We have experienced her awesome service as we were assisting a patient who had service dogs which caused some issues in the hospital environment. Elizabeth with her gentle manner and big heart assisted the patient by bringing in pet supplies for the service dogs from her own home supply, and arranged for and assisted with pet boarding. Elizabeth advocated for the patient and always treated her with respect and dignity, despite some challenges. She was also readily available and responsive to the team working with this patient. It was a pleasure working with her. She speaks in a calm gentle manner that helps make people comfortable. Through this interesting and challenging experience, she has demonstrated exemplary service to both the patient and the healthcare team.

Erin TobinErin Tobin
Care Coordination

Staff Nomination: Helen Montgomery

Erin was working with a very challenging patient that was transferred to us so she could receive ECT. This patient was not from Chicago and had no support system here, nor did she have anywhere to live post-discharge.  

Erin worked tirelessly with this patient to develop a rapport, and eventually the patient agreed to let Erin work with her family in New York. Erin was able to work with the patient and her family to get her back to New York with appropriate follow up care. We are delighted to say that the patient made it home to New York safely and attended her first follow up appointment.

We received the following letter from the patient's mother:

Dear Ms. Tobin,
We would like to thank you for all that you have done for our daughter. Not only were you there for her throughout her treatment, you availed yourself to us as well; sometimes over 6 times a day. I am a Medical Assistant at a clinic, and my husband is a teacher, we feel that your passion for what you do is a hallmark for anyone dealing with patients and children. Your follow-through sets a benchmark which we have never experienced as public service professionals. May God bless you and your family for the charity and compassion you extend to your patients.

Helen MaloneHelen Malone

Nominated by: Christine Murphy

In Pediatrics we have worked very hard to reduce and ultimately eliminate central line infections. We could not have accomplished this without the tireless work and dedication of Helen Malone. She has been instrumental is assuring compliance with monitoring and following up with education and questions from staff. Helen has attended the NACRI conference, where hospitals from across the country meet and talk about their best practices as it relates to central line care and infection prevention. As an active member of the unit NACRI committee she then shares and discusses the information from the conference and has participated in driving change at the unit level.

Recently we received a very sick patient in the PICU who had a central line in a place where it would be prone to infection. Helen worked with the clinical nurse specialist for Pediatrics to devise a process for keeping the line free from infection. She worked with staff to make sure they understood what needed to be done to keep this patient safe.

We could not have achieved our goal to be CLABSI free for 446 days for PICU and 318 days for Pediatrics without her dedication.

Jamie Haley Jamie Haley
Care Coordination

I have had the pleasure of working with Jamie on the inpatient adult unit for 5 years. She was hired thanks to her expertise working with individuals with developmental disabilities with mental health problems.  In this position, Jamie has faced challenges no other social worker on the unit has had to take on. Historically, resources for the patients she works with are limited and very particular and placing an individual in an appropriate safe setting upon discharge can be extremely, extremely difficult, and can take months.  Waitlists for families can be years long.  For the last 2 years, Jamie has been working with a patient and her family very closely.  This patient's beloved mother died 2 years ago and subsequently, the patient moved in with her sister. We have never worked with a more dedicated and loving family; still, her sister who has tried tirelessly to care for this woman at home has had to see her hospitalized 8 times or more since this transition and the start of 2014.  These hospitalizations are lengthy; currently, she has been in the hospital since June.  It became apparent that she needed a level of care her sister could not provide and so began the long process of trying to a find a new place for this woman to live. In this process, Jamie has advocated for the patient and her family without rest, even though in the past 6 months she has received pressure to discharge the patient.  She never wavered in her support and compassion for the patient and her family; she felt strongly that without the appropriate housing, the patient would continue to spend most her time in the hospital, her quality of life and her sister's quality of life would continue to decline and her healthcare cost would be endless. Almost 5 days a week for the last 6 months, Jamie has met with the patient and her family.  She has made follow up calls and updated her treatment team day after day.  In the end, her fight was worth it.  She was victorious.  The patient was finally accepted at a wonderful new home, a loving agency gifted in caring for these individuals that provides services like therapeutic horse riding! Her sister is thrilled. Patients like this are often neglected or overlooked because of their high level of vulnerability.  Jamie looks out for these patients and fights so they get their needs met just like the rest of us.  She demands they are treated with the same respect and dignity we all deserve.  She doesn't surrender to the pressures of authorities like insurance and instead always puts excellent care of her patients first.  The patient will be discharged this Thursday!!

Jamie works with some of our most difficult patients, those with developmental and intellectual disabilities.

We currently have a patient who is well known to us, who has been in the hospital for months.  Jamie has worked tirelessly to get this patient emergency placement as the family can no longer provide appropriate care.  She has made phone call after phone call, sent email after email, escalated the case to supervisors and directors of other state agencies as needed, met with the patient's family multiple times per week, and was successful in advocating for the patient to be accepted into a program.

We believe that this placement will reduce the frequency of this patient's admissions, and the length of stay if admitted.  It would not have happened without Jamie's efforts.

James EvertJames Evert
Information Services

James has been assisting the Department of Rehabilitation Services for the past several months as we transitioned from PHS to Cerner Scheduling, and also to central scheduling. He has been amazing to work with. He is invariably cheerful and positive, comes up with constructive suggestions for whatever problems we put before him, and goes out of his way to help us resolve issues. Nothing is too much trouble for him, and he does everything with good humor. He is also incredibly knowledgeable about the system and tries his best to overcome obstacles if the end result will be better for our department. We have found him so helpful that we asked him to help us with a breast cancer project we are working on with Oncology. He has been invaluable in this instance as well. I can't say enough  good things about James but we are very fortunate to have him working with us.

Jay CempaJay Cempa

Our story is probably pretty typical of people admitted to the neuro unit. Luckily my mother Frances Bishop who was admitted (and still is) with a non malignant brain tumor was one of the luckier patients that we encountered while being with her. Even though her condition was serious, it was quite evident that other patients had far greater issues.

Overall the care was very good for the patient and right now her outcome appears positive. Even though most of her nurses were very professional and polite there was one individual that always went above and beyond and was the most helpful, communicative, positive in dealing with the family and the patient. She always smiled and laughed and make sure the patient was comfortable and completely taken care of. She also make sure the family was informed and helped us out tremendously.

Jay is a gem and an employee that the UIC should be very proud to have. She said she was going to nursing school and the UIC should make sure she stays with the UIC as a nurse.

