Recent Daisy Award Winners

Saint Barnabas Medical Center

Tiela Van, RN, 4100
“I am a patient recovering from a major surgery. I would love to extend my appreciation for Tiela (overnight charge nurse) who did an excellent job of helping me. She exhibited great leadership and teamwork when working with the other nurses. She was very compassionate and efficient. She showed great and genuine care for my wellbeing and her bedside manner was impeccable. Tiela helped to make my post op recovery here much easier. She was very kind and attentive. Thank you Tiela, I thank God that he put me in your care during this trying time.” - One of Tiela’s patients

Brianna Carlotti, RN, Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and Neuro Intensive Care Unit (Neuro ICU)
“Brianna embodies a skilled nurse who delivers compassionate care, healthcare excellence, and superior service. Over the course of the last two years, I have had the pleasure of working alongside Brianna. She not only works with the intensivists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and resident team to ensure that the patient has appropriate orders to ensure patient safety, but she goes above and beyond to ensure the patient and their families feel supported during what may be one of the worst experiences of their lives.

She washes and braids the hair of her patients, holds the hands of her patients and loved ones, and gives her patients a back rub once or twice a day while cleaning them. She is the voice for those who cannot speak for themselves, and the angel who provides comfort when necessary. Brianna is a nurse who deserves to be recognized with a Daisy Award.” - Colleague Anna Rose Ghione, RN

Dana Monte, BSN, RN, Family Centered Care (FCC)
“I want to start off by saying that every nurse I met on 6100 was exceptional. I felt a great level of pride as a nurse from SBMC to witness and experience the amazing nursing care. Erin, Alma, Virginia, Joanna, and Carolina were phenomenal. Dana was my first nurse on 6100 post-partum. She had a great personality and made me feel comfortable immediately. Unfortunately that night, my son’s glucose dropped and she walked me through the protocol. He was going to have to be admitted to the NICU. She personally took me to the NICU and stayed with me until he was settled. I was very emotional and her support and presence got me through. I know she had a busy assignment but you would think I was her only patient. She had the ability to calm me and educate me during this experience. She exhibits the characteristics of true nursing and is the example of CCHESS! At one point I was offered to move to 3300 to be closer to the NICU but I knew Dana was on for two more nights and opted to stay on 6100 because I knew I had the ‘best’ nurse! She truly delivered compassionate care and is the example of healthcare excellence.” - Dawn Howard, DNP, APN, ANP-BC, Director, Transitions of Care

Sandy Hussain, RN, Family Centered Care
“Following a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis in 2017, Tania and her husband Rich, returned to Saint Barnabas last year in active labor, about to become parents. She shared that getting pregnant with her medical complications was a very difficult process. Upon learning they were pregnant, she and her husband were both so terrified that this indescribable joy could and would be taken away from them at any given moment.

They family faced many complications during the pregnancy. Genetic testing showed their baby carried the same genetic mutation as Tania which causes central vision loss (BEST disease/macular dystrophy). The baby’s heart beat was irregular on several occasions causing so much concern and fear, and towards the end, the baby developed Polyhydramnios which carried a risk of gestational diabetes, a possible swallowing defect, an abrupt placenta, or the absolute worst case and most frightening scenario, a still birth. According to Tania, “The moment our perfect, happy and absolutely healthy baby boy Charlie Samuel Bentley made his entrance into the world, it was truly nothing short of a miracle.”

Although Tania had made many strides, gained a lot of strength and reached many milestones in my physical therapy and recovery from her initial MS exacerbation in 2017, she was still unable to walk independently when she arrived in labor. Adding to her complicated medical history was the pain of a c-section which left her feeling weaker and made trying to walk with the assistance of a walker difficult. Despite having the biggest new treasure in her life, her fear and anxiety of what the future would bring as a new mom with MS was overwhelming. The same question kept circling her mind: would she be healthy enough to look after her new baby, or would she relapse again and need to be hospitalized, away from her new baby and unable to fully experience the indescribable joy of her precious baby boy.

As Tania wrote in her nomination form: “It was during this most difficult, tiring and painful, yet equally as indescribably joyful, and miraculous experience that our new family was blessed with our dear nurse, Sandy Hussain. From the moment she first walked into our room on the labor and delivery floor, she not only went above and beyond her duties as our nurse, but she calmed every one of my many fears, with the kind of unparalleled and unique qualities of patience, grace, care, compassion and love that you don’t often find in the world.

She was there, with a hand on my shoulder, reassuring me when I cried countless times, to remind me that it would all be ok, that I would be a healthy, happy and GREAT mom, despite my medical difficulties and the many challenges in front of me. She was there offering a soft, gentle and helpful hand when I tried with desperation to calm our baby when he was crying uncontrollably, or when I was trying and trying to get him to latch so that I could breastfeed him and was about to give up. She was there, patiently answering every question we both had, even when we asked the same questions again and again and again and she always did with a reassuring smile, she was there to guide us through it all, like a loving mother figure that neither one of us had in being alone together in this country with our families far away in South Africa and in England...and with each of the 5 passing days that we were at Saint Barnabas, Sandy instilled in us an invaluable confidence to make us start to finally believe in ourselves and our own ability to step confidently into our new roles of mom and dad.