Jerome MoneganJerome Monegan
UIH Human Resources

Nominated by: Deirdre Manning

Jerome Monegan provided assistance to me with the hiring and onboarding process. Jerome exhibited qualities of professionalism, care, respect, patience, and excellence while guiding me through the process. Jerome responded promptly and thoughtfully to my questions and clearly explained the required steps. Jerome showed a willingness to listen. Jerome extended a warm welcome to me as a new member of the UIC family. It is clear that Jerome loves working at UIC and is proud and happy to represent its best qualities. I am grateful to have been welcomed as a new employee by Jerome!

Jose CastelJose Castel
Environmental Services

Nominated by: Shannon O'Neill

Jose Castel was working up on the 5E Acute Rehabilitation Unit (a unit he is not regularly on), when he heard someone calling out for help. I was down the hall and did not hear the call for help. However, I saw Jose literally drop his broom and dust pan and go running into the patient's room. This prompted me to run in after him. An obese patient, who was working with a therapist, had her legs buckle causing her to have an assisted fall. Given her weight, the therapist working with her required help to keep the patient safe in the assist fall. Jose acted quickly and did not hesitate to provide assistance with the situation until additional help arrived to the scene. Though this task was undoubtedly not something Jose would normally associate with his position, he clearly had the patient's well-being in mind as he jumped in to help with the patient's safety. Once additional help was present and able to help with the required manpower, Jose humbly returned to his broom and dust pan. He continued on with his diligence in making sure our Acute Rehabilitation Unit was clean and free of debris on the ground. When I approached Jose to thank him for his help with the situation, he looked at me and said "It was nothing." We need more staff like Jose...because it really was SOMETHING the way he quickly responded when help was needed!

Karen XieKaren Xie

Staff Nomination by: Breast Imaging Team

Dr. Xie is a wonderful, caring, full of passion caregiver. I use the word caregiver instead of physician because she really cares for each patient. Some examples are: Dr. Xie was reviewing a patient's MRI prior to ultrasound guided biopsy even though she wasn't assigned to either area. This is testament to her understanding of patient needs. this particular patient had decided to reschedule her biopsy and go home after her (same day) breast MRI was completed. Once Dr. Xie became aware of this, she immediately came from AIC to OCC to calm the patient's nerves and gain the patient's trust. After Dr. Xie spoke with the patient, we continued with the scheduled biopsy. She was able to explain to the patient the importance of this appointment as well as the post-op instructions. She made the patient very comfortable. We consider this as a very successful day in mammography.

The breast imaging department is a stressful environment. Dr. Xie always smiles, is never rushed, and never feels defeated. She recognizes our bond with our patients, and takes into consideration our suggestions about patient care. She is a team player, strong leader, and we work best in a team run environment. it is important to note that the patients recognize our team efforts!

This is what we have come to rely on and we are very grateful to know that she will always be there for patients as well as employees. please recognize one of the best!!

Sincerely, the breast imaging team--Ivanna Pashaly, Alicja Zoladek, Charlene Scott, Alexandra Ramos, Izabela Smiarowski, Maggie Federow and Robin Fuller.

Keir RingquistKeir Ringquist

Staff Nomination by: Victor Agoo

I would like to nominate Keir Ringquist for a Class Act Award for  her exemplary Leadership in guiding the whole Rehab team for a very successful CARF survey. 

Her organizational skills, knowledge and expertise, her very calm demeanor and her positive disposition made a huge impact on the  success of the recently concluded CARF Accreditation. The many accolades and the recognition of the many strengths in the rehab program is due mainly of her leadership. She was able to lead the team by showcasing the quality improvement initiatives, the many positive metric outcomes and her pride for the whole team. Keir is a deserving awardee for the Class Act not only for her love of Rehab and the people we serve but also for her many contributions to the whole organization.

Staff Nomination by: PT/OT Rehab Team

The PT/OT rehab team would like to nominate Keir for the CARE AWARD. She is most deserving as she is a great leader who successfully headed the team to a positive CARF survey. The surveyors have had over 50 years of experience combined and they have commented that this was one of the best surveys they've ever been a part of. They recognized that we live the CARF standards everyday as we provide EXCELLENT care to our patients. Keir has been crucial to the "best" survey. With her experience as a therapist and surveyor, she has been prepared for their arrival years ago. She has great attention to detail and strives to guide the team to continued improvements in the quality care of our patients. Her dedication and passion was evident in this CARF review. She had prepared over 2000 accreditation standards and had only 1 recommendation for improvement. She is so driven that she started working on the recommendation when CARF was still here!

Congratulations Keir for your outstanding work in this accomplishment!

Kiet TruongKiet Truong
Information Services

Staff Nomination by: Natalie Chadwell

I have had the privilege of working with Kiet on numerous occasion. He has been essential to the development of our department website and electronic presence. Because our website serves as a resource for those seeking information on TJC standards, survey tools and various other accreditation related information, it's important that department website is easily navigated and updated appropriately. With Kiet's assistance, we were able to redesign our site and have it go live  in a few days. He follows-up to make sure that the

I have found him to be very knowledgeable, easily accessible and attentive. Kiet is very patient- especially with website/technology novices. Kiet takes time to listen to the challenge you may be experiencing and works to resolve the issue in a methodical and a timely manner. Additionally, he follows-up to make sure that the issue has been resolved. Kiet's professionalism, responsiveness, efficiency, expertise and thoroughness is truly appreciated and warrants his being recognized for a CARE Award. 

Kim ZimmermanKim Zimmerman

Kim Zimmerman is an excellent speech therapist, manager, and coworker with whom I've worked with as a fellow therapist on many patient cases, in meetings, and larger rehab services projects. She is consistently collaborative, professional, driven in her commitment to patients and quality work.

I am writing this recognition specifically for an interaction that I recently witnessed but know happens often as is typical of the level of commitment and personal concern Kim shows for all her patients and their families.

Kim was between patients on the floor behind the nurse's desk when a patient's family member saw and approached her. The family member knew Kim from previous encounters treating the patient, and it was clear that the she recognized Kim as a friendly face she could trust. The family member broke down with emotion, and had questions processing recent events in the patient's medical status. Kim immediately responded by giving her a hug, which the family member appreciated. Out of earshot of anyone else, Kim discreetly continued to comfort the family member, objectively pointing out positive signs and reassuring her of the family member's value in recovery and the quality care and commitment of the team. It was clear the family member felt much better after seeing and talking to Kim; I think Kim very positively impacted her day, her peace of mind, and her overall impression of UI Health.

Please recognize Kim Zimmerman for her consistently excellent work, illustrated in this one example of quality care and personal touch to patients and families. We are lucky to have her here!

Kyle Mieszcak and Jessica Masella Kyle Mieszcak & Jessica Masella

Patient Submission

Jerome Monegan provided assistance to me with the hiring and onboarding process. Jerome exhibited qualities of professionalism, care, respect, patience, and excellence while guiding me through the process. Jerome responded promptly and thoughtfully to my questions and clearly explained the required steps. Jerome showed a willingness to listen. Jerome extended a warm welcome to me as a new member of the UIC family. It is clear that Jerome loves working at UIC and is proud and happy to represent its best qualities. I am grateful to have been welcomed as a new employee by Jerome!

Lakisha ThomasLakisha Thomas
5E Ortho

Staff Nomination

I would like to nominate Lakisha Thomas for an employee recognition award. She exemplifies excellence in practice as demonstrated by her diligence for safe patient care, communication, and genuine concern for her patients. As a member of the physical therapy team, I work closely with Lakisha for many of our post-surgical orthopedic patients. I have observed Lakisha's kind and patient demeanor on numerous occasions. Even with some difficult personalities, Lakisha shows nothing but respect and understanding

Lakisha is a great example of how interdisciplinary communication and collaboration leads to the best patient outcomes. I know that if Lakisha is caring for my patient, she will keep me updated on any needs or concerns. She goes above and beyond to make the hospital stay run smoothly. For example, Lakisha knew that I was going to see a post op TKA patient this morning. When she saw that OT was in the room, Lakisha paged me to let me know that the patient was not available. This was greatly appreciated and allowed me to more easily plan my day and this patient's treatment plan.

Lakisha is a pleasure to work with. She brings a smile to the workplace that is contagious! It is my pleasure to nominate Lakisha Thomas for an employee recognition as she is very well deserving!

As a physical therapist, I have the chance to work with RNs throughout the hospital. In recent discussions with fellow therapists, we began discussing how impressed we continually are with Lakisha Thomas. She stands out as one of the most outstanding RN's at UIH. Lakisha not only goes above and beyond for her patients, but is helpful and conscientious in every interaction with other disciplines. Lakisha is always aware and proactive of changes in patient status, helpful in facilitating physical therapy, and is effective in communications. I have been continually impressed with her care and standard of practice. She is consistently professional in all interactions and has proven herself an amazing asset to the 5E team. Please consider Lakisha for this recognition. As a therapy team we would like her to know that her hard work and caring spirit are recognized and greatly appreciated!

Lisa WallaLisa Walla
Emergency Services

Staff Nomination

I would like to nominate Lakisha Thomas for an employee recognition award. She exemplifies excellence in practice as demonstrated by her diligence for safe patient care, communication, and genuine concern for her patients. As a member of the physical therapy team, I work closely with Lakisha for many of our post-surgical orthopedic patients. I have observed Lakisha's kind and patient demeanor on numerous occasions. Even with some difficult personalities, Lakisha shows nothing but respect and understanding

Lakisha is a great example of how interdisciplinary communication and collaboration leads to the best patient outcomes. I know that if Lakisha is caring for my patient, she will keep me updated on any needs or concerns. She goes above and beyond to make the hospital stay run smoothly. For example, Lakisha knew that I was going to see a post op TKA patient this morning. When she saw that OT was in the room, Lakisha paged me to let me know that the patient was not available. This was greatly appreciated and allowed me to more easily plan my day and this patient's treatment plan.

Lakisha is a pleasure to work with. She brings a smile to the workplace that is contagious! It is my pleasure to nominate Lakisha Thomas for an employee recognition as she is very well deserving!

As a physical therapist, I have the chance to work with RNs throughout the hospital. In recent discussions with fellow therapists, we began discussing how impressed we continually are with Lakisha Thomas. She stands out as one of the most outstanding RN's at UIH. Lakisha not only goes above and beyond for her patients, but is helpful and conscientious in every interaction with other disciplines. Lakisha is always aware and proactive of changes in patient status, helpful in facilitating physical therapy, and is effective in communications. I have been continually impressed with her care and standard of practice. She is consistently professional in all interactions and has proven herself an amazing asset to the 5E team. Please consider Lakisha for this recognition. As a therapy team we would like her to know that her hard work and caring spirit are recognized and greatly appreciated!

Lucinda JonesLucinda Jones
Environmental Services

We would like to nominate Lucinda Jones, Housekeeper on 8W for recognition. Lucinda is responsible for maintaining the cleanliness of conference room 802W. She goes above and beyond to make sure the room is clean every time she works, even if it’s a last minute request. And Lucinda is always pleasant and polite.

A couple of weeks ago, prior to the Nursing Orientation held at 8am , 802W was left in disarray from a previous class held the night before. Needless to say, this would not have been a great way to welcome our new nursing hires to the University. Although it was evident that Lucinda was very busy, she stopped in to see if she could help. Without any prompting, she kicked into high gear and cleaned this room in a matter of no time. Even the new hires who arrived early to class commented on her cheerful attitude and attention to detail!

Lucinda is a true example of an employee who supports teamwork in getting the job done. It is evident she takes great pride in her work and understands the important role she plays here at UI Health.

Marain CacheroMarain Cachero
Anesthesia Clinic

Staff Nomination by: Rose Saavedra

Marian goes above and beyond to promote EXCELLENCE in the anesthesia clinic. Marian works with individual patients to ensure that complicated patients get their surgery. She follows up with  patients and their primary care doctors to be sure all information is gathered prior to their surgery. She calls patients also to provide them with updates and reassurance that their surgery date is on target, or delayed depending on what tests patients may need. Her standards are high, and her dedication to EXCELLENT  PATIENT CARE AND patient SATISFACTION NEVER ENDS. Marian is also involved in training and reviewing the residents that work in the anesthesia clinic, to ensure that they also deliver the same care that all patients deserve. She also is responsible and never fails to get patients rescheduled for their surgery, if for any reason is cancelled. She follows up with the patient, and reassures them, and keeps patients updated. Marian is dedicated to providing excellent service to her patients, and fills any role in the anesthesia clinic, that is needed on any given day. Marian is definitely a patient advocate, and represents UIH in a way that patients know they are special!! Marian needs to be recognized for her ongoing personal and professional dedication to patient care and to the anesthesia clinic. She is a great role model when it comes to a dedicated and caring employee who has EXCELLENT work ethics.....Her hard work has decreased cancellations in the surgicenter, and made many patients surgeries HAPPEN!!! Her hard work is recognized by many!