There truly are no words adequate or sufficient enough to express our gratitude to Sandy. The words “thank you” seem far too lacking for everything that she did for us as a family. She made us believe in ourselves for the first time, and most important, she helped me recognize my strength, resilience and endurance as a mother, reminding me that no matter the obstacles which lie ahead of me, no matter my diagnosis of MS, no matter what I had and will continue to go through, that I would always be the strongest and best mom possible to our sweet Charlie, and that he was just as lucky to have us, as we were to have him.” -Tania Bentley, patient

Ruby Brillantes-Brathwaite, BSN, RN, 4300/Pediatrics
“I have worked with Ruby for 20 years. Ruby is an exceptional nurse, great charge nurse and wonderful role model. Recently, we had a young adult who presented with abdominal pain. The surgical team had seen her the night before and her scans were inconclusive for appendicitis. Over the course of the night, the patient’s pain became worse. Ruby made rounds in the morning and immediately knew that the patient needed her undivided attention. She was in a lot of pain and was distended. Ruby immediately contacted the pediatric team and called surgery to see her. Everything was now STAT and Ruby helped to keep her patient and her family informed and calm. The patient ended up being rushed to the Operating Room. After her patient went to the Operating Room, Ruby assisted a per diem nurse with a five-week-old baby that doctors had feared was going into shock from dehydration. Ruby is always willing to lend a helping hand and is always a pleasure to work with.” - Deborah Kelleher, RN

Kelsey Lasin, RN, BSN and Jocelyn Paloma, RN, BSN, PCCN, 1 West
“I have unfortunately experienced the patient side of healthcare frequently during my treatment and reconstruction over the past year and a half. As a nurse myself, I try to put my patients first at all times, which is not always easy. I have experienced some mediocre care over this journey and I was extremely hesitant in coming to a new hospital that I knew nothing about, but I took the word of my surgeon, someone that I completely trust.

It is difficult to pick just one nurse from my care that excelled more than any other as I have experienced so many kind, compassionate people throughout my care at Saint Barnabas. I would like to mention the names of a few nurses that were involved in my care that deserve recognition for the kind, supportive, attentive, and compassionate care that they have provided both me and my husband on a constant basis throughout my treatment and hospital recovery.

I was truly impressed with Saint Barnabas when I was transferred to 1W. I have not experienced one nurse who appeared impatient, rushed, uneducated, or uncompassionate. My multiday treatment revolved around the same care team with Kelsey Lasin as my night nurse and Jocelyn Paloma as my day nurse during my three-day stay. These two women were beyond words and indescribable in the care they provided, support, and compassion they offered, and the friendly unrushed conversation to distract me from my pain. Not only did these woman go beyond my expectations as providers, they were training nurses to the unit and did so where I did not feel like a number, or a training tool, I felt like I was getting additional care from multiple amazing professionals.

Although my experience is focused around these two highly experienced compassionate nurses, I would like to mention the trainees that were involved as they were eager to take what was being taught to them and portrayed the same care that their precepting nurses showed. Adaobi Opara, BSN, RN, was training with Kelsey while Taylor Stafford, BSN, RN, was training with Jocelyn. Wherever this goes, I would like to say that I have not experienced one uncompassionate nurse on 1W but I have had the most experience with Jocelyn and Kelsey.

If these nurses are the standard here at Saint Barnabas, then I would say this System has earned every status it has been given plus some. If these nurses are the exception then I would suggest doing everything you can to keep them on your team as they are the most compassionate, caring, and attentive nurses I have experienced as an observer from the patient standpoints, as well as, a providers standpoint in prehospital emergency medicine, in-hospital nursing care, and out of hospital nursing care.” – One of their patients

Maria (Ceil) Gomez, RN, Radiology (formally from 2400)
“I would like to nominate Maria (Ceil) Gomez, as a deserving recipient of the Daisy Award. This nurse’s clinical skill and especially her compassionate care exemplify the kind of nurse that our patients, their families, and our staff recognize as an outstanding role model.

For over 15 years, Ceil has always been compassionate and empathetic with her patients, but also a mentor and incredible educator to other nursing staff, especially new nurses on the unit. During a new graduate nurse’s first “Code Blue”, Ceil was there and helped for hours as the entire medical team worked on the patient. She remained calm and level-headed, helping throughout a stressful experience, using her expertise and knowledge to help the patient and everyone in the room. Ceil spent hours in the morning once the shift was over helping the primary nurse fill out the code sheet, making sure everything was properly done, and comforting the family as well. Ceil treats every patient as if they were her own family, and that is a standard of nursing care that we should each strive to achieve.
Her endless patience and knowledge in the field is something that only comes with time and experience, and Saint Barnabas Medical Center is lucky to have such a dedicated nurse like her.” - Nataliya Vulchak, RN