Mary CozzensMary Cozzens
Care Coordination

Staff Nomination

I am writing to nominate my coworker, Mary Cozzens, for recognition.  In the 12 years I have worked in psychiatry, I have never observed someone treat individuals with substance abuse problems with such compassion and hard work and so nonjudgmentally. Since Mary has arrived on 8E she has provided the highest level of service to individuals historically overlooked by healthcare professions and the community. Mary treats individuals with substance abuse problems with great respect, just like she would treat a patient with cancer.  Recently, she began to notice a number of Puerto Rican young men reporting in Puerto Rico they were promised treatment for addictions in the United States.  Being thorough and diligent, Mary took note.  The more she heard this story from different patients, the more she became concerned.  She looked into it and discovered this is actually a problem being addressed by the State.  The last young man she worked with was 21 years old and spoke little English.  He had a history of a brain injury and just like the others, had been promised treatment in the US.  His ticket was bought for him and he was sent to a large city where he knew no one.  He arrived and had his documents taken from him; he was sent to live in a facility we suspect is not licensed to effectively treat substance abuse problems.  Soon enough, he was living in a shelter, all alone, away from his loving family in Puerto Rico. He was hospitalized at 2 other hospitals before he landed under the care of Mary.  Mary quickly helped the young man call home and learned his mother was very involved in his life.  Mary also referred to information she found in the media, contacted the Governor's office, and was connected to a community agency they work with to get these young men home. Within hours, Mary and this patient had received copies of all his documents from his mother, and his mother had bought him a plane ticket home. He was picked up by the shelter, who called Mary 2 days later to happily inform her, they were successful in getting the patient necessary documents from the State of Illinois in order to board the plane.  The shelter also saw this young man as vulnerable and in need of help, and actually brought him home to stay with them at their home, just to make sure the plan did not fall through.  He was escorted to the airport the next day and it was confirmed to Mary that he safely boarded a plane home back to his family in Puerto Rico.  If only all individuals had the blessed luck to arrive into the caring hands of Mary Cozzens, our big city would be a better place.  She represents the kind of employee we should all strive to be more like: caring, loving, hardworking, nonjudgmental, driven and thorough, who would do what it takes to help those who are vulnerable and in need. Its been such a pleasure to work with her; she makes the care we provide on 8E that much better. Her team is very lucky to have her!!! And so are we!

Mary NiewinskiMary Niewinski
Nutrition/Food Service

Staff Nomination

Mary offered to secure a popcorn machine and an individual to work the machine on the day of the Annual Quality & Safety Fair.  She contacted a company and made the arrangements.  A day or so before the event, she contacted the company to confirm the details of delivery and set-up.  The company said all of their machines were broken.  Mary was scheduled off on the date of the Fair.  Her immediate family member was getting married the following day, and Mary had numerous tasks to complete in preparation for the wedding.  Mary called around and eventually was able to secure a popcorn machine and all of the needed supplies.  She drove to the high school from whom she was able to borrow the machine, drove to work, and proceeded to make popcorn for the larger portion of the day in order to ensure the Quality Fair would proceed as expected.  This put her personal timeframe in a considerable bind, but she did it anyway.  This level of determination to follow through on promises made is laudable.  Mary truly went all out to make this happen for us.  I have to believe this is not an isolated behavior....This kind of commitment to service is undoubtedly who Mary "is."  What a blessing to have a leader among us with such initiative and concern for the overall enterprise.  I hope the committee sees fit to publicly highlight her actions.

Maureen PerryMaureen Perry
Quality & Accreditation

Staff Nomination by: David Loffing

It is hard to fully describe just how valuable Maureen Perry is to UI Health. Much of what she does is not seen by the vast majority of our staff, patient and visitors but her contribution to UI Health is immense.

From my interactions with Maureen, there are three characteristics that stand out;

  • Reliable
  • Resourceful
  • Dedicated

She will find the answer to any accreditation question.  She will be there through every survey and she will see that every action plan is complete.

She is able to accomplish this through the positive engagement of all levels of the organization and through the facilitation of key stakeholders.

Most admirable is her dedication to UI Health and our success.

We sincerely thank you.

Michael BlackmonMichael Blackmon

Staff Nomination

Michael provided exemplary care for a most challenging young man on the adolescent unit. The patient was psychotic, paranoid and seriously aggressive. Michael was able to establish a highly therapeutic relationship with this young man and was integral to this young man's care and ultimate success. He has consistently provided high quality care on the program and is highly collaborative with other members of the treatment team. He is widely liked and respected. Most importantly, he is genuinely concerned about the well-being of his patients and is a calming presence for youth on the unit. His ability to anticipate and respond to a child's needs is uncanny and very effective at preventing escalation. He is one of the best clinicians I have worked with.

Staff Nomination

Mike displayed rare ability to work with and gain trust of untrusting, highly aggressive and violent patients on the Adolescent Psych Unit. I am nominating him for his therapeutic and professional relationship with a particular male patient recently discharged who was very challenging and aggressive. He recognized patient triggers, anticipated his behavior/action, intervened appropriated and timely, deescalated potentially dangerous situation, role modeled, and coach the patient. On so many instances he had cut short his lunch breaks to take a lead in deescalating the patient and provide safe milieu for all. I, and on behalf of other team members will like to nominate Michael Blackmon for his excellent and highly commendable performance.

Michael LagataoMichael Lagatao
Surgical Services

I would like to give a shout out to our Nurse Technician, Michael Lagatao who works in the PACU. I patient called me yesterday and told me that she just had to talk to someone about her experience here at UI Health. She could not stop talking about Michael and how wonderful he was. She said that Michael had treated her better than any man had ever treated her in her whole lifetime! She stated that multiple times, as she also said she was married. She told me that she didn’t want to leave and started crying because she didn’t want to leave Michael. She said that she doesn’t usually go out of her way to compliment someone, but felt compelled to share her story with me

Monazzah SarwarMonazzah Sarwar

Staff Nomination by: Staff Member Alex Sandoval

Monazzah has come into Mile Square Pharmacy from the Eye and Ear Infirmary Pharmacy and has been a huge asset to Mile Square in such a short time. She has implemented a few programs to keep patients  coming back. She is monitoring patient's blood pressure and making sure the patients understand how important taking their medication are. When patients come in to the pharmacy to take their blood pressure they ask if their numbers are good. Monazzah thoroughly explains what the numbers mean and explains the difference between Diastolic and Systolic and the patients leave the pharmacy with a better understanding of what Blood Pressure means. She also is a big part of our Team up Pressure down program and takes patients into our counseling room and goes over medications. She keeps logs of blood pressure readings to monitor if they are in fact taking their medications and if so, keeps them on track to keep taking their medications. She also explains to the patients how import a healthy diet is and goes over salt intake. I have seen patients thank her and leave very happy and they are always willing to talk to her and ask her questions. Patients have also been coming back to the pharmacy for follow up visits Monazzah. Since Monazzah has come from the Eye and Ear infirmary pharmacy, when counseling patients when they pick up medications for eye drops or ear drops she thoroughly goes over on how to instill the drops or apply ointments. She explains what they might experience and what to look out for. If Monazzah is asked any questions she is quick to stop what she is doing and immediately give an answer. Monazzah always keeps busy and is always thinking of different things to come up to help out patients. She has also implemented a fill program for the patients where patients do not have to call in their refills but the pharmacy gets them ready ahead of time. She explains what the program is and if they are interested in joining and has had patients sign to get permission to get the fills ready. I can honestly say she is one of the BEST pharmacists I have ever had the pleasure of working with and I have been working in pharmacies for ten years. I would really love to see Monazzah recognized for all of her hard work and dedication to patient care.

Nancy OkimotoNancy Okimoto

Staff Nomination by: Catherine Johns

I've known, trained, & worked w/Nancy since Jan 2011. I was an intern/student w/the Wright Radiology Program at the time. I along w/many of the student tech's/or new hires throughout the years, recognize that Nancy is one of the Rad Tech's to follow if you wanted to learn how to do things efficiently, & to the exact specifications Radiologists request to have exams set up and completed(namely in the Fluoroscopic area). All the while being professional in all areas we rotate through(Fluoro/Emergency Dept/In patient/Out Patient/Mile Square Clinic/& Pain Clinic), she is as well pleasant and empathetic to each patients comforts & needs. Nancy at many times is charge tech. when our Manager is out of office. I hope to be as knowledgeable & well liked, as she is one of my favorite people to work with. Especially when she shares her famous baked goodies w/everyone who comes through the Radiology Dept. Thank you Nancy!!

Nicole BrownNicole Brown

Staff Nomination by: a Patient

I'd like to compliment Nicole Brown one of your employees, for the excellent service she provided me today. Nicole took the time and patience to listen and assist me in what I needed for the UIC College of Dentistry office. My case is rather complicated because of the need for both UIC Liver Clinic and Internal Medicine to both sign-off on my case. Nicole followed up with all parties involved and got the job done.

I have always been pleased with the service I receive at UIC Internal Medicine. However, Nicole's professionalism and ability to get to the bottom of the situation quickly exceeded my expectations.

Such a commitment to great customer service is to be commended. You can be sure that I will continue to be a patient of UIC Internal Medicine for years to come.


Staff Nomination by: Nikki Tiedje

I would like to recognize the staff working the night of 1/28/15. Especially Desire Mercado-Cabardo, Hazel Lofranco, Jasmine Marabulos, Nikki Gulden, Adriana McDonald, Jeff Maghirang, Brooke Luchene, Maria Terry, Mercy Jeevan, Dr. Nishant Srinivasan, and Dr. Arti Raghavan.

The teamwork displayed the night of 1/28/15 made me proud to work in the NICU. There was a very sick admission that needed to have whole body cooling. Desire was the admitting nurse, but since this type of patient is not common many nurses came to offer help. Dr. N. Srinivasan and Dr. Raghavan did an excellent job stabilizing the patient on the medical side of things and the nurses working that night in the pink room and the whole unit worked together to handle the nursing side of things.

Thank you Hazel for being Desire right hand woman, I saw how you anticipated her needs and had supplies ready for her without Desire even asking.

Thank you Jasmine and Adriana for helping to setup the whole body cooling machine. This was not an easy task since the first machine was not working properly, you both worked to together to trouble shoot the machine and when unable to resolve the problem with the original machine retrieved another one and set the new machine up so that it was ready to use on the patient. By taking the lead and initiative to do this it allowed Desire and others to focus on stabilizing the infant. Nikki, Brooke, Jeff, Mercy,  and Maria appeared at the right time to lead a helping hand with the admission of the infant, stabilization of the infant and initiation of whole body cooling on the infant. Jasmine and Brooke showed great initiative as newer nurses to the NICU, both jumped right in offering help.

The teamwork did not only end once the patient was first admitted it continued throughout the night. There was a malfunction with the equipment used and everyone came together again to help alleviate the and handle the problem so that the patient could receive the treatment required.

The team working to admit this patient worked to make sure that was no delay in treatment due to IV assess, equipment required to treatment, or needed supplies. The team worked simultaneously  and harmoniously. The team anticipated needs of the infant so that care and medications would be given promptly. The most beautiful part was that no one was asked to help, it's just what they did. Word spread on the unit that there was a sick admission and those who were free came to help. It is very hard to put into words how amazing the flow of the admission was, the experience really needed to be seen to truly appreciate how amazing the teamwork was and always is in the NICU. This is just one example but was a truly beautiful dance of teamwork that make me proud to be a NICU nurse at UIC.

Nitza VillanuevaNitza Villanueva

Staff Nomination

My coworkers and I are submitting this in the hopes of doing something to demonstrate that our supervisor is more appreciated than the three of us alone can show, and we feel like she deserves more recognition and thanks than we alone can provide.

Nitza embodies all that makes a good supervisor. She's professional, patient, encouraging, extremely competent, approachable, understanding, reassuring, and fair.

She puts herself directly in the middle of the day-to-day work; she leads by example, not by command, and she always takes the time to assist residents or techs in their work or to stop and answer questions. Despite her workload (which is very heavy most days), she will always step away from it to help whomever has asked for assistance. And she won't return to her work until she is confident that the person she's assisting has a firm grasp on the concept for which they sought help. She's also very encouraging. There was a day when a resident was feeling somewhat dejected due to a heavy workload, and Nitza made it a point to emphasize that, despite the quantity of work, there wasn't much that was terribly complicated, that what was there was relatively easy to process. And she repeatedly reassured the resident saying, "Everything's OK. It's still going to be a good day." Recently, when another resident was inundated with several frozen section procedures (including one with more than ten specimens at one time) and a heavy caseload which she had not yet had the opportunity to begin processing, Nitza again made sure to emphasize that everything was still going to be alright, and in this case (as she does often in these situations) Nitza assisted (and will assist) the resident with his or her caseload when they are otherwise occupied or excessively busy.

She will also temporarily stop what she's doing and assist on a more urgent case if a resident/ pathologist/tech is currently busy. For example, when specimens for tissue banking arrive, which are very time sensitive, she'll often put her work on hold to start the banking process until she can be relieved by the person in charge of that operation. She'll do the same with the frozen section procedure if necessary, picking up specimens from the operating room, processing them, sectioning them, and staining them.

She is also extremely knowledgeable; she has a grasp on anatomy, physiology and pathology comparable to most residents and pathologists, and most pathologists will appeal or defer to her in some cases. She understands every aspect of the lab for which she is in charge. And yet, despite a high level of expertise, she is very modest. This competency and modesty makes her a great teacher and a great resource.

Her selflessness and competency make her approachable for any matter. Neither myself nor my coworkers ever feel apprehensive in voicing concerns, asking questions or asking for help as she conveys an aura of understanding.

Her most commendable asset, in my opinion, may be her sense of fairness. Regarding disputes, coordination of days off, etc., she arbitrates everything honestly and objectively.

Lastly, Nitza helps to simply make work more enjoyable. She can talk and relate to everyone as a peer and a friend and as more than just a colleague or supervisor, yet she is still always professional. In short, she's great to work for.

Before ending, I want mention a study I read about that was published in Sweden a year or so ago that noted that it was an employee's boss/supervisor, not the employee's workload, that can discourage (or even cause depression amongst) employees at work and having worked with supervisors in the past who embodied the opposite of what Nitza does, I can personally and anecdotally attest to the truth of this (as I'm sure most others can too). It didn't matter the difficulty or amount of work - or conversely the ease or appeal of it  - an unpleasant supervisor can (obviously) add to the unpleasantness of an already difficult position, but can also overshadow or even negate the good qualities of the opposite type of position. It would be difficult to imagine working for, or with, anyone other than Nitza, and, quite frankly, I don't want to. Nitza creates a welcoming, enjoyable work environment, and my coworkers and I want to pass this information on to the Employee Recognition Program in the hopes of demonstrating that she's more appreciated (and deserves greater recognition) than we alone can show.

Orlando PitchanOrlando Pitchan

Department: Surgicenter

Reason for recognition: Orlando is a preop nurse in surgicenter, working daily to ensure all patients get into the OR in a timely manner. He also has volunteered and has been a coach and teacher for all nurses in the hospital, new and old,who need IV skills to provide excellent patient care, wherever they work. Orlando also works with rotating doctors that come through surgicenter specifically for IV skills . Orlando works tirelessly with a positive attitude, and patience with everyone to encourage, and promote confidence in all the staff he works with. He never refuses  to be a teacher, and coach for anyone who needs his expertise and training, in IV insertion. By being available to help all staff, he is promoting EXCELLENT Patient care, so others are well prepared to care for patients that need IV's. His willingness to share his skills and knowledge is above and beyond, and is recognized by the staff and doctors that he has trained. He is always willing to go above and beyond, to promote excellence in the surgicenter. He demonstrates personal integrity, and professionalism, and is a great part of why our surgicenter here at UIH has dramatically increased in patient satisfaction. Orlando takes charge, and rounds on his patients to be sure they are updated. Orlando is a great nurse who cares!! He is an  asset to surgicenter and provides excellent personalized care to his patients.      

Pam FitznerPam Fitzner

Staff Nomination by Staff Member Shannon O'Neil

Pam is an extremely compassionate person, which is evident in her day to day work as an occupational therapist. She is dedicated to her job at UI Health, to the point that she will stay late to make sure that her patients get all of the therapy time that they should have. Pam is a standout therapist who takes the extra time to really listen to her patients and their family members. She takes an interest in her patients as individuals and does not use cookie cutter therapy plans. She tries to provide patient directed care in which therapy tasks are often based on what the patients are most interested in doing or activities that pertain to a patient's personal hobbies. 

There are countless acts of kindness that I can share about Pam, however there is one that stands out most to me. On a day that she was at work late, past her end time, she happened to pass through the Speech Pathology Department.  She came across me and another speech-language pathologist comforting an outpatient pediatric patient who had become ill during his therapy session. The child had begun to vomit and was not feeling well. His therapy session ended, however his guardian was not back to pick him up.  Pam saw the child leaning his body against the other speech pathologist and resting his head on her shoulder.  Pam realized there was something she could do to help. She left the Speech Pathology area and went to retrieve some linens. She brought the linens back to the Speech Pathology Department and went on to create an area for the child to lay on the ground and be more comfortable.  Just as she finished creating this safe place for the child, his mother arrived to get him. I am positive that Pam had other things to be doing with her time, however she saw a situation in which she could help and that's exactly what she did. Pam is truly an amazing person who continuously puts others before herself and by doing so she positively impacts the lives of all of her patients.    

Penny FeldmanPenny Feldman

Staff Nomination by staff member: Kathleen Harmon

Penny has worked at UIH since 1995 as a staff midwife. Penny always presents a positive image of UIH in all clinical areas. She discusses issues with patients, seeks to understand their needs and provide them with safe and sensitive health care. Penny is a constant advocate for her patients. Penny is an excellent preceptor with CON graduate students and residents due to her patience , understanding and evidenced based practice. Penny is always looking for innovative ways to spread the word about UIH Midwifery. She established and maintains a  Face Book page for UIH Midwives  on her own time. After three years of dedication to this project , achieved visibility  for midwives on Find a Doc and the OB/GYN website. Plans to work with the APN Council to improved visibility for APNs hospital wide. Penny is a leader in computer technology skills. She has led her fellow midwives, and other members of the OB team to transition to new computer program as part of EMR.  I am proud that Penny is part of the midwifery practice and an example for everyone in her pride of UIH.    

Radiation OncologyRadiation Oncology

Patient Nomination

I hope this letter doesn't down play how I feel about the wonderful Dr. Koshy and the Radiation tech team. I'm quite sure that Dr. Koshy receives numerous kudos for his great expertise and warm, caring and understanding bedside manner. Due to God and him is why I believe that I have had such favorable outcome with my cancer.

My interactions with Mr. Kauffman were always very productive. He is so helpful with his suggestions and advice; wrapped in a soothing and kind manner. Most importantly, he really listens.

My original team (from start to finish) consisted of Myriam Garcia and Joe Miller. I hope this letter shows how much I appreciate them. They were so confident, inspiring, compassionate and secure in what they were doing. They have wonderful senses of humor that made treatment more comfortable and less scary. This was great for me as I too can find the humor in almost anything. If you can complete radiation treatment and miss your tech team - they must be very special.

Later during treatment, I met the other members of the team: Boris Srebnik and Martin Travis. They also made me feel safe in what they were doing and also were kind and respectful. Lord forbid that if I had to go thru this type of treatment again, I would hope and pray for the same great team!

When you talk about great first impressions at a company, you must be describing Ms. Perkins and Mr. Perry. Their quite professionalism, neatness in their area and dress made me feel that I was in the right place to fight my battle. They evoke the right atmosphere of quiet dignity, but with ready smiles and offers of help or advice. Ms. Perkins and Mr. Perry run the reception area with pleasant and calm demeanors, which is so welcoming on the days you are not feeling well. They offer an exceptional gateway to the radiation oncology department especially with their obvious efficiency. Mr. Perry was so kind to take a picture of me ringing the "end of treatment" bell that I could show my children! I will cherish this photo. 

And finally, thank you Ms. McMillian for listening to me in the lobby going on and on about my wonderful team and giving me a better way to thank them.

Renita ClarkRenita Clark

Staff Nomination by staff member: Lissy Samue

Renita Clark is an excellent nurse, always above beyond on her call on duty whether she takes the role as a charge nurse or as a nurse provide direct care to patient with her great team work capability.

On 6/3/15 I received a patient from the OR. The Patient became very unstable upon arrival to PACU due to pulmonary edema & hypertension. Patient was re-intubated & we encountered multiple issues to stabilize the patient. It was like a "code" situation.

Renita had her own patient and another nursing staff as an orientee with her whom she was educating. But still she did an extraordinary help to care for my patient to her maximum even though  she had to go back to her patient to provide needed care in-between, until we transferred my  patient to ICU.

Renita  Clark is an excellent nurse to be recognized.

Richard StringhamDr. Richard Stringham
Family Medicine

Dr. Stringham has been my doctor for over 20 years. Today I must write a recommendations for him. Dr. Stringham has brilliantly orchestrated my care. Yearly check-up, referrals to specialized doctors, ordering all my tests, keeping excellent follow up records from his office as well as other doctors, prescribing medication (following through to watch for interaction ( I am allergic to so much). He has provided great comprehensive care. Thank you and judos to UIC for Doctor Stringham. Thank you Doctor for giving me a quality of like that is great, when sometimes I thought it wouldn’t be possible.

Rose SaavedraRose Saavedra
Surgical Services

Staff Nomination by: Dragana Bukorovic

Rosemarie Saavedra embodies the values of UI Health in her dedication and care toward every patient, with every interaction, every day. Even before we initiated a formal patient satisfaction initiative, Rose was already a natural at providing the best patient experience. She strives to provide the best service not only to patients, but also to her colleagues, families, physicians and other departments. 

Rose is a well-respected charge nurse of a busy unit and she always radiates positive energy. When Rose is presented with a new unit roll out, she implements it with gusto and provides good suggestions when she discovers opportunities for improvement. When we learned that many patients were unhappy with the length of time they're required to arrive before surgery, we decided as a unit to pilot a shorter arrival time. Rose didn't hesitate to accommodate and she and her team reacted positively to meet the needs of the patients within a shorter time frame.

Rose epitomizes patient centered care and we are fortunate to have her on our team.

Roxanne MasibyRoxanne Masiby

Staff Nomination: Anne Guion, Leander Londres, Yumi Saimoto

Roxanne is an excellent nurse. She always encourages collaboration between multidisciplinary services and communicates extremely well in stressful situations. She is always there to lend a helping hand and to provide teaching moments to students and to all the RNs/CNAs on our unit!

Roxanne is dedicated to evidenced based practice and is constantly encouraging all parts of the care team in our prevention of CLABSI. With limited AD time, Roxanne monitors our central line forms, updates our CLABSI prevention boards and always reminds everyone on her shift about all the things we can do to protect our patients (We have been CLABSI free for a year!!).

Roxanne is always encouraging and also takes the time to send out unit birthday cards to everyone! She is also very welcoming to all of our patients. When she gets an admission on nights, her smile, calm greetings and obvious knowledge about pediatric nursing care brings great comfort to patients and families!

Roxanne definitely deserves to be recognized for all of the amazing things that she does!!

Sally HoganSally Hogan

Patient Nomination

Sally Hogan made a big difference in ICU. She really cares for her patients and the patients family. She treated my husband with lots of love and care like it was her own family and gave me love and comfort. Sally deserves a lot of respect. I wish a lot of people like her would have love, patience and time. My family is very honored to be blessed with a wonderful angel and nurse. God bless her and always love her.

Sara SaucedoSara Saucedo Islas
Hospital Administration

Staff Nomination 

I would like to recognize Sara for all of her support that she provides the marketing team. Often times, marketing needs to send out UI Health All emails and Sara is always willing to help us, even on shot notice. She not only helps us deliver the messages in a timely manner, but she takes the time to ensure readability, functional links, and overall quality of our message. She has acted as a gate keeper to the emails that go out and is always willing to work with us. I know this is only one small part of what Sara does on a day to day basis, but I can only imagine that she is as thorough and efficient in the rest of her duties. She is a great partner and we truly appreciate her support.

Sonya AmezcuaSonya Amezcua

Staff Nomination by staff member: Dr. Jessica Shepherd

Sonya is always going above and beyond for the care of women in the women's health center. She recently helped a patient get services that could not get it anywhere else in the city and made sure it was done in a timely fashion as it was urgent. She got a team together to make sure the proper protocol was done and made calls to get the patient taken care of outside of her daily responsibilities. She stays late to make sure the providers have everything they need and is the best patient advocate out their!

Sonya HolmesSonya Holmes
Outpatient Physical Therapy

Staff Nomination: Nancy Tow

Although Sonya has only worked in our department for 6 weeks, as a Medical Office Coordinator, she has really went out of her way to demonstrate exemplary customer service.  A recent example was Sonya's efforts to turn around a customer's initial poor experience in our department.   This client was upset about  the long phone wait time that she experienced to get through to a " live person" in our department and also about leaving her ids in our department.  After the patient came in to schedule her initial appointment in the department, she stated that she had to quickly leave to get to prior engagement.  This patient left so quickly that she did not get her photo id and insurance cards back from us.   Staff in the department actually tried to catch up with the patient after she left and return her ids, but without any success.  She was moving too fast.  The patient telephoned and stated that she was very upset with our department and her overall experience.  Sonya listened to the patient's compliant, apologized, and offered to hand deliver the patient's insurance card and id to her home address.  The following day, with the both patient's and department's permission, Sonya arranged a time to hand deliver  the patient's insurance card and id to her house.  The patient was very happy, and Sonya was able to turn this client's experience around in a positive way.  Sonya, thank you for all of your efforts to turn this situation around.  You are truly a Class Act, and we are so fortunate to have you as part of our team!

Susan PowersSusan Powers
Materials Management

Staff Nomination: Kristin Baum

I am writing this email in regards to one of your employees, Ms. Susan Powers.

I have had the pleasure of working with Susan for the past 4-5 years, and I just wanted to say what an outstanding asset she is to your department. You should be so proud having someone like herself working for you.

Last week I encountered a potential crisis within my department. I was told by my Director to put a hold on purchasing many of the supplies my staff uses on a daily basis, so I immediately obliged. Within a few weeks, my supply center was nearly empty. This could have been a true disaster resulting in a decrease in patient care.

I contacted Ms. Powers, told her of the situation, and she helped my through my "crisis". She handled herself with such classiness and professionalism, I have nothing but respect for her. She is a truly a wonderful person.

Her thoughtfulness in following through with my purchase orders and the immediate follow upon deliveries was unbelievable. Never have I encountered this kind of impeccable service in the 20 years I have been an employee of the University

With that being said, I wanted to let you know how valuable she is and what an outstanding employee you have in your department. One should be so lucky.

Tanya LuckettTanya Luckett
Mile Square

Tanya is exceptional nurse when she takes care of patients.  She will bend over backwards to accommodate a pt. She is kind, generous with her time and never rushes the pt.  She makes sure the pt understands what is being told to them, if they don't she will explain it another way so the pt understands, that takes patience and Tanya has a lot of it. When Tanya phone triages patients, the phone never rings more than 2x's, no matter what she is doing that call becomes her #1 priority. She will spend a lot of time finding the pt an appointment with the Dr. She is the same with staff, patient, generous with her time and always kind to everyone. Thank you, Tanya, please never change.

Terri KaislingTerri Kaisling
Craniofacial Center

Staff Nomination: Todd Kubon

Terri exemplifies what it means to give your all in everything that she does. Terri always makes herself open and available to offer professional advice and guidance as a mentor to her colleagues. Terri is the first person to step forward and volunteer her time to a project without hesitation or reservation if it will benefit the team or her patients. Terri takes the time for compassionate communication both with her patients and colleagues. Terri is a consummate team player who leads by example in taking the utmost responsibility for her role and importance to the team and her patients. Quite simply I have never met anyone as dedicated as Terri Kaisling. Recently Terri showed up for work to coordinate a multidisciplinary treatment planning clinic with a broken toe knowing that the team was relying on her. Terri knew that it would not be possible to substitute for her importance to running the clinic on a moment's notice. Terri always puts the needs of her colleagues and patients first and this example demonstrates sensationally what it is that Terri does on a daily basis.

Yehuda Isenberg
Organizational Development

Training & Development Specialist in the Organizational Development department, is diligent to make sure hospital and clinic employees complete annual mandatory training. Year after year, he goes the extra mile to ensure the organization’s 3,900+ employees are in compliance.

This year, Yehuda has gone even further than the extra mile (if there is such a thing) with the Ethics training. It’s important to know that failure to complete the annual ethics training results in the statutorily required reporting of an employee’s name to the Office of Executive Inspector General for the Agencies of the Illinois Governor. The penalties for noncompliance are then determined by the Illinois Executive Ethics Commission, based on authority granted within the law, in addition to any internal disciplinary action imposed by the University. In other words, it’s a serious thing to be out of compliance on the mandated Ethics training.

Today, the last day for employees to complete training, Yehuda personally went to find employees still out of compliance in the hospital and clinics to let them know they have to do the training. He even helped an employee find the correct web site and get logged in to assure they completed the training! I don’t know many other employees that would do this in order to help a fellow employee meet their obligation. In addition to caring about the individual, Yehuda cares deeply about the hospital and clinics being in compliance to preserve our reputation within the entire university system. The organization is lucky to have someone this dedicated to making sure we’re in compliance on required training.

Zulma MatiasZulma Matias
Healthcare Reimbursement Analyst

Department: Financial Case Management Unit

Reason for recognition: Its hard to sum up what is so outstanding about Zulma. She works tirelessly to ensure patients of the medical center are insured, or apply for insurance. But more importantly, she works to make sure patients understand their insurance status. There is never been a time in all the years we have worked with Zulma that she has not answered her phone and answered our questions about our patients. When she doesn't have the answer, without fail, she follows up. More, if patients have been discharged and still have questions, again, she doesn't miss a beat: she tells us to have the patients/their families contact her so she can answer any questions.  She is our expert: there is nothing she doesn't know, or is unwilling to look into. We had a staff member with a sick family member come to our office to ask us a question about insurance: we called Zulma and she was informative and kind, and again offered to help this person (currently an outpatient cancer pt)as needed. As social workers, we see insurance to be a great stressor in the lives of our patients. For many, its a question of money and treatment, and the reality is most people don't understand the ins and outs/the details of their own insurance plans. This can feel confusing and overwhelming; it can be detrimental to a person already vulnerable by physical or mental illness, or both. Zulma is like a angel to these individuals, and their families. In a scary unsettling time in their life, she works with patients kindly and respectfully. She is reassuring and approachable. She makes people feel like help is available. She is informative, in a way that lay persons can understand, and is patient to answer questions. She speaks in a calm gentle manner that helps make people comfortable.  Her service to patients and our team has been exemplary. She is model for excellent customer service and teamwork. We can only imagine how lost we'd be without Zulma!!!!